Students often have a misconception of love.
Some view love as a feeling characterized by butterflies in the stomach when they spend time with someone they care about.
Some may feel unloved because of the way they have been mistreated others.
But, in 1 Corinthians 13, we see the biblical definition of love – God’s love.
Use this youth group lesson on 1 Corinthians to teach students that we are to share God’s selfless love with others.
-Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON 1 CORINTHIANS 13
Written by Eric Mendoza
Bible: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Bottom line: Share God’s selfless love with others.
- Index cards
- Timer (optional)
OPENING GAME: TELL ME WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE!
In this game, students will race against the clock to come up with as many descriptive words as they can to describe an animal, food, object, etc.
Before beginning the game, write down a variety of items on index cards.
Be sure to choose things that can be easily described.
Some words you might consider using are: candy, kitten, tornado, cheeseburger, elephant, etc.
There are a variety of ways to play the game, so choose which option works best for your group of students.
Another way to do this and make the game a bit easier is to write down categories of things like “Desserts”, or “Types of Dogs”.
Begin the game by dividing your group into two teams.
Choose a person from each team to be the “contestants.”
Both people will stand facing each other.
The game leader will call out the word or category on the card.
Then each contestant will take turns saying one word that describes the word on the card until one contestant can no longer describe the word.
For example, if you call out “trash” one contestant would say, “smelly” and the other would say “gross”, etc.
The game continues until all cards have been used or until time is up.
The winner of the round is the contestant that is able to call out the most words to describe the word on the card.
Descriptive words must not be duplicated for the same card.
The winning contestant will add one point to his or her team.
The team with the most points at the end of the game will win!
Say: We used a lot of words to describe simple objects.
We could also use a lot of words to describe the topic of our lesson – LOVE.
But, love is not simple.
In fact, many times, it’s anything but simple.
Today, we are talking about a specific type of love – selfless love.
The passage of scripture we are about to read is very popular in wedding ceremonies because it defines the type of love a couple should have for one another.
However, Paul was writing this to the Corinthian church because he wanted them to understand what selfless love looked like.
Paul wanted the people of the Corinthian church to display the type of selfless love that Christians are called to live in their everyday lives.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
This passage tells us how we should display love in our lives.
The love I am referring to is called agape; agape is “a caring, self-sacrificing commitment which shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved.”
Jesus Christ showed His love (agape), by sacrificing Himself on the cross for you and me to have eternal life.
This is the greatest act of selflessness that has ever been recorded in all of history.
Paul shows us that this is the way we ought to be as followers of Jesus.
Let’s look at what love (agape) looks like according to this passage.
Selfless love is patient.
That means you are patient and understanding with everyone – even those who are difficult to love.
If someone does something to you, you hold back instead of retaliating.
People are not perfect, and they have imperfections that will sometimes cause you to be irritated.
Don’t come down hard on them or snap at them, give them time to change, and give them room to make mistakes.
Be patient, because God is patient with you.
Selfless love is kind.
When you are patient with someone, you are showing them kindness.
An example of kindness is being willing to forgive and help others in a way that will help them grow.
This will go a long way in life because kindness is often repaid with kindness.
Jesus gives us a perfect example when He tells us to love our enemies.
The enemy you are kind too, may not be kind back.
However, God tells us that when we do good to others, He notices, even if no one else does.
Are you kind to others, the way that Paul is telling us to be kind?
Selfless love is not jealous or envious and does not boast.
How many of you get jealous of your siblings?
How many of you can be jealous of what your friends have?
How many of you become jealous because others get more attention than you do?
Most of the fights or disagreements you encounter are rooted in jealousy.
Think about that for a minute.
You could avoid many difficult situations if you are content with what you have and what you receive.
Selfless love is not arrogant or rude.
Arrogance means that you think you are better than someone else.
It is pride that allows you to think more highly of yourself than you should.
Some of you might do this to make yourself look good, but in the eyes of God it is unloving and rude.
Selfless love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.
Do not always insist that it needs to be your way or the highway.
Take what others say into consideration.
When things don’t go your way (news flash it doesn’t always go your way) don’t be quick to be irritated.
Don’t blow up on someone because it isn’t the way you wanted.
Don’t resent someone because of the decision they made.
These all sound like common sense, but often, we fail when it comes to displaying the kind of love that Jesus modeled for us.
We have to be reminded that Christ showed this type of love for all of us.
Selfless love does not rejoice in wrongdoing.
Forgive and move on, don’t bring up situations where others did something against you.
When you do this, you are telling the other person that you didn’t forgive them.
God forgives us for everything we have done against Him, so surely we can forgive others and not keep a record of what they did against us.
God does not keep a record of the sins we have done against Him.
Selfless love rejoices with the truth.
If someone turns away from the sin in their life, you should rejoice and celebrate with them.
Rejoice when someone tells you they have listened to God and God is working in their life.
Selfless love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
If someone confides in you with a problem or a secret, bear it.
Hold onto it, don’t run and tell others.
Be a person that can bear the burdens of someone else, because you will be helping them and showing them love.
Believe and trust people.
I know that people will break that trust at times, but be willing to give them the opportunity to win that trust back.
Don’t allow rumors to be the truth, instead, trust that if you were meant to know the truth, it would be told to you.
Hope in all things.
God has given us a great hope in Him.
When you struggle, hope that God has everything figured out because guess what, He does.
There are going to be some tough times in your life.
There will be times when you think that you can’t take it anymore.
There will be times when you think you should walk away from your faith.
People may betray you, and they might abandon you.
Look at what happened to Jesus, in the final hour all of the disciples ran away.
One of the disciples even denied knowing Him.
If Christ endured the cross, inevitably you can face whatever this life throws at you because God has given you His Holy Spirit.
Biblical love has a high standard and we might not ever be able to selflessly love like this passage tells us to, but we must strive to love like this.
We must strive to love the way Paul calls us to love because this is the love that God has shown to each of us.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. What is agape love?
2. Why is it difficult for us to be patient with others? Are others patient with you?
3. How can you be kind to another person when it is hard to do?
4. How do we begin to love others selflessly?
5. How can you teach someone else to love selflessly?
6. Is love a feeling or an action? Explain.
7. What does it mean to love others selflessly?
8. How can you endure to show others love?
9. What are some truths we can lean on for hope?
10. Is there anything that this passage has called out in you? If so, what?
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