The Fellowship of the Believers
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This periscope, or section of scripture, is called “The Fellowship of the Believers.” ”Fellowship" is a word that we Christians use a lot, usually referring to a group of people gathering to socialize. But the word "fellowship" used in Acts 2 is the Greek word “koinonia.” It is difficult to translate into English because it has many nuances in meaning. It can be translated “fellowship," “friendship,” "community," “communal," and “communion.” The word encompasses many aspects of the way the church interacts with itself, and it goes deeper than socializing.
The idea of koinonia is that we come together to commune with God and commune with each other. It involves praying together, serving together, worshiping together, giving, and growing in faith together. Koinonia implies doing life together, all of life, with God at the center of our doings.
Koinonia takes the word “community” and makes it “communal” in nature. “Community” is about having something in common or shared. It is a passive word. You can move into a neighborhood, apartment complex, or any other place of residence and you are in a community. You will have neighbors, yet you may never know those neighbors and they may never matter to you, or you to them. You are not required to care about those around you, just because you live in a community. But to live in communion with others is altogether different.
To be communal is to be active in engaging those around you. Striving to be communal suggests that you care about something or someone enough to move toward it; to interact, to do life together in the sense of Koinonia. It leans toward selflessness, toward the good of the other, toward relationship.
To be communal and to embody a lifestyle built around Koinonia is not always easy, because it means setting our own desires aside at times. But it is the narrow path, Jesus calls us to, and it is certainly what the early church embraced. The church is a community already, but how much more could it be if we each embraced the true Koinonia of believers?
What is something you can do to shift your daily life toward living communally?
Holy One, you have created me for community, for relationships and communion with my fellow believers. Help me learn to live in a communal manner, interdependent with those also seeking to follow you. Show me what it means to live in Koinonia. Thank you for the church and a place to worship, grow, give, and pray. I am yours, Lord. Lead me to be an instrument of your grace, peace and light in the world. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.