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20 Helpful Bible Verses about Friendship & Good/Bad Biblical Examples of Friendship

September 26, 2021

The Bible is one big book full of stories about God and His friendship with mankind. It talks about the love He has for us, the sacrifice he made for us, and so much more. Today, we will look at some encouraging Bible verses about friendship and how they can help us to be a friend to others and to the Lord.

 

Table of Contents

 

 

Bible verses about friendship and love 

  1. Then Jesus said to them, 'Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; Luke 11:5 NIV

This scripture is a helpful reminder that a friend is someone you are able to call on at any time. In this story told by Jesus a friend was in great need of something and even though it was very late at night had no reservation going to his neighbor's house, disturbing him, or interrupting his sleep. He knew that if he insisted his friend would show him hospitality by getting out of bed and giving him what he wanted. 

  1. A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17 NIV

The love that a friend has for you will be consistent through good times and bad times. The reverse of this is also true.

Through disappointment, difficulties, and life challenges you will continue to love, support, encourage, serve, and extend kindness to your friends.

If your companions are not able to depend on you to be helpful through difficult times then you have not passed the test of true friendship. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 states the importance of reliance and dependency in a friendship. Verse twelve states, "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

  1. One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 NIV

This passage may seem as though it's a criticism of friendship but there is wisdom in its counsel. Your friends should be helpful individuals who you are able to rely on. If not, no one will be there to support or assist you when your back is against the wall.

"There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" is a reminder that you should have the Lord as your closest companion because the "arm of flesh will fail you". An earthly friend may be able to help out when you find yourself in a little trouble, however only Jesus, your heavenly companion, is able to help when you are in trouble spiritually. 

  1. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 NIV

This scripture passage is a helpful guide that may be used when selecting friends. You should be very mindful of the character traits, likenesses, behavior, and associations of those who you choose to be your friends.

There is a strong tendency that you will emulate the behavior of your associates. That Is why Proverbs 22:24 warns, "Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered". A similar warning is also found in 1 Corinthians 15:33. It states, "Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character".

  1. Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:5,6 NIV

A healthy friendship reflects openness, honesty, and understanding. In a healthy relationship, friends ought to be able to openly express how they feel and think in a loving and honest way.

It is better to have friends who will provide wise counsel and tell you when you are right or wrong than someone who seeks to deceive you and pretend to be a beloved companion.

You may be hurt or find it difficult to admit your faults but at least you have honest friends. It's better to be hurt hearing the truth from a friend than to think you are right because he or she is not honest or objective enough to tell you.

Bible verses about friendship with God

  1. 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. John 15:12,13 NIV

There is no doubt that Jesus is the best friend anyone could ever have or hope for. He was willing to die and bear the burdens of the world for the sake of righteousness.

A genuine friend is someone who is willing to put you and your needs first. This is what Jesus did. He valued your life more than He valued His. He not only sacrificed Himself for you, He died one of the most humiliating deaths. Philippians 2:8 states that, "And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross".

  1. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:4-6 NIV

You are able to call on God the same way you are able to call on an earthly friend. In this scripture David testifies that he called on the Lord and he received an answer. 

You can be content because the Father will not only hear when you call upon Him. He will answer and save you from your troubles. Psalm 91:15, gives the assurance that God will answer when you call, "...and I will answer him…". You can call on God whenever you need a friend. Isaiah 65:24 beautifully quotes these words from your helpful heavenly friend. "Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 

  1. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34 NIV

God doesn't want you to only love Him. He wants you to love and be friendly with your: neighbors, family members, and even strangers. He wants you to love others because in showing love you reflect who He is and extend His fellowship to others.

Another point you can take from this scripture passage is, love is an important ingredient in any friendship. God loves you and He wants you to share that love as you bless the soul of others.

  1. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4,5 NIV

Your relationship with God is priceless. Even though you may offend Him by disobeying His commands He shows great mercy. He is so forgiving that He saved you by grace.

Disobedience to the law of God should result in death, but through His mercy He offered you the gift of eternal life. Romans 6:23 states that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". God in His mercy forgave you and has given you the best gift any friend could offer-eternal life.

  1. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm 86:5 NIV

This scripture shows David's knowledge of and faith in the Father's warm and forgiving nature.

An important ingredient needed for lasting friendships is forgiveness. Through His abounding love and forgiveness you can count on God even when you have wronged Him. 

All you need to do to keep your friendship with God going is to show remorse when you have offended Him. First John 1:9 puts it this way, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness". 

Bible verses about friendship and loyalty

  1. After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10 NIV

In the previous chapters, when Job's friends saw his suffering they were convinced that he had committed an offence against the Lord. They thought that his suffering was a punishment from God.

The Lord was angry with Job's friends and threatened to punish them if they didn't offer a burnt offering and allow Job to pray for them. Job praying for his friends was a display of loyalty.

Another lesson from this text shows that Job was not only loyal to his earthly friends but that he was also loyal to God. He could have cursed God and died to put an end to his suffering but he didn't. God allowed Satan to test Job because He knew Job would remain loyal to Him rather than lose his soul.

  1. Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 NIV

This text is saying that love and forgiveness are needed for friendships to survive. It's more helpful to forgive a wrong that someone has done than to complain about it over and over.

If you keep complaining about something that happened in the past you are giving the impression that you don't trust the person. As a result the bond will grow weaker and you may lose a loyal companion.

  1. Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Proverbs 27:9 NIV

When you have a committed companion you develop confidence in the advice and counsel they give. You are happy knowing you can consult and depend on the input of a trusted friend because the advice will be heartfelt and helpful.

A loyal friend will not instruct you to do things with ill-intentions but will be wise, open, and honest. The NASB translation of this text says, "a person’s advice is sweet to his friend" that means it will lead to a positive outcome rather than a negative one. 

  1. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 NIV

Devotion and commitment are signs of a loyal friendship. A friend should be able to commit time to make a relationship work. Additionally, he or she should not have difficulties putting your needs first. 

On the other hand you should also be able to devote and dedicate time for your friends and be comfortable putting them and their needs before yours. According to John 15:12 you should love your friends the way that Jesus loves you. "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

  1. Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 NIV

This scripture passage is a helpful guide that teaches equity. Your friend should be an equal in your eyes. In this sense the things you deserve, appreciate, and want for yourself should not be too good for your friend.

Treat your friend the way a citizen or constituent would treat his or her favorite political party. Be a loyal comrade who overlooks faults and constantly highlights accomplishments.

Bible verses about friendship and forgiveness

  1. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. Romans 12:17 NIV

This text is a helpful reminder that, 'two wrongs don't make a right'. If your friend has done something wrong it is unwise to go ahead and do something bad to hurt him or her. Acting in anger will not solve the problem but only make matters worse.

"Do what is right in the eyes of everyone" and show forgiveness. Be lenient while observing the advice found in Proverbs 15:1, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger".

 

  1. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7 NIV

This scripture passage is a great one to keep in mind especially if a friend did something to offend you. It is important for you to show mercy because you may find yourself in a situation where you too will need it.

Matthew 5:9 states, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God". Relationships do not thrive when there is hostility, dissension, and animosity. This is why being a peacemaker is important. As a peacemaker you are able to forgive, reduce tension, and maintain harmony.

  1. So watch yourselves. 'If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Luke 17:3 NIV

People are not perfect and this means that from time to time someone may slip-up. An individual may not even be aware that he or she has done something wrong.  

This is why it is important to go to a person when he or she has wronged you and address the matter. Discuss the situation, work on possible solutions, and then pardon the person.

Colossians 3:13 also provides helpful advice on forgiveness. It states, "bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you".

  1. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16 NIV

It takes effort for healing and restoration to take place after a friendship has been betrayed. Forgiving and forgetting may be very difficult but time heals all wounds.

Pray for yourself and your friend that your bond will endure the challenges that life throws your way. Find hope in the thought, "there's power in prayer".

  1. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21,22 NIV

This scripture may be very helpful if you get to the point where you are losing patience with a friend. You have shown forgiveness many times in the past and you are getting annoyed by certain behavior and no longer wish to associate yourself with persons who don't seem to value your friendship.

Forgiving over and over again is very important. It will strengthen the bond and it is exactly what Jesus recommends. The King James Version of Psalm 133:1 states, 'Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity". The NLT translation of Proverbs 17:9 is a reminder that, "Love prospers when a fault is forgiven".

Bible stories and Good Examples of friendship in the Bible 

  1. Jonathan and David

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 1 Samuel 18:1-3 NIV 

The hearts of David and Jonathan became one when they met. They both enjoyed a relationship that displayed love, loyalty, and trust as they developed a lasting bond with each other.

Even though Saul, Jonathan's father, had intentions to hurt David this did not influence him. Jonathan was unbiased in his dealings with David. He and David created coded messages that were helpful in saving David's life when Saul wanted to kill him. 

  1. Elijah and Elisha

Elijah said to Elisha, 'Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel.' But Elisha said, 'As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.' So they went down to Bethel. 2 Kings 2:2 NIV

Elijah was not only a mentor to Elisha, he was also a trusted friend. In second Kings chapter two when Elijah was about to be 'taken up' he told Elisha to stay and allow him to go alone.

Even after being asked three different times to stay, Elisha decided that he was going to accompany his friend. His heart and soul was loyal and devoted to Elijah to the very end.

  1. Job and his friends

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 2:11 NIV

Job lost his family and all that he had but there was still hope because he had helpful friends who thought it was important to visit his house, spend time with him, show sympathy, and provide counsel in his time of need.  

Though his friends misjudged the situation their intentions were honorable. They showed love and loyalty in a situation where they could have scorned and abandoned Job.

  1. Ruth and Naomi

But Ruth replied, 'Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1:16 NIV

Naomi was a mother figure and a trusted friend in the eyes of Ruth. Ruth was so loyal to Naomi that she was willing to give up everyone and everything just to stay with her.

Her love for Naomi was boundless. She decided they were going to share the same: house, God, and family going forward. On their journey together their lives and souls became closely intertwined.

Examples of Bad friendships in the Bible

  1. Judas

and asked, 'What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?' So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 26:15 NIV

Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples. He followed Jesus, witnessed his miracles, heard his parables, and even ate with him.

In the end, Judas chose money over loyalty. He was helpful to the chief priests, scribes, and elders as he consorted with them to capture and kill Jesus. In exchange for his betrayal of Jesus he was paid thirty pieces of silver.

  1. Samson and Delilah

Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. Judges 16:21 NIV

Samson loved Delilah but she proved to be a bad companion. She nagged him continuously until he decided he would reveal the true source of his strength.

Delilah was very helpful to the Philistines as she plotted with them to capture Samson. Samson's relationship with Delilah cost him his strength, his sight, his freedom, and eventually his life.

  1. King Rehoboam and his young friends

He followed the advice of the young men and said, 'My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions. 1 Kings 12:14 NIV

In the story of King Rehoboam he rejected the wise counsel of experienced advisors. He followed the instructions of his young friends who encouraged him to treat his subjects harshly.

As a result of his decision to follow the poor advice that was given, ten of the tribes rebelled against him and his leadership. He had to deal with the bitter rewards of bad decisions and poor leadership. Instead of ruling twelve united tribes he only ruled the house of Judah. 

  1. Jonadab and Amnon

Go to bed and pretend to be ill,' Jonadab said. 'When your father comes to see you, say to him, 'I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand. 2 Samuel 13:5 NIV

Jonadab was not only a close friend but a relative of Amnon. He knew that what Amnon was thinking was wrong. However, instead of helping Amnon to overcome his feelings he told him to act upon it.

Amnon listened to the bad advice that Jonadab gave him and it cost him his life. In the process he hurted his sister, made an enemy of his brother, and left his father mourning his death. 

Final thoughts on Bible verses about Friendship

The Bible has many stories and verses that provide wise counsel and encouragement that help friends to be loving, loyal, forgiving, and better appreciate the relationship that they enjoy with God. 



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