A. Book of Proverbs. In the Book of Proverbs, friends are considered valuable.
1. A description of friendship.
a. What to do – (17:17) friends love at all times, (18:24) be selective (27:14) right timing
b. What to be – (22:11) pure in heart
c. Long-term friendship (27:10) your and your father’s friends
d. False friends – (19:6) love you when you have money
e. Results of friendship – (27:6) friends will wound you (correct your mistakes, evaluations) (27:9) but their counsel will be like sweet perfume, (27:17) iron sharpens iron – there will be a mutual benefit from developing friend relationships, it will sharpen each friend in many personal ways, character development and overt activities.
f. Summary. A study of the word “friend” in Proverbs helps us know how to find, develop and maintain friendships. Proverbs lays a foundation of being a friend—pure in heart. It sees times of crises as excellent opportunities to develop and maintain friendships. It warns against those who would use the friendship relationship for their own personal greed. Friendships should be long term (even keeping your father’s friends). The effect of good friendships is strategic. It will help you develop character and strengthen each other’s weaknesses. It will provide a deeper means of character development and practice of wise living. It will be like a perfume to your life.
B. New Testament. In the New Testament, the concept of friendship is expanded (Matt. 11:19: John 15:13-15). Jesus speaks of the disciples as His friends. Christian relationships are illustrated by the word Greek word, alleilos, which means “one another.” Paul never used the word “friend,” but he used “one another” forty-three times when describing the relationship of believers.
1. Keys to Building a Friendship-Relationship. Exhortation to love and unity.
a. Acceptance – accept one another (Rom 15:7)
b. Patience – showing forbearance to one another in love (Eph 4:2)
c. Honesty – speak the truth in love (Eph 4:25)
d. Kindness – be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving (Eph 4:32)
e. Submission – submit to one another (Eph 5:21)
f. Humility – regard one another as more important than self (Phil 2:3).
g. Stimulation – stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24)
h. Encouragement – encourage one another (Heb 10:25)
i. Assistance – use spiritual gifts to benefit one another(1 Pet. 4:10).
2. Factors that Destroy Relationships (disunity, lack of love)
a. Don’t bite and devour one another, destroy one another (Gal 5:15).
b. Don’t speak against one another or judge one another (Jam. 5:11).
c. Don’t complain (groan) against one another (Jam. 5:9).
d. Don’t be boastful, challenging, envying one another (Gal 5:26)
a. The phrase one another reveals our need for each other. It implies interaction and fellowship with others.
b. It also shows how a believer can hurt another believer and therefore hurt Christ.
c. “One another” is the basis for the expression of agape and the maintenance of unity in the body.
d. “One another” is practically expressed by accepting, forgiving, submitting, encouraging, stimulating, helping, and expressing humility to one another.
e. The biblical model for “one another” is Christ’s example in Philippians 2:1-11.