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12 Bible Verses About Friendship That Will Make You a Better Friend

We all want to be a better friend, right? I recently heard a message in church that touched on this topic. So on my own time I decided to look and see what Bible verses about friendship I could find.

Bible verses about friendshipThere are some great examples of friendship between people in the Bible. Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi come to mind. Also David and Jonathan were described as being as close of friends as anyone could be. And of course, when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, He becomes the ultimate friend on whom we can always count.

Let’s face it though – friendships can be hard. Sometimes it’s hard just to find friends. Other times we fall into the wrong type of friendships, ones that lead us in the wrong direction. And, just like a reliable car, the best friendships take work to maintain.

The Bible touches on these things with the hopes of making us find and be better friends. There are many Bible verses about friendship to choose from. Here are 12 of the better ones I found.

Bible Verses About Friendship from Solomon

It seems there are many Bible verses about friendship found in the wisdom literature generally attribute to King Solomon. The topic must have been dear to his heart. Perhaps he heard stories of his father’s special bond with Jonathan. Whatever the reason, his writings touch on it a lot.

Proverbs 12:26

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

The desire to be accepted and part of a group is built into our DNA. God made us that way. He is a relational being and He passed that quality on to us. That’s a good thing because no one should live in isolation.

The bad news is that sometimes we have a poor filter when it comes to choosing our friends. We latch on to whoever comes along that seems interesting or similar to us. We are so desperate for companionship we don’t give it much thought.

This can lead to problems later when we find out these people aren’t who we thought they were. For example, see what Solomon wrote in Prov. 22:24-25 – “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.” That’s the danger when we don’t choose our friends wisely – we become like them.

The first of our Bible verses about friendship serves as a warning. We need a mental background check when deciding who enters our friendship circle.

Proverbs 13:20

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”

This verse may be my favorite one on the list because of its simplicity. You will make wiser decisions if you hang around wise people. Their wisdom will rub off on you. You can’t help it.

Conversely, there are consequences for hanging around foolish people. Other versions of this verse replace “be destroyed” with “suffers harm.” Just like wisdom rubs off, so does foolishness. And you might suffer harm in several ways.

You may suffer harm because you end up practicing the same foolish things your friends do. Or you could suffer harm simply because you were in the proximity when one of your friends made a foolish decision. You didn’t cause the car wreck but you suffered a broken leg because of your friend’s foolish decision to drink and drive.

Either way, best avoid fools. They are no help to the progress of your life.

Proverbs 17:17

“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.”

This might be the most powerful of the Bible verses about friendship on the list. It says, “A friend loves at all times…”. Take just a minute and drink that in.

This means friends love one another through the good and the bad. They love through physical pain, through tragedies and through emotional stress. Friends even love one another through disagreements. Even varying points of view can be navigated for the closest of friends.

Friends aren’t really friends if they only love when it’s easy or convenient. True friends will be with you no matter what.

Proverbs 18:24

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

It feels like a misread when this verse says a friend can be closer than a brother. How is that possible? Isn’t blood thicker than water?

Not necessarily. We know that David had a poor relationship with his brothers but developed a strong relationship with Saul’s son Jonathan. In fact, upon Jonathan’s death David lamented this about his friend in II Samuel 1:26, “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me, your love to me was wonderful…” Clearly there was a closeness with them that was deeper than family.

Of course the ultimate friend who sticks closer than a brother is Jesus. Jesus calls us friends when we follow after His commands (John 15:4). In fact, Jesus is so close to believers He has promised never to leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

Related Content: 13 Encouraging Bible Verses for Men

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.”

Speaking of loving friends through disagreements. This verse speaks right to that topic.

Have you ever wanted to say something to a friend but weren’t sure how they would take it? Perhaps it was something you saw in their life that needed attention – a character issue, personal challenge or maybe even sin. In the end you chickened out because you were afraid how it might affect the friendship. You’d rather overlook your friend’s issues for the sake of maintaining the friendship.

Even though it will be tough to discuss the issue, you shouldn’t fear. This verse tells us that your words (open rebuke), when done with love, are beneficial. They may cause some initial pain (wounds) to your friend. But as a real friend, can you really let them continue in their behavior?

Certainly there is balance here. Do we point out every little issue or quirk of our friends? No, of course not. That’s why people are our friends. We can overlook some things because they don’t matter in the long run. But if you see your friends headed for trouble, best to bring it up before it’s too late.

Proverbs 27:17

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Friends make one another better. That seems to be the theme of this well-known verse. There is a special bond that occurs between friends. In friendships we lift one another up, keep each other accountable and make one another feel better.

An iron blade rubbed against iron makes a useful tool. It sharpens it, allowing it to complete what it was meant to do. Friendships act the same way. We can spur our friends on to fulfill their potential. This theme is expanded on in the next verse…

Related Content: 12 Short Bible Verses that Pack a Powerful Message

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.”

How many of you accomplished more through the help of a friend? Or have had a friend come to your aide in time of need? I bet we all have.

This verse goes against the western individualist culture. We love to do things by ourselves. How much more could we accomplish if we laid that aside and allowed others to help us.

Other Bible Verses About Friendship

Aside from Solomon, there are other Bible verses about friendship to look at. Here are five more noteworthy ones.

Exodus 33:11
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.”

Technology has given us the means to stay in touch with people we care about much easier than 50 years ago. There is nothing wrong with a text or phone call to a friend. But nothing beats a face to face interaction.

A person’s face shows us so much. Facial expressions reveal a lot of what’s going on on the inside. A face to face interaction develops trust and fosters intimacy in ways emails and texts can’t. So don’t abandon this in your friendships. Make it a priority to have face time with those you care about.

I Samuel 18:1

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.”

Here we see how close the friendship really was between Jonathan and David. Jonathan loved David liked he loved himself. Both men were knit together in the bonds of friendship. There was nothing they wouldn’t do for one another.

Jonathan’s father King Saul was jealous of David’s popularity. It got so bad Saul wanted to kill David. Jonathan interceded on David’s behalf multiple times. It got so bad at one point that Saul become upset with Jonathan for supporting David.

So their relationship was closer than family. And as we will see in a minute, their friendship foreshadowed the words of Jesus about sacrificing for friends.

Job 2:11

“When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.”

Job’s friends take a lot of heat from Bible scholars for the poor advice they gave their friend. Rightly so, for their advice about his situation was not on point. However, we can at least give them credit for this – when they heard about Job’s troubles, they came as a group to mourn with and comfort him. They showed up.

I’m sure that meant a lot to Job to have his friends there. I’m sure their presence was an initial boost to Job’s attitude. Job’s friends did everything right to comfort their friend – up until they started talking.

John 15:12

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Jesus gave this great command about loving one another. Of course, He not only commanded our love for one another, He demonstrated it. He sacrificed His own life to show how much He loved us. That’s the depth of sacrifice friends demonstrate for one another.

Related Content: 8 Bible Verses About God’s Love You Should Never Forget

I Cor. 15:33

Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”

The final of our Bible verses about friendship is the New Testament equivalent to what Solomon said above in Proverbs 12:26 and Proverbs 13:20. He warned that if we get mixed up with the wrong people it leads to disaster. That’s the essence of what Paul says here. Our company, for good or bad, has an impact on our character.

Questions for Discussion: What other Bible verses about friendship have helped you? What’s the most memorable thing a friend has done for you? How would you define friendship?

Image courtesy of Felipe Bastos at Flickr Creative Commons (image altered from original) 

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