Ecclesiastes 7:16—How is it possible to be too righteous?

Problem: Jesus commanded His followers to be “perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). God said, “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:45). But, Solomon instructs us not to be “overly righteous” (Ecc. 7:16). How can someone be too righteous? Surely one cannot be too just or too loving?

Solution: A person cannot be too righteous, but he can be overly righteous. The Pharisees were a good case in point. They were so righteous that they were self-righteous. For, “being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, [they] have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.