Introduction: Do you have friends? If so, do you want or need more
friends? Is it possible you need replacements for your current
friends? How do you stack up as a friend? Do you need remedial work
in the friendship department? Let’s dive in and find out what King
Solomon teaches us about choosing our friends and being a friend.

  1. The Importance of Friends.

    1. How important are friends to your life?

      1. What purpose do friends have? Why do you want any?

      2. How do you feel when your friends are not very

    2. Let’s look at Genesis 2:18. What reason did God give for
      providing a spouse for Adam?

      1. If you have a spouse, do you need friends?

      2. Do you hold your friends closer than your spouse by
        criticizing your spouse to your friends?

    3. Read Proverbs 27:9-11. As you look at these verses, in
      what circumstances does Solomon suggest a friend should be
      useful? (Good counsel, help in time of disaster, support
      when others treat you with contempt.)

      1. How do you stack up as a friend? Do you give this
        kind of support to your friends?

      2. How do your friends stack up? Do your friends give
        you this kind of support?

      3. Why is (v.10) a “friend of your father” worthy of

      4. Why does Solomon advise us (v.10) not to go to family
        for help when disaster strikes? Compare Paul’s advice
        in 1 Timothy 5:4. Paul tells us that we have an
        obligation to help our parents and grandparents.

        1. Does this mean we are obliged to help those who
          raised us but not our siblings? (If you look at
          Proverbs 27:10 it refers to the practical matter
          of distance. In this case the brother is far
          away and the friend is near.)

    4. Read Proverbs 18:24. Once again we have a comparison
      between friends and family. What is the difference between
      a companion and a friend according to this text?

      1. Why might many companions ruin you? (I don’t think it
        is the number that is the problem, the problem is
        that they are mere companions and not real friends.
        They won’t feel obligated to help in time of

      2. If you have the King James version of this text you
        will find what is undoubtedly the truth (if you want
        to have friends you need to be friendly), but is
        unlikely the proper translation of the Hebrew.

      3. Do you have a friend that is closer than your brother
        or sister? How did you come by that friend?

        1. Notice the text says “a friend” that sticks
          closer than a brother. How many friends do you
          have that are closer than your siblings? (A
          friend that close would seem rare.)

  2. The Criteria For Friends

    1. Read Proverbs 13:19-21. On what basis should we choose
      our friends? Why? (Chose wise friends instead of fools
      because your friends affect your life!)

      1. Why are fools bad friends? (Verse 19: they want to
        continue in evil.)

      2. Why are wise individuals good for friends? (These
        three verses together suggest that the wise will have
        their desires fulfilled and will be prosperous.)

      3. How does the fact that your wise friends have their
        desires fulfilled help you? (We are influenced by our
        friends. If they are wise, we are more likely to be

    2. Read Proverbs 24:1-6. Are these six verses related or
      unrelated in your opinion?

      1. Is life like building a house or waging a war?

        1. If you say, “yes,” tell me why?(All of a
          productive life is like a project. You are
          building, accomplishing, moving forward towards

        2. What do you need to accomplish your life goals
          according to these verses? (Verse 6 says we need
          many advisers to wage a victorious “war.” Verse
          5 suggests these advisers be men of wisdom and
          knowledge (the righteous). Verses 1 and 2 tell
          us we should not get our advice from wicked

          1. Why would anyone be tempted to get advice
            from a wicked person? (Verse 1 tells us
            envy could motivate us.)

    3. Read Proverbs 27:6&17. Will we always like the advice of
      our friends? Will we always instantly agree a wise
      friend’s advice is a good idea? What word pictures do
      these verses paint? (These verses suggest that we will
      sometimes get good advice we don’t particularly like from
      our friends. The word picture is “wounds” and getting hit
      with steel!)

    4. This brings us back to the first text from Proverbs we
      looked at in this lesson: Proverbs 27:9. It tells us that
      the pleasantness of our friends springs from their earnest

      1. How can this be considered pleasant when we just
        learned it was like getting wounded or hit with

      2. Can you see now how having the right friends, getting
        the right advice and influence, is critical to the
        success of our lives?

  3. Friendship Evangelism

    1. We have discussed the importance of having the right
      friends. How should we relate to those people who are not
      righteous? Should we keep ourselves separate from them?
      How should we relate to them?

    2. Read Proverbs 25:20-22. What do these texts teach us about
      relating to the unrighteous?

      1. Why no singing? What, exactly, do you think this “no
        singing” reference means? (Taken together, I think
        these texts teach us to give practical help to the
        unrighteous who are in need and to be very careful
        about how we present the gospel to them. The
        practical help, more than the talk, will help to
        bring them around.)

  4. Friendship to the Needy

    1. Read Proverbs 21:13. Does this text suggest how we should
      help the poor, or simply tell us to help them?

      1. Are we helping the poor by simply giving them
        handouts? Read Proverbs 10:4. What does this suggest
        is the way out of poverty?

        1. Is poverty always the result of laziness? (Read
          Proverbs 13:23)

          1. How can we discern between those who are
            poor because of injustice and those who
            are just lazy?

    2. Read Proverbs 19:17; 22:9; 28:27. How important is
      kindness to the poor?

    3. What does the Old Testament concept of gleaning teach us
      about how to treat the poor? See Ruth 2:7.

      1. Was gleaning a hand out? Was it hard work?

    4. What does Paul teach us in the New Testament about aid to
      the poor? While it is worthwhile to read all of 1 Timothy
      5:3-16, look particularly at verses 3, 7, 9-11, 13.

      1. After considering this text, do you think Paul would
        approve of handing out money or food to people
        indiscriminately? Or giving out food just because
        they were poor?

      2. Can we harm someone by just giving them money or
        food? When Paul says (v.7) to give instructions on
        these matters so that no one can be open to blame, is
        he suggesting that we can be “blamed” if we mis-handle our charity? Can the way we help someone else
        ever be a sin?

      3. How can we implement the “gleaning” idea for the poor
        around us?

    5. Friend, God tells us our friends are important. He calls
      on us to choose our friends carefully. Part of being a
      friend is to help others. God places a responsibility on
      us to answer the cry of the poor, but He instructs us to
      be wise in the way we answer that cry. Will you take the
      time to be sure you are promoting good friendships and
      properly helping those in need?

  5. Next Week: Drink From Your Own Spring