Devotional: Proverbs 17:17

Introduction to Devotional: Proverbs 17:17

The Bible, a revered text in Christian tradition, is a rich tapestry of wisdom, offering guidance and insight for a multitude of life’s aspects. Within its pages, the Old Testament holds Proverbs, a book known for its practical wisdom and teachings on how to live a righteous life. Today, we delve into Proverbs 17:17 from the New International Version (NIV), which states:

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Devotional: Proverbs 17:17


Proverbs, part of the Wisdom Literature in the Old Testament, is traditionally attributed to King Solomon, renowned for his wisdom. The book is a compilation of various sayings and proverbs, likely assembled around the 10th century BC. It aims to impart wisdom and instruction, emphasizing the fear of the Lord as the beginning of knowledge.

Proverbs 17 is a collection of sayings that offer insights into various aspects of life, including relationships, speech, and behavior. The book predominantly addresses young people, offering guidance for a morally upright and successful life.

Verse 17 specifically focuses on the value of true friendship and the steadfast nature of familial relationships, especially in challenging times. It underscores the importance of loyalty and support among friends and family.

Verse Analysis

This verse is split into two parts, each addressing a different aspect of relationships. The first part, “A friend loves at all times,” speaks to the enduring and unconditional nature of true friendship. The notion here is that a genuine friend remains steadfast in their love and support, regardless of the circumstances.

The second part, “and a brother is born for a time of adversity,” implies that familial bonds are particularly vital during difficult times. It suggests that siblings, or close family members, are especially important in providing support and strength when facing challenges.

The verse highlights the significance of relationships in one’s life. It points to the idea that while friends are there for every season, family members are particularly crucial during times of hardship.


Different Christian denominations may slightly vary in their interpretation of this verse, but the core message remains consistent. It is generally seen as a call to value and nurture relationships, both in terms of friendship and family.

This verse aligns with other biblical teachings that emphasize love, support, and the importance of community (such as 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and Ruth 1:16-17). It echoes the Bible’s broader message of compassion, loyalty, and the strength found in relationships.

Application in Daily Life

Believers can apply this verse in their lives by striving to be steadfast friends and supportive family members. It encourages the cultivation of relationships based on unconditional love and loyalty.

Practically, this can mean offering support during a friend’s or family member’s time of need, being a constant presence in their lives, and fostering strong, enduring bonds. It also invites reflection on the nature of one’s relationships and the role one plays in the lives of others.

For personal spiritual growth, this verse can serve as a reminder of the value of human connections and the strength they provide, inspiring individuals to build and maintain strong, loving relationships.


Proverbs 17:17 highlights the enduring nature of friendship and the crucial role of family during challenging times. This verse encapsulates key elements of wisdom in the realm of relationships, emphasizing unconditional love, loyalty, and support. It not only enhances our understanding of biblical teachings on relationships but also encourages us to foster deeper, more meaningful connections in our own lives. In doing so, it guides believers in their spiritual journey, enriching their lives and the lives of those around them.

6 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Devotional: Proverbs 17:17

Hat Is the Main Message of Proverbs 17:17?

The main message of Proverbs 17:17 is the enduring nature of true friendship and the vital role of family, especially during difficult times. It emphasizes that a real friend loves consistently in all situations, and family bonds are particularly important in times of adversity.

Does “A Friend Loves at All Times” Mean a Friend Should Always Agree With You?

No, this phrase doesn’t imply that a friend should always agree with you. It suggests that true friendship is characterized by unwavering support and love, regardless of circumstances. This can sometimes mean offering honest, even difficult, feedback or support that is in your best interest.

Does This Verse Imply That Friendships Are Only Valuable During Difficult Times?

No, the verse does not imply that friendships are only valuable during hard times. The phrase “a friend loves at all times” suggests that true friendship is constant and not just limited to times of difficulty. The verse acknowledges the importance of friendship in all phases of life.

Is This Proverb Suggesting That Only Blood Relatives Can Provide Support in Adversity?

While the verse mentions a “brother,” it is not limited to blood relatives. In many biblical contexts, “brother” can also refer to close friends or members of a faith community. The proverb emphasizes the importance of close, familial-like bonds during tough times, whether with actual family members or those who are like family.

How Can One Be a Friend Who ‘Loves at All Times’ in Practical Terms?

Being a friend who ‘loves at all times’ involves several practical actions: being present and available in your friend’s life, listening and offering support during both good and bad times, showing unconditional love and acceptance, respecting boundaries, and offering help when needed. It’s about being a reliable, constant presence that contributes positively to the friend’s well-being.

Does Proverbs 17:17 Suggest That All Friendships Should Last Forever?

This proverb emphasizes the quality of friendship rather than its duration. While it idealizes friendships that endure through all seasons of life, it’s understood that not all relationships will last forever. The key takeaway is the nature of the love and support offered during the friendship, irrespective of its length.

How Do the Themes Expressed in Proverbs 17:17 Relate to or Find Echoes in Other Verses and Passages in the Bible?

Proverbs 17:17 emphasizes the steadfast and loyal nature of true friendship. This verse highlights that a true friend is present and supportive not just in times of joy and prosperity, but especially in times of adversity. Let’s explore this verse and its connections to other parts of the Bible:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Relation: This passage from Ecclesiastes complements Proverbs 17:17, highlighting the practical and emotional benefits of having a supportive friend or companion in life’s journey.

John 15:13 – “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Relation: Jesus’ teaching in John about the ultimate expression of love in friendship echoes the depth of commitment mentioned in Proverbs 17:17, illustrating the profound nature of true friendship.

Ruth 1:16-17 – “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.'”
Relation: The story of Ruth and Naomi exemplifies the loyalty and steadfastness of true friendship as described in Proverbs 17:17, showing Ruth’s unwavering commitment to Naomi in adversity.

1 Samuel 18:1-3 – “Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself… Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.”
Relation: The friendship between David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel illustrates the deep bond and love between friends that is akin to the always-present love mentioned in Proverbs 17:17.

Proverbs 27:10 – “Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you—better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away.”
Relation: Another proverb underscoring the importance of reliable and close relationships, resonating with the idea in Proverbs 17:17 of the value of steadfast friends in times of need.

Proverbs 17:17, along with these related scriptures, collectively underscores the invaluable role of true friendship in life. These verses remind us of the importance of nurturing relationships that are characterized by unconditional love, loyalty, and support, especially during challenging times. They encourage believers to value and be such friends – those who love at all times and are present in moments of adversity. This principle of enduring and selfless friendship is foundational to a supportive and compassionate community, reflecting the depth of relational connections that God encourages among His people.

A Prayer Inspired by Proverbs 17:17

As we turn our hearts and minds in prayer, let us reflect on the profound wisdom found in Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” This verse beautifully encapsulates the essence of true friendship and the invaluable support of family, especially during challenging times. In this spirit, let us offer a prayer, seeking guidance to embody these timeless values in our own lives, and asking for the strength to be steadfast friends and supportive family members.

Our Prayer Inspired by Devotional: Proverbs 17:17

Heavenly Father,

We come before You today with hearts full of gratitude for the gift of relationships – for the friends You have placed in our lives and the family You have given us. Lord, we are reminded by Your word in Proverbs 17:17 of the enduring nature of true friendship and the invaluable support we find in our families, especially in times of adversity.

We pray, O Lord, that You guide us to be friends who love at all times. Help us to be present for those we care about, not only in moments of joy but also in times of struggle. Grant us the grace to offer unwavering support, understanding, and kindness, reflecting Your love in all our interactions.

Lord, we also ask for Your wisdom in strengthening our family bonds. In moments of difficulty, may we be like a brother or sister born for adversity, providing a pillar of strength and refuge for our loved ones. Help us to cherish and nurture these relationships, understanding their profound impact on our lives.

As we walk through life’s journey, teach us to be compassionate, loyal, and supportive friends and family members. May our actions and words be a source of comfort and encouragement, mirroring the unconditional love You have shown us.

We thank You, Father, for the lessons of love and friendship taught through Your Word. May we continue to grow in understanding and in our capacity to love, guided by Your Holy Spirit.

In Jesus’ name, we pray,


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