What the Bible Says About Friends and Friendship

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Everyone needs friends, so what does the Bible say about friends and friendship and what kind of friends we should be and what kind of friends we should have?

Abraham, a Friend of God – Genesis 15:6

Everyone needs friends, so what does the Bible say about friends and friendship and what kind of friends we should be and what kind of friends we should have? One of the best examples I could find is with Abraham who was called a friend of God Himself. Don’t you want to be called a friend of God? How can we become a friend of God? In short, trust in God’s Son, Jesus Christ and God has be-friended you. Also read about how Abraham believed God and his belief was accounted as righteous and why he was called a friend of God. James tells us how to become a friend of God. He wrote, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God” (James 2:23). James is referring to Genesis 15:6. So how did Abraham become a friend of God?  Scripture says Abraham “believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” Aren’t your friends called your friends because they do what you might ask them to do and you in turn are a friend and help them when they need? When we believe God and take Him at His Word and obey His Word, He is our friend too.

“a whisperer separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28)

Friends Are Born for Adversity – Proverbs 17:17

Proverbs 17 gives us a great biblical picture of what true friendship looks like and why we need one another in good times and bad. It’s very easy to be a friend to someone when everything is fine, but when trouble comes and you need to call someone for help and it’s three in the morning, then the true friends and fair-weather friends are usually separated. When the going gets tough, your true friends usually don’t get going; your fair-weather friends do. One thing a true friend does is never gossip about you. Solomon wrote that “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends” (Prov 17:9), so friends never share secrets or talk about their friends to others. It’s when things in life get really hard, then we better understand the fact that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17).

Friends of the World are Enemies of God – James 4:4

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17).

James, Jesus’ half-brother, explains why being a friend of the world makes us an enemy of God. It’s very simple. If you make friends with the world and the friends of the world, you cannot be a friend of God. In a scathing rebuke of those in the church who are trying to be friends with the world, James writes, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Do you know some professing Christians who live like the world? Then they are actually enemies of God at this time. Pray they repent. Our goal is to have godly friends, but first of all, we must be a friend of God, not His enemy.  We are supposed to have come out of the world, but has the world come out of us?

Friends Speak the Truth – Proverbs 27:6

Read Proverbs chapter 27 and you can see why our true friends love us enough to tell us the truth. Even though their words might wound us, they’re spoken in love and intended to help us. A surgeon cuts in order to heal. God’s Word does that too (Heb 4:12). If you really want to rid something sinful out of your life, you’ll take the sword of the Word of God and cut them out. Painful as it is, those things don’t belong in our life. The Word corrects us; the Spirit convicts us. That’s as it should be. Solomon wrote, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov 27:6). In other words, a true friend will love you enough to tell you the truth…even if it hurts. And you must be that friend, willing to offend in order to help your sinning brother or sister. That is an act of love! And of course, they are doing us a favor when they are correcting us, but someone who is not your true friend might flatter you with words that cloak your sins and make you feel better about yourself than you should. I would rather be corrected than incorrect. You do me a favor when you point out my sins or flaws. We need friends to do that because we all have blind spots and the heart is very deceitful (Jer 17:9).

True Friendship Bible Study

Your true friends will not be afraid to tell you the truth even at the risk of hurting your feelings.

Jesus is our Friend – John 15:14

Jesus tells us what real friendship is, like being honest with them, but also He also expects us to do what He says. We cannot call Jesus our friend if we disobey His Word in the Bible. Our Lord says, “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14). We too are His friends “if” we obey Him. That “if” is conditional sounding to me. Remember Jesus showed His love for us by dying on the cross while we were still ungodly, wicked enemies of His (Rom 5:6-10), so a true and faithful friend loves us even when we’re not very lovable. But we must do likewise. Love is a verb…it is not a greeting card or a dozen roses. Love is a verb…it is what you do. Our obedience shows our love. Obedience is love in action. Jesus showed us what real love is (John 15:13) by doing something about our separation from God (John 3:16). He didn’t just talk about it: He settled it (John 19:30).


Charles Spurgeon said, “Choose the best friends you can; then follow them no further than they follow Christ.” I love that. Those are the friends we need around us and we need to be that kind of friend too. Can’t find a friend? The Bible says we can find a friend if we would be a friend, or “show himself friendly” (Prov 18:24). If we have friends who are of the world, then we’re making friends with the world and that makes us God’s enemy. Not good! If you have still not trusted in Christ, you are still an enemy of God, and someday Jesus will tell you to depart from Him forever into outer darkness (Matt 7:21-23). This is the very reason that I plead with you right now brother or sister who are reading this, to repent today and trust in Christ. If you do not, you will surely face God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27), or at Christ’s appearance (Dan 12:2; Rev 20:12-15), whichever comes first. Today is the day to be saved (2 Cor 6:2). Tomorrow might not even come and then it will be too late to repent and be saved (Rev 1:7; 21:8).

Here is some related reading for you: Should Christians Have Non-Christian Friends?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

How to turn your sermon into clips

Share the truth

Previous post:

Next post: