In our Greek Word Devotional series, we discuss some of our favorite passages in the Bible, focusing on the specific use of certain Greek words. As we are set to gather with friends and family this holiday season, let’s look at 1 John 1:3,6-7:
… what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ … If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
The following is an excerpt from the CSB Study Bible:
Greek pronunciation: koy noh NEE ah
CSB translation: fellowship
Uses in 1 John: 4
Uses in the NT: 19
Focus passage: 1 John 1:3,6-7
Koinōnia most often carries the sense of communion or fellowship, referring to an association involving close mutual relations. This idea of mutual involvement is seen in extra-biblical usage, where koinōnia can refer to marriage (3Macc 4:6). Because of a common Spirit, Christians have fellowship with God and one another (1Jn 1:3,6-7). This kind of intimate fellowship was displayed among the sharing community of the early church (Ac 2:42). Koinōnia may also refer to the way in which this fellowship is portrayed, namely, through sharing, generosity, or participatory-feeling. Paul speaks of the Corinthian church’s generosity in sharing a financial gift (2Co 9:13). By extension, koinōnia may refer to the financial contribution itself (Rm 15:26). It may also express participation or common fellowship in a task or cause. Thus, believers have a common participation in the faith (Phm 6) and sharing in Christ’s body and blood (1Co 10:16).
It’s already that time of year. Thanksgiving and Christmas are here, and with it all the time with friends and family (whether in person or virtually, depending on numerous factors). With that comes fellowship, and all that this word entails in the Christian vernacular.
For some, being in fellowship with our family this holiday season is a cause for celebration and joy. Your family is a family of believers, a study in generations praising the Lord. And for that type of fellowship we all rejoice and pray. And it’s our hope that you notice that blessing for what it is.
For others, seeing friends and family may be more difficult. Maybe you are the only believer in your family. For you, we pray that you are able to show what true Christian fellowship looks like, and that your witness can lead your family to the cross.
And still others may be in dire need of that fellowship after a year (or longer) of being secluded. It’s our prayer that you feel this Christian fellowship this season.
There are innumerable ways in which people may feel about this time of year, but our prayer is that your Christian fellowship uplifts those around you and makes you aware of the blessings in your life, and that this year will be a time of rest and growth for us all.