“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend,” Proverbs 27:17 tells us. God uses Christian friendships to help His children grow in grace and stay true to Christ. But our twenty-first-century Western culture values individualism, busyness, and selfishness—qualities that do not encourage deep, long-lasting, satisfying friendships.
The authors guide us through a practical survey of biblical and historical friendships, drawing principles from them that will aid us in forming our own biblical friendships that will sharpen us for our Christian journey in a world that is no friend to grace.
Friendship in the Holy Scriptures
- Paul’s Understanding of Friendship
- Paul’s Friendship with Timothy
- Paul’s Hunger for Companionship while Facing Death
Friendship in the Christian Tradition
- John Calvin’s Friendships
- An Eighteenth-Century Friendship
- Two Baptist Friends
The Art of Building Godly Friendships
Practical Steps Toward Deepening Friendship
Joel R. Beeke is president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Michael A. G. Haykin is professor of church history and biblical spirituality as The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
“A treasure! From two of my friends, a booklet about friendship that makes me thankful for them and what they have written. Friendship is what Jesus gifts in His final hours—‘you are my friends’—and discovering friendship with others is one of God’s great gifts. Winsomely thoughtful and practical, this is a rare treasure that is bound to be read widely.” — Derek W. H. Thomas, senior minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina; Robert Strong Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology, RTS Atlanta
“This booklet is needed in the Christian world as people relate to phones and iPads but increasingly less to others. Here is an accessible, reader-friendly, ‘one-stop’ treatment of the Bible’s encouragement to form and sustain rich friendships. It is lucid but not simplistic, judicious but not obscure, and convicting but not shrill.” — Geoff Thomas, pastor, Alfred Place Baptist Church, Aberystwyth, Wales
Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians. I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns and attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’”
Many people who are new to the church need instruction in the most basic aspects of godly living. Even where churches are engaged heavily in discipleship, visitors and members often have gaps in their understanding and practice. One of the greatest needs of our time is for the Spirit of God to cultivate biblical godliness in us in order to put the glory of Christ on display through us, all to the glory of God the Father.
For these reasons, Joel Beeke and Ryan McGraw are coediting a series of booklets titled Cultivating Biblical Godliness. These booklets treat matters that are vital to Christian experience, and each contribution aims to address a wide variety of people and circumstances at a fundamental and introductory level. This includes teaching people what to believe in order to practice personal holiness as well as specific directions on how to cultivate biblical godliness in relation to issues that are common to God’s people.
The distinctive feature of this series is its experiential tone. While some booklet series aim to enlighten the mind, these booklets aim to warm the affections as well. The goal is to promote communion with the triune God and to transform the entire person in thought, speech, and behavior. To this end, we intend to include a wide range of authors whom the Spirit has blessed to skillfully stir up the church to personal holiness and affection to Christ through their preaching and writing ministries.
We need a Christianity that puts the transformative power of God in the gospel on display through developing a communion with God that is visible to the world. Our prayer is that through this series, the Lord would revive His church by producing Christians who are full of love for Christ, who deny themselves in order to follow Him at great personal cost, and who know the joys of walking with the triune God. This is the kind of Christianity that we need. This is the kind of Christianity that the triune God has used to turn the world upside down. May He be pleased to do so again.
Joel R. Beeke is President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a prolific author.
Ryan M. Mcgraw is pastor of First OPC in Sunnyvale, CA. He is also author or The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath.