I hear the word “fellowship” a lot in my church–maybe you do, too–but I’ve never really understood what this word means. So, I went on a mission to find out for myself.
What is biblical fellowship? Is it just hanging out with other believers? Does fellowship have to include food? It usually does at my church. What are people supposed to do in fellowship?
As I researched this topic, one passage of Scripture kept coming up, Acts 2:41-42.
So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
This passage contains the Greek word for “fellowship,” Koinonia (pronounced: koy-nohn-ee’-ah). Koinonia means joint participation within a community, and a key aspect of Koinonia is agreement.
Take a look at the rest of Acts 2, verses 43-47. It discusses a group of people who had all their possessions in common. They shared everything. They spent time together and ate together with joy and sincerity. When they went to the temple to worship, they were all in agreement about what they believed, and they praised God together.
Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart (Acts 2:46).
For the first New Testament church, fellowship wasn’t just a time set aside for greeting new believers or enjoying coffee and doughnuts; it was their life. They were part of a community and they participated in some of the most important aspects of life with their community.
This passage from Acts 2 tells us that “everyone kept feeling a sense of awe.” The only way they could have known that about each other is if they kept communicating about all the things God was doing. They were devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles and then living out those teachings as a community, sharing everything with each other depending on their needs.
Fellowship for the church was never meant to be a short time set aside as part of a church service. Fellowship is meant to be living and active in our faith. Fellowship is spending time with other believers, living out the lessons we’ve learned from those who teach us God’s word and showing the world what kind of life believers have, both with God and with each other.
If believers lived lives of biblical fellowship, do you think more people would be interested in giving their lives to Jesus?
[The believers were] praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved (Acts 2:47).
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