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Bible Study: April 22, 2018

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.

Bible Passages: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Discussion Questions:
— What is the relationship between the reason a person serves and the value of that service? How can the wrong motive tarnish a noble action?
— Which would you categorize as better: doing the right thing for the wrong reason or doing the wrong thing for the right reason? Explain.

Food for thought:

Why we do something matters. We can do the right thing for the wrong reasons and the action can be just as wrong as doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason. Even doing the wrong thing for the right reason may be better than doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

We might send our spouse roses but do so for selfish reasons such as wanting recognition, expecting a reciprocated gift, or appeasing our guilt for being away. We did the right thing for the wrong reason. If they are allergic to roses and we send them roses to let them know we love them, we at least made an effort. We did the wrong thing but for the right reason and are given the benefit of the doubt. Motive matters.

Paul challenged the Corinthian believers to examine their motives for serving. In 1 Corinthians 12-14, attention was given to spiritual gifts, ministries, and activities in the life of the church. In the middle of that presentation, we find what many know as the “love chapter,” chapter 13.

It appears that many wanted to serve, but did not fully understand why. Some no doubt served out of duty. Some did so as an effort to feel more secure in their salvation. Others served to be seen. Paul characterized any service done apart from love as being useless, calling love a better way to serve (see 1 Corinthians 12:31). Service gives us an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love to others. Motive matters.

We too need to think about why we serve. We too can be selfish in our motives when it comes to serving, doing it for all kinds of reasons other than love.

Here’s a test: if no one knew you did what you did, would you still do it? Think about that. No one would see you do it so there would be no accolades. The person you served would not be able to thank you for the service. Serving out of love means we do it purely to meet a need of another person without any expectations of reward, recognition, or even a thank you. Motive matters.

Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/ExploreTheBible.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources