15 Bible Verses About Friendship and the Qualities of a True Friend
Bible Verses About Friendship
Friendship is God's gift to us. Without friends, life is a boring and lonely road to walk. But not all friendships are worth our time; some are worth dying to keep and others only lead to disappointment, regret, and sorrow.
But how do you identify which friendships to keep and which to let go?
For some, this might feel daunting, and for others, unnecessary, especially if you consider yourself to be friendly and don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But at some point, you will have to be honest with yourself, look at your friendships, and decide whether to pursue them or let them go.
You will save yourself from many sorrows if you make this decision quickly, but how do you know for sure which relationships are worth keeping and which to turn your back on? Learning how to identify toxic friendships is an important part of your own wellbeing.
What are the qualities of a true friend?
According to the verses below, real friends possess the following fifteen qualities:
- Positive influence
- Willing to make sacrifices
- Exercise self-control
- Exercise wisdom
But figuring out who your true friends are can still prove challenging.
Thankfully, the Bible has the answers, so here are fifteen Bible verses about friendship that highlight fifteen qualities that make a good friendship.
1. Proverbs 17:17
"A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." (Proverbs. 17:17 English Revised Version)
True friends love you at all times.
Love is a language of the soul, it excites, encourages and makes friendships meaningful and fun. Yet loving friendships are rare gems. These priceless treasures are the desire of many, but friendships without love are like ships without sails and tunnels without light at the end.
Love is the glue that holds strong friendships together, even in hard and uncertain times, but not all friends are loving. Some friends only stick around when things are going well for you. They will say the right words at the right time and they will exhibit the qualities of a loving friend, but as soon as you come upon hard times and you can't meet their demands and expectations, their love becomes a distant memory.
This Bible passage implies that love is a trait of a good friend, and a good friend will love you at all times and in any situation—good or bad. Good friends don't look for opportunities to excuse themselves from expressing their love to you, but rather look for opportunities to further express their love to you.
Take a good look at your friends and analyze their actions. If you think one of your friends might be toxic, you can attempt to test their love and loyalty over a period of time by doing the following:
- Stop buying them groceries.
- Stop buying them gifts.
- Stop hanging out with them.
- Stop lending them money.
- Stop liking and commenting on their social media pages.
- Stop giving them rides to work, school, the movies, etc.
- Stop answering their calls.
- Stop replying to their messages.
Love will pass the test of time and many trials, so if they are truly loving and loyal friends, they will not be offended for too long. Instead, they will look for opportunities to express their love and keep the friendship going.
Note: This is a risky strategy and should only be used on friends who have demonstrated toxic tendencies.
More Bible Verses About Love
1 Samuel 18:1 King James Bible Version
And it came to pass when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would let him go no more home to his father's house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his own soul.
1 Corinthians 13:4–7 English Standard Version
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Romans 12:9–10 English Standard Version
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
2. Philippians 2:3
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." (Philippians. 2:3 New International Version)
Good friends respect you.
Do your friends disregard your feelings and treat them as though they don't matter? If your answer to this question is yes, then there is a fair chance that your friends don't respect you.
You must never lower your standards to accommodate unrespectful friends. Respect is one of the building blocks of a good friendship, so if your friendships don't have respect then it might be time to find a solution or simply kiss that friendship goodbye
3. 1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character. (1 Corinthians 15:33 New International Version)
Good friends leave a positive influence.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a constant battle to maintain, but when we invite bad influences into your lives: it makes things much harder. In general, we are influenced by people around us; whether it’s our childhood heroes, our favorite preachers, or our beloved role models: we are in many ways products of our environment. And based on this verse it’s clear that God holds this view.
It's God’s will that you only allow friends with a positive influence into your life. This verse warns us not to be naïve in thinking we are strong enough to resist the bad habits of our friends. God expects us to guard our space and filter any toxicity that may potentially corrupt our healthy lifestyle.
Maybe you have friends who influence you negatively. What can you do? Break ties immediately? Continue with those friendships? These are questions that demands answers. And based on this verse “You can trust a friend who corrects you, but kisses from an enemy are nothing but lies” (Proverbs 27:6 Contemporary English Version) you should talk to those friends: in love, and correct them. It may be painful for them to admit their toxic behaviors, but if they are truly God-sent; they will amend to their toxic ways. But if they refuse to at least try to amend their toxic ways: it’s a clear sign to let go.
Good friends are those who influence you positively: they lead by example: they are conscious of the fact you allowed them into your space: and they try their very best to influence you in the way of righteousness.
4. Colossians 3:13
"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians. 3:13 New International Version)
Good friends always forgive.
True forgiveness comes from the heart. A friend may say that they forgive you, but if it isn't from the heart, it means nothing.
Friends who don't forgive aren't fun to be around. They are cold and they always find something negative to say. They are quick to judge and never miss an opportunity to point out our errors and criticize us for them.
Good friendships are motivating, uplifting, and inspiring. Friendships without forgiveness are worth letting go.
More Bible Verses About Forgiveness
Ephesians 4:32 English Standard Version
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:12–14 English Standard Version
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony
5. Proverbs 18:24
"There are 'friends' who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs. 18:24 New Living Translation)
True friends are supportive and reliable.
There is a known saying that says, "blood is thicker than water." But this Bible verse shows that good friendships create bonds that go even deeper than blood relationships.
Good friends stick around long enough to know when we are sad, broken, and frustrated. They also know when we are happy and full of joy. Loyal friends are always by our side. They are always supportive of our important endeavors, they gracefully correct us when we are wrong, and they congratulate us on our achievements.
Friends with these qualities are worth their weight in gold, but unstable friends are "bitter to the tongue."
More Bible Verses About Reliability
Luke 11:5–8 New International Version
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; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need."
Proverbs 25:13 The Message
Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing!
6. John 15:13
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." ( John 15:13 King James Version)
Good friends make sacrifices for you.
Jesus is the greatest example of a friend, a good friend, and his statement "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" is a true reflection of what He considers as a good friendship. Sacrifice is a fundamental quality of a good friendship. In (1 Samuel. 18:4) Jonathan and David's example of friendship reinforce Jesus' statement in (John 15:13). If you read from the first verse of the 18th chapter of 1 Samuel, you will notice that Jonathan loved David, and he embraced him as a friend. Jonathan was the King's son, but the King disliked David and wanted to assassinate him. But Jonathan, knowing of his father's plan, jeopardized his life to help David.
Jonathan's act of sacrifice showed his commitment to David and to their friendship. He didn't hesitate to give David his own attire. And luckily he did, because David wasn't yet recognized throughout Israel, and he desperately needed the help.
What are friendships without sacrifices? Friendships without sacrifices are friendships without commitments. It goes without saying that these kinds of friendships don't last for too long. If your friendships lack commitment and your friends aren't interested in making the necessary sacrifices, then it may be time to leave.
More Bible Verses About Sacrifice
John 15:12–13 English Standard Version
'This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.'
1 John 3:16–18 New International Version
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 Samuel 30:26 New International Version
When David reached Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends, saying, 'Here is a gift for you from the plunder of the Lord’s enemies.'
7. Proverbs 16:28
"A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends." (Proverbs. 16:28 New International Version)
Honorable friends don't gossip.
From experience, there is nothing worse in a friendship than a friend who gossips about you. This verse shows that gossip hurts and brings separation even in the best of friendships.
Praiseworthy friends don't gossip. Instead, they speak only facts, and if they aren't sure, they find out the truth. Moreover, if you aren't comfortable with them sharing your business, they keep their mouths closed.
If your friend is a gossip, there's a fair chance that your friendship will end in disappointment and regret. Don't allow gossip to ruin your friendships—address it before it's too late.
More Bible Verses About Loyalty
2 Kings 2:2 New International Version:
When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 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.
Ruth 1:16-17 English Standard Version:
But Ruth said, 'Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.'
8. Proverbs 27:17
"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." (Proverbs. 27:17 New Living Translation")
Commendable friends inspire strong values in you.
There's a proverb that says, "you are known by the friends you keep" and this verse reinforces the same wisdom. Not only does this verse reinforce this proverb, but, more importantly, it points out that just as true friendships bring out the best in you, bad friendships corrupt good morals.
Virtuous friends don't inspire corruption in you—they instill sound values in you. They set laudable examples that, if followed, will reap blessings and honor rather than shame and disgrace. If your friends don't inspire and challenge you to set high standards, then maybe it's time to let those friendships go.
More Bible Verse About Keeping Good Company
Proverbs 12:26 English Standard Version
One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
9. Proverbs 22:24-25
" Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man, thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul." (Proverbs 22:24-25 King James Version
Good friends exercise self-control.
Friends who are compulsively quick-temper are never far from confusion. Quick-temper friends always seem to attract trouble. To enjoy a light moment with quick–temper friends is almost impossible—it’s like swimming among sharks—you are always on the edge—afraid of what might happen next.
The same is true for friends who get angry quickly and easily. This passage of scripture warns us to keep away from such friends. But if you believe there’s hope for your short-tempered friends- encourage and pray them. You can even solicit professional help with your friends’ consent.
Friends who are willing to change their toxic ways are worth fighting for, but beware of those friends who have no intention of changing their toxic ways—if you aren’t careful, they may pollute you with their toxic behaviors
10. Proverbs 12:26
"The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray." (Proverbs 12:26 New International Version)
Good friends are watchful.
Friendship is God’s gift to us, but not all friendships He approves. Good friends are friends who understand the nature of friendship and tries their best to esteem friendship as God-given. They aren’t careless to select their friends, however, when they find a friend, they are careful not to offend.
Every friendship needs a vigilant friend, watchful friends don't only choose their friends wisely, but they are also quick to identify possible toxic traits in friendships and formulate solutions to overcome them.
11. Galatians 6:2
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians. 6:2 New International Version)
Faithful friends put up with our shortcomings and support us.
Most friendships have their fair share of troubles, but that's not a valid excuse to say goodbye.
Sometimes, friends must go through uncertain times together to better understand each other. Relationships with obstacles at the beginning usually turn out to be lifelong friendships. So be patient and long-suffering, and find solutions to get the best out of your friends.
More Bible Verses About Support
Job 2:11 New International Version
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.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 New International Version
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
12. James 4:11
"Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it." (James. 4:11 New International Version)
Good friends aren't judgmental.
This Bible verse says that brothers and sisters must not cast judgment against one another. If they do, they transgress God's liberal law. "Sister" and "brother" here imply someone close to you, in this case, your friends. Good friends don't rush to premature judgments; they will first listen to what you have to say.
Are your friends overly critical of you? Do they always find something bad to say? Do they downplay or altogether ignore the positives, and make a big fuss pointing out the negatives? If these traits describe your friends, it's a signal you need to reconsider before moving on with those friendships.
Good friends don't judge you. Instead, they support you, and when necessary, they correct you in a spirit of love and humility.
More Bible Verses About Acceptance
1 Corinthians 4:2–4 English Standard Version
Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.
Romans 14:13 English Standard Version
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
13. Psalm 37:3
"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture." (Psalm. 37:3 New International Version)
Good friendships are built on trust.
Though this Bible verse doesn't explicitly highlight trust in relation to our friends, it does point out trust in our friendship with God. God is our greatest example, so it's safe to mimic His example of trust in friendship and apply it to our friendships with others.
With that being said, the implication here is that friendships should have trust and that trust inspires confidence—confidence in your friends' abilities, in their words, and in whatever they do. If trust is lacking in your friendships, find a way to foster it. No good friendship can last without trust, so do whatever you can to encourage it.
14. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up." ( Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
Faithful friends are cooperative.
To lend support is one thing, but to cooperate is another. It’s common in most friendships for friends to lend moral support, but it’s a rear sight to see a friend get down and dirty to help a friend out of a tight spot.
This scripture about friendship is a good example of cooperation in friendship. A friend who loves to help, to go over and beyond—is one to cherish and hold in high esteem.
15. Proverbs 13:20
"Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm." (Proverbs 13:20 New International Version)
Good friends exercise wisdom.
The idea behind this passage is not to indiscriminately disassociate yourself from friends you perceive to lack wisdom- but to observe over time their conduct. Have they learned from their experiences that almost ruin the friendship and jeopardize your life? Are they taking active steps to cultivate sound values into their lives? If your answer is yes to these questions—you have good reasons to continue in those friendships, but if not, then waste no more of your precious time.
Are you likely to share these verses with your friends?
Questions & Answers
How can we know God's will for our friendships?
It sounds like you have friendships that you aren't too sure if you should continue with. Or you just want to know God's will for your friendship or friendships.
If you aren't sure whether to say goodbye or to continue in a friendship - revisit the article and write down the 10 qualities of a good friendship. If your friendship has most of these qualities then remain in that friendship, and find ways to make it even better. And yes, it's God's will for you to stay in that friendship.
On the other hand, if you have good friendships but you want to know God's will for those friendships - just pray and ask Him for direction, and he will reveal His will to you.
But if you have friends that lack all or most of the qualities discussed in the articles, then it's a sure sign you need to break ties.Helpful 30
- Helpful 9
© 2018 Dexter Whinfield