Is there ever an occasion in Scripture where the word “fellowship” would point to social gatherings, banquets, get-togethers, and the like? Or does the word fellowship address spiritual relationship and growing in Him?
In the context of giving the command to withdraw fellowship, Paul told the Corinthians to have no association with the one withdrawn from, and then added that they were “not even to eat with such a one” (1 Cor. 5). Luke also, in the context of talking about the fellowship the very first converts had with God (Acts 2:42) and each other (2:44-46), mentioned that they were “breaking bread in their homes” and “receiving their food with glad and generous hearts” (v. 46). John also, while talking about false teachers and how we are not to “give them a greeting” (“greeting,” chairo, defined both as a salutation and wishing one well as well as rejoicing and being glad; implying that one is happy with their false teaching and wishes them well in it, thus being in fellowship with them and their error), also said that we are not to “receive him into your house,” implying showing him hospitality and eating with him (2 John 9-10); this is thus also given in the context of implied fellowship. So there is a biblical case for eating together in a social sense to be included in the concept of fellowship.
That said, fellowship (koinoia, sharing, communion, partnership) is so much more than eating together. By having fellowship with God and each other as brethren, we are partners with God and partners with each other. We share and commune with God and with each other. We work together with God and with each other. We are God’s family, his sons and daughters, and he is our Father. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and 1 John 1:7-9 talk of the fellowship we have with God and with each other, and other passages like Acts 2:44-47, Romans 15:26-27, 2 Corinthians 8-9, and others exemplify in wonderful ways that fellowship/partnership/sharing the church is to have with each other. Eating together, being in each other’s homes (see the command of 1 Peter 4:9), and assembling together (Heb. 10:24-25) is definitely a vital part of building and strengthening our fellowship…but there is definitely more to it than that.
Christians, what other thoughts from the Bible could you add to this? Let me know in the comments.