Four Marks of a Biblical Friend

by Paul Tautges | October 1, 2013 4:00 am

COMPANY-COLOR-364-96[1]In yesterday’s post, I began a 3-part summary of the teaching the men of our church received at our annual retreat this past weekend with Jonathan Holmes. Part one in this blog series introduced the topic of biblical friendship by pointing out the human need for friendship.

In today’s post, we take a look at four marks of a true, biblical friend. As you read each mark examine yourself as a friend and ask the Lord to cause you to grow where growth is needed. Also, if these qualities describe well any of your own friends then pause to thank the Lord for them.


A biblical friend remains true and faithful through times of adversity. Trials have a way of sifting out the fickle from the faithful. A faithful friend is one who sticks with you and is, therefore, a treasure.


A biblical friend speaks with frankness and honesty. There is no “secret love” in a true friend.

“Secret love is like a man winking at a girl in the dark; it does neither one any good.” [Waltke]

The New Testament affirms that a biblical friend is a true brother in Christ who loves enough to speak the truth in love (Matthew 18:15; Galatians 6:1-3; Ephesians 4:15-16).


A biblical friend is one who exercises care in the relationship. He is careful in three areas:


A true, biblical friend is one who gives faithful counsel to his friend for his ultimate good and God’s glory. He speaks what his friend needs to hear in order to be obedient to God’s Word. He speaks the truth, not merely what will “keep” a superficial relationship.

“If anyone were to ask of me, ‘What is the best thing in life?’ I would answer, ‘Friends.’” [Gregory of Nazianzus]

In tomorrow’s post, Part 3, we will learn about the ongoing disciplines that are required to forge and cultivate biblical friendship.

[NOTE: Jonathan’s work on biblical friendship is now published by Cruciform Press in the book The Company We Keep[2].]

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  2. The Company We Keep:

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