What Is A Friend?


Webster defines “friend” as: one attached to another by affection or esteem; an acquaintance; one that is not hostile; one that is of the same nation, party, or group.

With the advent of modern social networking programs such as Facebook, the word “friend” has taken on another new meaning … one that actually distorts the traditionally accepted meaning of the word, particularly for our younger community.  A “Facebook Friend” is loosely defined as someone added to your social network.  A “Facebook Friend” may or may not be someone you have previously met.  They could be someone you simply allowed to join your network.  It has become a game for many to accumulate as many “friends” as possible on Facebook.  You will often hear of celebrities who have hundreds of thousands, even millions, of such “friends.”  Even teenagers often boast of thousands of friends.  But are they really “friends”?

How is it that someone can have so many “Facebook Friends” but few, if any, true friends?  The Bible provides a basis for understanding the nature of true friendship.  It is my purpose here to help you gain a greater appreciation for your friends and to ultimately become a better friend.


Friendship is something that is often taken for granted. But real friendship comes at a price.  Can you imagine for a moment what life would be like without friends? What would your life be like without your best friend?  What would you miss if you did not know your best friend? To many, life would be lonely without a friend.  At the same time, a false friend is a liability (take the Prodigal son, for example).  False friends will not help in times of trouble.  When God allowed Satan to test Job with problems and plagues, his friends deserted him. Job finally wished his three friends would go home and not add to his suffering. So, let’s discover together some of the answers to the question “What is a Friend?”

All scriptures listed herein are taken from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.

1.  A friend knows you. … someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway … the one who steps in when the whole world steps out … someone who never gets in the way, except when we are on the way down.

  • Prov. 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
  • Prov. 18:24 (NASB) – A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

2.  A friend is someone who loves you.

  • John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
  • I John 3:16 – 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.
  • Colossians 3:12-14 (RSV) – 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.
  • Prov. 17:17

3.  A friend has things in common with you.

  • 2 Kings 10:15 – After he left there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Rekab, who was on his way to meet him. Jehu greeted him and said, “Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?”  “I am,” Jehonadab answered. “If so,” said Jehu, “give me your hand.” So he did, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot.

4.  A friend protects you.  Consider Jonathan‘s unquestionable loyalty to his friend David as an example of how a friend will protect you.

  • 1 Sam. 19:1-7 – 1 Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David 2 and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. 3I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.” 4 Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. 5He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The LORD won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?” 6Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the LORD lives, David will not be put to death.” 7 So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.
  • 1 Sam. 20:1-42 – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Sam.%2020:1-42&version=NIV
  • 1 Sam. 23:16-18  – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Sam.%2023:16-18&version=NIV

5.  A friend makes you happy.

  • Prov. 27:9 – Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.
  • 2 Tim. 1:16 – May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.
  • Phil. 1:3-5 – 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now

6.  A friend helps when you are in trouble.

7.  A friend is loyal, unswerving in allegiance.

  • Prov. 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
  • Prov. 27:10 – 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.

8.  A friend brings out the best in you.

  • Prov. 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
  • Luke 17:2 – It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.
  • Acts 9:13-14, 26 (Barnabas) – 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.
  • 2 Tim. 4:11 – Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.

9.  A friend is interested in your spiritual well-being.

  • Job 16:21 – on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.
  • Job 42:10 – After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.
  • Deut. 13:6-8 – 6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them.
  • John 5:1-9 – The healing at the pool near the Sheep Gate –  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%205:1-9&version=NIV
  • Luke 5:17-26 – Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%205:17-26&version=NIV


Let’s do a little self-evaluation on friendship. Think of your friend as you ponder these questions:

  • What common interests do I have with my friend?
  • Would my friend be offended if he or she knew what I said behind his or her back last week?
  • Do I listen to my friend when he or she comes to me with a problem?
  • When was the last time I prayed for my friend’s needs?
  • Am I certain my friend is saved? Have I ever taken the time to present the plan of salvation to him or her?

The Bible teaches a friend loves at all times.  A friend is one who makes you feel good inside; is there when no one else cares; sees your good points when everyone else sees your failures; but most importantly spends time before God in prayer for you.  Remember, friendship is a two-way street.  The question is, “Am I that kind of friend in return?”

About jimdavenport

Jim Davenport resides in the USA in Northeast Georgia, is a member of a Southern Baptist Church and is a retired Christian business man. Jim and his wife Charlotte have one son and daughter in law, Keven and Amy, four grandchildren – Ashlyn (Davenport) & Josh Murphy, Mason & Rebecca (Knight) Davenport and four great-grandchildren. Jim and Charlotte own a mountain get-away home located on Lookout Mountain in Alabama where they spend many spring, summer and fall days working in their raised bed organic garden. Jim has served as a Deacon and Trustee in his local church most of his adult life and on the Executive Committee and Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees of Shorter University, an intentionally Christian institution located in Rome, Georgia. Jim has a passion for the word of God and has always believed that Christian principles should guide every aspect of his life. He also loves Christian music and often served as a tenor soloist in his church. One of the highlights of his life was the nearly 20 years he spent singing with The Good News, a Southern Gospel quartet. Jim served as an Information Technology professional his entire working career of 50 years holding senior positions in and consulting with hundreds of world-class organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand. Jim remains as President and CEO of InfoSys Solutions Associates, Inc. and is a retired partner of IT Governance Partners, LLC, both of which are “Trusted Advisor” technology and business consulting firms. Jim has authored a number of books available at www.jimdavenport.me/jims-books. His blog has ben read by readers from more than 170 countries. Jim holds both a BS and an MS in Mathematics from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia and completed Management Development Training at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
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2 Responses to What Is A Friend?

  1. jimdavenport says:

    My best friend, without question, is my wife … and I am thankful to God for her every hour of every day. Jim D.


  2. My definition of a friend is a family member that you pick.
    John and Judy Hayes


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