What does it mean to be a good friend? (Proverbs 17:17)

What does it mean to be a good friend? (Proverbs 17:17)
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 / Unsplash

Welcome to the Odd Verse of the Day series.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. - Proverbs 17:17

While this verse could be written off as a simple platitude about friendship, it contains a fantastic insight into what godly friendships look like. 

Let's start with the context.

The Book of Proverbs is a portion of the Old Testament's wisdom literature. "Proverb" typically refers to a short, clever saying offering wisdom. 

And this book has a lot of those. 

The book is linked to King Solomon, who in 1 Kings 3 asks God for wisdom, which is given to him. Now, we have this almost catalog of wisdom that tackles all angles of life: wealth, sex, temperament, relationships, and much more. 

Our verse today focuses on friendship. 

What makes a good friend?

People need people. It's one of the fundamental truths of life. As our verse alludes, we need friends when things are good and when things are working against us. 

And not all friendships are created equal. 

Some friendships are worth investing more in, while others can drag us down. So, what makes a good friend?

Let's expand our view to answer:

  1. A good friend can let things go. Bad ones never do. (Prov. 17:9)
  2. Good friends give honest advice. (Prov. 27:9).
  3. We become the people we surround ourselves with. (Prov. 13:20). 
  4. Good friends stick around. Bad ones run away. (Prov. 18:24). 
  5. Good friends don't gossip. (Prov. 16:28). 

According to our main verse, these things are true all the time, in good times and in bad times. 

  • When they win the lottery. When they have gambled it all away. 
  • When they get a promotion. When they move away. 
  • When they forget your birthday. When they bring you a meal when you get sick. 

Today's takeaway

We need good friends in our lives, but even more so, we need to become good friends. I am learning to be a better friend. I'll be honest, I'm not the best. 

A good friend of mine gave me some honest advice. 

"You get to choose what you want our friendship to be. If I could carry it on my own, I would. But I can't. I need you to pick up your end or tell me to set mine down." 

Let's pray about that!

God, you have given us advice on what it means to be a good friend. It's now on us to do it. Help us show the world your love through our friendships. Amen.


Today's verse comes from my video series, Roll For Verse. In this series, I roll dice to pick a random Bible verse each day. Then, I spend a few minutes sharing devotional thoughts on the verse. If you'd like to join the fun and study the Bible in a new way, check it out on TikTok or YouTube.

@pastor.payton Episode 7 of Roll for Verse takes us to wisdom about friendship. This video is based on the fun format of Roll for Sandwich by @Adventures In Aardia Come back for more just like this. #rollforsandwich #rollforinitiative #d20 #d20games #biblestudy #verseoftheday #christiantiktok #rollforverse #rollforseries #boardgamegeek #dndtiktok #fyp ♬ Cry of the day - LAYERS CLASSIC