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Evaluation of this devotional is graded on a participation only basis. To receive points for the unit devotional, you must write one original post in response to your instructor’s prompt. Content of the posting is not graded.

After reading this week’s devotional, post your personal thoughts on what the Devotional means to you and how you find it applicable in your study right now.

This week, you have to complete Mini-Proposal draft by combining all writing pieces you have written so far and revising them in more detail. This may sound overwhelming, but do not panic because you are almost already there. At this point, I’d like to remind you of Rieger’s article (2010) again. In that paper, the book of Ecclesiastes was analyzed according to the research structure which you are working in your proposal draft. Please read through all the components of research in Ecclesiastes below. It will be not only fun to read but also reassuring you about the proposal draft.

  • Background: “Solomon was a high achiever for many decades. He was self-confident and proud of his achievements, but then experienced an end-life crisis that left him seriously depressed and led him to inquire into and reflect on his life experience: Wealth, fame, pleasure, power, knowledge; for what purpose and to what end? The book of Ecclesiastes is a record of this inquiry” (p. 45).
  • Research question: “He succinctly foreshadows the problem of the inquiry: The meaninglessness of life as the ‘bottom line’, despite all one’s hard work and toil. By implication, he poses the question: “How does one find happiness, purpose and meaning in life, without God?” Thus the qoheleth clearly identifies the research problem and its significance, and then embarks on his topic, which is both riveting and controversial” (p. 45).
  • Literature review: “The books of Moses (the Pentateuch) and a collection of writings that probably included (in part or their entirety) Job, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel 1–2, and many of the Psalms. Then there were some of the proverbs that were written for Solomon, and those by him” (p. 45-46). “A perusal of Ecclesiastes reveals that references to the literature are scattered throughout the text, as evident from Table 1, to augment the author’s argument” (p. 46).
  • Methods: “Methodologically, Solomon endeavours to bring reliability to his data and credibility to their analysis through repeated observations and revisiting of particular experiences, or examining similar situations. An example of this are the data in relation to fatalism referred to in Eccl. 3:1, 8:6–7, 9:12, 10:14. Similarly, “wise” and “wisdom” occur more than fifty times, bridging different parts of the text when it is sometimes difficult to discern a systematic “unified flow of thought” (p. 47).
  • Findings: natural science, Knowledge and wisdom, hedonism, materialism, fatalism and deism, and religion and morality (p. 47-49)
  • Conclusion: “He is now ready to give what is required of a credible research study or dissertation—provide a clear, succinct answer to its central research question, based on the findings. He shares it with his listeners / readers: ‘Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man” because God will hold everyone accountable for all their actions (Eccl. 12:13, KJV)’” (p. 49).
  • Publication: “Interestingly, his published findings were ‘peer reviewed’, Ecclesiastes being accepted later as part of the canon of Hebrew sacred writings” (p. 45).

Is it surprising that the same thing as the research we are doing is in the Bible? You may actually get the wisdom and guidance you need for your research proposal directly from the Bible. Yet, the Bible is not one of reference books. It is the living God’s Word that leads us to the truth and eternal life, and teaches us what the Lord’s will is. I am praying that you can personally experience the Word of God during this week.

  • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15: 4)
  • Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105)
  • When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you (Proverbs 6:22)

Rieger, W. (2010). Ecclesiastes as research: Autoethnography through a rear-vision mirror. TEACH Journal of Christian Education, 4(2), 44-50.

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