What does the Bible say about fellowship?
Fellowship is crucial to our Christian faith. We are not an island. If we try to do everything in our own strength, we will shrivel up and dry out. We must maintain constant and intense communication with God to grow and thrive spiritually. We must also spend quality time with our Christian brothers and sisters to be spiritually whole. We need to encourage each other, pray with and for each other, laugh and cry together, and caution each other against temptation and sin.
The New Testament constantly urges us to have a thriving relationship with God and the Body of Christ. Why is fellowship so important? How does it empower us? What does the Bible have to say about all this? Let’s check it out!
Christian quotes about fellowship
“Our love to God is measured by our everyday fellowship with others and the love it displays.” Andrew Murray
“Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly intercourse than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation.” Charles Spurgeon
“When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles, When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devils shouts for joy.” Corrie Ten Boom
Importance of fellowship in the Bible
The importance of fellowship with God and with each other is a recurring theme throughout Scripture.
“Let’s consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds, not abandoning our own meeting together, as is the habit of some people, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
A key element of Christian fellowship is encouragement. In the above verses, “encouragement” means stimulating, provoking, or stirring up. Generally, we think of the word “provoke” in a negative sense, but here it’s provoking to love and good actions. Think about that. How do we generate love and positive behaviors in other people? By loving on them and modeling godly actions.
Another essential element of Christian fellowship is sharing sorrows and difficult times. We “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are badly treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” (Hebrews 13:3)
Jesus taught in Matthew 25:31-46 that when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, invite strangers in, clothe the naked, and visit those who are sick or in prison, it’s the same as if we are doing all this for Jesus. “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me” (Matthew 25:40).
1. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV) “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
2. 1 John 1:3 (ESV) “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
3. Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
4. Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
5. 1 Corinthians 12:20 “As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
6. Psalm 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
7. Romans 12:4-6 (NKJV) “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith.”
8. Matthew 18:19-20 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
9. 1 Corinthians 12:21 (NASB) “And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again, the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
10. 1 Corinthians 12:12 “The body is a unit, though it is composed of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ.”
11. 1 Corinthians 7:7 “I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”
12. 1 Corinthians 14:26 “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.”
13. Romans 12:6-7 (NKJV) “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching.”
How to have fellowship with one another?
“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (Philippians 2:1-2)
Our fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ flows from our connection with God. Intimacy with the Holy Spirit leads to connecting with others in a way that can’t happen when operating in the natural flesh.
The word “fellowship” in the passage above comes from the Greek word koinonia, which means partnership, sharing, community, or intimacy. Christian fellowship is more than simply chatting after the church service, although that’s a wonderful thing to do. It means we share with each other and we partner with each other. We know each other well and are there to lend support when needed.
The word “encouragement” in the above passage comes from the Greek word paraklésis, which is closely tied to fellowship. It means “coming to one’s aid” or “encouraging from close beside.” Christ does that for us so that we can do it for others.
When we truly fellowship with each other, we are united in love and share the same purpose. We can cooperate to achieve God’s work. Relationship is a life-giving source of strength, but we must share God’s values for true fellowship.
One practical way we fellowship with each other is by using our specific spiritual gifts to minister within the church to encourage and build up other believers. When we cooperate in ministry outreach, we bring our different gifts into play that all work together to achieve God’s will. Corporate worship is a beautiful way to fellowship, and that’s one reason why “online church” doesn’t really satisfy. We need to be physically together to sing and pray as a body.
We have fellowship when we love each other through joys and sorrows and assist each other with needs. When one of us has a moral failure, true fellowship means walking that brother or sister through repentance and restoration. When we feel slighted by another, true fellowship means forgiving and overlooking trivial things with the bigger picture in mind.
14. Philippians 2:1-2 (NKJV) “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
15. Romans 12:16 “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but enjoy the company of the lowly. Do not be conceited.”
16. 1 Corinthians 10:16 (NIV) “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?”
17. Romans 1:12 “that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”
18. Romans 16:16 (NASB) “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.”
19. Acts 2:42 (ESV) “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
20. Galatians 6:2 (KJV) “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
21. Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
22. James 5:16 (ESV) “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
23. Acts 6:4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
24. Colossians 1:9-12 “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
25. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
26. Acts 1:14 “All these were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.”
27. Ephesians 6:18 “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
What does the Bible say about love and fellowship?
- “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7)
- “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters. But whoever has worldly goods and sees his brother or sister in need, and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God remain in him? Little children, let’s not love with word or with tongue, but in action and truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)
- “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12)
- “For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. . . God has so composed the body , , , that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same care for one another. And if one part of the body suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if a part is honored, all the parts rejoice with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 24-26)
28. John 13:34–35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
29. John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
30. 1 John 1:6-7 “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
31. Philippians 2:1 (NLT) “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?”
32. 1 John 4:7 “Beloved, let’s love one another; for love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”
33. Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.”
34. John 15:17 “These things I command you, that ye love one another.”
The power of fellowship
The power of fellowship is that when we are cooperating together for the kingdom of God, we can achieve infinitely more than we can individually. Our various spiritual gifts work together to enable us as a unit to fulfill Christ’s great commission.
“For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly” (Romans 12:4-6a).
The power of fellowship is mutual strength and answered prayer, with the incomparable power of Christ in our midst.
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)
The power of fellowship is encouragement.
- “…encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
- “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” (Romans 14:19)
35. Matthew 18:19-20 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”
36. Romans 12:4-6 (KJV) “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.”
37. Romans 12:9-16 (NASB) “Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.”
38. Galatians 5:13 (ESV) “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Prayer and fellowship
Prayer is central to fellowship with God and with our fellow believers. When we pray together, God is there among us (Matthew 18:20). If we are experiencing a breakdown in harmony with each other – such as a disagreement or a personality clash – the best way to resolve the problem is by praying together. Doing so unites our spirits with the Holy Spirit and bonds us in a mind-blowing way. It gives the Holy Spirit room to work in our hearts and minds to resolve the issues.
Praying together is a beautiful way to share our burdens and triumphs and build fellowship. There is great power in corporate prayer (Matthew 18:19-20). When we pray together for the needs of our brothers and sisters, it unites us more deeply. When we praise God together for answered prayers, it strengthens and encourages us.
39. Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
40. Acts 12:12 (ESV) “When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.”
41. Romans 15:30 “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.”
Fellowship with God
We were created in God’s image to have fellowship with Him. A loving and intimate connection with our Lord and Savior is the key to fellowship with others. We love others because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Fellowship with God means delighting in Him and resting in His presence. Just as a small child curls up peacefully in his parent’s lap, it’s like that with fellowship (Psalm 131:2).
We cultivate fellowship with God when we meditate on His Word, especially the Scriptures regarding God’s character and attributes. Think about what He has done throughout history to nurture fellowship with humans! He called the Israelites out of Egypt to establish a covenant with them to be a holy people for His name. He died for our sins so we could enter in through the veil in the new covenant:
“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)
We cultivate fellowship with God when we devote ourselves to prayer. Think about a marriage. A husband and wife can be legally married, but if they don’t talk with each other, there’s no fellowship. There’s no relationship. When we pray to God, Jesus’ Spirit in our heart cries out to God the Father.
- “Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6)
We cultivate fellowship with God when we obey Him and cherish His values. We can’t have fellowship without agreement. Suppose we are living in disobedience to God’s Word. In that case, we essentially disagree with God on right and wrong. We need to repent and confess our sins to restore the relationship.
42. Genesis 5:22 “Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters.”
43. 1 Corinthians 1:9 “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
44. Philippians 3:10 “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
45. John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
46. Leviticus 26:12 “And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”
47. 1 John 1:3 “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
48. John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
49. Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
50. 1 Chronicles 16:1 “They brought the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God.”
51. Deuteronomy 27:7 “Sacrifice fellowship offerings there, eating them and rejoicing in the presence of the LORD your God.”
52. John 6:33 (NIV) “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
53. Matthew 4:4 (KJV) “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
54. 2 Peter 1:4 “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
55. James 4:8 (ESV) “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Examples of fellowship in the Bible
- David is a splendid example of beautiful fellowship with his friend Jonathan and deep intimacy with God. Jonathan and David became close friends and made a covenant of brotherhood after David killed the giant Goliath. Even though Jonathan was the heir to his father Saul’s throne, and Saul considered David a rival, Jonathan did not let that stand between the friendship (1 Samuel 18:1-9). Jonathan interceded for David with Saul (1 Samuel 18:1-7).
David’s psalms reveal his fellowship with God through challenging times and good times.
- “But You, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying out to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” (Psalm 3:3-6)
- “Listen to my words, LORD, consider my sighing. Listen to the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. In the morning, LORD, You will hear my voice. In the morning I will present my prayer to You and be on the watch . . . But as for me, by Your abundant graciousness I will enter Your house. At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You. LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight before me.” (Psalm 5:1-3, 7-8)
- Early Church: After Jesus ascended to heaven, His disciples (about 120 men and women) gathered in Jerusalem. They continually devoted themselves with one mind to prayer, the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, and “the breaking of bread” (communion). Many miracles took place among these disciples. They had everything in common and even sold their property and possessions to help those in need. Every day, they worshiped with one mind in the temple and took their meals together with joy (Acts 1:14, 2:42-46).
56. 1 Samuel 18:1-7 “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. 5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well. 6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. 7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”
57. Philippians 1:3-5 (NLT) “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.”
58. Galatians 2:9 “James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.”
59. Philippians 1:5 “because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
60. Acts 2:42 “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Fellowship with other believers empowers our prayers and enables us to strengthen each other and grow together. As we merge our spiritual gifts in cooperative ministry, we can accomplish far more than doing it alone. We can help each other through trials and sorrows and rejoice together over triumphs. Intimate fellowship with God enables us to enjoy rich fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.