Proverbs 18:24: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, / But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

June 22nd, 2024 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Translators typically translate this verse in one of two very different ways. The first group translates it to mean that if you want to have friends, you yourself must first be a friend to others: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (NKJV). Taken this way, the verse advises that if you are having trouble making and keeping friends, perhaps it is because you are not being outgoing and friendly yourself.

Other translators translate the verse as a warning against having too many friends: “A man of many companions may come to ruin” (ESV). Many of us have found that taking new “best friends” into our confidence too quickly and too deeply, can disappoint, frustrate, and perhaps even unintentionally hurt us. In this way, the verse is a warning to those who make friends too easily, unwisely allowing anyone into their inner circle, ultimately to their own destruction.

The second half of the proverb tells us that it is possible to have friends who are more helpful and loyal than a blood relative. Those are the friends that we choose discretely and wisely, who are godly and whose friendship brings us closer to the Lord. There is also another friend, one who never fails us or disappoints us, who can always be completely trusted and relied upon: Jesus. He said:

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:14–15)

Someone told me long ago: “You can tell a real friend by the fact that when you’ve made a fool of yourself, he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job.”

“LORD, You said that You call us friends, and we thank You that You are completely faithful and reliable.”