About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

Home Page    


The New Testament was written in the Greek language. Koinonia is a Greek word that comes from the word "koinos" which means "common". Koinonia therefore means, to hold in common, to share, or to have fellowship.

As Christians we hold many things in common; our faith, our salvation, our hope, and many more things. The most important thing we hold in common obviously is the Lord Himself.

God’s intent for the church is that we live in "koinonia" with each other. This simply means that we "share our lives with one another". As the parts of our body are joined, or linked together so we as parts of His earthly body are joined together to make one functioning body.

Some examples of how koinonia is used in the New Testament are as follows.

-Rom. 12:13, sharing with God’s people in need

-Gal. 6:6, we need to share all good things with those who teach us God’s word.

-Phil 4:14, the Philippians shared in Paul’s troubles

-1 Peter 4:14, rejoice when you share in Christ’s sufferings

-Titus 1:4, Paul called Titus his son because of their common faith.

-Jude 3, we share our salvation in common.

-1 Cor. 10:16, when we have communion, or the Lord’s supper, we participate in (NIV),

or have communion with (KJV) the body and blood of Jesus.

"They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, and to the breaking of bread, and to prayer...All the believers were together and had all thing in common." (Acts 2:42+44, also in Acts 4:32)

"We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:3)

In conclusion, koinonia happens when people share with one another and hold certain things in common, resulting in fellowship. When we consider our Lord in these things and when we share with Him we become a "Koinonia Community – the Community of the King".

Some extra notes

Concerning Acts 2:44 and Christians having "all things in common", some clarification is needed. It is obvious that they did not have everything in common. For example, scriptural common sense tells us that men and women did not share their spouses. Historically speaking, there is no evidence of communal production of goods or communal consumption of goods in the early church as a general practice. There was sharing of material things by the individual which came from God’s love in their hearts due to their new found faith.

In Acts 12:12 we see that a lady named Mary owned her own house. This tells us that people did maintain their own personal property and did not give it over to the church.

A good scripture to show how the early church felt about these things is found in 1 John 3:17. It says, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him".

This is not to say that pooling of material things is wrong. History does reveal at times, due to economic and political pressure put on Christians that this has been a necessity. Though necessity may cause this to happen at times, it is not common practice. It is not the norm.

There is no strong support in the New Testament for a "social economic system" for the church to follow. What is evident though is that "the individual" is encouraged to follow certain economic principles, such as sharing with others.

It is most important to know that "koinonia" (our fellowship with each other) is not based on the pooling together of material things. It is not based on some economic system. It is based on our "fellowship of faith" (Phlm. 6), our "fellowship with the Son" (1 Cor. 1:9), our "fellowship with the Holy Spirit" (2 Cor. 13:13 ). Koinonia is based on a relationship with Jesus, the unity that comes by the Holy Spirit, and the truth of His Word, which is the Bible.

Home Page