True Friends

Faithful - 1 Samuel 18:1-20:42

1.      What are some synonyms for or words that define friendship? (…a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people; close relationship; attachment; association; bond; tie; link; union; camaraderie; fellowship; unity; etc.)

2.      Is there a difference in “friendship” and “godly friendship”? (Godly friendship is built on commitment to God first and foremost. It provides lifelong encouragement and complete honesty between two people.)

3.      What qualities do you value most in a friend? (Our answers may vary some, but we probably find friends who are trustworthy, honest, dependable, kind, funny, and share common interests and values with us.)


Today’s study reminds us that faithful friends are gifts from God, and true friendship is based on mutual trust and faithfulness. Jonathan and David’s friendship was a commitment that transcended all situations and circumstances of life!


True Friends! Read 1 Samuel 18:1-5


A Covenant is a contract, agreement, undertaking, pledge, promise, bond, etc., between two or more people. To Covenant is to agree, undertake, contract, guarantee, pledge, promise, agree, engage, commit oneself, bind oneself, etc.


1.      What are some modern day covenant relationships?

2.      What are the similarities and differences between the covenant relationship of Jonathan and David and these examples shared by our group today?

Although the Scripture does not talk about Jonathan and David’s relationship before this passage, I highly suspect that they came to know each other when David was called to play his musical instrument for Saul.

3.      Where do you see evidence here of the friendship commitment David and Jonathan had for each other? (They had every reason to be enemies or at least rivals. Jonathan was heir to the throne by his bloodline. David was God’s choice to be the next king. But instead of letting this rivalry drive a wedge between them, they became the closest of friends. They demonstrated godly friendship, always seeking the best for the other person.)

4.      What does it take to create and maintain a great friendship? (Making and keeping friends requires effort from both people, but good friends are well worth it. We have to work to carve out the time in our hectic schedules that friendship requires.)

5.      How many “best friends” can one person have? (Social Media.)

6.      Read 1 Sam. 18:5. Do you agree or disagree that success reveals a person’s character?

7.      How can success change a friendship?

8.      Even if the gesture is never reciprocated, how can a person encourage friends in their successes?

In the remainder of chapter 18 and chapter 19, Saul tries to kill David numerous times. Saul gives one of his daughters to David as his wife in hopes that she will be a thorn in his side. In chapter 20 we find Jonathan protecting David from the plans of his father to kill David. Jonathan honored his father as King while at the same time being loyal to his commitment to friendship with David. This was a very delicate balancing act that almost cost Jonathan his life.


1 Samuel 20 is in seven parts:

First, in verses 1-4, David persuaded Jonathan that he must do something to help David escape Saul’s devious plans.

Second, in verses 5-11, David suggested a strategy for determining what Saul was thinking concerning David.

Third, in verses 12-17, David and Jonathan renewed their covenant of loyalty. Jonathan would report any plot to kill David and David would protect Jonathan’s household when he became king.

Fourth, in verses 18-23, Jonathan formulated a plan for communicating what he discovered about Saul to David.

Fifth, in verses 24-34, Jonathan discovered the extent of Saul’s hostility to David.

Sixth, in verses 35-40, Jonathan communicated with David by the prearranged plan.

Seventh, in verses 41-42, David and Jonathan said farewell to each other.


Tested Friends! Read 1 Samuel 20:35-40


1.      How did Jonathan show his concern/care for David?

2.      When have you protected a friend from harm or a friend protected you from harm?

3.      David and Jonathan’s friendship was tested at the deepest of levels. What kinds of tests make a friendship stronger?

4.      Would you view the smaller tests as more or less significant than a dramatic test?

5.      What risks would you be willing to take to help a true friend?

6.      What words, phrases, or examples can be used to indicate someone who is not a true friend?

7.      If someone asks you to do something wrong for the sake of preserving your friendship, is that person a true friend? (A true friend has the other person’s best interest above their own!)

8.      How might friendship enable you to see more clearly what is the right thing to do? (Sometimes it is best to help your friend “face the music” rather than run from facing consequences.)

9.      What Scripture verses support the correct attitude and behavior of one called to be a true friend? (Prov. 17:17; 27:17; 12:26.)


Timeless Friends! Read 1 Samuel 20:41-42


1.      What promises did Jonathan and David make to each other? (Jonathan and David wept and kissed each other good-bye, a common farewell between close friends in that culture. They promised friendship to each other and that their friendship would carry over to their offspring.  Example, Mephibosheth.)

2.      What elements do you think were the key ingredients in Jonathan’s and David’s strong friendship? (Love, trust, and loyalty were all key ingredients in the friendship. Both men shared a commitment to God. All of these qualities demonstrate a godly, selfless friendship that always seeks the best for the other person.)

3.      Can these elements be fostered within a relationship, or do they just happen? If not, how can we foster them?


Summarize and Challenge!


1.      What lessons can we learn from Jonathan and David that can help us become a better friend? (They guarded their friendship against jealousy and rivalry, sought the best for the other person, and built the relationship on mutual trust and faithfulness. They didn’t allow challenges to pull their friendship apart.)

As humans, we sometimes let down our friends or vice versa. But we can always depend on Christ, who will never leave us or forsake us.

2.      What are some of the greatest threats to true friendships?

3.      What actions can we take to guard our friendships against those threats?

Godly friendship is built on commitment to God, and integrity and provides lifelong encouragement!


Who’s name brings joy to your heart when your phone rings and you see on caller ID who is calling you? That just might be one of your best friends!


“What a Friend We Have in Jesus!”