Masters Plan

Go Therefore and Make Disciples


Our Relationship WIth Others


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

Radical Friendship—David and Jonathan had a true friendship, what some have called a covenant relationship.  A Biblical covenant was much more than a handshake! Any two people desiring a covenant went through an ordeal to formalize and seal the relationship. First, the two parties would cut their right palm or right wrist. As they shook hands and “mixed their blood,” they would pledge themselves to each other. They would put dye into the wound causing a noticeable scar where the covenant had been cut. Next, the two covenant partners would exchange coats saying, “All that I have is yours.” They would exchange belts with weapons attached saying, “If you ever have an enemy, he is my enemy as well. I’ll give my life to defend yours.” An enemy could see the scar on the wrist and take great caution in the fact that if I hurt this man, there’s another man who would give his life to avenge the harm I’ve caused. After these things, the two would sacrifice and split an animal in half, and separate the two halves on the ground. The two would walk through the animal halves in a figure-eight fashion saying, “If I ever break this covenant, may God do this to me and worse.” After this solemn ceremony, the two would exchange a meal and share bread and wine saying, “I am yours. You are mine. If you ever have a need, I will automatically meet it. If you have an enemy, I have an enemy.” Then and only then, they’d pledge “loving-kindness” (friendship) saying, “My love for you is based solely on what I do for you. The more I do for you, the more I love you.” The pledge was not only to the man who made the covenant but also to his children and grandchildren.

While friendships like this are very rare today, intimate friendships are a vital part of our lives.  We were designed to be in relationship and within each of us lies the longing for true friendship.  Before we can have friends like this we need to be a friend like this.   Friendships like David and Jonathan’s don’t just happen, it takes intentionality.  Author Tim Keller says, “Friendships are discovered and then forged.”

Forging Friendships—There are four building blocks to forging friendships—consistency, carefulness, candor and counsel.

Consistency—Friends are there for each other.  A friend makes you not the means to the end but the end in and of itself.  A friend says, “I will be there even when it costs me something.”  (Proverbs 17:17)

Carefulness—Friends are sensitive to each other.  Friends understand each other and are not emotionally disconnected. Friends laugh together during good times and bear one another’s burdens during times of sorrow.  (Proverbs 25:20, 27:14)

Candor—Friends speak the truth to each other.  As a friend, we need to be willing to share what might be painful words, but are in a friend’s best interest.  (Proverbs 27:5-6, 29:5)

Counsel—Friends hold nothing back.  Friends reveal themselves to the very bottom and in doing so have the ability to offer counsel that is both sweet to the soul and challenging at the same time.   (Proverbs 27:5-6, 29:5)

Looking at what Proverbs says about friendship can seem daunting.  How can I find a friend like that, let alone be a friend like that?  We can find comfort in Jesus’ words found in John 15:13, ‘Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends…’  Jesus bears the scars of his covenant relationship with you. On our own we cannot love like this, but Christ has modeled to each one of us true friendship and commitment and He now calls us as believers to forge these kinds of friendships and community.


  • How would you best describe the friendships in your life?  What is the closest thing you have to a David and Jonathan type friendship?
  • What needs to change in your life to be a better friend?
  • How will you apply the truths in this topic to your life this week?  Be specific.

verses related to this topic

  • 1 Samuel 18:1

    1 Samuel 18:1

    Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.

  • Proverbs 17:17

    Proverbs 17:17

    A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

  • Deuteronomy 10:19

    Deuteronomy 10:19

    So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

  • Ruth 1:16

    Ruth 1:16

    But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God."

  • 1 Samuel 20:17

    1 Samuel 20:17

    Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.

  • 2 Kings 2:2

    2 Kings 2:2

    Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here please, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, "As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel.

  • Proverbs 25:20

    Proverbs 25:20

    Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.

  • Proverbs 27:5-6

    Proverbs 27:5-6

    Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

  • Proverbs 27:9

    Proverbs 27:9

    Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.

  • Proverbs 27:17

    Proverbs 27:17

    As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

    Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

    Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

  • Matthew 5:42

    Matthew 5:42

    “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”

  • Matthew 22:39

    Matthew 22:39

    “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

  • John 12:35

    John 12:35

    So Jesus said to them, "For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes."

  • John 13:35

    John 13:35

    “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

  • John 15:12-14

    John 15:12-14

    “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do what I command you.”

  • 1 Thes 3:12

    1 Thes 3:12

    and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you;

  • 1 Peter 1:22

    1 Peter 1:22

    Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

books related to this topic

  • Spiritual Friendship

    Spiritual Friendship

    Spiritual Friendship expresses the great joy that Aelred took in his friends and reflects his long meditations on the classic work of the great Stoic philosopher Cicero. Aelred makes friendship seem something so timeless and universal in bringing men together in the common pursuit of the one eternal friend, Jesus.

  • The Four Loves

    The Four Loves

    Lewis' The Four Loves has an extensive section on friendship, raising to the highest level our relationships with the people God brings into our lives. There are risks that accompany the rewards but Lewis recommends we pursue friendships anyway, since hell is the only place outside heaven where we can be safe from the dangers of love.

  • Love Covers

    Love Covers

    Billheimer reminds us that fellowship is based on common spiritual parentage and that unity of the heart takes precedence over unity of doctrine.

  • Wide Awake

    Wide Awake

    In Wide Awake, Erwin McManus opens readers’ eyes to see the eight crucial attributes of those who achieve the life of their dreams. It is every person’s responsibility to discover and develop the gifts given to them by God.

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