“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
How are you? Today’s post is on friendship. Take a journey with me in pondering the meaning of Proverbs 18:24 and what friendship means to us. As with most verses in the Bible, there are many opinions as to the meaning in Proverbs 18:24. Considering that God speaks to us personally and sometimes has differing messages for each of us, it is sometimes okay to have differing opinions as to it’s meaning.
Do you have many friends or few? Are you someone who just seems to be surrounded by people? Do have many invitations to go here or there? Are you the life of the party? Are you pleasant to be around? Are you always cracking a joke? Are you the type who feels kind of awkward in the crowd and sort of sits on the sidelines? Do you enjoy being out with one friend? Are you the person everyone comes to when in need? Do you have any friends?
I am not trying to make you feel bad if you don’t think you have friends or good if you have more friends than you can count. I am hoping to just get you started in thinking about friendship, so we can better contemplate the meaning of Proverbs 18:24.
Next, what do you think it means to be a friend or to be friendly? Is there a difference? Does a friend give you what you want or what you need? Does a friend seem agreeable all the time to you or correct you when you are wrong? Does friendly mean courteous, flirtatious, kind, giving, joyful, helpful, or any number of other things?
Now that we are thinking about friendship, friends, and friendliness, let’s look at Proverbs 18:24 and some of the varying meanings I saw as I researched for today’s post. (I will just summarize them in my own words.)
Varying meanings for Proverbs 18:24:
*Having too many friends will spread you too thin and you won’t be able to be
a good friend to anyone, so it is better to have just one good friend.
*If you aren’t friendly, you won’t have any friends.
*Some friends aren’t really friends, but more of just acquaintances. There
are only a few true friends.
*Many people who we think are friends will lead us down the wrong path in
life, but there is a friend who will lead us down the right path.
*We can have many friends, but Jesus is our only true friend.
With these meaning in mind, what are your thoughts for Proverbs 18:24? Some of these meanings are similar. Some are quite different. There are even more options than this if you look for them.
When I was a teenager, someone told me that it is better to have a few friends that you can count on than many friends that aren’t really friends. I think that is sage advice. Could it be the meaning of Proverbs 18:24?
Now, let’s look at Proverbs 18:24 a little closer. The first part of the verse says, “A man that hath friends, must shew himself friendly”. (KJV) In most of the places I looked, people seem to take “friends” as meaning “many friends”. So, in today’s lingo, it might sound more like, “A man that has many friends must always appear friendly.” What do you think?
If we think of it in that way, we can see just how tiring that can be. I don’t know about you, but no matter how much I enjoy being with someone and doing things with others, there are times when I just need time for myself. I need time to unwind, regroup, and just enjoy the quiet. I need time to pray, read, and think. I enjoy doing things and being with people, but I also enjoy my quiet time too. If we have too many friends or get involved with too many things, we may not have time for that quiet time. We also may not have time to be a true friend to each and every person. It is especially difficult to be a friend and “be there” for others, when we don’t have time to “be with God”.
The second part of Proverbs 18:24 (KJV) says, “and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother”. Is this second part talking about God or that special friend we have on earth, our best friend so to speak? That special friend may be someone different for everyone.
I think that no matter whether scripture is talking about God or about that special best friend in our life, God is always part of that special friendship. After all, a true friend wants us to be the best we can be and to follow God’s will for us. They care for our spiritual wellbeing as much or more than our physical and emotional wellbeing. They lift us up in prayer, care enough to tell us the truth whether it hurts or not, help carry our burdens, love us, show kindness, and inspire us to do better. Even if that isn’t meant to be God himself, it sounds like a godly person who is following God’s will. So, God is definitely involved.
I think verses like Proverbs 18:24 are good to get us thinking. We can all relate in some way, even if we all have unique understandings. We all want friends. We can understand that we need to be a friend to have a friend, although it isn’t always followed. Deep down, we can still understand it. Most of us have had someone we have called a best friend at one time or another. We understand that we like and enjoy being around that one special person a bit more than being with other people. That one person is special and holds a bigger piece of us in their heart than most people do. It is also a verse that can mean something different to us at different times. Some of our friendships change, get stronger and closer, or fade away. We need a different message at different times in our life.
As I think about it right now, to me, it means that it is good to be friendly towards everyone. However, we should really cherish the special friends who encourage us to be the godly people we are called to be. We should always make time for quiet time to be with God through prayer, reading the Bible, meditation, reflection, and even going out with that one special friend whom God gave you to help you be closer to Him. Don’t have so many “friends” that you don’t have time for what is important and you can’t be a true friend for each. Besides, if you have “many friends”, probably most of them aren’t true friends anyway.
It is great encouragement for people who don’t feel they have any friends or don’t have many friends. It is encouragement for those who lament over not having as many friends as their neighbor. It is caution about comparing ourselves to others who may have more friends. It may be food for thought about the way to be a true friend. It can be a way to inspire us to keep God as our best friend. It could be telling us not to get too stressed by having too many social engagements.
Thank you for your friendship, for your love, for your parental care, for the kindness you show. Thank you for your Word to inspire us, to teach us, and to encourage us. Help us to be a true friend to others and especially to you, for you are a true friend to us. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Proverbs 18:24 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 1824 mean to me?
*What does being a true friend mean?
*Do I have a true friend?
*Am I a true friend?
*What does being friendly mean?
*Do I have many friends or few friends?
*Are all of my friends true friends?
*What can I do to be a better heed the words in Proverbs 18:24?
*What can I do to be a better friend?
*Do I cherish my friends?
*Do I have time to be a true friend to all of my friends?
Now, it is your turn.
I hope this post got you to thinking not only about Proverbs 18:24, but also what it means to be a true friend. I pray that you know what it means to be a true friend and to have a true friend. I pray that you have been able to experience both. And, if you haven't, I pray that you will experience it sometime soon.
I welcome your thoughts on Proverbs 18:24 and friendship. (Actually, I always welcome your thoughts that would further God kingdom, whether it is about the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, prayer request, ideas, suggestions, questions, etc.) Please, feel free to leave a comment or contact me.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.