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Friends become our chosen family who stays with us through thick and thin. They are the sources of joy, laughter, and comfort.
Whenever I need advice on choosing friends and how to be a good friend, I always turn to scriptures on friendship for guidance. Studying the Truth and meditating on Bible verses about friendships have always led me in the right direction.
What is Friendship?
In simple words, friendship is a bond of affection between people.
I think the idea of friendship is highly subjective. Everybody wants and expects different things from friends. But one thing is for sure, we all need an ear to talk to and a shoulder to lean on. No material thing can replace a good friend.
Studies have shown that quality friendships immensely improve our mental health and boost our self-confidence. In fact, research suggests that people who had close friends in their teenage years are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
What I love about friendships is the sense of belonging. Having people in your life who have a non-judgmental perspective is a blessing. Good friendships are a two-way street where both parties are seen, heard, and understood. When you give without expecting, all relationships expand exponentially.
Over the years, I have learned that there is always room for a loving and loyal friend in our lives, who can bring out the best in us.
Friendship in the Bible
Although most of us have friends in our lives, it is fairly difficult to develop deep and meaningful bonds with people. Not surprisingly, being a loyal friend is also hard work.
Scripture provides plenty of guidance on how to develop meaningful relationships.
The book of Proverbs tells us how a true friend should be. A true friend…
- Gives heartfelt advice (Proverbs 27:9)
- Rebukes when necessary (Proverbs 27:5)
- Avoids gossip (Proverbs 16:28)
- Does not hold grudges (Proverbs 17:9)
The Bible also reminds us to choose friends wisely as the wrong friends can be toxic and lead us astray. The consequences of wrong friendships are talked about many a time in the Bible.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:33:
“Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.”
In Proverbs 22:24, we are told to avoid friendships with people who are easily angered as we will eventually learn their ways.
Every time I find myself not loving enough, I remember John’s wise words:
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” 1 John 4:8
Jesus commands us to love each other the way He loves us (John 15:12). This is undoubtedly challenging as the love of Jesus is relentless, loyal, and above all, self-sacrificing. As Christians, our love should echo Christ’s love in everything we do.
Examples of Friendship in the Bible
There are several incidents in the Bible that portray beautiful friendships.
The friendship of Ruth and Naomi, and David and Johnathan are excellent examples of sacrifice, loyalty, faithfulness, and love in friendships.
Ruth and Naomi
While Naomi was trying to make a life in Moab after leaving Israel due to famine, she had to deal with an extremely difficult situation. Naomi lost her husband and her two sons, leaving her and her daughter-in-law’s, Ruth and Orpah, widowed and with no means of support.
With no reason to stay in Moab, she decides to go back to Israel and advises Ruth and Orpah to remarry and live good lives. Ruth refuses to leave Naomi and insists that she stays with her no matter the consequences.
Ruth tells her mother-in-law (Ruth 1:16): “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.”
Upon returning to Bethlehem, Ruth worked hard to provide for them both. This led to a beautiful friendship between the two of them. Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law was rare and sincere. She demonstrated God’s love through her sacrifice and kindness.
David and Johnathan
The friendship of David and Johnathan is equally inspiring. After David slew Goliath with just a stone and a sling, Jonathan made a covenant with David to establish a friendship between them. He promised he would do anything for David (1 Samuel 20:4).
But when Jonathan’s father, King Saul, grew jealous of David’s success, he ordered Jonathan and his men to kill David.
Jonathan was put in an extremely risky and difficult situation, as his father was jealous of David, his dear friend. Yet he warned David of his father’s intent and did all he could to save David’s life.
The extent Jonathan went to help David hide and escape from King Saul is a great example of self-sacrificing love.
Later when Jonathan was killed in the battle against the Philistines, David wept the most (1 Samuel 20:42) and wrote him a lament, expressing his deep love for Jonathan.
A Prayer for Friendship
Dear Lord, I am truly grateful for the friends in my life, who love me, support me, and encourage me. Father, I pray that you shower your blessings upon them and protect them from evil. Help me lead them in the right direction and love them the way you love me. Thank you for showing me how to be a good friend, Lord. You are the greatest friend in my life! Words can never express how grateful I am for your unfailing love and care. Help me be faithful in all things I do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Bible Verses about Friendship
Friendship Bible Verses in the Old Testament
Job 6:14 – To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, Even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
Job 42:10 – And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Psalms 133:1 – Behold, how good and how pleasant it is. For brethren to dwell together in unity!
Proverbs about Friendship
Proverbs 13:20 – He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
Proverbs 16:28 – A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends.
Proverbs 17:9 – He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.
Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 18:24 – A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 22:24-25 – Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.
Proverbs 27:5-6 – Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Proverbs 27:9 – Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.
Bible Verses About Friendship in the New Testament
Luke 6:31 – And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
John 15:12-13 – This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Romans 12:10 – Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.
Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Colossians 3:13 – Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
James 4:4 – Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
1 Peter 4:8-10 – And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 John 4:7 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.