15 Bible Verses About Friendship and the Qualities of a True Friend

Updated on December 9, 2018
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Dexter is a pastor who believes that every life is precious to God. He enjoys studying the Bible with the intent to inspire others.

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?

Thankfully, the Bible has the answers, so here are fifteen Bible verses about friendship that highlight fifteen qualities that make a good friendship.

 These Fifteen Verses Will Reveal the Qualities of a True Friend
These Fifteen Verses Will Reveal the Qualities of a True Friend

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 the reality of few. 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.

Philippians. 2:3
Philippians. 2:3

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. 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

4. 1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character. (1 Corinthians 15:33 New International Version)

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.

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."

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.

Proverbs. 16:28
Proverbs. 16:28

7. Proverbs 16:28

"A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends."

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.

8. Proverbs. 27:17

"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." (Proverbs. 27:17 New Living Translation")

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 plan that we only allow those friends with a positive influence into our space. God expects us to guard our space and filter any toxicity that may potentially discourage us.

Good friends are those who influence us positively: they lead by example: they are conscious of the fact we allowed them into our space: and they try their very best to influence, sharpen, and encourage us in the way of righteousness.

9. Galatians 6:2

("Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.

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.

Psalm. 37:3
Psalm. 37:3

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

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.

  • What is the Bible verse that is about a friend who prays for you?

    While there isn't any Bible verse that explicitly mentions a friend who prays for you, there are, however, a few that come close:

    "Then the king said to the man of God, “Intercede with the Lord your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.” So the man of God interceded with the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored and became as it was before." (1 Kings 13:6)

    "As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith."(2 Thessalonians 3:1-2)

    There are a few more, but as pointed out before, they don't mention a friend who prays for you.

    But the idea behind these verses is that those you consider close, or important to you, in your case - your friends, should always be willing and ready to pray for you.

© 2018 Dexter Whinfield

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    • profile image

      Jose Mathews 

      3 weeks ago

      Excellent article. May Almighty bless U to continue your good work.

    • Diksha Shakya profile image

      Diksha Shakya 

      3 months ago from India

      This is an amazing and helpful article. Great work! Keep going

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