“Fellowship” (Gk. “koinonia”) means companionship, a relation in which parties hold something in common (Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p. 349). It means “association” or “participation”, and is translated as “partnership”, “sharing”, and “contribution”. Paul’s use of “koinonia” emphasizes the reality of our mystical union with Christ; whereas, John focuses on our experience of fellowship (joint-participation with someone else in things possessed in common by both; e.g., a divine nature – 2 Pet. 1:4; common likes and dislikes; common interests and activities – Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. 4, “1 John”, p. 101) – L. Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, p. 276. Fellowship means a sharing in common (Vine, Unger, and White’s, An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 420). A joint sharing in or participation with someone or a group in a common activity, interest, viewpoint, and/or possession. In the New Testament, however, it’s limited to spiritual things in common.
1 Jn. 1:3 With Whom did the apostles (“we”, “us”, “our”) have fellowship (companionship, common likes and dislikes; e.g., loving righteousness and hating sin)?
Why did the apostle John (with the other apostles) proclaim to his/their readers what he/they had seen and heard?
Could you say that you would have had fellowship (i.e., a joint-participation in common) with the early apostles as they had (e.g., hating sin and loving righteousness) with God the Father and Jesus Christ, and why?
1 Jn. 1:5-7 If we say we have fellowship (i.e., joint-participation, common likes and dislikes; common interests and activities) with God and yet walk (live/act) in darkness (i.e., sin), what do we and don’t we do?
[“truth” – that which is in line with reality].
Are you self-deceived, thinking that God is your companion, that you’re in harmony with God, yet you’re living in disobedience to God’s Word, the Bible?
How do you know?
When do we have fellowship (a sharing in common of holiness, truth, and hatred of sin) with one another (i.e., God and I as a believer – 1 Jn. 1:7)?
Are you having fellowship (i.e., joint-participation; a sharing in common likes and dislikes for righteousness and sin) with God by walking (i.e., living/acting) in the light (i.e., God’s nature of holiness and truth)?
If you are, what does Christ’s blood do for you?
Are you grateful for the fact that while we are having fellowship with God (by living in/responding to God’s holiness and truth), the blood of Jesus keeps cleansing us from sins we commit in ignorance (i.e., that we are unaware of committing)?
What should we do, however, when we realize that we have committed a sin (1 Jn. 1:9)?
And what will confessing/acknowledging our sins to God result in?
[Though we as Christians are already positionally forgiven for all of our sins (Col. 2:13-14; Eph. 1:7), we need to be experientially forgiven in order to have daily fellowship with God in our experience. Just like we believers are positionally already in heaven (Eph. 2:4-6), we are not yet there in our experience (Col. 1:5).].
Do you confess (acknowledge to God) specifics whenever you realize you’ve sinned, and why?
2 Cor. 13:14 What blessing/benefit of the Holy Spirit does Paul invoke/desire to be with or experienced by these Christians?
Are you experiencing the fellowship/companionship of God which the Holy Spirit makes possible by giving you the ability to live a holy life?
How do you know?
Acts 2:42 Besides the apostles’ teaching, what were these new Christians continually devoting themselves to?
Besides being taught the Bible by biblically-accurate teachers, are you devoting yourself to fellowship (joint-participation with other believers in the Lord’s Supper/communion/the breaking of bread – 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:23-25; Jude 1:12 – and prayer), and why?
Is it necessary for us to continually do so, just because these Christians did, and why?
Phil. 3:10 What kind of fellowship (i.e., sharing in common) did Paul desire?
Do you desire to fellowship/share in Christ’s suffering, that is, to suffer for the sake of righteousness as Christ did?
How do you feel about Phil. 1:29-30, and why?
2 Cor. 6:14-15 Why should believers/Christians not be bound together with unbelievers (in any kind of binding relationship, whether in marriage, business, fraternal order, etc.)?
Would you compromise your Christian/biblical beliefs, values, goals, priorities, perspectives, attitudes, character, and purpose in life in order to be in a binding relationship with an unbeliever, or for that matter, with a carnal (worldly, backslidden) believer, and why?
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS CHRISTIANS CAN AND SHOULD FELLOWSHIP (i.e., be joint participants) IN, AND ARE YOU DOING ANY OF THEM? IF SO, WHICH ONES, AND HOW?
Phil. 2:2; 1:27
1 Pet. 3:8
1 Jn. 4:7
1 Thes. 4:18
1 Thes. 5:11
1 Pet. 4:10
1 Cor. 12:25
2 Tim. 2:2
Acts 4:23; 15:3-4
Acts 4:31; 1:14
IN THE FOLLOWING PASSAGES, WHEN IS FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHERS FORBIDDEN?
1 Cor. 5:1-2, 6, 11, 13
2 Thes. 3:6, 14-15
2 Jn. 1:9-11
As a result of this Bible study, what will you do differently regarding your fellowship with other Christians, and why?