Love: The Greatest of All
Theme: The excellence of love
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 13
Objectives: (From the D6 Fusion Sunday School Lesson book)
Know: Paul challenged the Corinthians to value love above all gifts, abilities, and virtues.
Think: Consider love for God and others to be the motivation for my attitudes and actions.
Do: Demonstrate love in my attitudes and actions toward God and others.
Notes and questions:
B1 What is love?
B2 Brief review on the Hebrew and Greek words for love
C1 Hebrew has
D1 אָהֵב âhab אָהַב ‘âhêb which is, according to Strong’s Lexicon:
E1 Human love for another, includes family, and sexual
E2 Human appetite for objects such as food, drink, sleep, wisdom
E3 Human love for or to God
E4 Act of being a friend
F1 Lover (participle)
F2 Friend (participle)
E5 God’s love toward man
F1 To individual men
F2 To people Israel
F3 To righteousness
E6 Examples
F1 Genesis 22:2 NKJV Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.
F2 Psalms 45:7 NKJV You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
F3 Isaiah 41:8 NKJV But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend.
D2 אַהֲבָה ‘ahăbâh This is love between humans and God’s love. Example: Deuteronomy 7:8 NKJV But because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
D3 חָבַב châbab This is love is to cherish. Example: Deuteronomy 33:3 NKJV Yes, He loves the people; All His saints are in Your hand; They sit down at Your feet; Everyone receives Your words.
D4 חָשַׁק châshaq This is love of one’s heart attached to another. Example: Deuteronomy 7:7 NKJV The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples.
C2 There are 4 words in Greek
D1 ἀγαπάω agapaō which refers to love is a choice. It is the deepest love.
E1 John 3:16 NKJV For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
E2 Matthew 5:43-44 NRSV You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ (44) But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
E3 2 Timothy 4:10 NRSV For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.
D2 φιλέω phileō which refers to brotherly love, that is, the love of friends. It is a personal attachment to something (Strong’s Lexicon) and affection. Thus, it is possible to love your spouse as agapaō and phileō.
E1 John 5:20 NRSV The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished.
E2 John 12:25 NRSV Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
E3 1 Corinthians 16:22 NRSV Let anyone be accursed who has no love for the Lord. Our Lord, come!
D3 ἔρως érōs is sexual, passionate, physical love, even infatuation. This word is not in the Bible.
D4 στέργω stergo which is to cherish. It is used in the negative use 2 times in the New Testament (ἄστοργος
E1 Romans 1:31 NKJV Undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful. Another translation: Romans 1:31 GW Don’t have any sense, don’t keep promises, and don’t show love to their own families or mercy to others.
E2 2 Timothy 3:3 NKJV Unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good. Another translation: 2 Timothy 3:3 GW And lack normal affection for their families. They will refuse to make peace with anyone. They will be slanderous, lack self-control, be brutal, and have no love for what is good.
B3 1 Corinthians 13,
C1 Why is love greater than any of the spiritual gifts or offices?
C2 Having the gift of languages is a wonderful gift that most would admire. Why is love greater?
C3 Having the gift of prophecy and understanding all mysteries about God is something most would definitely crave. Why is love greater?
C4 Who has the faith to move mountains? Why is love greater?
C5 Surely, giving all a person must help the poor, would be considered a great act of loving selflessness. Why is love greater?
C6 The dedication and loyalty to God by being burned to death would reap rich rewards. Why is love greater?
D1 Daniel 3:28 GW Nebuchadnezzar said, Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He sent his angel and saved his servants, who trusted him. They disobeyed the king and risked their lives so that they would not have to honor or worship any god except their own God.
D2 2 Corinthians 12:15 NKJV And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.
C7 Where does love originate: the body, the soul, or the spirit of a human? Maybe 2 of the 3 or maybe all 3; what do you think?
C8 What does the phrase profits me nothing mean?
C9 How does love make the difference?
C10 Love show itself by
D1 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 NKJV Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.
D2 Positives:
E1 Why are these positive? What do they indicate?
E2 Suffers long (patient)
E3 Kind
E4 Rejoices in truth (happy with truth)
D3 Negatives:
E1 Why are these negative? What do they indicate?
E2 Not envy (jealous)
E3 Not parade itself (conceited, brag)
E4 Not puffed up (proud, arrogant)
E5 Not rude (ill-mannered, indecent)
E6 Not seek its own (selfish, self-seeking, demand its own way)
E7 Not provoked (irritable, easily angered)
E8 Not thinking evil (no record of wrongs)
E9 Not rejoice in iniquity (unhappy with evil, not happy with injustice)
C11 1 Corinthians 13:8 NKJV Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
D1 Love never fails. The word for fails here is ἐκπίπτω ekpiptō and means fall out, etc. with the idea of being powerless and of flowers that have their withered flower pedals fall off (James 1:11 and 1 Peter 1:24) or shackles falling off the wrists (Acts 12:7).
D2 The word for fail(s) and vanish away for prophecies and knowledge is καταργέω katargeō which means become inoperative, ineffective, done away with, annulled, etc.
D3 So love never falls, becomes powerless, and it never ends its presence and work.
D4 The other things become inactive.
C12 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 NKJV For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
D1 The word perfect is the Greek word τέλειος teleios which means reached the goal, completed, perfect, etc. The idea is what was to be accomplished has been accomplished.
D2 Interpreters vary on the meaning. Some say it refers to the eternal age when Messiah reigns, some say it refers to when the Scriptures were completed, and some say it refers to when the church is completed (rapture). We do know that the miraculous faded by the time the Apostles were gone (~95 AD).
E1 Why didn’t Paul heal? Philippians 2:25-27 NRSV Still, I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus—my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger and minister to my need; 26 for he has been longing for all of you, and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 He was indeed so ill that he nearly died. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, so that I would not have one sorrow after another. And Philippians 2:30 NKJV Because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.
E2 The in part will become inactive, too, just like prophecy and knowledge.
C13 1 Corinthians 13:11-12 NKJV When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
D1 How does our thinking change as we mature?
D2 What does face to face mean?
D3 How will it be, and when will we know as we are known?
C14 1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
D1 What is temporary? See 1 Corinthians 13:8.
D2 What is permanent?
D3 Why is love the greatest?
D4 What is the difference between faith and love?
E1 Faith is believing God.
E2 Hope is the expectation of fulfillment of what he promised.
E3 I have faith that Jesus will return, and I hope it is today.
D5 How do we grow, become more mature, in faith, hope, and love?
B4 Next week:
C1 Good news of great joy!
C2 The Greatest Gift
C3 Scriptures: Luke 2:1-21
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Labels: 1 Corinthians, Christian love, Love, Sunday School Lesson, What is love


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