KOINONIA in the New Testament

as explored by Rev. Howard B Haines, K-9

The word “koinonia” is used in the Greek New Testament 20 times – not nearly so often as the other three words in the “love group”: the unconditional, limitless love of the Christian (317 times); the unmerited, abundant love of God or of Christ, generally translated “grace” (166 times); and philia, warm human friendship (56 times). The word Eros, romantic, passionate, or sentimental love, does not appear in the New Testament. Koinonia is used in the Book of the Acts, in John’s letters, and most frequently by Paul. It does not appear in the Gospels, perhaps because it describes an experience that could be fully experienced only after the resurrection.

In the English versions of the Bible, Koinonia is frequently translated “fellowship”, sometimes as “partnership”, “sharing, or “communion”; occasionally as “communication”, “contribution”, “participation” or “favor”. The Koinonia Movement is rightly named by this word for which it stands…”They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and KOINONIA, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the KOINONIA of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14, also Phil. 2:1)

“I thank my God every time I think of you…praying with joy, thankful for your KOINONIA in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Phil. 1:3-5)

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the KOINONIA of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9, Phil 2:1-5, Phil 3:10)

“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not KOINONIA in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not KOINONIA in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16)

“I pray that the KOINONIA of your faith may promote the knowledge of all the good that is ours in Christ.” (Philemon 6)

“You will glorify God…by the generosity of your KOINONIA for those in need and for everyone.” (2 Cor.9:13, Rom 15:56, 2 Cor. 8:4)

To put it all together, what could better describe both the Koinonia Weekend and the Koinonia Movement than this?

“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have KOINONIA with us; and our KOINONIA is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

(1 John 1:3, 1 John 1:6-7)