The Nature of Biblical Friendship
Friendship in the modern age can seem like anything from a passing acquaintance to a lifelong bond. But what does the Bible really say about friendship? According to Scripture, friendship is based on mercy and kindness. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” The importance of friendship is then further highlighted in Proverbs 18:24, at its core, friendship is a two-way relationship between two people drawn together by mutual love and respect. It involves commitment, consistency, loyalty, and communication. Job expressed the deep need of companionship that friendship can provide.
Friendship is a powerful form of love that transcends any physical or material bounds. In the Bible, it is usually expressed in terms of mutual love, support, and understanding. Jesus expressed this kind of friendship in his relationship with his disciples. He expressed compassion for them, encouraged them and provided for their spiritual welfare. He was not just a teacher to them; he was a friend. Friends will stand for each other, be loyal, and have each other’s back. Ruth, the daughter-in-law of the biblical figure Naomi, demonstrated unwavering loyalty to her friend despite difficult circumstances.
The Bible also provides insight into the criteria for selecting a friend. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” This means that it is important to find wise people to be friends with, because bad company can lead to destruction. The Bible also warns against being friends with people who are wearers of false and deep-laid schemes. Proverbs 14:7 cautions, “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.”
Wisdom About Friends
The Bible encourages friendships based on common purposes, mutual respect and trust. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 notes, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls, and have no one to help them up” This speaks strongly to the need for friendship in times of difficulty. There is a great joy to be had in walking through the highs and lows of life together.
The Bible warns of the dangers of anger and unkindness between friends and neighbors. Proverbs 22:24-25 says: “Make friends with wise people, and make enemies of fools. Fear the LORD and shun evil, which will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” In this passage, the Bible makes it clear that having friends is wise, but being around fools can bring a person harm. It is important to be mindful of who we spend our time with and the impact it will have on our lives.
The Bible also reminds us that friends should have proper boundaries. The Apostle Paul admonishes us in 2 Timothy 2:10, “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” We are not called to form close relationships with those who would lead us away from God and what is good. Although we should love all people, being friends with those who are actively being unrighteous can lead to spiritual instability.
The Value of True Friendship
The Bible teaches us that true friendship is a treasure worth cherishing. Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” There are few things as precious as having a companion through the highs and lows of life. True friendship will cause us to learn from each other, grow in wisdom, become more mature and experience joy in the fellowship.
When we have a true friend, it can be difficult to remember that everything about friendship is a gift from God. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV) says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” It is a blessing to have a friend that will pick us up when we stumble along the way.
If we are to take what the Bible teaches us about friends, it is clear that we need to be actively seeking out wise and supportive people to be our friends. We should take time to cultivate relationships that are based on mercy and kindness, commitment and understanding. Friendship is not to be taken lightly because it can be a powerful form of love that transcends any physical or material bounds. True friends stand for each other, be loyal, and have each other’s back. They are a blessing from God, so cherish them well!
Practicing Christian Friendship
The Bible speaks often of Christian friends and how these relationships should be supported and nurtured. In Romans 12:10, it is written: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” This command highlights the need to be devoted to our friends, to show them honor, and to put them above ourselves. This kind of commitment means that our friends should come before any other distraction or obligation.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” The idea of sharpening each other has many implications, from discussing ideas to becoming more aware of our spiritual needs or character flaws. As a Christian, having friends that share the same beliefs and are willing to support each other through prayer and study of the Bible is invaluable. Friends can remind us of truth and help us to keep our focus on Jesus when our faith wavers.
Acts 2:42-47 shows how the early Christians were devoted to one another, meeting together regularly to share meals and lives. We, too, should be intentional in our relationships, devoting ourselves to mutual prayer and spending quality time together. Being involved in each other’s lives will ensure that our Christian friendships remain strong and vibrant.
Having Wealk and Unhelpful Friends in Life
While having strong, supportive friendships is a comfort and a blessing, there will always be times when our friends disappoint us or even let us down. Knowing how to handle these situations is important, and the Bible is full of wisdom and guidance on how a person can act in trying times. We should handle disagreements patiently, never giving in to the temptation to respond with bitterness or anger.
2 Timothy 3:3 highlights that in the latter days, people will be “ungodly and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” This means that too often, friends are not going to act in a way that is pleasing to God. But wisdom from Proverbs 14:7 says that we should seek out wise people to spend time with, rather than choosing the company of the foolish. Making sure that we pick friends who want to do the right thing can help us to stay on a godly course.
Proverbs 20:6 reads, “Many a man proclaims his own steadfastness, but who can find a faithful man?” True loves is rare, and it can be difficult to find friends who are truly reliable and who can support us through thick and thin. We should keep prayerfully seeking for friends who will stand by us no matter what, who are loyal and true.
How to Strengthen a Friendship
Every friendship needs work to stay strong, whether it is a relationship between two believers or between believers and unbelievers. We can always use the gift of communication to reach out and build relationships with our friends. We should avoid gossip and speak words of encouragement and edification.
Romans 12:10 encourages us: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” The Bible is full of commands to love, serve and honor our friends. Often in life, it takes intentionality and commitment to really keep our friendships thriving. We should always be mindful of not taking them for granted, remember to show gratitude and appreciation, and seek to serve one another in any way we can.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” This verse emphasizes the importance of speaking words of love and defense to our friends, especially when they are facing trials. We can look for ways to be ambassadors of Christ’s love to each other, no matter the circumstances.
From verses about true friendship to warnings about bad relationships, the Bible speaks clearly about how we should place value on these special bonds. This is good news, because having at least one good, committed friend is an invaluable blessing. Let us make sure to invest in these friendships in ways that bring them closer to God, too.