Questions From Readers
● What is the wisdom referred to at Ecclesiastes 1:18?—M. L., United States.
Ecclesiastes 1:18 reads: “For in the abundance of wisdom there is an abundance of vexation, so that he that increases knowledge increases pain.” The Scriptures show that there are two kinds of wisdom, the godly kind and the worldly kind. Obviously this text does not refer to the godly kind, for of it we read: “Happy is the man that has found wisdom, and the man that gets discernment, for the gaining of it is better than the gaining of silver and the produce of it even than gold. It is more precious than corals, and all other delights of yours cannot be made equal to it. Length of days is in its right hand; in its left hand there are riches and glory. Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its roadways are peace. It is a tree of life to those taking hold of it, and those keeping fast hold of it are to be called happy.”—Prov. 3:13-18.
This is the true wisdom, which rests upon the fear of Jehovah God and the acceptance of his provisions through Jesus Christ. It does not bring vexation. Furthermore, the increase of the knowledge of Jehovah God and of his Son, Jesus Christ, whom he sent, means everlasting life to all who will acquire such knowledge and use it according to godly wisdom.—John 17:3.
But the wisdom referred to at Ecclesiastes 1:18 is the wisdom of this world that recognizes no relationship to God and therefore brings with it an abundance of vexation. The worldlywise person increases knowledge but uses that knowledge according to the wisdom of untheocratic men, and consequently he only increases pain for himself, as can be witnessed in the world today when there is more knowledge available in our libraries and schools and other institutions for gathering information than ever before and yet at the same time there has never been more pain on the part of mankind. Concerning this kind of wisdom the apostle Paul wrote: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”—1 Cor. 3:19.
● Is it proper for one of Jehovah’s witnesses to conduct a funeral for one who dies while disfellowshiped?—E. B., United States.
A congregation of Jehovah’s servants should not hold the funeral service of one who dies while disfellowshiped; nor should a dedicated Christian officiate at such a funeral, regardless of the fact that the rest of the members of the family might be witnesses of Jehovah and in good standing. Neither should any of the congregation attend such a funeral. We never want to give the impression to outsiders that a disfellowshiped person was acceptable in the congregation when in truth and in fact he was not acceptable but had been disfellowshiped from it.
David expressed the right sentiments when he said that he did not even want to be associated with such persons at the time of death: “Do not take away my soul along with sinners, nor my life along with bloodguilty men.”—Ps 26:9.