Proverbs 27: Friends
As E. C. McKenzie said, "Some people make enemies instead of friends, because it is less trouble." It takes even less effort to alienate the friends we already have. On the other hand, finding and keeping a friend requires all the skill we can muster. But the reward for that effort is correspondingly great. The proverbs in this study give advice on friendship—its maintenance, how it is strengthened or weakened, and the special value of a friend. This wisdom is particularly valuable when applied to husband and wife, parent and child. But the wonder of friendship is its capacity to transcend age and gender, and to forge bonds stronger than blood.
Warming Up to God
How have you recently been encouraged to spiritual growth by a friend?
Discovering the Word
- Friend in English is flexible enough in its meaning to cover everything from a casual acquaintance to an intimate soul-mate. What type of friend is being described in these verses?
- Our enemies do not actually kiss us, any more than our friends actually wreak damage on our bodies. Kisses and wounds are figures of speech. How would you paraphrase verse 6 without using the words kisses, wounds or any other figurative language?
- Describe a "kiss" you've received from an enemy and a "wound" you've received from a friend.
- How are the kind words of friends a special pleasure (vv. 2, 17)?
- Ancient people knew, as we do, that only a harder material effectively sharpens a softer material. What happens when two objects of the same material sharpen one another (v. 17)?
Applying the Word
- What friendship do you currently have in which you are sharpening one another? How are you doing that?
- How many friends (in the sense that the proverbs use the term) do you think you want? Explain.
Responding in Prayer
Thank God for the friends you have who speak honestly with you—whether encouraging or rebuking—and build your relationship with Christ.