What is a friend? What does ‘be a friend’ even mean? Who are real friends anymore, anyways? Coming from those of us who are in the trenches, these types of questions are becoming more and more common in these end days.
Even though some of us may wish to have lots of friends, we clearly see outlined in God’s Word that “friendship with the world is enmity with God.” So, we shouldn’t want ‘all kinds of friends,’ should we? For example, when our Lord Jesus walked this earth, He had a small, hand-picked circle of friends, which were the 12 Apostles, and the closest of those to Him were Peter, James, and John. We also read that Peter vowed to be ‘steadfastly loyal,’ but when our Lord was unjustly arrested in that garden, the same ‘hand-picked circle of friends’ all cowardly fled away, including the very one who pledged to do otherwise!
John 15:14-15 “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
What does the Bible say about friends? | GotQuestions.org
Human beings were created to be relational, and friendships are an important part of our lives. We need friends—people we bond with in mutual affection. But not just any friend will do; having the right friends is key, and discernment is required: “The righteous choose their friends carefully” (Proverbs 12:26). In Scripture, we see what a true friend should be:
A true friend shows love, no matter what (Proverbs 17:17).
A true friend gives heartfelt advice, bringing joy to the heart (Proverbs 27:9).
A true friend rebukes when necessary, but the correction is done in love (Proverbs 27:5-6).
A true friend influences, enlivens, and sharpens (Proverbs 27:17).
A true friend avoids gossip (Proverbs 16:28).
A true friend forgives and does not hold grudges (Proverbs 17:9).
A true friend is loyal (Proverbs 18:24).
A true friend helps in time of need (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
Friends can console and help us when we are in trouble, as when Barzillai the Gileadite consoled David when he was being hunted by Saul (2 Samuel 19:25–26) or when Jephthah’s daughter’s friends consoled her in her sorrow (Judges 11:37–38). A friend may also rebuke in love, proving more faithful than a hypocritical flatterer (Proverbs 27:6).
One of the greatest biblical examples of friendship is David and Jonathan, son of King Saul. Jonathan’s loyalty to his friend David exceeded that to his own father and his own ambitions (1 Samuel 18:1-4; 20:14-17). So attached was David to his loyal friend that, after Jonathan’s death, David wrote a song to him, a tribute filled with heart-wrenching pathos (2 Samuel 1:19–27). Theirs was a friendship closer than brotherhood. In the New Testament, many of Paul’s letters begin and end with tributes to his friends, those who ministered to him, supported him, prayed for him, and loved him.
Friendship can have its negative aspects as well. Supposed friends can lead us into sin, as when Jonadab counseled Amnon to rape his half-sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:1-6). A friend can lead us astray spiritually, as Israel was warned about (Deuteronomy 13:6-11). Even well-intentioned friends can provide false comfort and give bad advice, as Job’s friends did, making his suffering worse and displeasing the Lord (Job 2:11-13; 6:14-27; 42:7-9). People we thought were friends can prove false, deserting us when our friendship no longer benefits them (Psalm 55:12-14; Proverbs 19:4, 6-7). For all these reasons and more, friends should be chosen carefully. As Paul taught, “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
The Bible gives warnings about the wrong types of friends. We are not to be friends with a hot-tempered person, for example (Proverbs 22:24-25). And Proverbs 1:10-19 and 4:14-19 warn against those who entice us to do wrong. We should not associate with evildoers, no matter how great the promised reward or how appealing their “friendship” seems to be. Those whose “feet rush to sin” should be avoided at all costs. The path they choose is no place for a Christian whose choice should be to follow the “path of the righteous.” Only that path leads to friendship with God.
The greatest friend anyone could possibly have is Jesus Christ. He gladly calls us friends (John 15:15), and He proved His commitment and affection for us in a convincing way: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). -End Source
In thinking about ‘what is a friend,’ this song came to mind the other day, and the lyrics describe an experience that not everyone gets to have in this lifetime. And if one happens to, it’s usually not for very long. One, because humans are fickle in our fallen nature, and two, because of the times we are living in where obviously the ‘love of many/most have undeniably grown cold’!
Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down a road and back again
Your heart is true; you’re a pal and a confidant
I’m not ashamed to say
I hope it always will stay this way
My hat is off; won’t you stand up and take a bow
And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
Well, you would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say
“Thank you for being a friend” (x4)
If it’s a car you lack
I’d surely buy you a Cadillac
Whatever you need, any time of the day or night
I’m not ashamed to say
I hope it always will stay this way
My hat is off; won’t you stand up and take a bow
And when we both get older
With walking canes and hair of gray
Have no fear, even though it’s hard to hear
I will stand real close and say
Thank you for being a friend (I wanna thank you) (x4)
Let me tell you ’bout a friend (I wanna thank you)
Thank you for being a friend (I wanna thank you) (X3)
And when we die and float away
Into the night, the Milky Way
You’ll hear me call as we ascend
I’ll see you there, then once again
Thank you for being a… friend…
Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us could have such true, kind, and stable friendships in our lives? What about a friend that takes the time to write a tribute or poem about you? For instance, King David wrote this beautiful heartfelt piece concerning his beloved friend Jonathan after he tragically passed away.
2 Samuel 1:19-27
“The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
“Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!”
The Joy of Friendship / In Touch Ministries Monthly Magazine Article
HOW MANY TRUE FRIENDS DO YOU HAVE? At first, a lot of names may come to mind, but the longer you consider the question, the more likely it is that the number will dwindle. The reality is that we do not have many genuine friends – in other words, the ones who remain loyal no matter what circumstances arise.
Most people long for intimate friendships. In fact, God created us to need relationships with one another. Without them, we can easily suffer from loneliness and depression. Yet healthy friendships don’t just happen. They require intentional effort.
For Christians, the goal is to choose godly friends who share our faith and seek to walk obediently with the Lord. Our closest companions need to be people we can depend upon for good advice, support, and encouragement. Another important component is mutual commitment. As today’s verse says, we need “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
This dependable, intimate closeness is what the Lord wants for us, but it’s a rare treasure. If you have such friends, express to them your appreciation and admiration. And thank God for giving you such a valuable gift.
How to Build True Friendships / In Touch Ministries Monthly Magazine Article
WE ALL LONG TO HAVE GOOD, RELIABLE FRIENDS who love us, but how do we go about making these relationships? The biblical account of David and Jonathan helps us learn how to foster genuine, close friendships (1 Sam. 18-20). Their story demonstrates that true companionship is built upon a foundation of mutual respect, love, and authentic commitment.
Jonathan was the prince of Israel, while David started out as a lowly shepherd boy. Social status didn’t interfere with the cultivation of their friendship. When one experienced joy or sadness, the other did, too, because their hearts were knit together. Trying circumstances couldn’t weaken their commitment. Jonathan even risked his life and future kingship in order to save David from death.
We were designed by God for true companionship. But developing this kind of relationship requires not only time and selfless devotion but also transparency, which means a willingness to reveal who we really are. Taking such a risk requires trust, but unwavering friendships are well worth the effort. – End Source
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
As Christians, we may not have many friends in this world, but the one friend that we can have that truly matters is the One who vows to never leave us nor forsake us. No other can make such vows, pledges, or promises and fully follow through with them than our Maker who is the Lord Jesus Christ. For no greater love has any than the One who laid down his life for us! Isn’t it a comfort to know that He who is Faithful and True is always going to be there? Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a sibling and is One who knows us better than we do ourselves. Who better to be vulnerable with and to let down our guard than the One who knitted us in our mother’s womb and who has the very hairs of our heads all numbered?
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
May it also be said of us that we believed God and it was imputed unto us for righteousness and that we are called the Friend of God.
~And the card attached would say, ‘Thank You for Being a Friend’ ~
Until next time, Maranatha!
Sincerely and In Christ,