In this book the minister of Trinity Church, Aberdeen, takes us through the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, omitting only Chapter 8. It is not a verse-by-verse commentary, but an attempt to catch the elusive flavour of each chapter, under the general rubric of "Take the one thing in the future that is certain – our death – and work backwards from that point into all the details and decisions and heartaches of our lives, and think about them from the perspective of the end." This, in the reviewer's opinion, sheds a flood of light on the meaning of what to most readers, and most commentators, is a very puzzling book.
In the course of his book, Gibson takes up a remarkable number and variety of human concerns, all of which are shown to have been equally in the thought-world of the author of Ecclesiastes. They include the injustices and frustrations of life, its unfinished quality, the place of enjoyment and pleasure in life, the realism of bodily decay - all held within the outlook of the wise man who has come to terms with his Creator and is willing to leave his destiny within His loving hands.
The style of writing is fluent and engaging – until the author confronts the reader with another startling punchline, just as the Preacher himself does. And the questions at the end of each chapter are no mere summation of its contents but raise challenging issues which can be relied upon to stimulate any study group that uses them.
Donald Mackay, Knox Church Perth