What does the Bible say about being a good friend? I think the perfect place to start is to look at the friendship of David and Jonathan, which I believe is the best documented example we have of a godly friendship.
Their friendship starts in 1 Samuel 18. (I dare you to go back and read through all the scripture I mention from 1 and 2 Samuel on your own.) Verse one says they were knit together and Jonathan loved David as himself. If Jonathan is anything like me, that meant he loved David A LOT! Skip to verse 4 and it says Jonathan gave David the clothes off of His back. This means:
1. A GOOD FRIENDSHIP IS A SELFLESS FRIENDSHIP!
You have to be willing to forget about your own wants and needs that seem to be in the front of all of our minds, and look to theirs first. Clothe them before you clothe yourself…and if you read on, protect them no matter what it costs you. Jonathan protected David even when it was Jonathan’s own father trying to hurt David (some of this goes on in the beginning of chapter 19).
Now let’s look at 1 Samuel 19 verse 4. Jonathan is bragging on David. So this means:
2. A GOOD FRIEND ALWAYS TAKES UP FOR THEIR FRIEND.
No one is allowed to talk about your friend unless they are complimenting them; rude comments are not allowed. Jonathan’s dad was going to kill David, but Jonathan would not have it, so he talked his father out of it by telling him all about David’s good qualities.
Jonathan told David about his father’s plans to kill him. So this means:
3. A GOOD FRIENDSHIP HAS GOOD COMMUNICATION.
Don’t leave them hanging. Keep them in the scoop. Talk to them…it is that simple.
In chapter 20 of 1 Samuel, Jonathan tells David that He will do whatever he says. This means:
4. A FRIENDSHIP HAS TO HAVE COMMITMENT.
You have to be willing to go out of the way and bend over backwards for them. You have to have their back.
When you go back and read through these few chapters (notice I said when and not if) you will realize that Saul is the current king. David has already been chosen as the next king, but Jonathan was Saul’s son, not David. So this means:
5. A FRIENDSHIP SHOULD HAVE NO JEALOUSLY.
I am sure Jonathan was thinking he had a pretty great chance of becoming the next king since his father was the king, but David got chosen instead. Instead of throwing a hissy fit and getting mad when he wasn’t the next king, Jonathan did not get jealous. He celebrated for David, and he was excited for him. Don’t get jealous when your friend succeeds and you do not. Celebrate and rejoice for and with them.
In Chapter 20 is David and Jonathan’s Covenant. Verse 23 is my favorite. This was no ordinary friendship. This was a friendship that the LORD was between. So this means:
6. A GOOD FRIENDSHIP IS ONE WHERE THE LORD IS BETWEEN YOU.
A good friendship is not one of just you and your friend, but one where Jesus is between y’all along every step. Everything centers around Him. This is the most important thing you need to understand to have a good friendship!
When (not if) you read through these chapters, you will eventually get to the point where Jonathan dies, but their friendship does not even end there. David promises to take care of Jonathan’s family. So this means:
7.A GOOD FRIENDSHIP NEVER ENDS AND GOES BEYOND THE OTHER PERSON’S LIFE.
Taking care of the people your friend loves is showing your love for your friend. A good friend is also a friend to the people their friend loves. A good friend helps even when their friend is gone. They never forget about their friend.
Jonathan went out of his way to go to David and encourage him while his dad was seeking to take his life (1 Samuel 23:16). so this means:
8. A GOOD FRIENDSHIP ENCOURAGES EACH OTHER, ESPECIALLY IN THEIR FAITH!
In the worst time of David’s life, Jonathan was there to encourage him to keep his faith. Now that is a true friendship.
God sent His son Jesus many years after David and Jonathan lived. Jesus was a perfect friend who is still alive and loves you! Read more about Him in the New Testament. I love y’all, too! Mwaa! 😘
As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (1 Samuel 18:1 ESV)
And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. (1 Samuel 18:4 ESV)
And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. (1 Samuel 19:1-2 ESV)
And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you. (1 Samuel 19:4 ESV)
Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” (1 Samuel 20:4 ESV)
And as for the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.” (1 Samuel 20:23 ESV)
And may you treat me with the faithful love of the LORD as long as I live. But if I die, treat my family with this faithful love, even when the LORD destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.” (1 Samuel 20:14-15 NLT)
And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Samuel 9:1 ESV)
Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. (1 Samuel 23:16 NLT)