One of my favorite Bible verses about friendship comes from the book of Proverbs, where it says “a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” ~Proverbs 17:17. The Bible has much to say about friendship and the book of Proverbs seems to be the featured book of Scripture when it comes to highlighting the virtues of true friends and the pitfalls of false ones.
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A Friend is Truer Than a Brother
You don’t have to live long on this earth (maybe not even past grade school) to experience the varying degrees of friendship. Most of us are blessed to have a half dozen or so really close friends, but all too often these days a lot of us get caught up in the social media aspect of “friendship” which is measured by quantity over quality. Some of us literally have hundreds of online friends, but how many of these would meet the definition found in these Bible verses about friendship?
To love someone at all times is a high standard for someone to qualify as a friend. That means that friendship has big similarity to a godly marriage or the parent/child relationship, in the fact that we are to love our friend unconditionally through the high times and the low, regardless of circumstances and outcomes. But when we have a friend who has made a bad decision in their life or a friend who has clearly wronged us and let us down, what then? Are we to keep on loving them like nothing ever happened and remain neutral or free of judgement? God forbid! The book of Proverbs also speaks to the “faithfulness” and “sweetness” of the friend who brings wise counsel and offers correction for their friend’s folly.
What does friendship mean to you? That was the question Reader’s digest once asked some of their fans and the responses were creative. Here are a few that I particularly liked;
“Friendship is a majestic garden full of roses, butterflies and bees, supporting each other for the sake of survival and realizing dreams.”
“Friendship is like a brilliant star which shines brighter when the sky turns darker.”
“Making a million friends is not a miracle. The miracle is to make a friend who will stand by you when millions are against you.”
“It is one of the blessings of old friends, that you can afford to be stupid with them” Ralph Waldo Emerson
But beyond what man has to say about being friends with those around us, we can read these Bible verses about friendship and see what God has to tell us!
Old Testament Bible Verses
David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in friendship to help me, my heart will be joined to you; but if to betray me to my adversaries, although there is no wrong in my hands, then may the God of our fathers see and rebuke you.”
~1 Chronicles 12:17
Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house.
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend,
Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.
He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
(See our devotional about taming the tongue).
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend, and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away.
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man.
But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
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New Testament Bible Verses
I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” — and he was called a friend of God.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.
~3 John 15
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