Can Believers Have Unbelieving Friends?


"Fellowship" is koinonia, which means partnership or communion. Look up koinonia, koinos, and koinoneo in your Greek Concordance/Lexicon (and if you don't have a Greek Concordance/Lexicon, I highly recommend that you get one, even if you don't read Greek!).

Here's some of what I said in the article on 2 John 11 (www.outsidethecamp.org/2John11.htm) that relates to this:

<<What about the spiritual state of one who participates in the evil deeds of that hater of God? What does it mean to "participate in" or "to share in" or "to be a partaker of" these deeds? The Greek word used here is koinonei, which means "to share in." I'm sure that many of you recognize the root; koinos means "common" or "communal," koinonia means "partnership" or "fellowship," and koinonos means "partner" or "sharer." The following are some Scriptural examples that will give you an idea of the intimate nature of "sharing" in 2 John 11:

"God [is] faithful, through whom you were called into [the] FELLOWSHIP of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:9). "Since, then, the children HAVE PARTAKEN in flesh and blood ..." (Heb. 2:14a). "but according as you SHARE the sufferings of Christ ... (1 Pet. 4:13a). "to Titus, a true child according to [our] COMMON faith" (Titus 1:4a). "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a PARTAKING of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a PARTAKING of the body of Christ?"(1 Cor. 10:16). "Having made all diligence to write to you about the COMMON salvation ..." (Jude 3a). "Over your FELLOWSHIP in the gospel ..." (Phil. 1:5a). "... if any FELLOWSHIP of [the] spirit ..." (Phil.2:1b). "... and the FELLOWSHIP of His sufferings ..." (Phil. 3:10b). "... that you also may have FELLOWSHIP with us. And truly our FELLOWSHIP [is] with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3b). "And you say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been PARTAKERS with them in the blood of the prophets'" (Matt. 23:30). "and our hope for you [is] certain, knowing that even as you are SHARERS of the sufferings, so also of the comfort" (2 Cor. 1:7). "Indeed being exposed both to reproaches and to afflictions; and having become PARTNERS of those so living" (Heb. 10:33). "... and [being] SHARER of the glory about to be revealed." (1 Pet. 5:1b). "... so that through these you might be PARTAKERS of [the] divine nature ..." (2 Pet.1:4b).>>

So believers are not to have fellowship with unbelievers. What about friendship?

The word "friendship" is only used once in the New Testament (and the Greek for "friendship" -- philia -- is only used once in the New Testament). It connotes fondness.

"Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever, then, purposes to be a friend of the world is put down as hostile to God." (James 4:4)

We see here that believers cannot have friendship with the world.

But can believers say that some unbelievers are their "friends"?

The most common word for "friend" in the NT is philos. This is the word that is translated "friend" in James 4:4. So in this sense, a believer cannot have a "friend" who is an unbeliever.

Yet Jesus called Judas "friend" in Matthew 26:50. But it is important to note that this is NOT philos. It is hetairos, which means "comrade" or "clansman." So, in the sense of being an associate, a believer can have an unbelieving "friend." But only in this sense.


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