Family Bible Study lesson for May 30: Being Friends : Friday, May 14, 2004
May 14 2004 by Vic Ramsey

Family Bible Study lesson for May 30: Being Friends : Friday, May 14, 2004
Friday, May 14, 2004

Family Bible Study lesson for May 30: Being Friends

By Vic Ramsey
Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; 27:5-6, 9-10, 17; Philippians 4:1-3, 10, 14-16

One of my favorite movie scenes takes place in the second Star Trek film. Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise have survived a fierce battle against a hijacked starship. Unbeknownst to the captain, down in engineering, Mr. Spock has saved the ship by entering a restricted area and closing a ruptured vent. Dying of radiation poisoning, Spock faces Kirk through the compartment window.

"Jim ...," Spock gasps, "you have been, and always will be, my friend."

Literature and history are filled with friendships: the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. David and Jonathan, along with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are biblical examples.

Always be dependable

Proverbs 17:17; 18:24

In Proverbs 17:17, the writer equates "friend" and "brother" and says that, at all times, even in tough times, friends persevere.

In Proverbs 18:24, the KJV and HCSB translate the first half of the verse differently. The KJV translates the Greek Old Testament, which has "to shew himself friendly," and makes the point that a person desiring friends must be friendly.

The HCSB and NIV translate the Hebrew version, which reads, "come to harm or ruin." Here, the contrast is between "many friends" or "companions," that is, mere acquaintances who have no deep commitment to a relationship, and "a friend closer than a brother," one who knows and loves you deeply.

The military has invested a great deal of time and energy studying why soldiers fight. They've discovered that troops don't fight because they're ordered to do so, to protect the homeland or to advance some great cause. A soldier fights for the fellow next to him in the foxhole. When the bullets fly and the bombs fall, troops fight for their friends.

Speak the truth in love

Proverbs 27:5-6,9-10,17

These five verses speak to an essential quality of great friendships: honesty. Because criticism from a true friend flows across a bridge of love, it has an entirely different impact upon us than would the same comment from someone else. A friend's critique can't be discounted with the thought "well, she just doesn't like me," or "he doesn't really understand how I feel." Holding each other accountable and telling difficult truths are marks of a genuine friendship.

Conversely, an "enemy" often hides hostility behind a curtain of flattery. He may make us feel good momentarily, but in the long run, empty praise only serves to puff us up, and not to help us grow.

In Proverbs 27:9, the translations differ slightly in the latter half of the verse. Literally, the Hebrew reads "sweetness - (of) his friend - from counsel - (of) soul." The HCSB understanding is that the pleasantness of a friendship is greater than one's own thoughts or ideas. The NIV and KJV understand the text to mean that a friend's honest, "soulful" counsel is the source of the "sweetness" of a friendship.

Help settle disputes

Philippians 4:1-3

In these verses, Paul refers to a dispute between two women of the Philippian church, both of whom had worked with Paul in the service of the gospel. Paul urges them to agree "in the Lord," to allow their faith to serve as a bridge over whatever differences they have.

Paul urges another person, translated "true partner" (HCSB) or "loyal yokefellow" (NIV), to mediate the dispute. Some have suggested that the word here, "zyzygus," is actually a proper name, though there are no other records indicating that it was ever used in this way.

Meet needs

Philippians 4:10,14-16

Paul's friendship with the Philippian church is manifest in the tone he takes through out the letter. Here, as he wraps up, he thanks his friends for their faithful support while he traveled to other cities on the Greek peninsula. Even in Thessalonica, just a short distance away, Paul received financial support from his friends in Philippi.

Helping with needs, monetary and otherwise, is one way friends demonstrate their commitment to each other.
5/14/2004 12:00:00 AM by Vic Ramsey | with 0 comments

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