What does the Bible say about friendship?

In this post, you will learn what friendship is all about according to the Bible. Not only that, but you will also read Bible verses about friendship to help you understand better what this gift of God really means.

God designed us to be social beings. This means that we are created with the innate longing for companionship and belongingness. Thus, it is not difficult to see that we naturally look for friends whom we can trust, share our thoughts, and spend time with.

Friendship is no doubt a gift from God. However, like any gifts the Almighty has given, we can abuse the gift of friendship if we are not careful. That’s why it is important for us to understand what the Bible says about friendship. By reading bible verses about friendship, we can have a better grasp of how God wants us to find, build, and sustain friendships.

Thus, in this blog post, let me share with you what the Bible says about friendship.

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Friendship is part of God’s way of life

Ever since the day God created man, He has already made a point that it is not good for someone to be alone. 

We read in Genesis 2:18: 

And Yahweh Elohim said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Though God meant that Adam would have a wife in this passage, it is clear that God wants us to enjoy another person’s company. In fact, the deepest form of friendship one can have is friendship with his/her spouse.

God has friends

God is a God of relationship. He loves to have a relationship with us, His creation. That’s why it should not be surprising to see that the Bible specifically mentioned a few people who are considered as God’s friend.

Among the people whom God considered as friends are Abraham and Moses. We read:

11 So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:11)

23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. (James 2:23)

Aside from that, Yahshua (Jesus Christ) has friends too (Luke 12:4).

We read in the Gospels how Christ had become a friend not only to His disciples but also to other people and even with the tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 11:19).

The good news is that God is offering the same level of friendship with all of us. It is up to us to make the decision to accept that offer and build a closer and intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Follow God to be friends with Him

Friendship with God doesn’t just happen. It’s no accident that God considered Abraham and Moses as His friends.

God invites us to be His friend, but it doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want and still be considered God’s friend.

In fact, if you become a friend to the world, you become an enemy of God (James 4:4).

So, how exactly can you become a friend to God? Yahshua tells us:

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you (John 15:14-15).

As you can see, being a friend to God and His Son, Yahshua, means you should do whatever that is commanded of you. You need to do God’s will in your life and strive to fulfill His purpose for you.

It’s acceptable to have friends who are unbelievers

Some Christians go to the extreme of shunning away unbelievers and making a point that they don’t make friends with them. However, this is wrong and it has to change.

Yahshua (Jesus Christ) set an example in Matthew 11:19:

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”

Christ was a friend of the tax collectors and SINNERS! This tells us that it is not wrong to be friends with people outside our faith.

HOWEVER, we need to have a proper balance here as we would see in the next point.

Evil friends corrupt godly character

Though it is okay to be friends with unbelievers, we need to cut that off instantly the moment that these friends are leading us to sin.

We can be friends with unbelievers only to the extent of helping them become a better person. But if they are turning you to a worse person, then you better get out of that relationship.

We read:

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

It’s an important warning we all should heed. James (or properly known as Jacob) added in James 4:4:

4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

Being a friend to the world means that you are putting your friendship with the world above your friendship with God. It also means that you are partaking of the sins of this world to the point that you are becoming its friend.

That’s why in Romans 12:2, the Apostle Paul was telling us “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Don’t make friends with angry people

It is quite interesting that King Solomon made a special mention about being friends with angry people. He wrote this in Proverbs 22:24-25 as a warning for all of us:

Make no friendship with an angry man,
And with a furious man do not go,
Lest you learn his ways
And set a snare for your soul.

While we can be civil and courteous to everyone, King Solomon warned us that we should not make friends with angry people or those people who easily get angry and provoked to wrath.

For one, it could be dangerous to be friends with angry people. Two, people who are always angry tend to bring trouble in the relationship. And the greatest danger, as Solomon said, we may learn their ways. In the process of being friends with them, we become like them as well.

People may become friends for the wrong motive

I read this somewhere:

“The richer you become, the more friends you will have… who will help you spend your money.”

I could see there is a lot of truth in that. Some people just want to be around you because of the things you can give. They stick around because of what they can get rather than what they can give in the relationship.

You instantly see this kind of friend when you are in your trouble. When you don’t have anything to give anymore, they are like water that disappears on a hot summer day. 

Proverb 19:4,6 tells us:

4 Wealth makes many friends,
But the poor is separated from his friend.
6 Many entreat the favor of the nobility,
And every man is a friend to one who gives gifts.

So, be careful with the friends you choose. Eliminate friends who are only there because of what you can give.

A true friend loves you

What separates a true friend from a false friend? It is their love.

Proverbs 17:17 tells us:

17 A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.

A friend loves you at all times. They are the friends whom King Solomon refers to as a “friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). This means that they will be there for you through thick and thin, through happiness and sadness, through success and failure.

Yahshua (Jesus Christ) also tells us:

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. (John 15:13)

Now, that’s a higher definition of true friendship. In fact, Christ didn’t just preach this, He actually and literally did this!

Yes, it’s quite a challenge for us to follow the example of Christ, but that’s the level of friendship God expects us to have.

True friends correct you

Some people sadly thought that true friends are those who will support you no matter what you want in life. The truth is that a true friend will point out to you if there is something wrong with what you are doing or you are heading to the path of destruction.

We read in Proverbs 27:6:

6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

A true friend would rather hurt you with the truth rather than comfort you with a lie.

A true friend is there to help you improve

The best friends out there are those who will help you grow physically and spiritually. We read in Proverbs 27:17:

17 As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

This tells us that friends are not just there to make you happy and feel good. They are also there to improve and encourage you to be a better person.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 beautifully illustrates it this way:

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 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.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. 

Friends can build each other and learn from each other. That’s the beauty of friendship. You get not only a companion, but a shoulder to cry on to, an ear that listens to you, and a hand to help you. 

It takes time to build friendship

Sometimes, we get an instant connection with someone whom we just met as if we have known them for a long time. However, that would not be enough to sustain a friendship.

You need to invest in the relationship and you do that by spending time with them. It is unimaginable to become friends without even investing time and energy into it.

This is a beautiful concept that is supported by our Savior. 

We have noted that Christ has a lot of friends, but among his closest friends are Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. We could see that in order for Christ to keep this friendship, He has to spend a lot of time with them. We read in Luke 10 and John 11 and 12 how Yahshua visited His friends.

Please note that Christ’s home in Galilee is about two miles away from Jerusalem. In a world where cars are not available, walking on foot from Galilee to Jerusalem is not a short and easy trip. Even in times when Christ was already a wanted man, He still made a point to visit His friends in Jerusalem.

As we can see in the example of Christ, it takes time and energy to keep the flames of friendship glowing and burning. It’s not an easy task, but it’s all worth it. Friendship can give you the most wonderful experience in this life.

Final words

These are just some of the principles and bible passages about friendship.

As you can see, God designed us to be social beings. To be truly successful, we need each other. 

If you try to look into the greatest achievements in the history of man, you would see that they are not simply done by one single person, but they are a result of teamwork, collaboration, and cooperation.

So, look for friends who stick to you like a brother. Once you found them, remember to keep them and follow the standards God has set. By doing so, you will experience the friendship that is so deep that will make your life more beautiful.

P.S. Among the deepest and most intimate forms of friendship is the relationship shared by married couples. However, staying married can be tough and challenging. For this reason, you might need a little bit help by reading one of the books I listed in my blog, “The 20 Best Christian Books on Marriage You Should Read Next.”