Friendship in the Scriptures
In the book of Genesis, when God created the universe, He affirmed that all was good. But there was one thing that He was not entirely satisfied with — Adam, who was alone. God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. …” (Genesis 2:18) And then God resolved to make Adam a companion. The essential unity between Adam and Eve is expressed by the way that God built Eve from Adam's rib, drawing two from one so that the two could become one again.
When Noah and the animals were called onto the ark, they were called two by two. Likewise, Jesus's disciples were called in pairs, as were many of the saints throughout the ages, such as Sts. Peter and Paul, Sts. Cosmas and Damian, Sts. Clare and Francis, and Sts. Teresa and John. The stories of the saints are full of tender encounters between individuals who were able to draw strength and hope from each other.
Where does the phrase “two are better than one” come from?
It comes from Ecclesiastes 4:9–10: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.”
Christopher Bamford, editor-in-chief of Steiner Books, on spiritual friendship for Parabola Magazine: “When we speak, even when it is the intimate expression of a deep, personal experience, we are a single voice. We have forgiven each other a thousandtimes. We have let go of so much that could divide us that we have let go of ourselves. Our relationship seems to exist in and out of the unknown, the ever new.”
This chapter will now consider a few of these companion saints, who were able to grow through friendship with each other. In each case, the friendship helped the saint to become more than he originally was, to be challenged toward a deeper experience of life and God.