From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [1]

To appreciate the full meaning of the word-group in the New Testament that conveys the nature and reality of Christian fellowship (i.e., the noun koinonia [Κοινωνία], the verb, koinonein [Κοινωνέω], and the noun koinonos [Κοινωνός]) as used in the New Testament, it is necessary to be aware of two fundamental points.

First, the fact and experience of Christian fellowship only exists because God the Father through Jesus Christ, the Son, and by/in the Spirit has established in grace a relation (a "new covenant") with humankind. Those who believe the gospel of the resurrection are united in the Spirit through the Son to the Father. The relation leads to the reality of relatedness and thus to an experienced relationship (a "communion") between man and God. And those who are thus "in Christ" (as the apostle Paul often states) are in communion not only with Jesus Christ (and the Father) in the Spirit but also with one another. This relatedness, relationship, and communion is fellowship.

By his sacrificial death and glorious resurrection/exaltation, Jesus Christ brought into being a new creation, a new order, and a new epoch. Though this new situation will only be present in fullness at the end of this evil age, it is a reality now on this earth. Christ exercises his relation in this new creation in and through the controlling and liberating Holy Spirit, whom the Father sends in the name of Christ. Thus to be "in the Spirit" is also to be "in Christ." And this is another way of saying that Christians who are baptized into Christ and given the gift of the Spirit are dynamically related to the Father through the incarnate Son in and by the Spirit of the Father and the Son. On the basis of this relation there is fellowship for Christians both with God and with each other.

In the second place, it is probably best not to use the word "community" as a synonym for "fellowship." The reason for this is that in modern English "community" presupposes "individualism" and thus carries a meaning that is necessarily foreign to biblical presuppositions since individualism (i.e., the thinking of a human being as an "individual" and as the basic unity of society) is, technically speaking, a modern phenomenon. So "community" seemingly inevitably today usually refers to a group, body, or society that is formed by the coming together of "individuals" in a contractual way. The emphasis is on the initiative of the "individuals" and on the voluntary nature of the group thus formed. In contrast, koinonia [Κοινωνία] has its origin in a movement out of the internal, eternal relation, relatedness, and communion of the Godhead of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Koinonia [Κοινωνία] for baptized believers is thus a participation within human experience of the communion of the living God himself.

General Background . In the colloquial Greek of the New Testament period, koinonia [Κοινωνία] was used in several ways. It was used of a business partnership, where two or more persons share the same business and are thus closely connected in work. Also it was used of marriage, of the shared life of two persons, a man and a woman, together. Further, it was sometimes used of a perceived relatedness to a god, such as Zeus. Finally, it was used to refer to the spirit of generous sharing in contrast to the spirit of selfish acquiring.

Much of the use of the word group— koinonia [Κοινωνία], koinonein [Κοινωνέω], and koinonos [Κοινωνός] in the New Testament corresponds to general Greek usage. Thus the fellowship and sharing are religious or specifically Christian only if the context requires this meaning. For example, in  Acts 2:42 we encounter the word Koinonia [Κοινωνία] and read that the new converts continued in "the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship ." Here it is a normal meaning adapted to Christian usage. Then the verb, koinonein [Κοινωνέω], is found in  Hebrews 2:14 with an ordinary, general meaning: "children share flesh and blood." Likewise, koinonos [Κοινωνός] occurs with the meaning of "partner" in  Luke 5:10 " [James and John] Simon's partners . "

However, it is especially, but not solely, in the writings of the apostle Paul that the theological dimension of koinonia, [Κοινωνία] "fellowship/sharing/participation" is developed and clearly presented. Here the normal meanings of the words are transformed in service of the kingdom of God and as they identify a sharing in the communion of the blessed and Holy Trinity. That is, they point specifically to the supernatural life of God given to and shared with humankind through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. The emphasis of the New Testament is also on participation in something that is an objective reality rather than on an association with someone.

Theological Use . Perhaps the clearest theological use of koinonia [Κοινωνία] is in  1 John 1:3-6 , where we read that when we walk in the light truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ and that this relation of grace has profound implications for daily living. For if we say that we have fellowship with God and walk in darkness, we lie! Here the basic meaning of "fellowship" is a real and practical sharing in eternal life with the Father and the Son.

In Paul's letters we find that the apostle emphasizes the faithfulness of the call of God the Father in the gospel "into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord" ( 1 Corinthians 1:9 ). In other places Paul makes it clear that Christians were buried with Christ in baptism and raised up with him into newness of life ( Romans 6:4,6 ,  11;  Galatians 2:20;  Ephesians 2:4-6;  Colossians 2:20;  3:3 ). So the fellowship is based on the great saving Acts of God the Father through his Son. The character of this fellowship is made clear in the celebration of the Lord's Supper, the Holy Communion, where there is intimate fellowship or communion with Jesus Christ, the exalted Lord, and with those who are "in Christ, " for those who faithfully participate ( 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 ). Here is not a mere act of historical memory and imagination but a real and vital union and communion with Jesus Christ, the exalted Head of the Body.

Fellowship with Jesus Christ also entails fellowship in his sufferings ( Philippians 3:10; cf.  1 Peter 4:13 ). Paul is convinced that the churches are partakers in the sufferings of Christ ( 2 Corinthians 1:5-7 ).

Paul also points to a fellowship in the Spirit ( 2 Corinthians 13:14;  Philippians 2:1 ), a dynamic experience that is inextricably related to receiving the love of the Father and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son. In fact, to be "in the Spirit" is possible because of the fundamental truth of Christ's establishment of the new order, age, and epoch by his death and resurrection. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come" ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ). It is important to note that Paul wrote in the indicative mood. It was not his purpose to urge Christians to become new creatures; also it was not his aim to tell them what they could or would become if they stayed Christian.

The present position of Christians is that "in Christ"united to him in the Spiritthey are a part of the new order and creation. So Paul elsewhere writes of congregations being "in Christ" ( Philippians 1:1;  1 Thessalonians 1:1 ), of members of such being "the faithful in Christ Jesus" ( Ephesians 1:1;  Colossians 1:2 ), and of the churches of God (in Judea) in Christ Jesus ( 1 Thessalonians 2:14 ). Further, he insists that as such Christians are sealed in the Spirit ( Ephesians 4:30 ), consecrated in the Spirit ( Romans 15:16 ), righteousness in the Spirit ( Romans 14:17 ), and have life through the Spirit ( 1 Corinthians 6:11 ). Therefore, the richness of the experience of fellowship in the Holy Spirit is because of the reality of the new creation and of being "in Christ."

Christian fellowship is also a practical reality. So Paul was clear that the relatedness of Gentile and Jewish believers "in Christ" leads to mutual obligation. "For if the Gentiles have shared (verb, koinonein [   Romans 15:27 ). In koinonia [   Hebrews 13:16; and  Philippians 1:5;  4:15 ). Such fellowship is a practical "fellowship of the mystery" ( Ephesians 3:9 ), a mystery now revealed that Jews and Gentiles are one body in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Practical sharing by Christians because of their relatedness in Christ is sometimes communicated by the verb koinonein [   Romans 12:13;  15:27;  Galatians 6:6;  1 Timothy 5:22 ). Further, to suffer for the gospel is to share the suffering of Christ ( 1 Peter 4:13 ).

Apart from its general use as a companion and fellow worker (e.g., 8:23) koinonos [Κοινωνός] is used in the plural of the recipients of the grace of deification in  2 Peter 1:4 , where Christians are said to be partakers of the divine nature.

Peter Toon

Bibliography . J. Y. Campbell, Three New Testament Studies  ; G. Panikulam, Koinonia in the New Testament .

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

Nothing is so prominent in early Christianity as its sense of fellowship. The Corinthians, with their extreme individualistic tendencies, are an exception among the Pauline communities. 1 . This fellowship is primarily a religious fact: it is fellowship with the heavenly Lord, who, though hidden in heaven ( Acts 3:21), is yet sensibly present to His followers ( Matthew 18:20;  Matthew 28:20). Even the individual believer knows that he is in fellowship with Christ. St. Paul, using a mystical form of expression, says that it is Christ and not himself who lives and acts in him ( Galatians 2:20). He speaks also of ‘the fellowship of his sufferings’ ( Philippians 3:10), which allows his own sufferings to participate in the saving power of Christ’s afflictions for His Church ( Colossians 1:24,  Ephesians 3:13). The fellowship with Christ to which God has called Christians ( 1 Corinthians 1:9) has not yet been fully realized, but is still to be hoped for. To be with Christ for ever is the whole desire of the Apostle ( 1 Thessalonians 4:17,  Philippians 1:23); in the present time he has but a foretaste of the joy to come. St. John emphasizes the fact that this present fellowship with Christ ( 1 John 1:6) is fellowship with the Father and with the Son ( 1 John 1:3). Since it is the Holy Ghost who mediates between Christ and His believers, St. Paul speaks of ‘fellowship of the Spirit’ ( Philippians 2:1) as well as of ‘communion of the Holy Ghost’ ( 2 Corinthians 13:14), the same Greek word (κοινωνία) being used in both passages. Fellowship with the heavenly Lord, who sits at the right hand of God, and makes intercession for His followers ( Romans 8:34; cf.  1 John 2:1,  Hebrews 2:17;  Hebrews 4:15;  Hebrews 7:25 etc,), is realized in prayers which are heard ( 2 Corinthians 12:8 f.), and in revelations ( 2 Corinthians 12:1,  Galatians 2:2; cf.  1 Thessalonians 4:15). Fellowship with the Holy Ghost is realized in certainty of salvation and boldness in prayer ( Romans 8:15 f,  Romans 8:26; cf.  Hebrews 4:16), in moral strength ( Romans 8:13 f,  Galatians 5:16 ff.), and miraculous gifts of every kind-the ecstatic gifts of prophecy and speaking with tongues, and the natural gifts bestowed by the Spirit, such as governing and helping in the Church ( 1 Corinthians 12:8 ff,  1 Corinthians 12:28 ff.).

2. Fellowship of the faith ( Philemon 1:6) is fellowship of the faithful. This is an exclusive fellowship: ‘what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? ( 2 Corinthians 6:14). St. Paul, and still more St. John, strive hard to maintain this exclusiveness in their churches-not for reasons of utility, as in the case of the Greek clubs; not from national prejudice, as in the case of the Jewish synagogues; but from the standpoint of Christian morals: the fulfilment of the high ordinances of the gospel is only possible in the midst of a Christian congregation ( 1 Corinthians 6:1-11). The separation of the members of the Church from social relationship with the heathen world, which St. Paul endeavoured to effect (cf. his scruples regarding invitations to heathen houses or temples,  1 Corinthians 10:27), was carried out in later times ( 1 Peter 4:4,  3 John 1:7); and the leaders in the Church even began to insist on avoiding all fellowship with Christians of doubtful character ( 2 John 1:10 f.,  1 John 4:1 ff,  Revelation 2:14 ff,  Revelation 2:20 ff,  Judges 1:19 ff.).

To this exclusiveness in externals there corresponds an inward intensity: to be of one accord, to have the same mind ( 1 Corinthians 1:10,  2 Corinthians 13:11,  Philippians 2:2,  Romans 12:16), to love the brethren ( Romans 12:10,  1 Thessalonians 4:9, etc.), are oft-repeated commands. ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens’ is a law of the Church ( Galatians 6:2); all are members of one body ( 1 Corinthians 12:12 ff.), and so all have joy and sorrow in common ( 1 Corinthians 12:26,  Romans 12:15). One sign of this fellowship is mutual intercession ( 2 Corinthians 1:11,  Colossians 4:3,  2 Thessalonians 3:1), another is the kiss of peace ( 2 Corinthians 13:12,  1 Thessalonians 5:26). At the so-called Apostolic Council, James, Peter, and John gave Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship in token of their mutual recognition of one another as fellow-workers in their different mission fields ( Galatians 2:9). Later on it became customary to send messengers and letters from one church to another. St. Paul mentions not only his fellow-workers ( Romans 16:3) but also his fellow-prisoners ( Romans 16:7,  Colossians 4:10). Christianity is called a brotherhood ( 1 Peter 2:17;  1 Peter 5:9;  1 Peter 5:1 Clem. ii. 4).

3 . Fellowship-and this is the main point-is to be exercised actively towards all members of the community. In this sense fellowship is one of the chief characteristics of the primitive Church of Jerusalem ( Acts 2:42); it is characteristic, too, of the relationship between the Pauline communities. St. Paul praises the Philippians for their fellow-ship in furthering the gospel ( Philippians 1:5), i.e. taking part in the Apostle’s missionary work by personal activity, prayers, and contributions of money. In this way they had fellowship with his afflictions ( Philippians 4:14). The churches of Macedonia besought the Apostle ‘with much intreaty in regard of … the fellowship in the ministering to the saints’ ( 2 Corinthians 8:4), i.e. that they might be allowed to join in the collection for the poor of Jerusalem. Thus the word κοινωνία acquires a meaning which the EVV[Note: VV English Versions.]have tried to express by the rendering ‘contribution’ ( Romans 15:26,  2 Corinthians 9:13; Authorized Version‘distribution’) or ‘communicate’ ( Hebrews 13:16). He that is taught in the word is advised by St. Paul to communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things ( Galatians 6:6). Fellowship, then, becomes a system of mutual help-the care of the poor and the sick, the feeding of widows and orphans, the visiting of prisoners, hospitality, the procuring of labour for travelling workmen ( Didache , xii. 3ff,), are some of the proofs of fellowship. By these means early Christianity showed itself to be a social power far surpassing all rival organizations and religions.

Literature.-E. von Dobschütz, Christian Life in the Primitive Church , Eng. translation, 1904; A. Harnack, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten 2, 1906, i. 127-171 (Eng translation, Mission and Expansion 2, 1908, i. 147-198). Cf. also the Literature at the end of the articleCommunion.

E. Von Dobschütz.

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

hbr koin hbr   Proverbs 21:9 Exodus 26:6 Ecclesiastes 9:4 Ecclesiastes 4:10 Malachi 2:14 Haber heberim

The Greek stem koin - has a base meaning of “common,” out of which a number of shades of meaning emerge. For example, in Jewish literature produced during the intertestamental period, called the Apocrypha, the Greek root koin - was used to express ideas such as friendship ( Sirach 42:3 ) and table fellowship ( Sirach 6:10 ). Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, used the koin - stem for Jewish sectarian groups who held all of their property “in common” (compare  Acts 2:44 ).

In the larger Greek world the koin - stem was often used to describe the sense of bonding and closeness which the members of social, religious, and philosophical organizations shared with one another. Pagan religions could even use the koin - stem to describe union and communion with their god or gods. Interestingly, we find no place in the Old Testament where the Hebrew root hbr is used to describe one's relationship with God. The New Testament uses the koin - stem to speak of the believer's relationship with Christ and the mutual fellowship among Christians.

The Gospels record no sayings of Jesus in which He used the koin -stem to describe “fellowship” among disciples, though certainly the close association shared by Jesus and His followers laid the foundation for the church's post-Easter understanding of fellowship. Paul actually made the most of this word group in his writings.

Koinonia was Paul's favorite word to describe a believer's relationship with the risen Lord and the benefits of salvation which come through Him. On the basis of faith believers have fellowship with the Son (  1 Corinthians 1:9 ). We share fellowship in the gospel ( 1 Corinthians 9:23;  Philippians 1:5 ). Paul probably meant that all believers participate together in the saving power and message of the good news. Believers also share together a fellowship with the Holy Spirit ( 2 Corinthians 13:14 ), which the apostle understood as a most important bond for unity in the life of the church ( Philippians 2:1-4 ).

The tendency of many Christians to refer to the Lord's Supper as “communion” is rooted in Paul's use of the term koinonia in the context of his descriptions of the Lord's Supper. He described the cup as “communion of the blood of Christ,” and the bread as “communion” of the body of Christ (  1 Corinthians 10:16 ). Paul did not explain precisely how such “communion” takes place through the Supper. He emphatically believed the Supper tied participants closer to one another and to Christ. Such “communion” could not be shared with Christ and with other gods or supernatural beings. Thus Paul forbad his readers from partaking in pagan religious meals, which would result in sharing “fellowship” with evil, supernatural forces or demons ( 1 Corinthians 10:19-21 ).

Immediately after Paul spoke of “fellowship” with Christ through participation in the Lord's Supper ( 1 Corinthians 10:16 ), he said, “since there is one bread, we who are many are one body” ( 1 Corinthians 10:17 NAS). This illustrates clearly Paul's belief that fellowship with Christ was to issue into fellowship between believers. Once we grasp this, it is easy to understand why Paul was so angry over the mockery that the Corinthians were making of the Lord's Supper. While claiming to partake of this sacred meal, many Corinthian Christians ignored the needs of their brothers and sisters and actually created factions and divisions (  1 Corinthians 11:17-18 ), “for when the time comes to eat, each of you goes ahead with your own supper, and one goes hungry and another becomes drunk” ( 1 Corinthians 11:21 NRSV). Because the “fellowship” among the Corinthians themselves was so perverted, Paul could go so far as to say “when you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord's supper” (  1 Corinthians 11:20 NRSV).

Koinonia with the Lord results not only in sharing His benefits (the gospel and the Holy Spirit), but also sharing His sufferings (  Philippians 3:10;  Colossians 1:24 ). These texts express clearly just how intimate was Paul's perception of the close relationship between the believer and the Lord.

The pattern of self-sacrifice and humility, demonstrated most profoundly through Jesus' suffering on the cross ( Philippians 2:5-8 ), is to mark the current life of the disciple. Just as Jesus gave so completely of Himself for the sake of His people, so, too, are believers to give completely of themselves for the sake of the people of God ( 2 Corinthians 4:7-12;  Colossians 1:24 ). The pattern of following Christ in suffering continues for the believer, in that just as Christ entered into glory following His suffering ( Philippians 2:9-11 ), so, too, will the believer in the future share in the glory of Christ “if so be that we suffer with him” ( Romans 8:17; compare  Philippians 3:10-11 ).

Paul believed that Christians were to share with one another what they had to offer to assist fellow believers. Paul used the koin - stem to refer to such sharing. One who has received the word ought to “share” it with others ( Galatians 6:6 ). Though it is not translated “fellowship” in English versions, Paul actually used the term koinonia to denote the financial contribution which he was collecting from Gentile believers to take to Jerusalem for the relief of the saints who lived there (  Romans 15:26;  2 Corinthians 8:4;  2 Corinthians 9:13 ). The reason he could refer to a financial gift as koinonia is explained by   Romans 15:27 : “If the Gentiles have come to share in their [the Jewish Christians'] spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material things” (NRSV). In this case, each offered what they were able to offer to benefit others: Jewish Christians their spiritual blessings, Gentile Christians their material blessings. Such mutual sharing of one's blessings is a clear and profound expression of Christian fellowship.

Finally, for Paul, koinonia was a most appropriate term to describe the unity and bonding that exists between Christians by virtue of the fact that they share together in the grace of the gospel. When Paul wished to express the essential oneness of the apostolic leadership of the church he said concerning James, the Lord's brother, Peter, and John, that they “gave to me the right hands of fellowship” (  Galatians 2:9 ). When we realize that this expression of koinonia came on the heels of one of the most hotly debated issues in the early church, namely the status of Gentiles in the people of God (  Galatians 2:1-10;  Acts 15:1 ), we can see how powerful and all encompassing Paul's notion of Christian fellowship actually was.

Like Paul, John also affirmed that koinonia was an important aspect of the Christian pilgrimage. He affirmed emphatically that fellowship with God and the Son was to issue in fellowship with the other believers (  1 John 1:3 ,  1 John 1:6-7 ). See Lord'S Supper; Holy Spirit .

Bradley Chance

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [4]

According to its basic biblical meaning, fellowship is concerned not with people enjoying each other’s company, but with people participating together in something. Fellowship is communion – having a share in something.

Fellowship ‘with’ means sharing ‘in’

An example of the biblical meaning of fellowship is the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion. The act of believers in eating bread and drinking wine in the Lord’s Supper is an act of fellowship with Christ, for it is a spiritual sharing in his body and blood. It is a participation in Christ and all that his sacrificial death means ( 1 Corinthians 10:16; see Lord’S Supper ) By being united with Christ, believers share in him, have fellowship with him ( 1 Corinthians 1:9;  Hebrews 3:14). Likewise they have fellowship with the Father ( 1 John 1:3) and with the Holy Spirit ( 2 Corinthians 13:14;  Philippians 1:21;  Hebrews 6:4), for through faith in Christ they have become sharers in the divine nature ( 2 Peter 1:4).

In all these cases the fellowship may involve only the individual believer and God. The believer has fellowship with God, regardless of whether joined by fellow believers. If others join, however, they collectively have fellowship with God. Therefore, when the Bible speaks of Christians having fellowship together, it means that together they have fellowship with God, not that they enjoy being with each other ( 1 John 1:3). But by having fellowship together with God, they will indeed be joined together in a true and happy union ( John 17:21-22;  1 Corinthians 10:16-17).

Sin spoils the believer’s fellowship with God. Those who think they can sin as they please and still have fellowship with God are deceiving themselves. By contrast those who live righteously will enjoy unbroken fellowship with God, because God in his grace cleanses the sins that they unknowingly commit ( 1 John 1:6-7).

Fellowship with Christ means not only sharing in the blessings that come through his sacrificial death, but also sharing in the sufferings that he endured ( Philippians 3:10;  1 Peter 4:12-14;  Revelation 1:9). But if people have fellowship with him in his sufferings, they will also have fellowship with him in his glory ( 2 Timothy 2:11-12;  1 Peter 5:1).

Sharing in a common possession

As Christians jointly participate in Christ, so this fellowship binds them together ( Acts 2:42). There is therefore a sense in which they have fellowship with one another, but again this fellowship is usually in someone or something that they have as a common possession ( Philippians 1:7;  Hebrews 3:14;  2 Peter 1:4). Their fellowship is a joint sharing in a common faith ( Titus 1:4), in a common salvation ( Judges 1:3) and even in their common sufferings ( 2 Corinthians 1:7;  Revelation 1:9). They share in the gospel by helping those who preach it ( Philippians 1:5;  Philippians 4:14-18), and share in the financial support of poor Christians by giving money to help them ( Romans 15:27;  2 Corinthians 8:4;  2 Corinthians 9:11). From this latter example ‘fellowship’ developed the more specialized meaning of ‘financial contribution’ (cf.  Romans 15:26;  2 Corinthians 8:4;  2 Corinthians 9:13).

There are certain things that Christians are not to have fellowship with, not to share in, not to participate in. They are not to identify with others in a way that signifies a sharing in the wrongdoings of such people ( 1 Timothy 5:22;  2 John 1:10-11). Neither are they to share in marriage with non-believers ( 2 Corinthians 6:14-15) or in religious feasts where food has been offered to idols ( 1 Corinthians 10:20-21). They are to have no part, no share, in anything that is sinful ( Ephesians 5:11;  Revelation 18:4).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

A — 1: Κοινωνία (Strong'S #2842 — Noun Feminine — koinonia — koy-nohn-ee'-ah )

(a) "communion, fellowship, sharing in common" (from koinos, "common"), is translated "communion" in  1—Corinthians 10:16;  Philemon 1:6 , RV, "fellowship," for AV, "communication;" it is most frequently translated "fellowship;" (b) "that which is the outcome of fellowship, a contribution," e.g.,  Romans 15:26;  2—Corinthians 8:4 . See Communion , Contribution , etc.

 Ephesians 3:9

A — 2: Μετοχή (Strong'S #3352 — Noun Feminine — metoche — met-okh-ay' )

"partnership" (akin to No. 3, under Fellow is translated "fellowship" in  2—Corinthians 6:14 . In the Sept.,  Psalm 122:3 , "Jerusalem is built as a city whose fellowship is complete." The word seems to have a more restricted sense than koinonia. Cp. the verb form in  Hebrews 2:14 .

A — 3: Κοινωνός (Strong'S #2844 — Noun Masculine — koinonos — koy-no-nos' )

denotes "a partaker" or "partner" (akin to No. 1); in  1—Corinthians 10:20 it is used with ginomai, "to become," "that ye should have communion with," RV (AV, "fellowship with"). See Companion , Partaker , Partner.

B — 1: Κοινωνέω (Strong'S #2841 — Verb — koinoneo — koy-no-neh'-o )

"to have fellowship," is so translated in  Philippians 4:15 , RV, for AV, "did communicate." See Communicate.

B — 2: Συγκοινωνέω (Strong'S #4790 — Verb — sunkoinoneo — soong-koy-no-neh'-o )

"to have fellowship with or in" (sun, "with," and No. 1), is used in  Ephesians 5:11;  Philippians 4:14 , RV, "ye had fellowship," for AV, "ye did communicate;"  Revelation 18:4 , RV, "have (no) fellowship with," for AV, "be (not) partakers of." See Communicate , Partaker.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

κοινωνία. This in scripture is association, and having things in common. The Lord's table is where the fellowship of Christians is expressed — all there being associated in the fellowship of Christ's death. Being thus associated, proper Christian fellowship is in the light of God fully revealed — the Father and the Son. The apostles specially made known the truth of this fellowship as specially given to know it.  1 John 1:3 . Being brought into such association, it follows that as regards the gospel for the world, the welfare of the saints, and the maintenance of the truth, the believer has the same aims and objects before his soul as the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ have. Out of this flows the fellowship of the saints one with another.  Acts 2:42;  2 Corinthians 8:4 :  Galatians 2:9;  1 John 1:3-7 . It is also called the fellowship of the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 13:14;  Philippians 2:1 . The converse of this is also true: Christians cannot consistently have any fellowship with that which is evil or which brings dishonour upon the Lord Jesus.  Psalm 94:20;  1 Corinthians 10:20;  2 Corinthians 6:14;  Ephesians 5:11 .

In some passages the A.V. has the word 'COMMUNION' for the same Greek word , with the same meaning. Thus in  1 Corinthians 10:16 , "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" There is an allusion to the peace offering in  1 Corinthians 10:18 to show that those who ate the sacrifice were partakers of, had communion with, the altar; hence to eat things offered to idols would be to have fellowship with demons.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [7]

Joint interest, or the having one common stock. The fellowship of the saints is twofold:

1. With God,  1 John 1:3 .  1 Corinthians 1:9 . 1 Cor 13: 14.

2. With one another,  1 John 1:7 . Fellowship with God, consists in knowledge of his will,  Job 22:21 .  John 17:3 . Agreement,  Amos 3:2 . Strength of affection,  Romans 8:38-39 . Enjoyment of his presence,  Psalms 4:6 . Conformity to his image,  1 John 2:6 .  1 John 1:6 . Fellowship of the saints, may be considered as a fellowship of duties,  Romans 12:6 .  1 Corinthians 12:1 .  1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 .  James 5:16 . Of ordinances,  Hebrews 10:24 .  Acts 2:46 . Of graces, love, joy, &c.  Hebrews 10:24 .  Malachi 3:16 .  2 Corinthians 8:4 . Of interest spiritual and sometimes temporal,  Romans 12:4;  Romans 12:13 .  Hebrews 13:16 . Of sufferings,  Romans 15:1-2 .  Galatians 6:1-2 .  Romans 12:15 . Of eternal glory,  Revelation 7:9 .


Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

  • Of saints with one another, in duties ( Romans 12:5;  1 Corinthians 12:1;  1 Thessalonians 5:17,18 ); in ordinances ( Hebrews 10:25;  Acts 2:46 ); in grace, love, joy, etc. ( Malachi 3:16;  2 co  8:4 ); mutual interest, spiritual and temporal ( Romans 12:4,13;  Hebrews 13:16 ); in sufferings ( Romans 15:1,2;  Galatians 6:1,2;  Romans 12:15; and in glory ( Revelation 7:9 ).

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Fellowship'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/f/fellowship.html. 1897.

  • King James Dictionary [9]


    1. Companionship society consort mutual association of persons on equal and friendly terms familiar intercourse.

    Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.  Ephesians 5 .

    Men are made for society and mutual fellowship.

    2. Association confederacy combination.

    Most of the other christian princes were drawn into the fellowship of that war. Unusual.

    3. Partnership joint interest as fellowship in pain. 4. Company a state of being together.

    The great contention of the sea and skies parted our fellowship.

    5. Frequency of intercourse.

    In a great town friends are scattered, so that there is not that fellowship which is in less neighborhoods.

    6. Fitness and fondness for festive entertainments with good prefixed.

    He had by his good fellowship - made himself popular, with all the officers of the army.

    7. Communion intimate familiarity.  1 John 1 . 8. In arithmetic, the rule of proportions, by which the accounts of partners in business are adjusted, so that each partner may have a share of gain or sustain a share of loss, in proportion to his part of the stock. 9. An establishment in colleges, for the maintenance of a fellow.

    Webster's Dictionary [10]

    (1): ( n.) A foundation for the maintenance, on certain conditions, of a scholar called a fellow, who usually resides at the university.

    (2): ( n.) The state or relation of being or associate.

    (3): ( v. t.) To acknowledge as of good standing, or in communion according to standards of faith and practice; to admit to Christian fellowship.

    (4): ( n.) Those associated with one, as in a family, or a society; a company.

    (5): ( n.) The rule for dividing profit and loss among partners; - called also partnership, company, and distributive proportion.

    (6): ( n.) Companionship of persons on equal and friendly terms; frequent and familiar intercourse.

    (7): ( n.) A state of being together; companionship; partnership; association; hence, confederation; joint interest.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [11]

    The gospel sense of this, and especially in the Epistle of John, ( John 1:1-3) hath somewhat most endearing in it. The Greek word the apostle useth to express it, means partnership; and implies, that the church in and through Christ, hath an interest in all that belongs to Christ. ( 1 Corinthians 1:9)

    Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [12]

    FELLOWSHIP . See Communion.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

    in a college,- a station of privilege and emolument enjoyed by one who is elect-d a member of any of those endowed societies which in the English universities are; called colleges. The person so elected shares the benefits of the foundation in common with the other, members, and from such participation derives the name of fellow, the Latins name for which in the statutes of most of the colleges is socius. (See University).

    In Oxford and Cambridge " the fellowships Were either constituted by the original founders of the colleges to which they belong, or they have been since endowed. In almost all cases their holders must have taken at least the first degree of bachelor of arts or student in the civil law. One of the greatest changes introduced by the commissioners under the University Act of 1854 was the throwing open of the fellowships to all members of the university of requisite standing, by removing the old restrictions by which many of them were confined to founder's kin, or to the inhabitants of certain dioceses, archdeaconries, or other districts. Fellowships vary greatly in value. Some of the best at Oxford, in good years, are said to reach 700 or even 800, whilst there are others which do not amount to 100, and many at Cambridge which fall short of that sum. Being paid out -of the college revenues which arise from land they also vary from year to year, though from this arrangement, on thee other hand, their general value with reference to the value of commodities is preserved nearly unchangeable, which would not be the case if they consisted of :a fixed payment in money. The senior fellowships are the most lucrative, a system of promotion being established among their holders; but they all confer on their holders the privilege of occupying apartments in the college, and generally, in addition, certain perquisites as to meals or commons. Many fellowships are tenable for life, but in general they are forfeited should the holder attain to certain preferments in the Church or at the bar, and sometimes in the case of his succeeding to property above a certain amount. In general, also, they are forfeited by marriage, though this disability may now be removed by a special vote of the college, permitting the fellow to retain his fellowship notwithstanding his marriage. With the single exception of Downing College, Cambridge, in which the graduates of both universities are eligible, the fellowships are confined to the graduates of the university to which they belong."

    The Nuttall Encyclopedia [14]

    A collegiate term for a status in many universities which entitles the holder (a Fellow) to a share in their revenues, and in some cases to certain privileges as regards apartments and meals in the college, as also to a certain share in the government; formerly Fellowships were usually life appointments, but are now generally for a prescribed number of years, or are held during a term of special research; the old restrictions of celibacy and religious conformity have been relaxed.