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Why Proverbs 17:17 Is the Best Bible Verse on Friendship (and You Should Read It)

Dexter is a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ who finds joy in helping others succeed.

Understand proverbs 17:17, and you'll appreciate, enjoy, and experience friendship on a whole new different level.

Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity," is short; but an insightful bible verse that reveals God's position, not only on friendship but on human relationships.

Like money, love is a currency that humans cannot live without: love is essential for our wellbeing, love is vital for purposeful living, love has been around for centuries, and love is still the most important virtue that the Bible says will never fail.

"Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away—1 Corinthians 13:8-9.

Human societies cannot exist without relationships; they hold the social fabric together, whether it's family relationships, acquaintanceships, romantic relationships, or in this case, friendships.

It's imperative that whenever and wherever the Bible mentions relationships, we pay attention.

I've carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully analyzed this verse, of which I will share my insights as to why I believe Proverbs 17:17 is the most profound bible verse on friendship, and you should pay attention to it.

Proverbs 17:17 describes who is a real friend.

A real friend is someone who loves, respects, is reliable, is trustworthy, and will always seek your best interest, regardless of the circumstances.

Such a friend isn't afraid to give sound advice, whether you like it or not, their intention is to uphold and not purposely lead you down the wrong road.

Proverbs 17:17 highlights the qualities of a loving friend

From God's viewpoint, a loving friend is someone who loves, and someone who loves will portray these qualities:

  • Patient with you
  • Kind to you
  • Don't envy you.
  • Isn't arrogant or boastful
  • Isn't proud
  • Isn't rude
  • Isn't easily angered
  • Don't keep records of wrong
  • Is truthful
  • Protects you
  • Trust you
  • Expects the best for you

These traits are found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres."

Proverbs 17:17 speaks of the primary intention of a true friend.

The primary intention of a good friend is to love, and that is to seek, not your own interest, but the interest of your friend.

"Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being—1 Corinthians 10:24.

That's what God expects us to do and what we should be doing, anything less means we are not being a true friend from God's point of view.

Sure, there are other virtues of friendships that friends can enjoy, but love covers all of them, once there is love in a relationship, the other virtues will fall into place.

Here's a good example of what seeking a friend's best interest looks like " Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends—John 15:13.

Proverbs 17:17 points out the primary role of a faithful friend.

Above any other thing, the most vital role of a faithful friend is to console and comfort when the chips are down, and your back is against the wall.

That's the hardest time in anyone's life and often the time when you need someone to stand with, encourage and believe in you.

Which is the main role of a good friend, and a sign that you have a solid friendship.

Proverbs 17:17 gives insight as to what friendship with God looks like.

It's safe to assume that if God expects us to be selfless in our relationships with others, then He is also selfless in His dealing with us.

We see this demonstrated here "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"— John 3:16.

Proverbs 17:17 is a lovely, solid, and powerful bible verse on friendship, it, in the simplest of ways points out God's position on relationships; what they are, and what should be expected of all parties involved.

A good friend is what blood is to the body

A good friend is what blood is to the body

More Bible Verses on Friendship

You can see what the other verses on friendship have to say, I'm sure they will be a blessing to you as they have been to me.

Proverbs 27:9 — Perfume and incense make the heart glad, but the sweetness of a friend is a fragrant forest - GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Proverbs 16:28 "A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends."

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

Proverbs 12:26 "The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray."

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

Job 16:20-21 "My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man, he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend."

Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."

1 Corinthians 15:33 "Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character."

Proverbs 13:20 "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm."

Job 42:10 "When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes, giving him twice as much as before!"

John 15:12-15 "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. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken"

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

Amos 3:3 "Can two walks together, except they be agreed?

Proverbs 22:24-25 "Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.

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."

Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."

Galatians 6:2 " Carry each other's burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ."

Biblical Translations of Proverbs 17:17

Here's how proverbs 17:17 is translated in the main translations of the bible:

Proverbs 17:17 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

The friend loves at all times, but a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17 — New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)

A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes.

Proverbs 17:17 — New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (NASB95)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17 — The New International Version (NIV)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Proverbs 17:17 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17 — New Living Translation (NLT)

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.

Proverbs 17:17 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17 — New Century Version (NCV)

A friend loves you all the time, and a brother helps in times of trouble.

Proverbs 17:17 — American Standard Version (ASV 1901)

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

The friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

A friend always loves, and a brother is born to share trouble.

Proverbs 17:17 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time.

Proverbs 17:17 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.

Friendship is God's gift to us and Proverbs 17:17 is the cornerstone bible verse to hold this lovely gift together. I'd recommend that you share this verse with your friends, read it together, and always remind each other of who a good friend is, in God's eye.

© 2021 Dexter Whinfield

Comments

Liz Westwood from UK on September 21, 2021:

You make a biblical case for the importance of good friendship. I have always thought of Eccl 4 9-12 in the context of marriage and have seen the 3 stranded cord on wedding invitations previously.

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