There are various biblical images used to describe relationship with God. These include disciple, follower, servant, witness, and steward. “Friend” is one of those images which isparticularly developed and esteemed in the Gospel of John.
This description of a disciple is grounded in the committed nature of human relationships. The love of God (agape) is always greater than the highest human love (philia or “friendship”). That means God is always much more than a friend to us while we should aspire to be a faithful and best friend to God. We may use terms like friendship to describe our relationship with God but they fall short of capturing the true depth of God’s superior love as our Lord, Creator and Redeemer.
When we do use the term “friend”, it is important to remember that friendship in the ancient world meant much more than it does in our contemporary society.