In light of International Friendship Day coming up soon (more like July, but we’re ahead of schedule around here), I thought it might be a good idea to reflect on what it means to be a friend, and research various Bible verses about friendship. The Bible is a great source of godly wisdom for our day to day lives, including how to choose friends wisely and how to be a good friend. Here are 13 Bible verses about friendship and 5 examples of friends in the Bible.
Bible Verses About Friendship
The Bible gives us great direction on how friendship works. It teaches us how to choose the right friends, so that we may never stray from the path God has for us, and it also teaches us how to be a friend to those around us, from our husband and family to our mentors, mentees, and peers. In basic truth, being a friend means being loving toward others.
Bible verses about choosing friends
Some of the wisest scriptures of the Bible are scriptures about friendship. The Bible details how we should choose the right kind of friends and who we should not hang out with. Keeping bad company around can corrupt you and change the way you think, act, and treat others. 1 Corinthians and Proverbs both have a lot to say about associating with the right or wrong people.
- ‘When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.’ (1 Corinthians 5:9-11)
- ‘Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”’ (1 Corinthians 15:33)
- ‘The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.’ (Proverbs 12:26)
- ‘Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.’ (Proverbs 13:20)
- ‘A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers.’ (Proverbs 20:19)
- ‘Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.’ (Proverbs 22:24-25)
Bible verses about being a friend
To have a friend, you must be a friend. The Bible is a great source for teaching us how to treat other people. Everything that Jesus Himself taught, including upholding the commandments, all boiled down to loving others. If you love your neighbor, you also love Him and abide in Him. These Bible verses about friendship detail exactly how to be a friend.
- ‘A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.’ (Proverbs 17:17)
- ‘There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.’ (Proverbs 18:24)
- ‘Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend.’ (Proverbs 22:11)
- ‘The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Never abandon a friend— either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.’ (Proverbs 27:9-10)
- ‘Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
- ‘Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.’ (Colossians 3:12-14)
- ‘Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.’ (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Biblical Examples of Friendship
The Bible is full of wisdom and lessons on friendship and how to be a friend. But there are also several real world examples in scripture of friends in the Bible. Let’s take a look at the various friends in the Bible.
David and Jonathan
Jonathan and David are the most talked about examples of true friends in the Bible. The loyalty and sacrificial love shown between the two show us what it means to be a true friend.
Their story starts in 1 Samuel 18 with meeting one another after talking with Saul. Saul becomes jealous of David, and tries to kill him a few times. Saul even instructs Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan protects David by telling him of his father’s plans, and goes to his father to talk highly of David. Saul tells Jonathan that he won’t kill David, but then later is jealous again and tries to have David killed once more. Once Jonathan finds out of his father’s plans, he runs to warn David, and they make a pact.
‘At last Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the Lord ’s name. The Lord is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” Then David left, and Jonathan returned to the town.’1 Samuel 20:42
Later, in 2 Samuel 9, once Jonathan has passed, David finds Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, and shows him kindness, even taking him in as his own son, fulfilling the promise he made to David in 1 Samuel 20:15
Naomi and Ruth
You don’t typically find examples of a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law as friends. But Ruth exhibits the kind of commitment one gives to a friend in Ruth 1. Ruth stays by Naomi’s side, despite the fact that her husband (Naomi’s son) died, she had no children, and she was no longer bound to Naomi. Ruth stuck with Naomi, traveled with her, and God blessed her tremendously.
Job and His Friends
When we talk about struggling and going through tough times, no one better comes to mind than Job. After Job was tested by Satan and lost his farm animals, land, and children, he was struck with boils and his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, showed compassion by going to comfort and console Job.
‘When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.’Job 2:12-13
Job’s friends grieved with him, and sat alongside him. No one said a word, but they didn’t have to. They were there next to him, comforting him and showing that they cared.
Paul and Timothy
Paul served as a mentor to Timothy. He gave Timothy wise counsel and they both worked together to spread the Gospel. The two were so close that Paul even referred to Timothy as a son. Paul consistently challenged Timothy to grow in his faith, which is something friends should often do.
‘That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.’1 Corinthians 4:17
Friendship requires mutual respect and love for one another, and as instructed in the Bible, a friend gives wise counsel. Mentors can most certainly be friends.
John and Jesus
The Bible regularly references John as “the disciple Jesus loved” (John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20). John was there for Jesus, to comfort Him during the Last Supper, and he was the only disciple that did not abandon Christ at the trial or crucifiction. Jesus even entrusted John to care for his mother once He was gone. Jesus knew He could trust John, as John had shown his loyalty to Jesus, and stood by His side.
How to be a good friend
Being a good friend consists of showing love to one another, being kind, loyal and committed, trustworthy, wise, and compassionate. The Bible gives us plenty of examples of what it means to be a friend to someone. It also provides wise scriptures about friendship and how to exemplify friendship.
Praise God for teaching us how to be great instruments for the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth by being a good friend to others. And we thank Him for His wise counsel on the people we should keep or stay away from, so that we may continue to walk the path God has laid out for us, and to be righteous in our walk. I hope you are encouraged to be the best friend you can be, and to be appreciative of the friends you have in your life.