Friendship – Gospel in Life


Tim Keller |  May 29, 2005

Download Agreement

By downloading this file, I confirm I understand Gospel in Life's Copyright & Permissions policies and agree to only use this file for personal usage and will not upload it to any third-party platforms.


  • God's Love
Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; 25:17,20; 26:18,19; 27:5,6,9,14,17; 28:23; 29:5
RS 178-20


In the Bible, wisdom is certainly not less than being moral and good — it’s much more. To be wise means that you are so in touch with reality that you know what the right thing is to do in the vast majority of the situations the moral rules don’t apply to. It means that when you are faced with multiple permissible choices, you will know which one to make.

Proverbs says you’re not going to be a wise person unless you are great at choosing, forging, and keeping terrific friendships. Let’s look more deeply at friendships under these four headings: the uniqueness of friendship; how to discover a friend; how to forge a friend; and lastly, where to get the power for friendship.

Understanding Proverbs

The book of Proverbs shows us that wisdom isn’t just about knowing right from wrong. It’s about understanding life at its core and knowing how to make good decisions, especially when things aren’t so black and white. It also tells us that having strong, lasting friendships is key to living wisely. We’re going to talk about why friendships are so unique, how we find and grow them, and where we get the strength to be a good friend.

1. The special role of friendship

Friendship is a bond that’s different from any other. It’s not like family, romance, or being a good neighbor. Even though our world talks a lot about romantic love, we shouldn’t forget about the love in friendship. It takes time and effort to keep friendships strong. Proverbs reminds us of this, telling us that friendships shape who we are, and that we should work to keep them.

2. Finding friendship

True friendship is like a sweet dessert – it’s something you find and enjoy, not something you make. It starts with having things in common and loving the same things. Great writers like Emerson and C.S. Lewis, and even a monk from the 12th century, Aelred of Rievaulx, spoke about this. They said that friendship is a special kind of love that brings something unique into our lives, and it’s actually really simple and uncomplicated.

3. Growing a friendship

Real friendship means always being there for each other, truly caring, and understanding each other’s feelings. It’s not about getting something for yourself or just saying nice things to make your friend happy. It’s about being careful with each other’s feelings, but also being honest. It’s about sharing secrets, being open, and giving good advice. A real friend is like a lighthouse, guiding you with constant support, honesty, and wisdom.

4. How we can be good friends

We all long for true friendship, but sometimes, we fail to be the kind of friend we want to be. Proverbs paints a picture of perfect friendship that both inspires us and shows us our shortcomings. But don’t worry, Jesus Christ shows us ultimate friendship by giving his life for his friends. As Christians, we can have deep friendships that reflect the loving relationship within God Himself, overcoming our differences and enriching our lives through His grace.



The Healing of Anger

By Tim Keller

The God Who Is

By Tim Keller

Questions of Suffering

By Tim Keller

June Book Offer

Deepen and Strengthen Your Marriage!

Marriage is one of the most profound human relationships — but it can also be one of the most challenging. So Tim and Kathy Keller designed a devotional book for married couples to use together.