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KOINONIA IN

THE NEW TESTAMENT


M. JACK SUGGS

Explanatory Preface
After the manuscript had been rushed to completion for
distribution, a better way of describing the distinction advanced in
pp. 1-7 occured to me. It is utilized in the conclusion, but I thought
the reading of the paper might be helped by this preparatory note.
I.

The thing shared can be described adequately on the


social and/or psychological level. In the paper, I have
used the words "horizontal" and "social" occasionally,
which could misleadingly suggest that "association"
rather than "participation" is the primary significance
of the koinon words.
II. The thing shared is in some sense transcendent. In the
paper, "vertical" is the word I have often used in rela
tion to these passages.
It seems on occasion that New Testament types draw the most
discouraging assignments in the theological communitythough it
is not always clear whether they are most discouraging to us or to
those who must bear with our reports. Ask us what Paul meant in
II Timothy, and we answer that Paul probably didn't write it. Ask
us about agape and erosand we'll tell you too much has been
made of the distinction.
The assignment for this meeting is restrictive. It is:
"Koinonia in the New Testament." My report will be as tame
as most which have been made previously. Neither
nor its cognates "signify anything specifically Christian, or
1
even anything specifically religious." Moreover, even in a
defining context, it is unlikely that is ever used as
a community self-designation or as a surrogate for
and it is certain from the totality of the evidence that such
usage was not common in the New Testament period. Since
before J. Y. Campbell's important study, it has been recog
nized that the primary meaning of words in the
group is "participation."2
Dr. Suggs is Dean of Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Ft. Worth,
Texas.
1. Schuyler Brown, "Koinonia as the Basis of New Testament Ecclesiology?"
One in Christ 12 (1976), 159.
2. "Koinonia and Its Cognates in the New Testament," JBL 51 (1932),
352-380. Concluding with a treatment of I Cor. 1:9, Campbell declared: "I am con
vinced that even here retains its primary, and only common
meaning'participation along with others in something*."

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These words (,

(),

(),

) occur forty-eight times in the New Testament.


Twenty-eight occurrences are in Paul (24) or the DeuteroPaulines; the distribution and frequency of the terms in the
apostle's letters make Paul our most important source. In works
of small compass, frequency and/or distribution suggest that Acts,
Hebrews, and I John may deserve special attention.
I
In a significant number of contexts, words are
used in connection with material goods or in ways related to
commercial activities. For example, Paul tells the Philippians
(4:15-16) that "in the beginning of the Gospel, when I left
Macedonia, no church except you uoi . . . eie
, for even at Thessalonica you
responded to my needs (), not once but twice." The
Greek phrase can only mean: "(You) shared with me a
debit and credit account."3 However metaphorical this commercial
expression may be, its effectiveness requires that Paul and the
Philippian congregation be understood in some (probably nonliteral) sense as related in a business enterprise in which a
ledger was keptand that their early contributions to his material
needs in Thessalonica were their payment on account. The
commercial imagery is pursued vigorously is vss. 17-18: the
gift is profit (lit., ) on their ( ) and Paul writes
a receipt for the whole amount ( ), as the
abundant citations in Moulton and Milligan show. Although the
language may be playful, it must be remembered in other
contexts, especially the parallel new situation which occasions
the letter and is described in the preceding verses (10-14).
There, Paul mentions the revival of their care. Professing
self-sufficiency (vs. 11) through God (vs. 13) Paul describes
his situation solely in terms of material comfort or the lack
thereof: he has experienced both humble circumstances and
abundance, feasting and fasting, abundance and poverty (vs.
12). 4 When

VS. 14 speaks Of "sharing"


5

< )

"(Paul's) distress," the primary meaning has to do with


human empathy and the -compound strengthens the notion
3. Campbell, p. 369.
4. The use of tv twice in one verse shows the poverty of his
vocabulary for abundance!
5. Contrast , II Cor. 1:7, where the Corin
thians shared Paul's sufferings by enduring like sufferings. See Campbell, p. 361, on
dative.

KOINONIA IN NEW TESTAMENT

353

of association in sharing ; at the same time, since the "distress"


mentioned must take its content from the vocabulary of material
need in vs. 12, it would be easiest in this location to think
of the Philippians' gift as their way of "identifying with"
Paul's .
The parallels between Phil. 4 and Phil. 1 are too close to
permit a divergent understanding of the earlier passage. Thus, in
4:15 and 1:5, there are references to the outset of Paul's
mission (
the sharing

, ); the Subject of
is the same ( 6 ... ,

7) the statements involve the Gospel;8 the


words take the unusual construction of + accusative,
apparently for the thing shared (?). Ernest F. Scott's effort
to take 1:5 as speaking primarily of something other than
the contribution which occasions the letter9 is a common under
standing. But (as in 4:15) the plain, surface meaning has to do with
the Philippians' material giftthough, to be sure, their
"revived concern" (4:10) of which it is a token makes the
gift infinitely precious to the apostle. As 4:15 makes clear,
their "sharing" at the "beginning" and again now has to do with
"a debit and credit account" (with money). If they had sent
Epaphroditus only with a word of comfort or a letter of good
cheer, Paul (saint that he was) might have been equally
gratefulbut he could not have used the same language to
express it.
Nor is the case significantly different in 1:7, which should
be seen in relation to 4:12, 14. In 1:7 (as in 4:12) Paul
provides a "list of merits": imprisonment, defense and confirma
tion of the Gospel. While this is not a list of material
conditions, the list must supply the context of in
vs. 7cjust as the list in 4:12 provides the content of

in 4:14. The notion of empathy and association in


7c is very strong; not only is a compound used, but the
sharers are stressed as "all of you" ( ). Vs.
7c translates, "Since all of you together identify with my
. " Paul's 10 here is his "defense and confirma
tion of the Gospel" or that which enables the defense. But
how do they "all participate together"? Certainly, not directly;
6. Campbell, p. 363: "The very existence of the compound suggests that the
idea of association with someone else was not always felt to be expressed plainly by
"
7. The only NT passage with "what seems to be certainly a subjective genitive
with " (Campbell, p. 371).
8. Not, however in the same way.
9. IB, 11, 20.
10. "Grace"? "Privilege"?

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11

they are not present to participate in actuality. In light of


1:5, 4:10-16, their identification is through their gift; in the
gift, they identify with both his xoptc and his .
Now, to be sure, all of the above addresses only the plain,
surface meaning. Paul doubtless intends more than a sharing
which involves material things. The passages under discussion
require more: he feels warmly toward them and has them in
his heart (1:7a) and they feel anew for him (4:10). The gift
is a token, a symbol. But it is the symbol which provides the
language of 1:5-7, 4:10-16, which is basically about sharing
wich involves material goods. This is not always true of Paul's use
of wordseven in Philippians.
While the material contribution cannot be ignored, it is
necessary to ask what the "thing" was in which they shared.
The phrase about "a debit and credit account" in 4:15 specifies
the nature of the sharing (i.e., it is monetary), but it does
not tell us what the "enterprise" was in which they had
become partners. The parallel passage 1:5 makes this clear: their
was in the Gospel-which Paul had preached in
Philippi and beyond Macedonia and in which they shared
materially. A somewhat different "thing shared" is in view in
1:7 and 4:14where they are (all) said to identify with (Camp
bell: make common cause with) the apostle's present situation
(, ). When writing donors, I frequently say: "We
greatly appreciate your partnership in theological education
and pledge that we will be good stewards of your gift."
That is roughly parallel to Phil. 1:5, 4:15. In inviting people
to a dinner at the close of a campaign, I asked them to
come "share in our victory." In principle, that is close to
1:7, 4:17. While both "preaching the Gospel" and "theo
logical education" are religious enterprises, that which makes
them religious is not defined by the "sharing" terms. One may
share in a religious endeavor without the sharing being en
visioned as essential to the church. On the contrary, the
terminology as used here is not characteristic of the
as Such. Indeed, it is a in which
.. . is involved.

The business-language usage is universally recognized for


Philemon 17, which occurs in what isby lengthno more than a
brief note replete with "half-playful but very effective use
of business terms."12 "If you count me as a business partner
11. Seefn. 5.
12. Campbell, p. 362. Whether "half-playful" is the appropriate term for
Paul's language in Philemon is doubtful. His direct appeal on behalf of Onesimus
consumes vss. 8-21 of the twenty-five verse letter. In vs. 8, he speaks of having "the
boldness in Christ to command the fit thing for you to do," which he foregoes for

IN NEW TESTAMENT

355

13

(), Paul writes, "receive [Onesimus] as you would


me. If he owes you anything, put it on my account." And,
as even E. F. Scott recognizes, "he takes up the pen him
self and writes his bond, in the form required by law" 14 (i.e.,
in his own hand). The relationship described is horizontal. What
is shared in is not clear; the sharing makes Paul and Philemon
"partners."
A very similar use of occurs in II Cor. 8:23,
where Titus is described as Paul's "partner and coworker in
dealings with you" (in a passage related to the Collection).15
words are clustered in sections of Paul's cor
respondence dealing with the Collection. II Cor. 8:4 has given
interpreters a good deal of difficulty. It tells how the
generous Macedonia Christians have "with much pleading asked
US for which helps the
saints." If, as is usually thought, is

a hendiadys, then the phrase would mean something like "the


gracious participation in the ministry which benefits the saints."
However, in both vss. 6 and 7 is used of the
collection itself. It is possible, therefore, that vs. 4 intends:
"the gracious work and contribution." The difference would
not be significant; in either case, does not refer in
a general way to Christian fellowship but specifically to the
collection.
The use of for "contribution," of course, would
not be unique at II Cor. 8:4. That is its universally ac
cepted signification at Romans 15:26 ("Macdeonia and Achaia
were pleased to make some contribution. . . " ) . And of II Cor.
9:13, Campbell states, "If the phrase had ended at
there would be little doubt that ought to be taken
here to mean 'contribution'." 16 He (and numerous others)
conclude that Paul would not have spoken of a collection
"for them (Jerusalem saints) and for all." Yet, the "for
all" may simply be a flourish added to suggest that the colpersuasion. In vs. 19, he writes a contract for payment, but adds "not to mention
that you owe me your very self." Such language is playful only in the sense that it is
figurative. The language of Philippians is sensitive, even delicate; in Philemon (a
personal letter addressed to a. family and a church), Paul is playing hardball, as Paul
Crow would say. [Crow is a former baseball player: ''softball" is, figuratively, for
children; "hardball" is for "real men."]
13. Paul calls Philemon both (vs. 17) and (vs. 1)
words used of Titus in II Cor. 8:23.
14. The Epistles of Paul to the Colossians, to Philemon and to the Ephesians,
TheMoffatt New Testament Commentary, p. 112. Scott wants this to be "playful,"
not really meant seriously; but vs. 19b will hardly allow that.
15. and are synonyms.
16. Campbell, p. 373.

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lection will have benefits beyond Jerusalem17 or even a remem


brance of other Corinthian benevolences of which we are unaware.
Moreover, "contribution" fits in a rough parallelism which speaks
of glorifying God by the and by
.

While some commentators and translators interpret Romans


12:13 as "contribute to the needs of the saints/' more prob
able is to take as equiv
alent to in Phil. 4:14. Shar
ing by means of a material contribution is in view in either
case, so that the difference is not significant.
Romans 15:27 provides as a rationale for the collection
the notion of a repayment. "For if the Gentiles have shared
in the spiritual things (of the Jewish Christians), they ought
also to perform a service in material things for them."
(Much as the Philippians provided for Paul's material needs
when he had proclaimed the Gospel to them?)
In the passages related to the collection, words do not in
themselves define community or carry a specifically religious
meaning. The appeal is essentially social. This should not
surprise us, since the Collection was the product of the agree
ment struck at the Jerusalem Conference. The terms of the
agreement were: (1) Paul and company would go to the Gentiles,
(2) Peter and his colleagues would go to the Jews, (3)
"only we should keep the poor in mind, which was the very thing
I undertook eagerly" (Gal. 2:9b-10). It is important to stress
that this is a formal agreement, since Gal. 2:9a has a use of
which is frequently given a "hot" reading. The key
words in 9a are ; the "giving of right hands"
was a formal sealing of an agreement; in relation
to it signifies "partnership" in the agreed endeavor. When
Xenophon (Anabasis 7:2-3) sought to establish an arrangement
with Seuthes, his second question was: "What will you do with
us if we fail?" Seuthes replied: "I will make you brothers
. . . and in all that we are able to acquire. . . .
After hearing these things, they gave and received 6> . . ."
The partnership in Gal. 2:9 is social, even political.1.8 The
partnership is in a religious endeavor; but 6
is not a religious ritual; it is a quite ordinary, every
day convention for bonding an agreement of any sortreligious,
political, or commercial.
17. Cf. S. Brown, p. 162.
18. The first phrase of 2:9 ("Recognizing the grace given me") is, to be sure,
important for understanding the source ofPauVs apostleship. But it does not affect
the remainder of the sentence which would mean the same if the verse began,
"Recognizing my succss as an evangelist.''

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357

When we turn to Gal. 6:6, the relationship of the sentence to


the context is so obscure that any effort to understand it
is problematic, may mean either "to share (by
having a part in something)" or "to share (by providing a
portion)," although the former is more frequent. The latter
meaning is adopted for 6:6 by most, who would render the
verse: "Let the one taught the word provide the teacher a share in
all good things." That accords with the principle that "the
laborer is worthy of his or her hire." Phil. 4:15 comes to
mind as a comparison; the recipients of the Gospel provide for the
preacher. Yet, as soon as that is said, the "debit and credit
account" reminds us that there is a shared common enterprise from
which both receive advantages. Moreover, at any other location in
Paul, we could not imagine as excluding spiri
tual goods. It is possible that Gal. 6:6 should be read, "Let
the one taught the word share (by participating) with the teacher in
all good things." In either case, the sharing described involves a
horizontal social relationship.
We have examined just over one-half of the occurrences of
words in Paul. They (1) are derived from ordinary commer
cial discourse or (2) have to do with material contributions or (3)
support a conventional formula of agreement. The language is
obviously not specifically Christian; with minor modifications,
every line might have been written to Jews by an absent Rabbi. Fur
ther, it is not specifically religious; that is, the language does not re
quire a religious community but human beings related in a
common cause or by common interests.19 Of course, it can be
said that Paul sometimes intends it religiously in a "figurative"
sense. But that only means that it is not religious in itself and that
the figures are limited by their contextswhich, in these instances,
are essentially social and interpersonal.
There are three other New Testament passages that would also
clearly fall within the range discussed: Luke 5:10; I Tim. 6:18; and
Heb. 13:16.
II
Four New Testament passages utilize ( ) in
phrases which appear to be a familiar way of addressing
a single religious problem. The passages are Eph. 5:11, I Tim.
5:22, II Jn. 11, and Rev. 18:4. The problem addressed is
avoiding "participation" in the sins of others. The construc19. Of course, we are speaking of the narrowest of contexts. There is a decided
shift, e.g., between vss. 17-19 of Philemon and vs. 20 (with its and
) . (The presence of commercial and religious language side-by side is
frequent; cf Phil. 4:18a"Paid in fuM"and 18b-a fragrant offering.)

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tion in each case is the verb plus a dative which is not


dative of the person. It is arguable that the participation in
others' sins in these instances refers not to active partici
pation in their sins, but to responsibility for sins through
association. In II Jn., counsel against relationships with bearers of
false doctrine demand that such a person not even be greeted
since, even by a greeting, one with his evil works.
I Tim. 5:22 warns against hasty laying on of hands lest one
with another's sins.20
The emphasis of the -compound on association is doubtless
present in Rom. 11:17 where Paul says to the "wild shoot":
"You have become a co-participant () in the rich
root of the olive tree." Certainly, this clause is communal.
However, notice that the primary metaphor for the community
is .

We turn now to Philemon 6. Let me say quickly that the


verse has defeated me. However, one frequent argument
whether is to be taken with or seems
to me to be settled by vss. 4-5. In those verses, Paul "gives
thanks" because he knows Of "

which you have for the Lord and all the saints." It appears

that both in VS. 7 and in VS. 8

derive from vs. 5. At least that much of the confusion


should be set aside.
But that is a minor matter. In view of the dominance
of business terminology in vss. 10-20 and the obvious fact
of Philemon's comparative affluence, I would like to inter
pret vs. 6: "the generous giving which is the outcome of
21
your faith." If Philemon was, indeed, a noted benefactor,
the original audience may have heard it in that manner. But, while
that meaning for can be supported and such a genitive is
possible, we simply do not know enough about Philemon's
generosity to go against the phrase's "natural" meaning. We
probably should be guided by what ancient usage would
normally suggest: "that the participation in your faith might
become effective for the knowledge of every good thing which
is ours in Christ." In vs. 7, Philemon's love results in the
refreshment of the saints and in vs. 6 his occasions
knowledge of good things. The mention of the saints in vs. 7
and at the end of vs. 6 supports the common understand
ing, "their (the saints) participation in your faith."22 Given
20. We will return to I Tim. 5:22 and II Jn. 11, since the stereotyped formula in
these instances is probably related to another theme as well.
21. This is one alternative suggested by Scott, Moffatt, p. 104.
22. A very old interpretation, "the imparting of your faith" or "your impart
ing of faith," probably is inaccurate. Like my "preference" discussed above, it is
not the way the phrase would normally be taken.

KOINONIA IN NEW TESTAMENT

359

Paul's dynamic understanding of , that Philemon's faith


could be "participated in" by others to the good of all is
quite significant. Clearly, this says something about the nature
of faith itself and about the Church. Faith is not private; it can be
participated in23 to the benefit of the Church.
Of special significance is the repeated use of words
in the eucharistie passage I Cor. 10:14-20. Paul speaks of
a . . . ... (and)

of Christ (vs.

16). Wherever it leads in sacramental theology, the normal


way of taking the Greek is to understand the genitives as
"of the thing shared" and to translate "participation in the
blood . . . and body of Christ." Each has a share in the
elements of the sacred meal of which Christ said, "This is
my body. This cup is the new covenant in my blood"
(I Cor. 11:24-25). The full eucharistie context surely implies that
to "participate in Christ's blood and body" is to par
ticipate in his suffering, another area in which terms
are important. This participation effects the oneness of the
church (vs. 17). What Paul says, he says to the wise
() (vs. 15), which may be a warning of a "mystery"
which mere "infants" will have trouble understanding (I Cor.
2:6, 3:1).
The "illustrations" which follow only cloud the under
standing. What does it mean that those who partake of
Jewish sacrifice are "sharers () in the altar"? It may
be a mistake to deny that "altar" can be a metonym for
"God." But what Jew (even what converted Jew)24 could
mean that "(mystical) fellowship with God" is achieved in
consuming the sacrifice? Probably, "altar" is equivalent to
25
"that which is on the altar." That would be consistent
with vs. 21 in which "the cup and the table of the
26
Lord" (or, alternatively, of demons) are identified. But that
leaves us with vs. 20, which then must be interpreted: "I
will not have you become partners (with others) in demons."
What emerges in this passage, on any interpretation, is a
with a vertical dimension, a participation in a
religious symbol with a transcendent reference. It is the
participation in the transcendent which effects communal
wholeness. At this point, the language is clearly significant
23. It is not a matter of "our common faith"as NEB renders the verse. We
are closer here to Rom. 1:12 where Paul speaks of a mutual encouragement
.
24. Contrast Brown, p. 163, . 25.
25. Campbell, pp. 376-377.
26. George V. Jourdan, "Koinonia in I Corinthians 10:16," JBL 67 (1948),
122.

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for the doctrine of the Church. This does not mean that in
I Cor. 10:16 Paul speaks of a "fellowship of believers"
united at the Table. The matter is more subtle: " . . .
in the New Testament never departs from the primitive sense
of sharing something in common, and in the passage under
consideration the underlying idea is that of a common shar
ing in the Blood of Christ and this common sharing con
stitutes community."27
Philippians 3:10-11 has " in his sufferings" in
a context for which the phrase () is also important.
It is a reminder that part of the content of being "in
Christ" is "sharing in his sufferings, being conformed to his
death." Again, we are impressed with the vertical reference;
and here Paul can speak of that simply in terms of
his own participationas he speaks of his personal hope to
experience the resurrection. A communal emphasis is strong in
II Cor. 1:7, however, where the Corinthians are "sharers
in the sufferings and comfort" (not simply of the apostle,
but in light of vs. 5 of Christ).28
I Corinthians 1:9 is to be translated "participation in
his son, Jesus Christ, our Lord." That is anarthrous
is not decisive but tells against the translation "the fellow
ship." If "fellowship with his son" were meant, a different
construction would be needed (e.g., I Jn. 1:3). Perhaps it is a
way of speaking of sharing in his sufferings and glorifica
tion.29
Another group of passages with a vertical dimension has
30
an eschatological thrust. In I Peter 5:1, the author iden
tifies himself as a "participant in the glory about to be
revealed." II Corinthians 1:7 speaks of sharing "comfort,"
perhaps eschatological. Paul's aim to "share in the Gospel"
31
(I Cor. 9:23) probably belongs among these.
Philippians 2:1 is best understood as "participation in the
Spirit." The same is true of II Cor. 13:13 as well, though
the other genitives in the verse cannot be just brushed aside
as if Paul had no sense of style. But the weight of ancient
usage is on the side of "participation in." Again, we observe
the vertical (religious) dimension in these phrases.
27. W. D. Davies, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism, p. 253 (underlining in quota
tion mine). Hans Cozelmann, / Corinthians, Hermeneia, p. 172: "The sacramental
participation in Christ's body makes us into the body of Christ."
28. Rev. 1:9 may also tend in this direction. The words in Heb. 2:14,
10:33 occur in passages in which suffering is a theme, but they appear not to be im
portant to our discussion.
29. Hans Conzelmann, p. 29 translates "fellowship with Christ," but sug
gestively interprets the phrase "in terms of belonging to the Lord until his
parousia."
30. Brown, p. 163.
31. Should II Peter 1:4 be added here?

KOESrONIA IN NEW TESTAMENT

361

III
When we turn to I John 1:3-7 we are in a new world.
Grammatically, the distinctiveness is to be seen in the con
structions (three times) and
(five times). Here, appears to mean fellowship.
Those who "stand in fellowship" ( ) with
() the Elder are those who hold to what he has seen,
heard, and proclaimed; moreover, since his fellowship is with
"the Father and his Son," it is by standing in fellowship
with him that their relationship with God is assured.
' IS equivalent to "being One Of US" (

, 2:19). Raymond E. Brown correctly identifies the


expression as having " a definite 'ecclesiastical' tone," exclud
ing the secessionists and claiming a "salvific value attributed
to communion among believers in I John 1:3 where it becomes
a sine qua non of being united to God." 3 2 Brown calls
attention to the fact that what he calls an "inhospitable
attitude" toward Christian dissent was widespread beginning
at the end of the first century.33 The clear identification of
heresy belongs to the formal period of a social movement. Thus,
the development is not surprising. It provides the occasion for a
distinctive use of . The passages in I Tim. 5:22 and II Jn.
11 discussed previously probably belong here as well,
discussed previously probably belong here as well.
IV
The last passage requiring attention is Acts 2:42: "They
continued .

According

to J. M. McDermott, the basic choice in interpretation


lies between (1) "the monetary collection within the frame
work of the liturgy" and (2) "the more general meaning
'community.' " He adds, "The former view has been well
refuted by Haenchen." 34 Haenchen does, in fact, reject (1)
but not in favor of (2). His problem is not with the idea of
a "monetary collection" but with its too narrow restriction
to "the framework of the liturgy": "the was not
limited to the offering of gifts in worship but embraced at
least the entire collection and distribution of gifts in money
and kind . . ," 3 5 That such gifts arose out of an experience
32. The Epistles of John, The Anchor Bible 30, pp. 186-187.
33. Brown, pp. 691-693.
34. "The Biblical Doctrine of Koroma,'' Biblisch Zeitschrift 19 (1975), 230.
35. Ernst Haenchen, The Acts of The Apostles, p. 191. Interestingly, the
translation accompanying the text translates in keeping with (2):
"fellowship" (Eng. tr., p. 190), "Gemeinschaft," (Die Apostelgeschichte, Meyer,
14th ed., p. 152).

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of the closest fellowship is beyond question. But only a


deliberate play on the word would make it mean
at the same time both "gift" (as evidence of fellowship,
clearly a Lukan intention) and ' 'fellowship*' (as source of the
gifts).36 The closest parallel are Pauline texts related to the
collection.37
and its cognates have to do primarily with par
ticipating in something with someone. In more than half the
Pauline occurrences, the "thing shared" can be explained,
adequately at the social and/or psychological level (group I).
While the participation described does, in fact, take place
in the "fellowship of a Christian community," that is a
historical circumstance; the words themselves do not require a
religious meaning.
The situation is quite different in another set of passages
(group II). For the most important of these passages, the
"thing shared" is in some sense transcendent (Christ, the Holy
Spirit, the sufferings of Christ). Such passages supply theo
logical content for the Christian experience of oneness and
fellowship and are ecclesiologically important.
The special Johannine usage (group III, I John) amounts to
a formula of inclusion/exclusion appropriate to the late formal
and early institutional stages of a social movement, when
orthodoxy/orthopraxy has become an issue.
36. As if to say, "Pun intended!"
37. It is most unlikely that in Acts 2:42 is to be understood as
"the Fellowship " "the Church." That is prohibited by the parallel nouns in the
summary.

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