Is 'Birds of a Feather Fock Together' a Biblical Proverb?
- Clarence L. Haynes Jr. Contributing Writer
- 2020 28 Dec
You have probably heard the term 'birds of a feather flock together' and maybe even coined it a few times. When you think about it there is a lot of sense in this proverb. After all, if you consider your five closest friends they are people you probably enjoy being around. Typically, there is some type of common interest that draws you together. This can be work, sports, music, hobbies, church, faith, or any other common interest. With that being said, here is the question to explore for today. Is ‘birds of a feather flock together’ a biblical proverb? Do you find this idea within the pages of Scripture or does it just sound good? Let’s find out if the Bible supports this idea or not.
What Does Birds of a Feather Flock Together Mean?
While I may think the meaning of this quote is evident let me take nothing for granted. This proverb means that people of like minds, like interests, or even like goals tend to stick together. A great example of this is the stereotypical high school classroom. (Forgive me for using stereotypes but it makes the point.) If you think back to high school, usually the athletes hung out with the athletes. The really smart people hung out with really smart people. The popular people hung out with the popular people. The kids that got into trouble always seemed to find each other. Why does this happen? Because there is something that they have in common that draws them together which can be positive or negative. The birds flocking together doesn’t mean it is always for a good purpose. The people you are around can influence you in either direction.
Is Birds of a Feather Flock Together in the Bible?
Understanding what the proverb means leads to another question. Is ‘birds of a feather flock together’ in the Bible? The simple answer is these words are not in the Bible. This proverb is attributed to William Turner going all the way back to 1545. Just for the record that is a long time ago. However, just because it doesn’t appear in the pages of Scripture doesn’t mean the thought or concept is not a biblical one. Consider some verses that come close to this idea.
“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” – Amos 3:3
The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” – Genesis 11:6
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” – 1 Corinthians 1:10
All throughout the pages of Scripture, there is a call for unity and a moving away from division. For this to happen the one thing that is required is agreement. This does not mean you agree on everything (my cousin is a Cowboys fan, and I am a Giants fan we will never agree on that). However, this does mean that you agree to walk in the same direction. He is a believer and so am I and we choose and agree to walk after Christ. So the idea of walking in agreement with someone else walking in the same direction is a biblical idea.
An Example from the Early Church
While ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is not a biblical proverb, this is exactly how the early church behaved. Take a look.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:42-47
When you look at the early stages of the church notice the fellowship and oneness they experienced. Because they shared a common belief in Jesus Christ this united them and drew them to each other. I love Acts 2:42 because it says they devoted themselves to these things. This means their fellowship didn’t happen by accident they were committed and intentional about it. If ‘birds of a feather flock together’ were a biblical proverb the underlying cause of this happening is your desire and willingness to connect with other people. This is what the early church did, and this is what we should do also.
The Pitfalls of ‘Birds of a Feather Flock Together’
While it is always a good thing when those in the body of Christ come together there are some potential pitfalls that you must be careful of. I call them the Clique, the Club, and the Cocky.
The Clique – This happens when you put parameters on who can be in your circle. Unfortunately, this happens among Christians. We will welcome you if you look like us or act like us. In other words, everyone is not welcome. Having a common bond in Christ is not enough to qualify to be part of the clique. You have to bring something else to the table. Maybe you can sing, play an instrument or have some type of gifting that qualifies you for the clique. This is unhealthy ground and can do more harm than good.
The Club – This happens when you forget the mission of preaching the gospel and making disciples. The Pharisees were guilty of this because they complained all the time about Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors. To get near them was like getting behind the velvet rope guarded by a security guard. Yes, they all had similar opinions and beliefs that drew them together but their clublike mindset kept people from hearing the gospel. I went to a church one time to see a friend get baptized. As we were walking in the usher told some people who wanted to visit that in this month because we only have one service the church is only open to members. You can come back next month when we go back to two services. Personally, I thought that was shameful. Even though I went to the service I never really felt welcome and had no desire to go back there again. This can happen when we treat our gatherings like a special club reserved for those like us. The church was never designed to be a ‘members only’ event. If the early church had taken this mindset then Acts 2:47 would never have happened.
“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:47
The Cocky – The cocky comes out when you surround yourself only with people that think, act and look like you do. This can cause you to believe that your thinking is the only way of thinking. Your viewpoint is the only one and your ideas are the only ones that matter. In other words, you and your flock are better than every other flock. Not only is your way better it is the only way. If 'birds of a feather flock together' were a biblical proverb this would be the ultimate negative example of it. You simply have to make sure that every voice around you is not telling you how good you are or how wonderful you are. We all have blind spots and need people in our lives willing to point them out (in love of course). Not having these types of people around you is a recipe for disaster and not the space or place God desires us to be in. Remember this proverb:
“Where there is no [wise, intelligent] guidance, the people fall [and go off course like a ship without a helm], But in the abundance of [wise and godly] counselors there is victory.” – Proverbs 11:14 (AMP)
I want to ask you who are the birds you are flocking with? My prayer and desire is that we would come together in unity and flock together as the body of Christ. To accomplish this, we need to stand together for biblical truth that unites us under the banner of the cross of Jesus Christ. This does not mean we will agree on everything but that we will agree to walk together as one body. After all birds of a feather do flock together.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/1933bkk
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.