Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lesson - The First Letter To The Corinthians - Love

VERSES:   1 Corinthians 13:1-13

MEMORY VERSE:   1 Corinthians 13:13  "And now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Review all 27 books of the New Testament.

PRAYER:   Pray for all those whom we love and love them God's way.

SPECIAL SONG:  Love Songs on this blog: Jesus Loves Me (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #2); Jesus Loves The Little Children (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #2); The Family In God's Plan (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #4); Children, Obey Your Parents (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #4); Be Patient And Kind (see April 2014 - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him). Click on orange circles on each lesson to hear each tune.

VISUAL AID:  White board or chalkboard, writing characteristics of love on board while teaching. Large Activity (see below under Activity).

Note: This lesson is designed for older students. There are many points in this lesson which could be divided into separate lessons, resulting in a theme for an entire quarter. Or, perhaps, the Bible teacher would prefer to address a smaller amount of characteristics for a set number of weeks as opposed to teaching all fifteen attributes in one week. This study on love could be a wonderful review of a number of Character studies as well. Also, this study could prove beneficial in selecting a theme for a Vacation Bible SchoolThere are many possibilities with such a wonderful lesson as Love.

Listed below are the characteristics of love and I have attempted to match a character in the Bible with that attribute of love. You could do the same! Choose characters with those whom you are familiar or select different characters than I have chosen to teach your students how to love God's way. Remember negative examples also teach. All references to lessons are found on this blog; using the "search box" may  also be helpful in selecting lessons to demonstrate love's attributes.
  • It is always good to see who wrote the particular letter in which you are studying and to know to whom it was written. The Apostle Paul wrote two letters (First and Second Corinthians) to the Christians who lived and worshiped in the city of Corinth. We know that both letters were written by Paul because Paul had a style of writing his name at the beginning of the letters just like he did in the letter to the Romans (1 Corinthians 1:1 and 2 Corinthians 1:1).  Paul's first letter to the Corinthians was filled with instructions to those Christians who lived in that extremely wicked city. The Christians were definitely not behaving as God wanted them to behave, so Paul reprimanded or scolded them on many issues. Finally, Paul told them what true love should be and how it should behave itself.
  • First, Paul explained to the Christians through his inspired letter that even if he 
    • could speak in many different languages, 
    • had many gifts of prophecy, 
    • had great understanding and knowledge, 
    • had so much faith that he could move mountains, 
    • gave all of his material goods to feed the poor, 
    • and even if he gave his body to be burned
            that he would be nothing if he did not have one thing--love.
  • Then, in this first letter to the Christians at Corinth, Paul continued telling them that there were fifteen different attributes or characteristics of love. By looking to Bible examples of these characteristics, we can learn much.
    • Love is patient. Besides our loving Father, perhaps Job is the best example of patience. Job's patience endured, even after losing all ten of his children, his riches, and his good health all in a short amount of time. (See October 2014 - Lesson - The Patience Of Job) Like Job, who never wavered in his love and trust in God, we should feel that same amount of patience towards those whom we love, thinking first before we speak or act.
    • Love is kind. Kindness is an action that is shown from the heart. We can look in the Old Testament and find one of the kindest women in the Bible. We do not know her name, but her kindness towards Elijah lives on through the pages of the Bible. When the woman from the city of Zarepheth was asked for a small piece of bread, we remember that she said that she was gathering sticks so she could build a fire to cook the last of her oil and meal for her and her son to eat, then they were going to die. It was all the food she had. Yet, when Elijah asked her to make a cake or bread for him first, she did not hesitate in kindly doing as he asked. By doing so, she not only saved herself, but her child, too. (See September 2014 - Lesson -  Elijah Raises A Boy To Life) Like the widow of Zarepheth, we must show the ultimate kindness to the ones whom we love even in times of great sacrifice to ourselves. What kindness and good things have we recently done for our loved ones?
    • Love is not envious or jealous. We can learn how not to be envious in our love to others by looking at the bad example of the Jews and how they were so jealous of Jesus that they killed Him. Jealousy and envy led mature men to kill. (See April 2015 - Lesson - Jesus Before Pilate). We need to look to Jesus as our example of perfect love. He was never full of envy of jealousy. His love for us was and still is pure and sincere and serves as the greatest example of the way our love should be to those we love. We should never be jealous or envious of those we love because jealousy and envy lead to many other sins and heartache. We need to keep our love pure.
    • Love is humble and does not brag. Being humble does not mean that a person is weak. We remember how David was humble as a young boy. After killing Goliath, the Philistine giant, he did not brag or boast about what he had done. David gave all of the the glory to God. David's love for God was respectful, submissive and full of humility. (See July 2014 - Lesson - David And Goliath) As David showed his humility and love to God, so we should show our loved ones a humble kind of love. Many in the world do not know this kind of love, but we know that perfect love is not showy and boastful.
    • Love is not arrogant. To be arrogant means to be full of pride. God never tolerated a prideful people. We can look to Boaz, who was a man of honor and great wealth, yet definitely was not arrogant. He was kind, helpful, protective and loving to Ruth, and eventually married her. (See July 2014 - Lesson - Ruth Gleans In Boaz' Field.) We can imitate Boaz' loving characteristics towards Ruth, knowing that this is an excellent example of how we should love and treat our families.
    • Love does not act unbecomingly. There will be times in our lives when we are wronged and we are innocent. How will we handle those times? Do you remember how Jacob treated Leah when he was tricked into marrying her instead of his beloved Rachel? He was not dramatic or had bad behavior, he simply went back to his father-in-law and worked out a contract to marry Rachel. While having two wives in the Old Testament was sometimes overlooked by God (Acts 17:30), it was never recommended and always caused a lot of trouble. However, we can still see how Jacob loved, provided for, and considered Leah throughout their lives (See April 2014 - Lesson - Jacob And Rachel). In Genesis 31, Jacob had the perfect opportunity to leave Leah behind at Laban's house, but Jacob included everyone in his family, including Leah. We, too, should behave considerately towards our family members. Our behavior towards others makes memories that people remember always. As we can sing in the song, Be Patient And Kind, (see above),  "Words live on after we are gone." Let us not act out in an unloving, ungodly way towards our loved ones.
    • Love does not seek its own or is selfish. We have an example of a couple, Anaias and Sapphira, who were more interested in their own welfare than the Lord's. They were selfish and deceitful. They lied to Peter about selling a piece of their land and they died because of that lie. (See May 2015 - Lesson - Ananias And Sapphira Lied And Died). True love thinks of others and their needs before themselves. Do we think of our loved ones before we think of ourselves? Let's not be like Ananias and Sapphira, but let our love for our family and friends exceed our love for ourselves. We seek their happiness above our own, always being honest.
    • Love is not easily provoked. Through trickery and deceit, Jacob received the blessing and the birthright of his brother, Esau. There was much contention and Esau bore a grudge towards his brother, Jacob, for many years. However, in later years, Esau forgave Jacob for what had been done to him, and instead of killing Jacob as he once entertained the thought, Esau fell on Jacob's neck and kissed him when he saw him, forgiving him of all that had past.  Esau 's anger was not stirred up at that time. (See April 2014 - Lesson - Jacob Goes Home). True love is not looking for a fight and is not easily angered. When people truly love each other, they are looking for the best in each other.
    • Love thinks no evil or is not suspicious. Many in the world think on evil continually and are suspicious of those who speak truth. An example of a sincerely brotherly love is that of David and King Saul's son, Jonathan. (See July 2014 - Lesson - Jonathan Says Good-bye To His Friend, David). Even though King Saul was jealous of David and had thrown javelins at his one-time friend, speaking unkindly of him, Jonathan, loved David unconditionally. He helped David in times of trial and trouble. Jonathan completely trusted his friend, David, and David trusted his friend, Jonathan. That is how a sincere love is--trusting. We should always have a trusting heart to those we love.
    • Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. It would seem that everyone would know this fact about love, but not everyone does. Love is never happy when evil things happen to anyone, especially to their loved ones. We remember the story about Paul and Silas being put in prison, not for doing criminal things, but simply because they were preaching about Jesus and doing miracles in His name. (See June 2015 - Lesson - Paul And Silas In Prison). Paul and Silas were not dwelling on the beatings they received and harboring evil thoughts against their captors. No, they were praying and singing praises to God at midnight in prison! By applying Paul and Silas' behavior in a bad situation to our own misfortunes or trials, we, too can rejoice in truth, not meditating on the evil.
    • Love bears all things. The best example of love bearing all things is looking to out Savior, Jesus. All of the heartache, pain, and suffering that Jesus endured on the cross is the ultimate example of forbearance. Jesus bore the burdens of our sins--sins that were not even His own, so that all mankind might have the hope of eternal life in heaven if they obeyed and loved the Lord. (See April 2015 - Lesson - Jesus Is Crucified.) Do we bear all things? Difficult situations will arise and we need to be prepared to persevere in our love for our loved ones. Love does not give up on the one they love as Christ did not give up on us while we were yet sinners. Love continues.
    • Love believes all things. True and sincere love believes what is told to them by the ones that they love. Having no reason to doubt, love believes all things. Looking to story of how King Ahazuerus believed Queen Esther over his supposedly-trusted right-hand man, Haman. The king believed and trusted all that the queen had to say about her people and those who were trying to kill them (see October 2015 - Lesson - Haman Reaped What He Sowed). We should believe our loved ones when they talk to us as they should, also, believe us.
    •  Love hopes all things.  Love is a very optimistic characteristic. Love is full of hope! We remember the lesson about the Prodigal son (see March 2015 -  Lesson - The Parable Of The Prodigal Son) and how his father was full of hope, eagerly awaiting his son who had taken his inheritance and went off into the world. The father continued to watch down the road every day anxious to see if his son was coming home that hope. When his father's hopes came true, he was overcome with joy! His love for his son hoped all things. We, too, should have a love that hopes all things. Truly, love is hopeful!
    • Love endures all things. A tremendous story about a man's love for God is that of the Apostle Paul. Many things he suffered for the cause of Christ. As we turn our Bibles to 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, let us read of what Paul endured. Can we say that we have endured what Paul had? Of course not! But Paul had the determination to prevail through his trials. That is exactly what we need to do with our loved ones. If we love, we will endure. 
    • Love never fails or never ends.  We can see through most any lesson that we have studied that our Heavenly Father has never failed or given up on any who have turned to Him with a sincere and repentant heart. The lesson about the twelve spies going into the land of Canaan and coming back with ten of the spies reporting that the people of that land were as large as giants and they as grasshoppers resulted in the people believing the ten spies instead of Joshua and Caleb who had said that with God's help they could take the land. (See May 2014 - Lesson - The Spies and May 2014 - Lesson - The Minority Was Right). Even though the children of Israel continued to turn away from God so many times, God's love for them continued as His love for us continues is we are obedient to Him. His love never fails if we serve Him with our whole heart. When we sin (1 John 1:7-10), God's love will always be there if we are repentant and ask for forgiveness. He waits for us to turn to Him again (1 Peter 3:12). Let us always have that pure love, always ready to forgive our loved ones, and to always be there to love them God's way. God's way is always the best way!
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Corinth was a very wicked city. See July 2015 - Lesson - Aquila, Priscilla, and Paul - Three Tentmakers on this blog for  more background information on the city of Corinth.
  • We hear a lot about love these days, but it is usually not the way that God was speaking about in First Corinthians 13. Let us always apply those things which we learn. What have we learned in this lesson? Are we loving? Do we think the best of others or the worst? Do we endure all things or are we ready to give up? We know that when God speaks of marriage, it is a love that endures and bears all things. Once Christians choose a mate, it is for a lifetime. Before we say, "I do," apply these characteristics to your loved one and yourself. Are they patient? Are you patient? Are they kind? Are you kind? Go down the list to see if it is true love, God's kind of love. Choose well. Love well...for a lifetime. Home should always be a refuge from the world, a place where we are loved and that we love.

ACTIVITY:  Puzzle Heart
Materials needed:  Red, yellow, and blue 12" x 18" construction paper, 2" x 6" blue construction paper, 1/2" x 5 1/2" yellow construction paper, marker, glue, ribbon or yarn (cut in 20"and 7"), hole punch.

  1. Hand out red and yellow construction paper.
  2. Fold both paper in half.
  3. Beginning on folded edge, draw a large heart on red paper.
  4. Place yellow paper inside red paper.
  5. Cut both hearts at the same time.
  6. Set yellow heart aside.
  7. Place red heart on folded edge of blue paper.
  8. Trace red heart on blue paper.
  9. Set red heart aside.
  10. Cut a blue heart one-half inch larger than the marked line. This will create a border when other hearts are glued inside.
  11. Glue yellow heart in the middle of the blue heart.
  12. Set yellow/blue heart aside.
  13. Cut red heart into 15 pieces.
  14. Place red cutouts on yellow heart, tracing each cutout.
  15. Write the fifteen characteristics of love (see above in lesson) onto red pieces.
  16. Do not glue red pieces, yet.
  17. Set red pieces aside.
  18. With hole punch, punch a hole at the bottom of the heart.
  19. At the top of the heart, punch one hole on each side of the heart.
  20. Set hearts aside.
  21. Hand out blue and yellow small pieces of construction paper.
  22. Glue yellow paper in the middle of the blue paper. This is the label.
  23. Write "1 Corinthians 13" on the yellow paper.
  24. Punch a hole in the top middle of the label.
  25. Hand out 7" ribbon or yarn.
  26. Tie ribbon in the hole on the label.
  27. Tie the other end of the ribbon to the bottom of the heart.
  28. Hand out 20" ribbon.
  29. Tie each end of ribbon to each hole at the top of the heart. 
  30. After the Bible teacher has decided how many lessons this will be, each week the student glues the studied characteristic in the proper place on their heart. For example, if this lesson will be one studied in only one week, then the student will glue all of the characteristics on the heart; however, if this class is only studying one characteristic a week for fifteen weeks, only one characteristic will be glued on the heart each week. Whatever is studied that week, will be glued on the heart.  Note:  Store the unused cutouts in a small plastic bag with that student's name written on the bag for easy access the next week.
  31. At the end of the lessons, the student takes home their completed heart.