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Examples of Friendship in the Bible


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by Kelli Mahoney
Updated June 09, 2018

There are a number of friendships in the Bible that remind us of how we should be
treating one another on a daily basis. From Old Testament friendships to relationships
that inspired epistles in the New Testament, we look to these examples of friendships in
the Bible to inspire us in our own relationships.

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Abraham and Lot
Abraham reminds us of loyalty and going above and beyond for friends. Abraham
gathered hundreds of men to rescue Lot from captivity.

Genesis 14:14-16 - "When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out
the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night
Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah,
north of Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his
possessions, together with the women and the other people." (NIV)

Ruth and Naomi

Friendships can be forged between different ages and from anywhere. In this case, Ruth
became friends with her mother-in-law and they became family, looking out for one
another throughout their lives.

Ruth 1:16-17 - "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.'" (NIV)

David and Jonathan

Sometimes friendships form almost instantly. Have you ever met anyone that you just
knew immediately was going to be a good friend? David and Jonathan were just like

1 Samuel 18:1-3 - "After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son.
There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. From that day on Saul
kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact
with David, because he loved him as he loved himself." (NLT)

David and Abiathar

Friends protect one another and feel their losses of loved ones deeply. David felt the pain
of Abiathar's loss, as well as responsibility for it, so he vowed to protect him from Saul's

1 Samuel 22:22-23 - "David exclaimed, 'I knew it! When I saw Doeg the Edomite there that day,
I knew he was sure to tell Saul. Now I have caused the death of all your father’s family.  Stay
here with me, and don’t be afraid. I will protect you with my own life, for the same person
wants to kill us both.'" (NLT)

David and Nahash

Friendship often extends to those who love our friends. When we lose someone close to
us, sometimes the only thing we can do is comfort those who were close. David shows
his love of Nahash by sending someone to express his sympathy to Nahash's family

2 Samuel 10:2 - "David said, 'I am going to show loyalty to Hanun just as his father, Nahash,
was always loyal to me.' So David sent ambassadors to express sympathy to Hanun about his
father’s death." (NLT)

David and Ittai Ad

Some friends just inspire loyalty until the end, and Ittai felt that loyalty toward David.
Meanwhile, David showed great friendship to Ittai by not expecting anything from him.
True friendship is unconditional, and both men showed each other great respect with
little expectation of reciprocation.

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2 Samuel 15:19-21 - "Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, 'Why do you also go with us? Go
back and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile from your home. You
came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, since I go I know not
where? Go back and take your brothers with you, and may the Lord show steadfast love and
faithfulness to you.'  But Ittai answered the king, 'As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king
lives, wherever my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, there also will your
servant be.'" (ESV)

David and Hiram

Hiram had been a good friend of David, and he shows that friendship does not end in the
death of the friend, but extends beyond to other loved ones. Sometimes we can show our
friendship by expanding our love to others.
1 Kings 5:1- "King Hiram of Tyre had always been friends with Solomon's father David. When
Hiram learned that Solomon was king, he sent some of his officials to meet with Solomon."

1 Kings 5:7 - "Hiram was so happy when he heard Solomon's request that he said, 'I am
grateful that the LORD gave David such a wise son to be king of that great nation!'" (CEV)

Job and His Friends

Friends come to each other when one faces adversity. When Job faced his toughest times,
his friends were immediately there with him. In these times of great distress, Job's
friends sat with him and let him do the talking. They felt his pain, but also allowed him
to feel it without putting their burdens on him at that time. Sometimes just being there is
a comfort.

Job 2:11-13 - "Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him,
each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the
Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to
comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted
their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward
heaven.  So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one
spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great." (NKJV)

Elijah and Elisha

Friends stick it out with one another, and Elisha shows that by not letting Elijah go to
Bethel alone.

2 Kings 2:2 - "And Elijah said to Elisha, 'Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to Bethel.' But
Elisha replied, 'As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you!' So they
went down together to Bethel." (NLT) Ad
Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
While friends look out for one another, like Daniel did when he requested that Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego be promoted to high positions, sometimes God leads us to help
our friends so they can help others. The three friends went on to show King
Nebuchadnezzar that God is great and the only God.

Daniel 2:49 - "At Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be
in charge of all the affairs of the province of Babylon, while Daniel remained in the king’s
court." (NLT)

Jesus with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus

Jesus had a close friendship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus to a point where they spoke
plainly to him, and he resurrected Lazarus from the dead. True friends are able to speak
their minds honestly to one another, whether right or wrong. Meanwhile, friends do
what they can to tell each other the truth and help one another.

Luke 10:38 - "As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman
named Martha opened her home to him." (NIV)

John 11:21-23 - "'Lord,' Martha said to Jesus, 'if you had been here, my brother would not have
died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.' Jesus said to her, 'Your
brother will rise again.'” (NIV)

Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila

Friends introduce friends to other friends. In this case, Paul is introducing friends to one
another and asking that his greetings be sent to those close to him.
Romans 16:3-4 - "Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their
lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them." (NIV)

Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus

Paul talks about the loyalty of friends and the willingness of those close to us to look out
for one another. In this case, Timothy and Epaphroditus are the types of friends that take
care of those close to them.

Philippians 2:19-26 - "I want to be encouraged by news about you. So I hope the Lord Jesus will
soon let me send Timothy to you. I don't have anyone else who cares about you as much as he
does. The others think only about what interests them and not about what concerns Christ
Jesus. But you know what kind of person Timothy is. He has worked with me like a son in
spreading the good news. 23I hope to send him to you, as soon as I find out what is going to
happen to me. And I feel sure that the Lord will also let me come soon. I think I ought to send
my dear friend Epaphroditus back to you. He is a follower and a worker and a soldier of the
Lord, just as I am. You sent him to look after me, but now he is eager to see you. He is worried,
because you heard he was sick." (CEV)

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