To begin the session:
Download the “Best of the Worst” activity here. Make copies for every class member. When all have arrived, allow class members to complete this famous literary quote by unscrambling the underlined words. After a few minutes, reveal the answers. The unscrambled words are: WISDOM, FOOLISHNESS, BELIEF, INCREDULITY, LIGHT, DARKNESS, HOPE, DESPAIR, EVERYTHING, NOTHING, HEAVEN
Ask the group to explain what they believe the author is saying. When have they had similar contrasting thoughts in a life situation? Then lead into Bible study by saying, “There are times when we believe all is lost and times when we are incredibly hopeful. It is possible that those contrasting feelings happen at the same time! When writing to the church at Philippi, the apostle Paul made a similar observation. Although there were reasons to believe that his situation was the worst of times, he had reasons to rejoice.”
To engage the learners in a study of the Scripture text:
Familiarize your group with good news/ bad news jokes such as this one.
The doctor called and told his patient that he had good news and bad news. The good news was that the patient had 24 hours to live. The bad news was that he forgot to call yesterday!
Note that these jokes usually tell what appears to be good news, followed by explaining that it is really bad news. The apostle Paul, in writing to the Philippians does just the opposite. He tells the bad news and explains that it is, in truth, good news.
Divide the class into three groups, asking them to find at least one bad news/good news pair in one of these sections of our text:
Group one—Philippians 1:12-14
Group two—Philippians 1:15-18
Group three—Philippians 1:19-21
Give them about five minutes to work before sharing and discussing their work with the whole group. Some examples might be.
The bad news is that I am in prison. The good news is that I have gotten to share the gospel with the whole palace guard (Philippians 1:13).
The bad news is that some are preaching, hoping that they can make a name for themselves in the church while I am in prison. The good news is that they are preaching the gospel (Philippians 1:15-18).
The bad news is that my prison sentence may end with my execution. The good news is that no one can take eternal life from me (Philippians 1:21).