the weblog of Alan Knox

Κοινωνία 2

Posted by on Jul 31, 2006 in fellowship | Comments Off

In review, I suggested in a previous article that κοινωνία (koinōnia – often translated “fellowship”) is not produced by various activities, i.e. “fellowship” meals. Instead, κοινωνία is a common sharing among believers that results in various activities such as shared meals. While the distinction may seem merely semantic, it is important for the life of the church. Does the church rely on activities to produce κοινωνία, or does it recognize that κοινωνία should be a part of the life of all believers, because of the source of κοινωνία.

What is the source of κοινωνία?

That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship (κοινωνία) with us; and indeed our fellowship (κοινωνία) is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3 ESV)

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation (κοινωνία) in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, . . . (Philippian 2:1 ESV)

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship (κοινωνία) of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9 ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship (κοινωνία) of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV)

Κοινωνία is the common union between believers that is produced by God through the Holy Spirit. Our κοινωνία with other believers is a direct result of our κοινωνία with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As such, κοινωνία cannot be produced by believers through activities. Instead, all who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, share a common connection with other believers: “There is one body and one Spirit…” (Ephesians 4:4 ESV) “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV)

As God produces κοινωνία in the believer, the believer will naturally demonstrate that κοινωνία through various activities – specifically through sharing their life with others. This type of sharing may include meals, conversations, contributions, etc.

Therefore, the church should not attempt to create κοινωνία. Instead, it must teach believers how to “devote themselves to … κοινωνία” as described in Acts 2:42. This will be the topic of the next article in this series.