“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Explanation and Commentary of Proverbs 17:17
This proverb describes in its purest sense a Christ-centered relationship based primarily on the love for God and neighbor (Mt 22:36-40). A natural friendship does not love at all times. This kind of friendship is based on some common interest or belief. Perhaps two people share the same passion. But as soon as one goes another direction, the friendship falls apart. Or maybe two people are in the same low position, but one begins to rise out of it or becomes a more moral person, and the other determines to drag them back or end the friendship.
A relationship bound by the same Holy Spirit and the love of God will stand any test and any adversity. God does not call us to do life alone. Unless one finds himself in some desert by him or herself, he or she is called to relationship and community in Christ. If one is the only Christian, then evangelism is the order of the day (as it should be anyway). Christ must be between us and all other people. In this way, one can experience genuine love and true Christian fellowship.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Proverbs 17:17
#1 “A friend loves at all times,”
A true Christian friend will love his or her friend in any and every kind of situation. Love means caring, helping, listening, covering an offense, being patient, never envying or boasting (1 Cor 13:4-7). This kind of love and friendship can only be supernatural. It also means speaking the truth in love when it is necessary (Eph 4:15). Christians should seek to love God more than their friends (2 Cor 8:5) so that they can be a true friend and love “at all times.”
#2 “and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Whether this is speaking of one’s blood brother or a brother in the Church, this refers to the one who is going to be there when things get hard. Jesus indicated that our blood relatives might turn against us because we believe in his name, so it’s preferable to see this as referring to brothers in the faith. This is proper because we have been adopted into a family by our Father in Heaven (Eph 1:5). In one certain sense, even Jesus is our great older brother who is one with the Father (Heb 2:11). Christ was clearly “born for a time of adversity,” in that he was born to die for us at Golgotha. At the Father’s right hand he has poured out his Spirit to walk with us through all adversity, even carrying us on his shoulders. We should remember to be that sort of brother to others. This applies to sisters as well, and for the same reason, in Christ, they are adopted into the family of the Father by the blood of Christ. In him, they have the inheritance of the firstborn Son.
Hit the play button to get a simple and profound explanation of Proverbs 17:17.
Biblical Translations of Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.