"Fellowship" - As the Word is Used in the New Testament

Luther W. Martin
St. James, Missouri

Twelve different times in the King Jan1es Version, the word "fellowship" is taken from the Greek "koinonia," which according to Thayer's Lexicon, means: " 1. The share which one has in anything, participation" ...'fellowship of the Spirit' (Phil. 2:1). 'The fellowship of his sufferings' (Phil. 3:10). 'The fellowship of ministering to the saints' (II Cor. 8:4). Luther Martin 'To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery...' (Eph. 3:9). 'Ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord' (I Cor. 1:9).

"2. Intercourse, fellowship, intimacy"  'they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship . . .' (Gal. 2:9). 'For what' fellowship hath righteousness?' (II Cor. 6:14.) 'They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, ...' (Acts 2:42). 'For your fellowship in the gospel from the very first...' (Phil. 1:5). 'That ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with 1l.s Son Jesus Christ' (I John 1:3). 'if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another...' (I John 1:7). See also I John 1:16.

"3. A benefaction jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution...." See 2 Cor. 8:4 as referred to under No. 1 above. 2 Cor. 9:13 renders the word "liberal distribution." Heb. 13:16 uses the term "communicate."

The word "koinonia" is actually used some twenty times in the New Testament, but is translated "fellowship" only twelve times. In the other instances, it is translated "communion," four times; "communication," once; "contribution," once; "distribution," once; and by an inexact translation, according to Thayer, is rendered "to communicate," one time.

Thus "KOINONIA" refers to our relationship with God, with Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with one another ...but in each instance it is used in reference to the work and worship of the Lord. In no instance does the word refer to a gathering for entertainment or recreation.

Truth Magazine VII: 5, pp. 8-9
February 1963