BIBLE TEXT: Proverbs 12:26; 22:24-25; 14:7; 17:17; 27:9; 18:24; James 1:19; I Corinthians 15:33
QUESTION TO CONSIDER: Have you chosen good friends? King Solomon has a lot to teach us about how important it is to choose good companions.
BIBLE LESSON: Our companions are people we like and choose to be around. We call these companions our friends. Since we spend a lot of time with our friends, they will generally have an influence over us either for good or bad. That’s why it is so important that we choose our friends wisely. Proverbs 12:26 says, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” (NKJV)
King Solomon gives us a lot of good advice in the book of Proverbs about choosing good companions. He also gives us warnings about what can happen if we choose the wrong kind of friends. First, let’s take a look at some of the warnings against bad companions:
Read Proverbs 22:24-25. Solomon tells us not to become friends with someone who is an angry person. This is a person who has a bad temper and is quick to become angry. Why would a person like that be a dangerous friend to have? In James 1:19, we are told that we should be “slow to become angry.” That is the opposite of being quick-tempered, isn’t it?
Another kind of person who does not make a good companion is a foolish one. Read Proverbs 14:7. Wise King Solomon is telling us not to hang out with a foolish person. A foolish person is the opposite of someone who is wise. A wise person is one who tries to make the right decisions based on what God wants him to do. A foolish person does not make good decisions and if we spend a lot of time with one who is foolish, his or her foolishness could start rubbing off on us! If we want to be wise, it is helpful to choose friends who are wise.
There is also a verse in the New Testament which warns us not to hang around bad companions. It is found in I Corinthians 15:33 and says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.'” The apostle Paul wrote these words and he is agreeing with King Solomon that hanging around bad people does not help us to be good people. In fact, Paul is warning us not to fool ourselves into thinking we can have a bad friend and their bad behavior won’t rub off on us at all. We need to be on guard against making friends with those who go against God in what they say and do. A good friend is someone who will help us to be a better person, not encourage us to do things that are wrong.
Now let’s look at some of the advice on what to look for in a friend:
Read Proverbs 17:17. What will a true friend always do? Even if you have a bad day and aren’t in the best of moods, or you say something that hurts her feelings, a true friend is one who will still love you when you make mistakes and is willing to forgive you. When you have a friend like this, you can relax. You don’t have to constantly worry if she will still like you or if she is going to go talk badly about you to others. Someone who can love and forgive and be loyal is the best kind of companion to have.
In Proverbs 27:9, what two things does Solomon say make one’s heart glad? When we smell something nice and sweet like perfume (or cookies baking in the oven!) it can make us feel good. In a similar way, it is sweet and pleasant to get some good advice from a trusted friend. That is another characteristic of a good friends – they will always try to give good advice to us to help us make the right decisions.
Finally, if we want to have good friends in our lives, we must learn to be a good friend ourselves. Proverbs 18:24 tells us, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
- Why would an angry person not be a good companion?
- What might happen to those who choose fools as their companions?
- What verse in the New Testament warns us that evil companions corrupt good morals?
- What will a true friend always do?
- If we want to have good friends, what does Proverbs 18:24 tell us to be?
- Proverbs 12:26 – The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. (NKJV)
- I Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (NKJV)
WORD OF THE WEEK: Hebrew word – rea’ (ray’-ah) רֵ֫עַ
Definition: friend, companion, fellow
This is the Hebrew word used for the word “friend” in Proverbs 17:17.
*Hebrew was the original language of the Old Testament. Greek was the original language of the New Testament.
DID YOU KNOW? David and Jonathan were a pair of very good friends in the Bible. Jonathan’s father, King Saul, hated David and tried to kill him more than once, but Jonathan was a true and loyal friend to David. Jonathan was a prince and was in line for the throne, but God wanted David to be the next king of Israel. Jonathan was not jealous at all. He loved and obeyed God, and he loved and was kind to his friend.
- “My Friends” List – Make a list of at least 5 of your friends. Next to each of their names, write down a description of that friend. Be honest about describing each person. When you have finished, go back and read over each description. Are each of your friends good companions? Have you chosen your friends wisely?
- Good Companions/Bad Companions – Research the following pairs of people. Two were friends and two were married couples. After reading the scriptures for each pair, decide if they were good or bad companions for each other and give reasons for your answers. 1) Jonathan & David- I Samuel 18:1-4; I Samuel 19:1-7; I Samuel 20:1-17; I Samuel 20:42 2) Ruth & Naomi – Ruth 1:3-17; Ruth 4:13-15 3) Ahab & Jezebel – I Kings 16:29-33; I Kings 18:3-4; I Kings 19:1-3; I Kings 21:1-16 4) Aquila & Priscilla – Acts 18:2-3; Acts 18:24-26; Romans 16:3-4; I Corinthians 16:19
- Companion Matching Game – This link goes to a printable matching game of 15 pairs of Bible companions. Answers are provided.
- Coloring Page – This link provides a free printable coloring page of David and Jonathan.
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