Lesson 1: All You Need Is Love

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1. To persuade students that they are loved
2. To inspire students to love others
3. To convince students that love is the most important thing



Scripture Memorization

Mark 12:20

OPENING PRAYER (5 to 10 minutes)

GROUP BUILDING (15 minutes)

Write out a list of pairings—salt and pepper, cat and mouse, Sonny and Cher—with one part of the pair written on one sheet of paper, and one sheet of paper for each person. Tape each sheet to a team member’s back without revealing what’s on it.

Now, students must walk around the room, asking questions to figure out what person or thing is listed on their back and who might be the other person in their pair.  Once a pair has found each other, have them sit down. The first pair to find each other wins.

(Prizes can make the game more interesting…maybe some Valentine’s candy)

GETTING STARTED (10 minutes)

Read Philippians 1:9-11
General Discussion:
• Why would Paul pray for the Philippians? (Allow for answers.)
• Based on context, what do you think “discern” means? (Allow for answers.)
• What is an example of the fruit of righteousness that can be produced by God? (Allow for answers.)

Philippians 1 is the beginning of Paul’s letter to the people of Philippi. In verses 9-11, Paul emphasizes that he wants us to think about love, to know that we are loved and to love others, rather than loving blindly. We should love everyone — our friends, our enemies, those who love us and those who don’t because Jesus will forever do the same. We should be able to understand what God wants us to do and put His Word into action.

But the most famous passage in the Bible on love is found in 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 13 is one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, emphasizing the importance of loving others and knowing that you are loved. In this chapter, Paul says that love is patient and kind. If you love, you are patient, kind; you do not envy, boast, or dishonor others. Having love means treating those like you want to be treated and acting toward others as Jesus would act toward you.

As we read through the chapter, try to find similarities between 1 Corinthians 13 and Philippians 1:9-11. How does Paul’s reasoning compare or contrast with each other between the two passages?

DIGGING IN (30 minutes)

We’re going to practice something known as Lectio Divina together. This is an ancient practice for reading Scripture that helps you meditate on the meaningful words. We’ll read this passage together four times in different ways, then we’ll go back through the passage and have some discussion about what it means.

1. Have everyone read 1 Corinthians 13 to themselves quietly.

2. As the leader, read 1 Corinthians 13 a second time out loud.

3. Go around the room and ask each person to read a verse from 1 Corinthians 13.

4. Have everyone read 1 Corinthians 13 to themselves quietly one last time.

Discussion Questions:
1. What words stuck out to you from 1 Corinthians 13? (Love, nothing, etc.)
2. What feelings did you find were rising up in you as we read and re-read the passage? (Overwhelmed, convinced, inspired, etc.)
3. Are there any questions you have that are unanswered? Words you don’t understand? (Allow students to ask whatever they need to in order to gain understanding.)

Now we will go through the chapter again, breaking it apart and looking further into its meaning.

Re-read 1 Corinthians 13 :1-3

Discussion Questions:
1. Why do you think Paul used the metaphor in verse 1? (It is a dramatic example to emphasize how important love is.)
2. What type of faith is the kind that can move mountains? (It is a strong, resolved faith.)
3. Paul says that giving everything you have so that you can boast is worth nothing while doing so lovingly means everything. Why are your intentions so important? (Our intentions reveal our values…your behavior can fake people, your motivations cannot.)

Verses 1-3 say that speaking unkind words, saying anything without love, is equivalent to unneeded noise and pointless echoes. Speaking without love is worse than not speaking at all. If you know everything, and have immense power, but not love, your power is nonexistent. Helping those in need for your own benefit, without love, is the same as doing nothing at all.

Re-read 1 Corinthians verses 13:4-7

Discussion Questions:
1. Paul says that love does not keep a record of wrongs. What do you think that means? (Love forgives, it doesn’t hold grudges or keep people captive in their wrongdoing.)
2. How are not delighting in evil and rejoicing in the truth similar? (They value authenticity, goodness, and transparency.)
3. Does having love mean that you are perfect? Why or why not? (No way — love is not perfection, but it is an active pursuit of wholeness.)

Verses 4-7 describe everything that love means. It possesses every fruit of the spirit, and everything done through love is done through God and for others. Those who love everyone, no matter what they get in return, are living for God, and not themselves.

Re-read 1 Corinthians 13:8-10

Discussion Questions:
1. What would cause prophecies to be ceased and tongues to be stilled? (Paul is talking about the end of the age here.)
2. What does Paul mean when he says that “completeness will come”? (It’s the wholeness that will come when the redemption of all things is complete.)

Re-read 1 Corinthians 13:11-13

Discussion Questions:
1. Do you think that becoming a man or a woman requires you to put your childhood behind you? (Maturity means moving past the immaturity of childhood, but you may maintain childlike wonder, faith, etc.)
2. Paul says that we will see the truth face to face, rather than in a reflection; rather than in part. Could living through God and loving others be enough to achieve this? Why or why not? (By loving, we are actively pursuing wholeness.)
3. Why is love so much more important than faith and hope? (Faith and hope are confidence in some future reality, love is an active, present pursuit of that reality)

Verses 11-13 describe growing up and putting aside your past. We will see more clearly, and we will be more confident and knowledgeable once we learn to love everyone. Paul says that faith, hope, and love are important to living through and for God, but love is the most important. Living through love includes having faith and hope.


MAKING IT REAL (10 minutes)

General Discussion:
• Was the message in 1 Corinthians 13 reminiscent of Philippians 1? How so? (They both emphasize the importance of love, Paul encourages his people both times to grow in their love in preparation for the day of Christ’s return.)
• Was Paul’s reasoning the same between the two passages? Why or why not? (Pretty much — he connects love, maturity, purpose, etc. in each.)

Go around the group and have each student name something that they love, and why they love it. After everyone has shared, have each student share something that they hate and why they hate it. Then have students who are willing to share their answers to the following questions.

General Discussion:
• What is the difference between these things? How are they similar? (Chances are they feel similarly passionate about each.)
• What causes you to like something so much and hate something else equally as much? (Life experience, how you’ve been taught, how you’ve been hurt, etc.)
• Were any of the things you shared like someone else’s response? Was the reasoning the same? Why or why not? (Allow students to share.)

God loves us no matter what. No matter the mistakes we make, He will always love us. If we repent of our sins, we will be able to live an eternal life with Him in Heaven. Because God has loved us, we should love all others. We should forgive them of their mistakes, and choose to be patient, kind; to not envy, boast, or dishonor others; we should not seek ourselves or be easily angered. We should rejoice in the truth rather than delighting in evil.

We should choose to love as God has loved us.

Read Mark 12:30

This is a very worth memorizing. Let’s go around and each of us read it one time. By the time we’re finished, hopefully we’ll have it all committed to memory.


CLOSING PRAYER (2 minutes)

Gather any prayer requests and pray for the group.

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