Let’s read Ecclesiastes 12:9-12, “And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” 

Seven times in this book, Solomon refers to himself as the ‘preacher’.  We know that he is speaking of himself from the very first verse in the book.  Ecclesiastes 1:1, “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.”  In the portion before us, Solomon starts out by stating that he was able to teach the people because of his wisdom.  He was very careful with his words, making sure what he said was profitable and true. 

His wise words were as goads…sharp objects that pierce.  They are convincing and convicting.  Like a shepherd protecting his sheep, his words are like well driven nails that stabilize the tent.  They are necessary!

Solomon realizes that with all his teachings, he has not exhausted his subject matter.  Yet, Solomon gives truth in saying that “by these” (by the words he has written as inspired by God), is true admonition, or warning.  We know that Solomon was voluminous in his writings.  We read in 1 Kings 4:32-33 of him, “And he spoke three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spoke of the trees, from the cedar-tree that is on Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of cattle, and of fowls, and of creeping things, and of fishes.”  Yet, he cautions “of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” 

I believe the warning for us is to make sure that the Word of God is our main source of knowledge.  Men can, and do, write of differing opinions…of this there is no end.  We are warned in 1 Timothy 6:20, “O Timotheus, keep the entrusted deposit, avoiding profane, vain babblings, and OPPOSITIONS OF FALSE-NAMED KNOWLEDGE.”  Books which help to expound the Word of God, and do not contradict its precious truths can be valuable, but we MUST hold to the truth that there is only ONE inerrant Word of God…the Bible.  Even when the Apostle Paul, spoke he commended those who made sure his words were true by comparing them with what the scriptures say.  We read in Acts 17:10-11, “But the brethren immediately sent away, in the night, Paul and Silas to Berea; who, being arrived, went away into the synagogue of the Jews. And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, receiving the word with all readiness of mind, DAILY SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES if these things were so.”

For sure, many books are profitable, and we do well to be readers of God’s Word and other worthy writings.  Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:13, “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and THE BOOKS, but especially the parchments.”  The parchments probably refer to the scriptures, but Paul also wanted Timothy to bring him his books.  We don’t know what these books were, but I think we know Paul well enough to realize he would not waste his time with unprofitable writings of the individual opinions of men.  (446.6)