Relationship? Fellowship.

I was thinking, and reflecting on the concept of “relationship” – as it pertains to church.  And, I think it misses some of the beauty of what really happens in the Church body – when we fellowship.

Relationship is defined as follows:

  1. The condition or fact of being related; connection or association.
  2. Connection by blood or marriage; kinship.
  3. A particular type of connection existing between people related to or having dealings with each other: has a close relationship with his siblings.
  4. A romantic or sexual involvement.

I can have a relationship with someone I just started sharing blogs with.  🙂   I can have a relationship with my In Laws, even if I do not like them (which is not the case, just an example 🙂  ) and I can have a relationship with a good friend, or my husband.

But, in the ESV, and the KJV, the word does not even occur.  And, in the NIV it is only used once – Romans 2:17, which is not in a positive sort of framework.  NASB only uses it once as well – Matthew 19:10 – again not in a positive framework. 

So, while we acknowledge our need for “relationships”, what is a better way to say this?  I think we need to revert back to the concept of fellowship.

The original Greek word – koinonia – implies something deeper than merely relationship does.  The word we translate as fellowship means:
1) fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse          
a) the share which one has in anything, participation                                                           
b) intercourse, fellowship, intimacy   
1) the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office)                                                                                                  
c) a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship

A definition of our word fellowship is:

  1. The condition of sharing similar interests, ideals, or experiences, as by reason of profession, religion, or nationality.
  2. The companionship of individuals in a congenial atmosphere and on equal terms.
  • A close association of friends or equals sharing similar interests.
  • Friendship; comradeship.
  • Do you see the difference?  The beauty of the word fellowship is the equality, the mutuality, and the vulnerability that is shared.  I can have a relationship with my pastor, that is not equal, but when we fellowship, their is an intimacy, as we are brought together by mutuality. 

    I long for fellowship.  It is what I have with each of the people I posted about in my earlier blog.  There is a mutual sharing, and a mutual growing.  We glean from one another, as we connect on a deep level.

    Have you ever had one of those moments, where, without a conversation even, you know you are fellowshipping with a believer?  I know my sister had such a moment – when a gentleman sat across from her in a hospital, nodding in agreement as Laurel shared the gospel with a third party.  I had it today – as Judah and I talked about loving God at the Walmart McDonalds, and the woman behind me commented on my busy kids.  I had it last week, when my kids mauled everyone in the doctor’s waiting room – and the woman across from me commented on their strong Biblical names.  I love these God-given moments.  My Dad talked to me about this too – your souls connect – you have the Holy Spirit in you in common.  How delightful!

    Let us fellowship – in all those vulnerable, touchy, huggy, deep ways that only fellow believers can….



    6 Comments (+add yours?)

    1. krislinatin
      Dec 13, 2007 @ 17:27:02

      I love this!


    2. Nicole
      Dec 13, 2007 @ 17:40:20

      wow – thank you!


    3. susan
      Dec 13, 2007 @ 19:58:13


      so true. thank you again for your deeply poetic and life altering words. 🙂 i long for fellowship. thank you for showing me so quickly in our friendship that you were a kindred spirit, and that with you i would find fellowship.



    4. Nicole
      Dec 13, 2007 @ 20:43:23

      This is the last time I say anything nice about you people. I can take critism better than all this lovey talk about me. 🙂

      Next week, I think I may have to share your worse attributes – maybe that way we can balance one another out.

      Your friendship is such a bright spot in my life!


    5. clearly
      Dec 14, 2007 @ 14:57:38

      I thank my God upon every rememberance of you all, always in every prayer of mine for you all, making request wiht joy. For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now!

      Fellowship, that is true fellowship, is founded in the gospel. I sow know that you mean about encountering other believers — it’s even cooler in a foreign country! To hear them sing about Jesus — AHH! I love it


    6. Michael Aulia
      Dec 25, 2007 @ 07:36:50

      Thank you for this article, I was preparing for a group study about Fellowshipping with God ^^


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