It bothers me when people use the word “fellowship” to describe an event focused on socializing, eating and playing games because that is not the biblical depiction. In God’s word, fellowship (koinonia) refers to the idea of being partakers, sharing in common, partnering with, communion, and contribution.
Here are some of the verses containing the idea of true koinonia:
- All of the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. Acts 2:42-44
- God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9
- …that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Philippians 3:10
- That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3
- If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:6-7
- He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature 2 Peter 1:4
When I attended a ladies Bible study in Pennsylvania, one week we concluded by praying in pairs. I was new to the group as was the woman beside me. In fact, she had just moved to the United States from Burkina Faso (western Africa), and she barely spoke English. Rosine prayed in French and I prayed in English. Even though we did not know what the other was saying, we communed with God together.
Koinonia may include sharing a meal together, but it encompasses so much more. Jesus invites us into this depth of fellowship with Him and one another. Rosine and I have remained close over the last 20 years. Here we are a few weeks ago at Katie’s wedding.