Note to the Teacher
The scripture we read today is all about love, and it contains some of the most frequently quoted and cited words in all of the Bible. The opening activity is a fun game where students take turns describing things. The discussion encourages students to think more deeply about what it means to love one another. The activity has students working on a special love song or finding how the word “love” is used in other parts of the Bible. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker: ‘Describe What?’ (10 minutes)
This opening ice breaker is a fun way to get students thinking about the number of ways they can describe something. You may choose to play this game as an “up front” game with only two people, or use all your students to make two teams. In this game, students will compete against each other to see who can come up with as many descriptive words as they can to describe a certain object, animal, food, and so on.
Here are a few words you may consider using: (Feel free to come up with your own!)
- Ice Cream
Begin the game by inviting two people to come forward. The game leader will then call out a word from the list above or a list you’ve come up with on your own.
Each contestant will take turns saying one word that describes that word until one contestant can no longer describe the word. (Note – Each student gets anywhere from 3-5 seconds to answer the question. Variation – If you are playing this game as a team, you may decide that once the first person says an answer, the next person in line goes. and so forth.)
The winner is the contestant or team that can come up with the most words to describe the word given. Remember, descriptive words must not be said more than once.
The game continues until all the words have been used up or until time is up.
Transition by telling your students that today they are going to read a passage of scripture that describes the word “love” in a multitude of ways.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Today we are going to read, re-read, and read again the words found in verses 1-13. Let your group know that you are going to read these verses several times and ask several students to volunteer to read.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- How many ways was love described? Did any standout? Why? Often, this passage is shared at weddings. Does it seem appropriate for that kind of celebration?
- If I told you that Paul wrote this passage for a church that was experiencing a lot of internal conflict, does that change how you read or understand it?
- Have you ever been on the receiving end of the kind of love described in this passage?
- How many songs can we come up with that are about “love” or have the word “love” in them? Write these down on a whiteboard or posterboard if possible. Why do you think love is such a popular topic for songs, poems, books, movies, and more?
- What do you think it means for love to be “kind” and “not arrogant or boastful”?
- In verse 8, Paul says that “love never fails.” What do you think he means in this verse? Do you agree or disagree with that concept?
- Is love a feeling or an action? Explain your answer.
- How is the definition of love found in 1 Corinthians 13 different from the definition our culture might use? What are the other feelings that people sometimes confuse with love?
- Verse 11 does not use the word “love,” but it is included in this passage. What might this specific verse say about love?
- Verse 13 says, “Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.” Why do you think love is called the “greatest of these”? (Hint, remember last week’s scriptures where the Greatest Commandment had to do with LOVE, as opposed to faith or hope.)
4. Activity and Discussion: ‘Love Song Contest’ (20 minutes)
Explain to your students that they are going to write their own love songs based on 1 Corinthians 13. They may choose to work in a group or individually. Give students five to ten minutes to work on a love song using 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 as a guide. To help them get started, encourage them to set their song to the tune of one of their favorite songs. After everyone has finished, have an impromptu lyric sharing or karaoke rounds to share everyone’s “love songs.” Invite students to share. Afterward, give them a huge round of applause! (If you have an internet connection and an app that allows for karaoke, and if you have brave youth who enjoy performing, the singing version could be fun. Otherwise, stick with sharing lyrics.)
If your group balks at writing love songs, use this alternative: have a contest to see who can find the most places where the word “love” is found in scripture. Have your students write down each book, chapter, and verse where the word love is found. The person or team with the most verses at the end of the time, wins. Award bonus points if youth can also find out which words were originally translated into the English word “love” for each scripture they identify. Review some of the verses they found and then ask these questions:
- What similarities does 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 have to the verses you found?
- What differences does 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 have to the verses you found?
- How is the word “loved” defined in other parts of the Bible?
- How many different words did you find that were translated into English as ‘love’?
- Does the definition of “love” change at all between the scriptures or because of the word that was translated? If so, how?
- What would it look like for us to show love in the way that Corinthians describes it?
Challenge your students to LOVE this week like they’ve never loved before!
Close your time together in a manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
Total time: 50 minutes
- Pens or pencils
- Whiteboard or posterboard