After summarizing my theory about the need for deeper friendships in Making the Case for God Buddies, I’m now beginning a new series of posts that provide examples of “GBs” (that’s short for “God Buddies” for those of you just joining in) in the Bible to further support my position. Each of these biblical friendships demonstrate how ordinary and often sinful people are transformed for God’s bigger purposes in the world.
You may recall in What Exactly is a God Buddy relationship?, I explained that this type of friendship is different because it connects you both on a “soul level”. My belief is a relationship between God Buddies can only occur if it is built on a solid foundation of biblical characteristics that I will detail in a later series.
So let’s start at the beginning. The beginning of time.
God created everything “Good”…
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created light and dark, day and night, sky, land, and sea. He created the plants and trees, the sun, moon, and stars. Then He made all the animals, fish and birds. And finally, human beings.
Genesis 1 informs us that God looked at each installment in His created world, paused, and pronounced “it is good.”
…but God decided man should not be alone
After the first human, Adam is created there is a startling statement in the book of Genesis that something is not good. The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
God meant that Adam was not yet complete and he needed companionship.
Even before that fateful day later in the Garden of Eden when humanity’s biggest problem of sin entered the world (Genesis 3), the very first issue for man was social isolation. Adam needed community and accountability so God removed one of Adam’s ribs and created Eve as his first companion.
Throughout the Old and New Testament, we see friendship stories and good advice for living according to God’s standards. The Bible provides many examples of relationships at their very best. There are also many examples of relationship at their very worst.
My hope is to show you how ordinary and sinful people (last time I checked, that includes all of us!) can challenge, support and encourage each of us to live according to God’s standards.
What is biblical friendship?
In the book The Company We Keep: In Search of Biblical Friendship, author Jonathan Holmes says he has never once seen an accountable relationship work unless it was built on a pre-existing biblical friendship.
In the first chapter of his book, Holmes offers this working definition about biblical friendship:
“Biblical friendship exists when two or more people, bound together by a common faith in Jesus Christ, pursue him and his kingdom with intentionality and vulnerability. Rather than serving as an end in itself, biblical friendship serves primarily to bring glory to Christ, who brought us into friendship with the Father. It is indispensable to the work of the gospel in the earth, and an essential element of what God created us for.”— Jonathan Holmes, The Company We Keep: In Search of Biblical Friendship,
Written another way from my viewpoint, the principles for being a God Buddy are that you share a common goal of learning to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ by being vulnerable and accountable to one another in order to serve others and bring glory God in all you do.
Commonality. Intentionality. Vulnerability. Serving. Glorifying God.
This seems simple enough but people have struggled with these principles for thousands of years.
So over the next several posts, I will examine several examples of deeper friendships in the Bible including, but not necessarily limited to or particularly in this order:
- Jonathan and David
- Elijah and Elisha
- Jethro and Moses
- Moses and Aaron
- Paul and Barnabas
- Paul and Timothy
- Ruth and Naomi
- Mark and Paul
- Abraham and Lot
- King David and Nathan
- Job and His Friends
- Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
- Jesus with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus
- Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila
Why are these biblical examples important?
Read along with the next series of posts as we learn together (yes, I will learn as well along the way) as I dig deeper into each of these friendships.
Throughout the series, feel free to leave a comment about any examples I have missed.