Definition: Friendships or partnerships which have negative effects upon our attitudes, actions, or physical or spiritual well-being.
1. We are influenced, for better or for worse, by those with whom we associate.
Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications [companions] corrupt good manners.
Galatians 5:7-9 [The influence of bad company can be disastrous] Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion cometh not of Him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
2. We should associate with those by whom we will be influenced for the good.
Psalm 119:63 I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.
Proverbs 2:20 Walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
Proverbs 15:31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.
3. God’s Word likens bad associations to “snares” or traps set by the Devil.
Exodus 23:33 [As the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, God was specific in commanding them not to associate with the heathen living there:] They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against Me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee. [See also Numbers 33:52]
Exodus 34:12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee.
Deuteronomy 12:30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following [unbelievers], after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise.
Psalm 106:34-43 [Here is what resulted when God’s people didn’t keep themselves separate from their worldly neighbors, whom the Lord forbade them to live with:] They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them: 35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. 36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. 37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils.… 39 Thus were they defiled with their own works.… 40 Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against His people, insomuch that He abhorred His own inheritance. 41 And He gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. 42 Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand. 43 Many times did He deliver them; but they provoked Him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.
Proverbs 22:5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward [false, perverse]: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
4. Bad associations can cause us to compromise our convictions.
Proverbs 12:26 The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.
Proverbs 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.
Proverbs 19:27 [Overexposure to worldly counsel and the media, such as music, movies and TV, can lead you astray] Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.
Proverbs 22:24,25 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: 25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
Ecclesiastes 9:18b One sinner destroyeth much good.
1 Corinthians 5:6b Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
5. The Enemy tempts us by making the way of the ungodly appear desirable — but consider their end!
Proverbs 24:1 Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.
Psalm 37:1b,2 [Remember, the “good things” that the ungodly seem to be enjoying now are only temporary:] Neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Psalm 73:3,17,18 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked … 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18 Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places: Thou castedst them down into destruction.
Psalm 141:4 Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.
Proverbs 23:6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats. 7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
6. We need conviction to separate ourselves from ungodly, unfruitful associations.
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. [See also Genesis 49:6a]
Psalm 26:4,5 I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. 5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.
Psalm 84:10 For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 101:4,7 A froward [stubbornly contrary, disobedient] heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.… 7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
Psalm 119:115 Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.
Psalm 139:19-22 Surely Thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against Thee wickedly, and Thine enemies take Thy Name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against Thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
Proverbs 1:10,15 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.… 15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path.
Proverbs 9:6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
2 Corinthians 6:14,17 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? … 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her [Babylon], My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. [See also Jeremiah 51:6]
7. If we continue to keep bad company, we will be punished with them.
Genesis 13:12,13; 2 Peter 2:7,8 [Lot chose to live a life of ease in the wicked city of Sodom and suffered the consequences; he lost his wife and troubled his own soul:] Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. [Although God delivered Lot out of Sodom, he suffered from having lived with them for many years:] 2 Peter 2:7,8 And [God] delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) (See Genesis chapter 19)
Numbers 16:26 [Moses warned his brethren not to associate with those who sowed dissension in the ranks of the Children of Israel] And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. [The Lord later destroyed them, see verses 31-35]
2 Chronicles 19:2b Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord.
Ezra 9:14 Should we again break Thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? Wouldest not Thou be angry with us till Thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?
Proverbs 21:16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead. [See also Proverbs 27:8]
Proverbs 28:19b He that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.
Ephesians 5:6-8 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
2John 1:10,11 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
8. We should not even associate with other Christians who persist in being wilfully disobedient.
Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. [See also Matthew 18:15-17]
1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
2 Thessalonians 3:14,15 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish [gently warn or reprove] him as a brother.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to Godliness; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
2 Timothy 3:5 [In the Last Days, some men will be] having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick [one who sows dissension, or holds to false beliefs] after the first and second admonition reject.
2 Peter 2:18-22 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
9. Pray for the Lord’s help, wisdom and discernment to escape the snare of bad associations.
Genesis 49:6 [The patriarch, Jacob, even prayed that he wouldn’t listen to the bad counsel of his own errant sons, Simeon and Levi:] O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
Psalm 56:13 For Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not Thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?
Psalm 141:4 [King David prayed:] Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.
Psalm 119:51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from Thy law.
Proverbs 2:11,12 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: 12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things.
Proverbs 9:6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.