Friendship is a bond of mutual affection between two people. It’s a simple definition for something that plays such a powerful role in our lives.

The number of friendships we have and how involved those friends are may fluctuate depending on what stage of life we’re in, but friendship has a lifelong and universal importance in the human experience. Humans have been befriending one another all throughout history.

The Bible is full of examples of people who held a special bond with each other, whose relationships were marked with warmth and affection. In Genesis 2:18 God says that it is not good for man to be alone. He created us with a need for community, a desire for connection.

Between family, work, school and neighborhoods, our lives are full of all kinds of relationships. Friendships, though, play a special role in our lives and our communities. Friends support, influence, teach and have fun with us! Good friends can add light to our lives just as easily as bad friends can negatively influence us.

Let’s dive into Bible verses about friendship — the purpose of friendship, good friends vs. bad friends, how to be a good friend and friendship with God.

The Purpose of Friendship

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

— Proverbs 27:17, NIV)

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

— Proverbs 17:17, NIV)

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

— Proverbs 27:9, ESV

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

— Ecclesiastes 4:9–12, NIV

A boy and a girl smiling at the camera with their arms around each other

Good Friends

Good friends add so much joy to life. They give us good advice, even when it’s hard to hear. They stand by our side when others would leave. They care about us holistically and help us when life gets hard.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

— Proverbs 27:6, ESV

The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

— Proverbs 12:26, NIV

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

— Proverbs 18:24, ESV

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.

— 2 Kings 2:2, NIV

“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

— Ruth 1:15–16, NIV

The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

— 1 Samuel 18:1b, ESV

Bad Friends

Not sure if someone if a true friend? Scripture warns of the difficulties and pain that bad friends can cause. These verses describe traits and dangers of being close to harmful people.

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

— Proverbs 13:20, NIV

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.

— Proverbs 22:24–25, NIV

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

— Proverbs 16:28, NIV

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

— 1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV

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, NIV

“Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”

— Job 6:14, NIV

Three smiling girls standing close together on a dirt road with their arms around each other.

How To Be a Good Friend

Curious about what the Bible says about being a good friend? Here are examples of how good friends and fellow Christians should treat one another.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

— 1 John 4:11, NIV

Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you — better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away.

— Proverbs 27:10, NIV

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

— Proverbs 17:9, NIV

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

— Psalm 133:1, NIV

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

— Luke 6:31, NIV

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves

— Philippians 2:3, NIV

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

— Galatians 6:2, NIV

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

— Colossians 3:12–14, NIV

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

— 1 Peter 4:8–10, NIV

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

— 1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

— Romans 12:10, NIV

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

— Ephesians 4:2–3, NIV

Little girl with red bows in her hair kneeling on a bench with her hands together in a praying pose.

Friendship With God

Hopefully you found these friendship Bible verses helpful in navigating the important relationships of your life. One more friendship that makes all the difference in life is friendship with God, which we can experience because of Jesus Christ.

“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.”

— John 15:13–15, NIV

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

— James 2:23, NIV

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

— Hebrews 13:5, NIV

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