True biblical fellowship can be an even deeper and more rewarding experience than we might ever have realized before. According to an item I came across in the Bible Society's quarterly newsletter Word in Action:
"[The] Greek— 'koinonia,' which the Bible translates as 'fellowship'—is strong and dynamic. It was used for business partnership, implying mutual commitment and participation over a long time, with important outcomes. It was used in connection with marriage… evoking a picture of deep, mutually supportive relationships."
The Greek verb "to fellowship" means to do things together, to own something between you, to share a whole life with someone. It's about deep-level integration, not just casual talk over a cup of tea.
The article also mentions that the apostle Paul had that in mind when writing about the collection he arranged for the poor Christians in Jerusalem. In Romans 15:26, the word translated "contribution" is this word koinonia. "It had been an expression of deep mutual committed relationship," says the author.
In 2 Corinthians 13:14 Paul refers to the "communion of the Spirit," which, again, is the Greek word koinonia, as in Philippians 2:1, where it's translated "fellowship."
As the article goes on to explain, "He [Paul] wants us to understand the presence, company and practical help which the Spirit provides and generates between us. To warrant the use of 'fellowship,' relationships need to be intimate, open, committed and costly."
I wonder how we in God's Church today measure up to this? Here, no doubt, is a great opportunity to continue to learn and grow.