Intimate Joint Participation – Acts 2:42

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship…”

The Greek word for fellowship in Acts 2:42 is koinōnia. Like many words, it has a range of meanings and uses, so it is important to pay attention to the context to determine which meaning it has in that particular context. Koinōnia refers to a close association involving mutual interests and sharing; a close relationship characterized by involvement and sharing. From that basic definition it came to refer to the love or good will that comes with a close relationship, and thus was used of “generosity” or “participation,” and it also came to refer to the result of close association, which is sharing, giving, and was even used of “a gift” or “a contribution.” Christians who have studied this subject have come up with the useful definition to describe fellowship among Christians: “intimate joint participation.”

We all know when we have genuine fellowship with others, that is, true “intimate joint participation.” We let people into our hearts and lives, and are with people who open their hearts and lives to us, and that happens among people who are in close association and when we are with people we trust. The basis of true koinōnia among Christians is our love of God, and our commitment to Him. Beyond that, it is important that we agree on certain basics of the Faith.

The epistle of 1 John lays out the relationship between teaching and “fellowship.” 1 John 1:3 says, “that which we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you also may have fellowship with us.” Note that John does not think that telling people what he had seen and heard was “fellowship,” but rather John taught what he had seen and heard “so that” there could be “fellowship.” The teaching produced the like-mindedness that was necessary for intimate joint participation to occur.

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