Fellowship and company are two different things, yet most religious people don't know the
difference. Whenever there are good times, they talk about fellowship. It's a fellowship hall
instead of a dining room or cafeteria. Entertainment, from comedians to musical groups, is
called fellowship. Sports teams, sightseeing tours, amusement park outings and any other
type of “fun and games” are called fellowship. Fellowship to most people is another word for
fun. Yet, that is never the meaning in scripture.
Fellowship is most often translated from the Greek word koinwnia (koinoonia) and its
companions. It carries with it the idea of association and working together. Thus, it is also
used to describe the work that is jointly engaged in.
Koinos – common, i.e. (literally)shared by all or several,or (ceremonially) profane:--common,
defiled, unclean, unholy. – Acts 2:44; 4:32
Koinwvew – to share with others (objectively or subjectively):--communicate, distribute, be
partaker. – Rom. 12:13; 15:27; Gal. 2:6; Phil. 4:15; 1 Pe. 4:13; used negatively 2 John 11; He. 2:
14; 1 Tim. 5:22
Koinwnia. – partnership, i.e. (literally) participation, or… intercourse, or (pecuniary)
benefaction: – (to) communicate(-ation), communion, (contri-)distribution, fellowship. – Acts 2:
42; 1 Cor. 1:9; 10:16; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 2:9; Eph. 3:9; Phil. 2:1; 3:10; 1 Jn. 1:3,6,7; used of he
acts Rom. 15:26; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:13; Phil. 1:5; He. 13:16; used negatively 2 Cor. 6:14
Koinwnikos. – communicative, i.e. (pecuniarily) liberal: – willing to communicate. 1 Tim. 6:18
Koinwnos. – a sharer, i.e. Associate: --companion,X fellowship, partaker, partner. 1 Cor. 10:
20; 2 Cor. 1:7; 8:23; Phm. 1:17;He. 10:33; 1 Pe. 5:1; 2 Pe. 1:4; used negatively Matt. 23:30;
Business – Lu. 5:10
Again, fellowship is the idea of association and working together.
Our fellowship is: 1. with God & Jesus, and 2. with each other.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,
which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was
manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which
was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard
declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with
the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy
may be full.” (1 John 1:1-4 KJV)
Fellowship follows the transitive law of equality: things equal to the same thing are equal to
each other. I am in fellowship with God and Jesus. You are in fellowship with God and Jesus.
We are in fellowship with each other.
The International standard bible encylopedia says of fellowship:
“...designate acts of fellowship observed among the early Christians or express the unique
sense of unity and fellowship of which these acts were the outward expression. The several
passages in which these terms are used fall into two groups: ...those in which they refer to the
acts of fellowship, and those in which they refer to fellowship as experienced.”
It goes on to list these as the acts of fellowship as given in the New Testament:
• The Lord's Supper – 1 Corinthians 10:14-22
• Sharing equally of goods – Acts 2:42
• Almsgiving – Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 6:18
• Co-operation – Philippians 1:5; Galatians 2:9
Compare these to the things which are listed in many church and congregational bulletins as
fellowship. Are they the same? Are they of the same category?
All of these things are working together to accomplish the work of the Lord, either in worship
or in service. Many of the things which are called fellowship today are for the simple purpose
of entertaining or serving men. Fellowship as it is used in the New Testament is cheapened
and demeaned by the manner in which it is used by many in the religious world.