NT Tuesday: Fellowship


Last week, Scott was kind enough to cover for me while I had the privilege of directing Boys’ Camp at Greenwood Hills Bible Conference in Fayetteville, PA. While directing the camp, I couldn’t help but think of another important New Testament principle.

In Acts 2:42, the Holy Spirit caused Luke to write “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The principle of fellowship is noted early on in church history and I would like to explore it more this week and next week in my blog.

Before we start our study on fellowship, I want to remind everyone of what makes a New Testament principle. A principle is “a basic truth, law or assumption.” So, a New Testament principle is “a basic truth, law or assumption that was established or expounded upon in the New Testament for believers seeking to follow the Lord Jesus as His disciples, individually or collectively.”

Please note, that in the early church, the saints devoted themselves to fellowship. They didn’t just “have fellowship” but they devoted themselves. This means that it was a priority and was purposeful, something that was meaningful to them, something in which they invested their time and resources.

Our common conversation about fellowship falls far short of defining real fellowship. We somehow confine fellowship to that which takes place in between meetings and often involves coffee and conversation. While that may be good, it’s not the biblical concept of fellowship. I am guilty of this type of talk too – especially when it provides justification for certain activities.

For example, I enjoy (or at least I did last year, this year it hasn’t been much fun) watching the Phillies play at Citizens Bank Park. So, if I take another young man from the assembly with me, we can call it “fellowship” and it seems far more spiritual than it really is! But, that kind of activity also falls far short of the biblical concept of fellowship.

Let’s look at how Mr. Webster defines fellowship. According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary it means: (a) companionship, company, associate (vb.); (b) the community of interest, activity, feeling or experience, i.e., a unified body of people of equal rank sharing in common interests, goals, and characteristics, etc.; (c) partnership, membership (an obsolete usage but an important one. It shows what has happened to our ideas of fellowship).

There are three key ideas that come out of this:

  1. Fellowship means being a part of a group, a body of people.
  2. Fellowship means sharing with others certain things in common such as interest, goals, feelings, beliefs, activities, labor, privileges and responsibilities, experiences, and concerns.
  3. Fellowship can mean a partnership that involves working together and caring for one another as a company of people, like a company of soldiers or members of a family.

Joe Reese, a gifted Bible teacher, has pointed out that another good definition of fellowship is “two fellows in a ship rowing in the same direction.” You can see how that meets the 3 key ideas.

So what does this have to do with Boys’ Camp at Greenwood Hills? Tons, but we’ll have to wait to next week for the connection and the application to our relationship with other believers in the local assembly.

Until next week, fulfill your ministry!


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Photo credit: R0uge (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons






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