13 Scriptures on Friendship
There are many scriptures in the Bible that explain the criteria we should use when choosing friends, what it means to be a good friend, how friends can hurt us, and the importance of having the right people in our lives. The following verses are quoted then followed by a brief comment.
Scriptures on Friendship
- Proverbs 12:26 – “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
The friends we choose can change our lives forever. If we choose the wrong type of friend, their influence can corrupt us and cause irreparable damage (1 Corinthians 15:33, Proverbs 13:20).
- Proverbs 14:20 – “The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, but the rich has many friends.”
This is superficial friendship. People love you if you have something that benefits them, but if you don’t have anything they need or want, they hate you because you are of no value to them (Proverbs 19:4-7).
- Proverbs 17:9 – “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.”
In Genesis 9:18-28, Noah planted a vineyard, made wine, got drunk, then passed out naked in his tent. Ham, his son, saw him and told his two brothers. As a result, Ham was cursed, but Shem and Japheth were blessed (Proverbs 11:13, Proverbs 16:28).
- Proverbs 17:17 – “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Contrary to the superficial friendship in Proverbs 14:20, this verse deals with true friendship. True friends love you whether you are rich or poor, going through difficulty, or experiencing blessing. What type of friends are we? What kind of friends are we surrounding ourselves with? True friends love at all times.
- Proverbs 18:24 – “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
How do we make friends? Simple, be a friend to others. People often wonder why they don’t have many friends. It’s because they are not friendly.
- Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
Real friends tell the truth, even if it hurts and is not pleasant at the time. They tell the truth in love so we can grow from it. Paul put it this way, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). A true friend tells the truth, even if it risks the friendship (Proverbs 9:8-9, Proverbs 27:17).
- Zechariah 13:6 – “And one will say to him, what are these wounds between your arms? Then he will answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”
This was a prophecy of Jesus being flogged and crucified (Matthew 27:11-54). The Jews, Jesus’ friends, handed Him over to the Romans to be scourged and crucified on the cross. Pilate wanted to set Him free and deliver up Barabbas, but the Jews refused and asked for Barabbas to be set free and Jesus to be delivered up to the cross instead. Jesus was wounded in the house of His friends.
- Luke 16:9 – “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.”
This is an interesting verse. A steward of a certain rich man was about to lose his position and didn’t know what he would do afterwards. He could no longer do manual labor and was to ashamed to beg. He gathered those who owed his master money and one by one reduced what they owed. When his master found out what he had done, he commended him because “he had dealt shrewdly” (Luke 16:8). Jesus seemed to commend these actions saying, “The sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light” (Luke 16:8). Although we are to be honest in our dealings with people, there are times we must be shrewd to make sure we are with the right people.
- John 15:13 – “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Sacrificial love is the greatest love anyone will ever experience. God displayed this kind of love for us when He sent His Son (John 3:16). Jesus showed this in His willingness to lay down His life for us that we might be saved. The best and dearest friend is one who is willing to lay down their life for us, the ultimate demonstration of sacrificial love. John wrote, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).
- John 15:14 – “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”
Jesus says our friendship is contingent upon whether or not we are willing to obey whatever He asks of us. Mary told the servants at the wedding in Canaan, “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5). Are we willing to obey Jesus, no matter how crazy or foolish His request sounds to us? This is the test of whether we really love Him and are truly His friends. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me” (John 14:21).
- John 15:15 – “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.”
This describes the intimacy and trustworthiness of friendship. True friends can tell each other anything. Jesus revealed His friendship to His disciples by disclosing all that the Father had told Him. Real friends can share their most intimate secrets with one another. They can trust each other with anything.
- James 2:23 – “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.”
This is similar to John 15:14 above. James 2:14-25 deals with faith and works. The immediate context in the above verse deals with Abraham offering his son, Issac, upon the alter (James 2:21). He believed (trusted) God enough that when God told him to sacrifice Isaac upon the alter he set forth to obey Him (Genesis 22). The result of such faith, followed by obedience was, “It was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.” Let’s commit ourselves to being His friend by trusting and obeying Him.
- James 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.”
John 15:19 tells us there’s a delicate balance between being in the world, but not of it. God uses things in this world for His purposes, as we must also. We have to live in this world and use things in it, but the key is not to love the world more than we love Jesus.
Are you a friend of God?
The focus and affection of our heart is what determines whether we are a friend or enemy of God.
1 John 2:15 – “Do not love the world nor the things in the world.”
Colossians 3:2 – “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”