Fellowship: What It Is and What It Isn’t – Part I

The term “FELLOWSHIP” is a word we Christians commonly use, yet it is mentioned only 17 times in Scripture. The religious world in general talks about FELLOWSHIP almost endlessly with the term posted on billboards and church signs everywhere. However, though it is spoken of by Christians and non-Christians alike, it is one of the most misunderstood Biblical terms of 2017.

FELLOWSHIP comes from two basic Greek words: “koinonia” and “metoche”. Both terms mean “having something in common” or “a partnership”. Grammatically, FELLOWSHIP is always used as a noun or a verb in the Bible; Never an adjective describing something or some object. This same Greek word (koinonia) and its forms are translated into five terms other than FELLOWSHIP in the N.T. – Communion (I Cor 10:16); Contribution (Rom 15:26); Participation/Communication (Philemon 6); To Communicate /To Share (Heb 13:16); and Partner (II Cor 8:23). The point here is that FELLOWSHIP is always tied to Unity or Oneness or to some Participation that Promotes Unity and Agreement.

Biblical Examples of Fellowship using These Terms

  • Partnering in a Work or Occupation (Luke 5:7 – Disciples Fishing). “So they signaled to their PARTNERS in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats so that they began to sink”.
  • Having Common Experiences (Rev 1:9 – Tribulation) “I, John, your brother and FELLOW PARTAKER in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the isle called Patmos because of the word of God and testimony of Jesus”.
  • Having Common Benefits (I Tim 6:1-2 – Working for a Christian). “Let all who are UNDER THE YOKE as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful ON THE GROUND THAT THEY ARE BROTHERS, rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their service are BELIEVERS and BELOVED
  • Sharing Possessions (Rom 15:26 – Sending Funds to Needy Saints). “For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a CERTAIN CONTRIBUTION for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem
  • Sharing Possessions (Phil 4:14-15 – Sending Funds to Paul to SHARE in His Affliction). “Yet it was kind of you to SHARE my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into PARTNERSHIP with me in GIVING and RECEIVING , except you only”.

God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit form the basis of all true FELLOWSHIP. Scriptures plainly teach that we MUST be in FELLOWSHIP with GOD; We MUST be in FELLOWSHIP with other CHRISTIANS; and We MUST NOT be in FELLOWSHIP with the WICKED.


  • The book of I John provides us with our greatest “working knowledge” of what FELLOWSHIP is and how it works. ”That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have FELLOWSHIP with us; and TRULY our FELLOWSHIP is with the FATHER and with His SON JESUS CHRIST”. (I Jn: 1:3). This is a major point in understanding Biblical FELLOWSHIP. Before two parties can be in FELLOWSHIP with each other, BOTH must be in FELLOWSHIP with God. It is impossible to be otherwise. That point is reemphasized two verses later. “This is the message that we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have FELLOWSHIP with Him and 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 Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”. (I Jn 1:5-7).
  • To have something IN COMMON with God, we must BECOME LIKE HIM – “If we say that we have FELLOWSHIP with Him, and 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”. To have something IN COMMON with God and to BECOME LIKE HIM, we must KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. He who says, ‘I know Him’, and does not KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever KEEPS HIS WORD, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are IN HIM. He who says he ABIDES IN HIM ought to WALK just as HE WALKED”. (I Jn 2:3-6).
  • When Jesus Christ came to this world to be our Savior as God, the Son, He SEALED our FELLOWSHIP and our COMMON EXPERIENCE with both HE and THE FATHER. “Inasmuch then as the children have PARTAKEN of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise SHARED in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil… Therefore, in all things, He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted”. (Heb 2:14, 17-18). “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”. (Heb 4:15).

Our Highest Aim and Our Only Goal should be To Live Daily in FELLOWSHIP with God and Christ!

When we consider what has been planned and accomplished for us that lead to our salvation, this aim and goal should be easy. CONSIDER – Understanding what God the Father has done for us: Providing a plan where we could receive forgiveness of sins; Pouring out His marvelous mercy and amazing grace upon us; and Demonstrating His deep love for all mankind by sending His only begotten Son to die for our sins. CONSIDER – Grasping what Christ the Savior has done for us: Leaving the glories of Heaven to come to a sin filled, hateful world; Leaving us a perfect example that we could follow in His steps; Allowing us to be healed by His stripes and the stroke that was due us; Putting Himself and our sins on the Cross at Calvary to suffer a horrific and painful death so that we could be saved; and Ever abiding at God’s right hand to make intercession for us all.

Part II – Next Week