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Online Articles

What Is Fellowship?

In Acts 2:42, the Bible says that the first Christians continued steadfastly in fellowship. What is that? A common misnomer is that it is sharing a common meal. It may be that brethren in fellowship eat together (Acts 2:46) and thus broadly fellowship might include this; and we are instructed NOT to eat with those who are disfellowshipped (1 Cor. 5:11); but it is a mistake to think eating a meal together or even having a potluck of the whole membership is primarily what the Bible means by fellowship. To do so, misses out on the rich concept of fellowship beyond this.

Well, what does the Holy Spirit mean when He says fellowship? He is describing a state or relationship of fellows; oneness in mind and purpose; partnership. Or, the resultant action; joint participation; communion; sharing; and partaking done by those in fellowship. The Bible concept of fellowship requires both. A mistake by some today is to think any joint participation makes for fellowship. It does not.

There are two areas of biblical fellowship: with God and with other Christians. With God we come into a relationship (fellowship) with God in the Light — 1 John 1:3, 6-7. We partake (have fellowship) in His divine nature — 2 Peter 1:4. We are called by God into this fellowship — 1 Corinthians 1:9.

With other Christians, the relationship is automatic by birth into the same family. They are therefore called fellow soldiers (Philemon 2), fellow laborers (Philemon 24), fellow helpers (3 John 8), fellow servants (Revelation 6:11), and fellow heirs (Ephesians 3:6), etc. Christians will from time to time mutually participate in a broad list of bible-given activities; eg. sharing in the work of the local congregation, pooling resources in spreading the gospel, worshipping together, praying together, singing together, teaching one another, disciplining one another, helping needy saints, etc. All these and others are areas of fellowship. A Christian fellowship hall is a meeting place for church services and the fellowship (communion) meal for saints is the Lord's Supper each Lord's Day. This is TRUE fellowship.