We’ve all heard the famous quote:
Birds of a feather flock together. – English Proverb
I thought for sure this was a Benjamin Franklin quote and was surprised that I couldn’t find a definitive author. This quote is an old English proverb and according to Wikipedia has been in use since the 16th century. It has also been attributed to Plato as far back as 360 BC where he is quoted as saying: “Men of my age flock together; we are birds of a feather, as the old proverb says.”
The quote “Birds of a feather flock together” simply means that people with common traits, interests and tastes tend to associate and congregate with each other, similar to how birds of the same species flock together.
While this phrase can be understood by simply observing human behavior, I make the case that it is Biblical as well.
Let’s first look at the parable of the unjust steward. In this parable a rich man had a steward, or manager, of his goods. The steward did not do a good job and therefore the rich man was going to replace him. Upon finding out, the steward made deals with the rich man’s debtors thinking that they would help him in return after he was fired. Here was how Jesus viewed this behavior:
“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” – Luke 16:8-9 NIV
The steward was dishonest in his dealings, and when he was found out, he gravitated towards others who were similarly dishonest – birds of a feather.
The other side of the coin is how we as Christians should “flock”. And it’s no coincidence that we are considered to be in the “flock” (sheep flock, not bird flock) of God with Jesus as our Shepherd. In 2 Corinthians we read:
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14 NKJV
And further in the Book of Hebrews we read:
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25 KJV
We are God’s birds, birds of light, and as such we should “flock” together and keep oursleves out of the dark.
For a more detailed history of the quote “birds of a feather flock together” go here.