Characteristics of a Good Friend According to the Bible

7 Characteristics of a Good Friend According to the Bible

We all want friends. Friends who are safe people to confide in, whom you can share your heart with, and to talk to when things are hard. As a Christian woman, you need friendships like this to help you thrive in your relationship with Jesus. 

Not all friendships will be like this, though, so you need to know how to spot someone who could be. That is why you need to know some characteristics of a good friend according to the Bible to help you find these women and be this woman for others. 

The Bible shows you what qualities to look for in a friend to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus. You are designed to be in community; it’s a gift to have these relationships. Friends can encourage you to seek Jesus more, stand in prayer with you, and point you to his truth when you are discouraged. 

Who is a Friend According to the Bible

First and foremost, Jesus is your best friend. He is the one you should go to before going to anyone for help, counsel, comfort, etc. 

He also shows you how to be a good friend and what a true friend looks like, as he demonstrated this with the disciples. Studying how he lived and how he interacted with the disciples can show you how to be a friend. 

This starts with love. He loved others above himself. You must do the same in your relationships with others. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13, NIV)

When someone has this motivation in their heart, it shows that they are a good friend because they are following Jesus’s example. They want to show you him. You can tell they are a friend when they are denying themselves. 

When they speak of Jesus and share his love—looking to his life as an example—you know they are someone who strives to follow his word and is a friend of Jesus first.

You want someone who is his friend first, so they can encourage you to seek him above all. This is a true friend.

God’s Word provides many scriptures to pinpoint specific characteristics of what a good friend is, all pointing to being like God.

Types of Friendship in the Bible

The Bible shows us many different types of friendships. You can learn a lot from biblical figures and their lives: there are people with the motivation to love others, and those that are looking out only for their own benefit. The best example to follow is Jesus’s.

In the book of Acts, people bonded together in the name of Jesus with one mission—to spread his name. They were like-minded in wanting to grow the kingdom; you need to be the same way, whether you are friends with another Christian or not. Show his love and point them to him. This is the type of friend Jesus calls you to be.

Characteristics of a Good Friend, According to the Bible 

The Bible outlines the qualities of a good friend via scripture and the lives of biblical figures. These will allow you to love others well and show them Jesus. 

Below, you will find 7 of these characteristics to help you be a good friend and know what good Christian friendships should look like.

1. Loving

It’s important that you choose to be a friend that strives to show his love. This is the most essential characteristic of a true Christian friend.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8, NIV) 

You need it to be your desire, and you need to see it be another’s desire for you too. This allows you to be open and honest with others, admitting your faults. Forgive each other for your mistakes. Above all, love with God’s love. That should be the main motivation in your friendship. 

When you see others having your best interests at heart, and striving to love you with Jesus’ love, count them as friends worth having on your side. Be that kind of friend, also.

2. Encouraging 

A good Christian friend encourages you. One way they do this is by sharing God’s word with you when you are discouraged or need help. 

They pray for you and listen to show you God’s love. You want friends that speak truth to your heart and strive to uplift you when you are struggling. 

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

A friend who encourages is someone who loves you so much because they want you to receive from the Lord what only he can provide. They know that he has what you need. Be an encourager, and find encouragers to befriend. 

3. Doing Good

Being a good friend—and the mark of a good Christian friendship—means doing good for others and encouraging them to do good as well. 

When someone is sick or injured, you can bring them a meal. Celebrate accomplishments and milestones in their lives. Help them with their practical needs: babysitting, shopping for them, shoveling their sidewalk.

We see this in Hebrews 10:24 (NIV): “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…”

Encourage your friends toward doing good things for people and the community. Put God’s words into action.

Godly Friendship Resource

Click on the image to download this Free Christian Resource about Godly Friendship

4. Forgiving One Another

Friends forgive, as Jesus does. He doesn’t hold a grudge against you and you should live the same way. You need to forgive others and find friends that extend forgiveness too. 

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13, NIV) 

This makes a good friend. When someone does something wrong toward you, or makes a mistake, be a friend that forgives. 

5. Helping

Friends help each other. A good friend is someone you should be able to call on for help. They will put down what they’re busy with and be of service.

“If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10, NIV) 

This shows the love of Christ, when a friend denies themselves and offers up their time and resources. That is a friend who is loving and wants the best for others. When you do this for others it spurs them on to do the same for you.

6. Don’t Judge Others

Good, godly friends don’t judge. 

Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.” (James 4:11, NIV) 

You might not agree with someone’s decisions or what they did, but you must stand in love as God calls you to in order to be a good friend. Don’t judge; leave that up to God. That is his job and his right. 

Instead, be a friend that points them to the Bible in love if you feel God leading you to. Challenge them to grow in him and be more like Jesus in a loving way, as led by the Spirit. Pray for them. 

Friends that help you grow in the Lord in this way are a gift because they love you. Affirm others in the Lord and challenge them in a loving manner, not a judgmental way. We want to grow and see others prosper with Jesus.

7. Being There When Times Are Hard

When things are hard, do you have a friend who wants to be there for you? Friends should support each other by listening to each other, praying for each other, and helping as they can when you are struggling—pointing you to Jesus as the answer, always. 

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NIV) 

Jesus doesn’t want you to carry your burdens alone. You need friends who encourage you; to help you give your burdens to Jesus and show you him by helping you not feel alone in it.

Having friendships is so important. They boost you in your relationship with Jesus. 

These 7 characteristics of a good friend according to the Bible will help you know how to be a Godly friend and how to find one. Friends are a blessing and gift from the Lord.

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Nikki Evanson

Hi, I'm Nikki

My goal is to help and equip Christian women like you to live for Jesus by following Matthew 22:37-39: to love God, to love yourself, and to love others.

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