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Fellowship in the Bible
What does the Bible say about fellowship? Throughout the Bible, fellowship is celebrated as an essential spiritual practice.
In coming together to worship God, cooperate in his work, and strive for unity of heart and mind through obedience to His will, we can be closer to each other, united by a shared faith.
Relationships are often the brightest parts of our life, making them seem worthwhile. From close friends and family to mere acquaintances–and even those we will never meet in person but still cherish on social media platforms – each relationship is a special bond that enriches us greatly, enriching every moment with richness beyond measure.
Fellowship in the Bible, as followers of Christ, our bonds with each other go far beyond just regular friendship – they reach deeply spiritual heights. Through Jesus’ saving grace, we have been adopted into the family of God, uniting us under a heavenly bond and giving special significance to the relationships within His body.
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Christians don’t just share a faith – they have the opportunity to develop strong bonds that transcend any natural human friendship. This spiritual closeness is unique and special in Christian relationships, leading to fulfilling biblical fellowship.
As followers of Christ, we must unite to understand how best to interact with our fellow believers.
In today’s world, there are often vast differences between the beliefs and behaviors among professed Christians. But grounded in biblical guidance, we can still form meaningful bonds from a place of mutual understanding and respect.
In today’s world, we often take God’s word for granted and lose sight of its powerful teachings. Over time, His words can become confusing to us, and unfortunately, our own ideas begin to override what He originally intended.
Biblical fellowship, fellowship in the Bible, has been a key part of Christianity since the beginning, but many churches have lost sight of its true meaning.
Today it often feels like just another event or activity where believers come together and go home again without ever reaching deep into one another’s lives to share burdens and build each other up in Christ– forgetting that genuine fellowship is so much more than events on local church calendars!
A church devoted to living out the New Testament understands how significant community truly is for growth as followers of Jesus.
What is Biblical Fellowship?
To understand what God meant by ‘fellowship,’ it’s essential to consider the original Biblical languages. Delving into this history reveals seven critical facts about fellowship and adds more depth to our understanding of its true meaning.
First, let’s look at the meaning of the Greek root word when we find fellowship in the Bible. For example, the English word, “fellowship” is the translation of the Greek word “koinonia.” This Greek word is derived from the root “koinos,” a prefix in ancient Greek.
In the spirit of “fellowship,” we can add this prefix to words like “living” and “owning a purse,” transforming them into concepts that signify we all have something in common. For example: living together as a community or owning our possessions collectively.
Even strife between different parties takes on a new life by adding the term ‘public dispute.’ to the root word for fellowship. At its root, fellowship means sharing certain things with one another.
Fellowship is a powerful concept that reminds us of the power of human connection. The ancient Greeks used “koinonia” to describe deep relationships like marriage, corporate partnerships, and labor guilds; clearly, it was something greater than one person could achieve.
Fellowship denotes an interdependent relationship between two or more people – reminding us how much we can accomplish when we come together.
Thirdly, Before the Holy Spirit’s arrival with Pentecost, individuals could never experience ‘fellowship’ as we know it today when referencing our relationship to God – an intimate bond made possible in part by His gift of grace.
An interesting way to explore the definition of “fellowship” is by looking into its New Testament synonyms. These words share similar but unique connotations and can paint a more complete picture than just one word alone!
When it comes to the rich Greek term Koinonia, there are four New Testament synonyms that all have a similar flavor. Philos is defined as being “related by love for outward characteristics,” hetairos stands for sharing a common enterprise, sunergos describes fellow workers with an intertwined mission, and metochos references participants of the same cause.
Fellowship in the Bible is an incredible expression of unity, both outwardly and inwardly. It’s like a bond between people shared on the surface but also solidified by what lies beneath. And that solidarity can be found in verses such as 1 Corinthians 1:9 – which drive home just how powerful fellowship truly is.
Connecting with Christ isn’t just a matter of what goes on outwardly– it’s an intimate and personal journey that begins inside. Through this fellowship, we come to experience the spiritual unity shared between our Savior and us.
Fellowship is more than just a feeling of inner unity; it’s an action word! In the New Testament, ‘Koinonia’ (the Greek term for fellowship) appears 19 times and has been translated as “contribution,” “sharing,” or even, simply put – participation.
When you look deeper into the concept of fellowship, it’s much more than just getting together or even doing good works. It involves taking action and working together to achieve something greater! Unfortunately, many modern Christian groups overlook this vital principle – yet it is undoubtedly integral in living out their faith.
Fellowship is about working together with Jesus to carry out God’s will. It’s a special relationship that goes beyond simply being “in Christ” or part of His body—it allows us to actively participate in pursuing the divine plan alongside Him.
Fellowship is more than just doing anything together; it’s uniting to accomplish God’s divine mission.
Our connection with Christ is the foundation of our relationships – building on this allows us to recognize God’s will and collaborate in achieving it. It is part of the law of Christ.
Fellowship among believers shouldn’t be limited to sharing a meal or engaging in leisure activities – these are great, but they should only serve as tools that further our mission of bringing glory to God.
When we think of fellowship, a gathering or meeting with friends often comes to mind. But there’s actually something much deeper and more meaningful behind it – actively doing God’s will! It goes beyond just spending time together; this type of fellowship is about fulfilling His plan.
When we think of fellowship, the Bible has a lot to say – from mutual understanding and respect for one another to working together in accordance with God’s will. Put succinctly: Fellowship is being united on an inner level as believers, which results in taking action alongside Christ and our fellow brothers & sisters.
Fellowship is at the core of our Christian faith – it’s more than just coming together but working in harmony to complete God’s purpose. We must ask ourselves why this unity matters so much for the church.
Why is Fellowship in the Bible So Important?
Fellowship is God’s way of bringing us closer to one another and glorifying Christ as we unite in His purpose.
As a community, it empowers each of us to accomplish something much bigger than ourselves.
1. The church was formed on the foundations of fellowship. Even from its earliest days, it has been evident that connecting with others is a key part of being in community and living out faith as members of the body of Christ.
On the day of Pentecost, an amazing transformation happened – a supernatural unity formed among followers of Jesus. There was no need for anyone to remind these people to be in fellowship with one another; it came naturally as they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
We come together as a church to answer God’s call and fulfill His will. This looks like us working in tandem with multiple leaders, spreading our gifts far and wide – whether that’s financially supporting missionaries or using our spiritual talents for prayer and worship. We are one body made up of many parts – all joining forces to serve the Lord.
Not only did the Holy Spirit’s coming lead to a greater sense of fellowship among church members, but it also created an indispensable foundation for strengthening and growing faith communities.
Its primary importance stems from the fact that:
Joining with other believers in fellowship empowers us to confidently carry out the mission God has laid before us as a church.
Together, our collective efforts create something far greater than we can alone – an impact that reaches beyond even what we could imagine.
God has a plan that stretches over time for the church to help achieve, and it’s something we get the privilege of being part of.
God has chosen the church to be His instrument in carrying out His plan, making it clear that its purpose is more than just congregational worship but also showing all of God’s multifaceted wisdom.
The church acts as a beacon of light, proudly showcasing God’s glory and love for the world to behold.
The book of Acts takes us back in time to the early days of Christianity. We glimpse what mattered most to these believers and see how they lived out their faith even while facing trials and persecution.
When you think about it, no one person could ever display all of God’s perfection on their own. So we’ve fallen short; we’re all sinners! But that doesn’t mean that His glory can not be seen – when people combine their unique gifts and show the world how wonderful he is, incredible things happen!
That’s why fellowship in the Bible is so essential for truly showing off just how amazing our Lord is.
God’s plan is like a symphony – its complexities and nuances can’t be fully appreciated on their own. It takes an entire orchestra of components to create that powerful, majestic sound. Together they combine in perfect harmony, producing something far greater than the individual parts alone could ever achieve.
This is the role of the believers in the church.
God’s orchestra, the Church, is an incredible thing! We all need to play a part and be harmoniously in tune. Like notes on sheet music creating beautiful sounds together – that’s us forming God’s symphony, His plan of redemption revealed through Jesus Christ as told throughout the Bible.
Our spiritual talents and natural abilities are like priceless instruments, with fellowship as the means to make beautiful music. When we come together in harmony towards a common purpose, carrying out God’s will, we glorify Him.
Working side-by-side is essential to achieving God’s grand design. The church can’t succeed without true fellowship among its members.
A growing group of individuals is wary of committing, choosing instead a church-hopping lifestyle that avoids active involvement. But without their presence and participation, the church is incomplete – an important reminder of our collective responsibility to God’s will.
1 Corinthians 12 emphasizes that the church is like a body, and we all have an essential role to play. Just as you wouldn’t amputate your own arm, so too should no one be removing themselves from their community of faith.
The church is God’s purpose made manifest, and it takes our collective effort – an exercise of unity in fellowship – to ensure this mission is carried out.
How, then, can we practice fellowship in the church?
How to Practice Fellowship in the Bible
You can practice fellowship by understanding what the church is aiming for and by contributing your unique abilities to make that vision a reality.
People need to understand the goal of a church, and God’s mission, and take part in it. Unfortunately, participation in church has flagged since many folks don’t see a clear intention or reason for involvement in fellowship.
We have the incredible opportunity to demonstrate God’s greatness through our words and deeds, as outlined in Scripture. Let us be “living letters” that authentically display His glory for all to see.
Every day we come together to honor God, serve Him faithfully, and united as one. Together our spirituality is strengthened by upholding His will.
We can all join in fellowship within our faith community by using our gifts and talents to benefit others. Consider where your spiritual strengths lie and investigate how they could be used to meet the needs of your church family.
No matter your background, everyone can help the church be as abundant and successful as possible. With spiritual gifts or just natural abilities, you’ll have impactful opportunities to use what makes you unique for the greater good.
When you collaborate with your church as a team, it’s amazing how quickly individual strengths and talents will come to the surface.
In this passage, we see four important tenets of a believer’s life in the early church.
For any follower of faith, the tenets of teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, and prayer should be integral parts of their life journey. Together they create a powerful connection between our hearts and minds to develop an even deeper understanding through actively engaging with these spiritual elements.
Fellowship in the Bible is clearly a priority, and it’s evident in all these aspects of life.
Coming together in unity and offering support to each other was an absolute priority for Christian believers – one that they valued wholeheartedly.
In this verse, the Greek word for fellowship suggests a deep connection between Christians that goes beyond friendliness. It speaks of an intimate bond with fellow believers. (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).
What Unites Believers of Christ in Fellowship?
Life’s big questions often have simple answers, and in this case, it is none other than Jesus.
Deeply rooted in our faith is the concept of Unity – something that has been around since before even the cross.
The Trinity symbolizes a perfect convergence between three separate entities, highlighting how diverse individuals can still come together as one strong unit to carry out God’s will.
Our connection to one another starts with our relationship with God. By uniting through Christ, we need no distinction such as race, age, or status – rather, a fellowship that brings everyone closer together.
As God crafted the world, He looked upon His creation and pronounced it “good” – time after time.
After creating mankind, the Lord saw it was not ideal for man to be alone – and so began our journey toward fellowship.
The Church has always been built on the foundation of community. Without a supportive, caring cooperative between people, there would be no church today.
The three thousand people in Acts 2:41 made a commitment to each other, dedicating themselves to lifelong fellowship.
Surrendering to Christ grants us a truly special privilege – experiencing fellowship with our Savior, as well as forming meaningful relationships with fellow believers.
Paul recognized that his beloved Corinthian church was in need of a course correction. In his epistle, he urged them to remember the importance of fellowship and put aside anything getting in its way.
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In 1 Corinthians 1:9-10, Paul writes,
Paul reminds us that we are all united in the fellowship of Christ – and he challenges us to stop warfare between ourselves so that we can approach God without distractions.
When trivial disputes take center stage, it clouds our sight from the greater mission that God has called us to as believers- spreading His word and expanding His kingdom.
One Another and Its Role in Fellowship in the Bible
True Christian fellowship is more than just a casual gathering, but rather an existence shared together. With the same goals and purpose at heart, we can create something extraordinary.
Ultimately, Christians come together and connect through a shared love of Jesus Christ. They can learn from each other while standing shoulder to shoulder in the pursuit of advancing God’s kingdom.
The Bible teaches us how to best fellowship with each other. We’re given over 100 passages in Scripture related to “one another.” Examples in the New Testament of how we should love, respect, encourage, and serve one another.
I have an entire blog post written about “one another” and what it truly means as well as the different types of “one anothers” in the Bible. You may consider using the Bible verses in the post for a deeper study or verse mapping to gain a deeper understanding of the Word of God and fellowship in the Bible.
When we come together to serve those around us, our Father wants us to be humble and filled with love and understanding. By setting aside ourselves and following in His footsteps, He calls for selfless service of one another that allows us all to thrive as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Becoming saved allows us to join a loving family of believers and experience the beauty that comes from being part of Christ’s body.
As 1 Corinthians 12:27 says, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
You may enjoy this video about The Importance of Fellowship by IMPACT Through the Bible Series.
You may also enjoy one of these recommended resources for further study on fellowship in the Bible.
Rules for Walking in Fellowship by John Owen
Fellowship: With God & His People: The Way of Christ Without Denominationalism by Samuel G. Dawson
ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”