Bible Verses About Friendship: How to Grow and Serve

One of the most important things a person can have in this world is a friend. As Christians we all have fellowship with Christ, but there is a human desire that comes from the necessity of being known and enjoying community. There are many Bible verses about friendship that cover just about every aspect of these relationships. From the account of Biblical characters to drops of wisdom in the book of Proverbs, the Bible verses about friendship listed below contain the deepest truths on what it means to be a true counselor and companion in the world today.

John 15:13

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

Such a simple phrase can be twisted to mean a variety of things, but what makes this one of the most famous Bible verses about friendship is that it boils down Christian friendship to a relationship of humility and sacrifice. If we are not incorporating these elements into a friendship then our interactions are merely about what we can get out of them. This verse is about making our friendships similar to the way in which Jesus loved the disciples. His love was so strong that He was willing to make tough choices and even die upon a cross. We will likely never have to physically die for a friend, but we can die to our sinful selves each day and walk in grace and humility.

Galatians 6:2

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”

Much of Paul’s writing to the early church has to do with the proper way of engaging in fellowship. During his ministry there was much infighting between believers of different classes and ethnicities, so he would remind them of what it means to be a church community. Galatians 6:2 tackles some of the hardest parts of being a Christian friend: accountability, mercy, and compassion. It is easy to love someone when everything is going well and there is no division, but every relationship reaches a point where feelings are hurt or a personal trial is endured. This verse is a call to unity so that friends (especially those who are Christians) would be willing to forgive and understand the pains of fellow believers.

Proverbs 17:17

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

The purpose of a friendship is not solely the benefits that it brings to you. Sometimes being a friend is difficult, either because the person is hard to be around or his/her present circumstance is inconvenient to your own life. “A brother is born for adversity.” When the chips are down, you need the love and help of friends and family to make it through. That’s why we cannot afford to have half-hearted friendships where we only minister to one another when it is convenient. In fact, the inconvenient time to be a friend is often when we are most needed.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”

This chapter of Ecclesiastes has to do with the ways in which evil prevails in labor. Throughout history we have seen how oppression has thrived within the workforce, how greed has destroyed families and corrupted morals. Solomon believes that a man who is part of a Godly community sets himself up for better success. A businessman, politician, or entrepreneur who doesn’t surround himself with Godly influences and friends who are willing to advise him is more open to neglecting his spiritual life and family. We see here that quality friendships are a necessity.

1 Samuel 18:1-4 - Bible Verses About Friendship

“Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.”

We’ve mentioned at least once so far in this post that friendship sometimes means that you will have to surrender your own wishes at time in order to support a friend. Most of the Bible verses about friendship are simple, but important aspects of friendship, however the story of Jonathan and David is one that highlights man’s need for adult friendships. Their bond not only elevates each other, but benefits the nation of Israel as well.

Proverbs 27:17

“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

If you’ve ever attended a men’s ministry event, you’ve probably heard this verse more than once. The simple truth is that a man with close friends who are willing to call him out and give him direction when necessary is much better prepared for the world than a man without them. Proverbs 27:17 is one of the Bible verses about friendship often emphasized when talking about discipleship, accountability groups, and other community-related ministries.

1 Peter 4:8-10 - Bible Verses About Friendship

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

Just as Paul speaks to community in the early church, Peter is eager to pass along Godly wisdom as well. The disciples are starting to be martyred and spread to the furthest parts of the known world, so it’s important for these believers to carry on the legacy of Jesus. While we may not be experiencing the same level of persecution today, these instructions handed down by Peter are among the best Bible verses about friendship and vital to the health of a church. As Christians we have a higher calling than our selfish desires and we have to sacrifice those feelings if we want to be the kind of friends the Bible calls us to be.

1 Corinthians 15:33

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”

This verse is basically the opposite of the Proverbs 27:17 entry listed above. Whereas that verse discusses the strength of Christian men coming together, 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns of what happens when we do not heed that advice. Just because you read your Bible and go to church, it doesn’t mean you aren’t susceptible to doing terrible things. There have been more than enough precedents set by pastors and politicians who have failed morally. One of the best ways to guard against these sinful habits is to have God-fearing friends around you who also want the same good things that you do.

Romans 12:10-13

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”

These last few Bible verses about friendship are a wonderful culmination of what it means to be a friend and follower of Christ. It addresses how we are to act as well as the reason for our behavior. The church should be a place full of these Godly relationships. If we were to obey Paul’s commands here, we would see every church overflowing with people seeking to join.

These Bible verses about friendship tell the story of what God desires for our relationships to look like. Researchers say that we need three to five close friendships for our wellbeing to be satisfied but there are plenty of people, especially men, who can’t make that claim. We need to cultivate the friendships that we have, seek out discipleship and accountability opportunities, and live with an extra dose of grace and humility.

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