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What Does The Dead Know Nothing – Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 Mean?

Learn the meaning of the statement that the dead know nothing in Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 as it has been misunderstood by many people leading to its misinterpretation to the detriment of reality.

In this article, I will explain what it means. However, before you proceed, read the following relevant Bible portion: ECCLESIASTES 9:5-6

People who teach that there is no punishment of the wicked with everlasting fire use this statement that the dead know nothing to promote their false teaching. They claim that since the Bible says the dead know nothing, there is no possibility of the wicked being tormented eternally by fire.

In What sense does the dead know nothing as all human beings are made of three parts – spirit, soul and body?

Human beings are made of three parts. This what you should take into consideration whenever you are discussing the statement that the dead know nothing. The fact that humans are composed of three parts is confirmed by the Bible in 1 THESSALONIANS 5:23

The statement “The dead know nothing”, as it is used in that Bible portion, does not apply to all the components of a human being. It applies to the body alone. The body houses the spirit and soul. The spirit gives life to the body while the soul contains the will, the mind and the emotions. At death, the spirit and soul vacate the body rendering it unable to know anything as it is then lifeless and without the will, the mind and the emotions.

What does the the expression “the dead” refers to in this context and why?

Context matters much in Biblical interpretation. As stated earlier, this statement, the dead know nothing”, as it is used here, refers only to the body after death when the soul and the spirit that gives life to the body are separated from the body. Even the Bible confirms that the body cannot survive without the spirit. JAMES 2:26.

If the dead know nothing, what about the human soul and spirit that lives on after death?

Read the following quotations, in relation to human beings, after death, to see that the statement “The dead know nothing” in this context does not refer to a human being as a whole (body, soul and spirit) but just to the body alone after death. See what the Bible says about the human beings involved the episodes below, after their death. Read ~REVELATION 6:9-11, REVELATION 20:4, 2 CORINTHIANS 5:8, PHILIPPIANS 1:21-23, ECCLESIASTES 12:7, LUKE 23:46 and LUKE 16:19-31

Emphasis On LUKE 16:19-31 Clarifies “The Dead Know Nothing”

To further simplify the statement that the dead know nothing, I want to emphasize that the story you read in LUKE 16:19-31 is not a parable but a real life event story. Jesus never used names in parables but because this one was a real life experience, he mentioned the names of Abraham and Lazarus. The rich man’s name was withheld because it was insignificant. The rich man did not make any positive impact while alive, and so, his name is not even worth mentioning.

Important Facts In Relation To The Statement “The Dead Know Nothing”

From the quotations above, we have discovered that the statement “The dead know nothing” , As used here, in this context, in this Bible verse but not generally speaking, though, refers to the body alone.

If it were not so, why did Abraham and the rich man, in LUKE 16:19-31, after they had died, still spoke of things they know and why did the souls in the book of Revelation know that their blood was shed and then asked when God would avenge their blood? Surely, “The dead know nothing” in this context, refers to only one part of a human being, the body alone but not to the other parts of a human being, the spirit and soul, which remain alive and knowledgeable about multiple things after the death of the body.


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