September 13, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, shares…
‘Fellowship’ is a word that Christians often use. It is one of the great New Testament words but is has been used so much to describe such a variety of ‘church meetings’ that it has become devalued.
What is ‘fellowship?’ Is it just a term given to differentiate Christian groups from non-Christian groups – Men’s Fellowship, Women’s Fellowship, Youth Fellowship and so on?
Or, does the New Testament use the word in a different way? That is what we are going to explore.
The Greek words κοινωνία and κοινωνέω
In the KJV the Greek noun κοινωνία (koinonia) has been translated by the words…
- Fellowship (12 times),
- Communion (4 times),
- Communication (once),
- Contribution (once), and
- Distribution (once).
The verb κοινωνέω, ‘to share’, has been translated to partaker of, communicate and distribute. It is clear that it is a much more significant word than is suggested by the way we frequently use it.
Before it became a New Testament word, it was used in secular Classical Greek generally as a business word to indicate, for example, partnership in a business.
It was also used in the Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, to translate the Hebrew word חבר (chaber), which means to bind or join together in any context.(more…)