18 Feb 2020

Missing Out on Fellowship

Have you ever had something sitting right in front of you and you just didn't notice? Sometimes it's the car keys or sunglasses that are right in your hand, but you are not expecting them to be there so you are looking on the table and checking your pockets. There is a somewhat famous experiment that has proven successful at showing how much we can miss even when we are paying close attention. If you haven't seen it before, watch this video and see how you do.

Awareness Test
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How did you do? (If you didn't watch the video, there may be some spoilers ahead.)

What many people experience during that test is referred to as inattentional blindness, and it turns out that our expectations contribute to inattentional blindness. You can easily see the things you expect to see, but miss the things you aren't expecting.

Unfortunately, we can experience this same kind of inattentional blindness when studying Scripture. As an example, consider the topic of fellowship. Take a moment to answer these two questions.

  1. How would you explain the term fellowship to someone unfamiliar with it?
  2. What verses would you use to help with your explanation?

Since our video put us into a counting mindset, let's continue down that path for a bit. If we look up all the occurrences of the word fellowship we will find a total of eight verses in the English Standard Version of the Bible. If we consider the Greek word (κοινωνίᾳ, or koinōnia) that is often translated as fellowship, we will increase that count to seventeen verses. Before we take a look at any of those verses, how many do you think will lend solid support to your understanding of what the Bible most often speaks of as fellowship? All of them? Most of them with perhaps one or two exceptions? Half of them? Out of seventeen, what number would cause you to think that maybe you have been reading Scripture with some level of inattentional blindness?

Let's start our survey of verses with a couple of the most well-known verses that mention fellowship. We will take a look at the verses in their surrounding context to help us get a clear picture of what is being communicated.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

"They" refers to roughly 3,000 Jews who just believed the message preached by the apostles, and they have devoted themselves to "the fellowship." A key idea behind the Greek word translated as fellowship is two parties sharing or taking part in something together. In this passage, we see how these early followers of Jesus were spending time together and sharing whatever they had with one another. This behavior can help us think of fellowship as intimate interaction between fellow believers - a mutual giving and receiving. When we read of them "breaking bread in their homes," we can imagine them sharing meals around a table as a way of fostering those intimate relationships. The connection with meeting together at the temple reminds us that their relationships also afford spiritual growth. Accounting for everything in the context, we can categorize this instance of fellowship as something that embodies spiritual relationships among believers - what Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others have referred to as "life together".

Keeping a list of fairly broad categories as we go, we can start tracking our understanding like this:

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 1
undecided 16

Take a look at another passage often known for its references to fellowship.

...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. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:3-4

The term fellowship appears twice in these verses. Consider the second occurrence first - "our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son." John is not thinking about relationships between believers, but the relationship between believers and God. So, we have a second kind of fellowship spoken of in Scripture.

What about the first occurrence - "so that you may have fellowship with us"? That sounds like John is considering the relationship he has with his readers, as though he wants to enjoy fellowship with them as fellow-believers. However, does this fit with either of the preceding or following phrases? Starting with what is most clear in the text and working out from there, John proclaims "so that" his readers "may have fellowship". If we consider the heart of gospel proclamation in the New Testament, the central focus of that proclamation is reconciling men to God (2 Cor. 5:18-20), not reconciling men to other men (though it is an expected result of men being reconciled to God). So, it seems unlikely that John thinks his proclamation will result in fellowship between him and his readers. It is more appropriate to understand that John desires that his readers have fellowship with God - the same fellowship that he has with God. It is akin to one group at the beach imploring another group on shore to come in and enjoy the water "with us". The hope is that they too will enjoy the "fellowship" of the water, not that they enjoy "fellowship" with others who are already in the water. So, in both uses of the word, fellowship has in view man's reconciled relationship with God.

Let's update our tally.

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 1
being reconciled to God 1
undecided 15

While we are in 1 John, let's jump down a few verses.

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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 cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:6–7

The first occurrence refers to our relationship with God since there is no other "him" in view. What about the second occurrence, "we have fellowship with one another?" Seeing the phrase, "one another," we should consider whether John is considering his relationship with his readers or even his reader's relationships with each other. However, the context points us in a different direction. Verse 6 relates these two concepts: our walking in darkness and our fellowship with God. Moving to verse 7, it would be very strange to now associate walking in the light with relationships between believers. Rather, John tells us that if we walk in the light, we truly have fellowship with God. Just as in verses 3-4, John uses the term fellowship as a way of expressing our relationship with God.

Let's again update our tally, but since these two verses are so connected, we will consider them as a single support.

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 1
being reconciled to God 2
undecided 13

Here are a couple more quick verses.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14

That gives us two more uses referring to our reconciled relationship with the triune God.

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 1
being reconciled to God 4
undecided 11

Our next verse will force us to think a bit more carefully as we try to categorize it.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? 2 Corinthians 6:14

Paul is speaking about relationships among people. In particular, he addresses relationships between those inside the church and those outside the church. Faith in Christ serves as a type of dividing line between the believer and the unbeliever, such that fellowship can occur between those on the same side of the line, but it doesn't make sense to have fellowship across that line. In this case, the term fellowship isn't addressing individual relationships as much as it distinguishes between conflicting worldviews that can't be mingled together.

If we wanted to dig further into the nature or source of the fellowship that Paul has in view, we could continue reading.

For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:15–16

It is our fellowship with God that underlies Paul's thought in this passage. Our fellowship with God is not compatible with fellowship with those who don't know God, because our lives are following divergent paths. Let's update our tally with a new category:

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 1
being reconciled to God 4
worldview compatibility 1
undecided 10

Our next occurrence brings us to Paul's defense of the gospel he proclaims among the Gentiles and whether he has departed from the faith taught by the apostles in Jerusalem.

and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Galatians 2:9

As we read this verse, fellowship appears to once again refer to relationships between believers, where Paul and Barnabas are welcomed into the church family in Jerusalem. However, this verse doesn't simply use the term fellowship, but the phrase "right hand of fellowship." Many churches today use this phrase to signify the welcoming of new members into the congregation, but we can't reference a modern use of the phrase to interpret its biblical use. Instead, let's go back to the text and see what light it can shed on the phrase.

We can assume the text itself provides the best sense of what is intended by "the right hand of fellowship"..."that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised." Paul tells the Galatians that he went to Jerusalem to clear up any misunderstandings about his ministry and came away with a mutual agreement - a handshake deal - that confirmed he was on the same page with the apostles in Jerusalem. This right hand of fellowship is similar to J.R.R. Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring, where a band of unlikely partners joins together for a common cause. All the apostles shared a common mission and purpose - a fellowship. Borrowing from our tally sheet, we could say they had "worldview compatibility" - a partnership between light and light. Let's tweak our tally sheet slightly with how we express our categories.

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 1
being reconciled to God 4
shared mission and purpose 2
undecided 9

The remainder of our survey includes uses of the Greek term κοινωνία (koinōnia), but the English translation (at least in the ESV) does not use the word fellowship. This shouldn't alarm us or cause us to question our Bible translations. Words can have a range of meaning that is not easily captured using a single English word. We will also see that although κοινωνία (koinōnia) is a noun, it is sometimes translated as a verb. Again, this shouldn't cause concern; it is simply one of the challenges of translation. We want to see if these other occurrences have any relation to the categories we have already identified or if they might introduce new categories we should consider as we strive to round out our understanding of fellowship.

For the sake of brevity, I am going to start by grouping together the verses that I believe fit within one of our three existing categories.

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Philippians 2:1

I am going to categorize both verses as referring in some way to the believer's ever-deepening relationship with God.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3–5

In this instance, Paul refers to his shared mission and purpose with the Philippians. That leaves us with the following tally:

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 1
being reconciled to God 6
shared mission and purpose 3
undecided 6

Of our remaining six verses, four of them use the term κοινωνία (koinōnia) to refer to almsgiving.

At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. Romans 15:25–26

For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints — and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 2 Corinthians 8:3–5

By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 2 Corinthians 9:13

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16

Let's add this new category to our tally sheet.

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 1
being reconciled to God 6
shared mission and purpose 3
almsgiving 4
undecided 2

In Philippians, Paul speaks of his desire to share (or fellowship) in Christ's sufferings.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8–11

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 1
being reconciled to God 6
shared mission and purpose 3
almsgiving 4
sharing in Christ's sufferings 1
undecided 1

The remaining verse is difficult to categorize.

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. Philemon 4-6

It is unlikely Paul is referring to Philemon's evangelistic practice of "sharing his faith" with others in the way we might use that phrase today. None of the other uses of κοινωνία (koinōnia) are used in that way. Whenever it is translated in the sense of sharing, it refers to aid or relief.

Paul does reference Philemon's love and faith in verse 5 as they relate to Jesus and others in the church, but verse 6 only refers to the κοινωνία (koinōnia) of his faith. While having faith toward the Lord Jesus fits nicely with the rest of Scripture, having faith toward all the saints would seem out of place. For this reason, I would suggest Paul prays that the "fellowship with God" that has come as a result of Philemon's faith would prove effective in his continued spiritual growth.

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 1
being reconciled to God 7
shared mission and purpose 3
almsgiving 4
sharing in Christ's sufferings 1

Do those tallies look like what you were expecting? Would you want to go back and reconsider any of these categorizations?

I suspect many of us would have assumed our first category, "doing life together," would have been the dominant category. Having only a single point of support, is it worth re-examining that passage? Could we have categorized that passage according to an emphasis that is not actually there? What is meant by fellowship in Acts 2?

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

Let's consider whether we can reclassify this use of fellowship under one of our other categories. Could Luke intend that fellowship refers to the almsgiving mentioned in the passage? It certainly seems plausible that what is meant by fellowship is almsgiving among the community of believers. It also seems possible with its proximity to "the apostles' teaching" that fellowship refers to the people's newly reconciled relationship with God that is at the heart of their proclamation. Perhaps we could reclassify this use under one of those two categories.

What about the people "breaking bread in their homes?" That would point to the relationships believers were having with one another, right? While it is possible, it requires us to read something into the text that is not explicitly there. It could be that "their homes" refers to "their own homes" rather than "each other's homes". There is nothing explicit in the text to aid in interpretation, but what if we structure the text this way (which fits with the Greek grammatical structure)?

        And they devoted themselves...
            ...to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship,
            ...to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

        And day by day...
            ...attending the temple together
            ...and breaking bread in their homes,

Consider for a moment whether Luke is highlighting both the public aspect of what is occurring in the temple and the private aspect of what is occurring in the home. The very next verse after this passage gives us some insight into the apostles' use of the temple that we see mentioned here. In Acts 3:1, Luke tells us that Peter and John went up to the temple at the hour of prayer and were confronted by an almsgiving opportunity. (It is important to recognize that Luke did not insert our chapter division. He flows from Acts 2 right into Acts 3 without making a significant thematic transition - we still have the apostles, the temple, almsgiving, and miracles.) The fact that Peter and John are going to the temple at what is recognized as "the hour of prayer" tells us that even as believers in Jesus, they are continuing to observe Jewish religious customs in some manner. It also becomes apparent that the temple was a place to solicit alms. So gathering at the temple to hear the apostles' teaching and providing alms to those in need fit nicely together.

Now, looking at the phrase, "the breaking of bread and the prayers," it is worth noting that Luke does not refer to general "prayer" but to "the prayers" (plural) - as though he has particular prayers in mind. According to Jewish custom, there were prayers to recite before and after meals. There were also prayers at set times of the day, as we see in Acts 3:1.

Considering the rest of the book of Acts, we know that Luke documents ongoing conflicts between believing and unbelieving Jews, but he is always careful to show that the believing Jews are never antagonistic toward Jewish customs and traditions. The council in Acts 13 allows the Gentiles to eschew Jewish practices, but never condemns the Jewish believers for continuing them. Paul even circumcises Timothy to help pacify those who might take offense to his Gentile upbringing (Acts 16:3). As we come to the close of Acts 2, Luke makes this concluding statement, "they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people."

Luke mentions "breaking bread in their homes," not to highlight an act of fellowship, rather, it demonstrates that the gospel proclaimed by the apostles was not interfering with or challenging Jewish traditions in the home. These first believers continued to publicly gather at the temple and privately observe Jewish customs related to meals in their homes. We know this was previously a source of contention between Jesus and the Pharisees (Mt. 15:1-2; Lk. 11:38), but in Acts 2 there was no animus between believing and unbelieving Jews for they had "favor with all the people."

Once we bring all of this understanding into Acts 2, it is worth taking a second look at how we categorize its use of the term fellowship. Instead of supporting a sole reference to relationships among believers, it fits more naturally with the other New Testament uses as a reference to the believers' devotion to providing for one another's needs, as highlighted in verse 45. Can we find any other support for this conclusion?

Keep in mind the proximity of "the apostles' teaching" to "the fellowship," and turn over to Galatians 2, where Paul wraps up his summary of his interactions with the Jerusalem apostles.

and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. Galatians 2:10

Paul and Barnabas are free to proclaim the gospel, but there is a crucial element that goes along with it - remember the poor, i.e. almsgiving. The apostles' teaching and fellowship/sharing in the form of almsgiving are intended to go hand-in-hand. With this understanding, we can paraphrase Acts 2, "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and sharing with those in need, while also continuing to observe Jewish traditions in their homes. They were thankful and generous people, not a threat to anyone, and everyone lived at peace with one another."

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 0
being reconciled to God 7
shared mission and purpose 3
almsgiving 5
sharing in Christ's sufferings 1

In addition to the seventeen uses of the noun κοινωνία (koinōnia), there are ten uses of a related noun, κοινωνός (koinōnos), eight uses of the related verb, κοινωνέω (koinōneō), along with additional noun, verb, and adjective forms (συνκοινωνός (synkoinōnos), συνκοινωνέω (synkoinōneō), and κοινωνικός (koinōnikos)). If you add those to our tally sheet, you will end up with these totals.

What is fellowship? Supporting verses
doing life together 0
being reconciled to God 14
shared mission and purpose 6
almsgiving 9
sharing in Christ's or human sufferings 6
sharing in the sins of others 5
sharing in human mortality 1
participating in worship 2

Perhaps you will end up with slight differences in your own categories, but that is an interesting outcome, and not what I would have expected. I started down this path after noticing that "fellowship" refers to our reconciled relationship with God in a few verses, and realized I typically heard the word used to refer to our interactions with other believers. I became curious to see how often Scripture used the term in these different ways, fully expecting to find strong support for what I "typically heard". Surprise! I had been missing out on what the Bible refers to as fellowship. It was the gorilla walking through my basketball game, but all I saw was people passing the ball of "fellowship as church community."

In some sense, I suppose it is fine for us to use the English word fellowship with a different meaning. We can have "fellowship meals" in "fellowship halls" and "gather for fellowship" in one another's homes. There is a lot to commend in sharing meals and what is thought of as "doing life together," but referring to these things as fellowship causes us to lose sight of the apostles' most common uses of the term. Jesus has reconciled us with our Creator and brought us into fellowship with the triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He now invites us into a fellowship of united mission to proclaim that truth throughout the earth and to fellowship in the sufferings of others as we do so. We don't want to miss out on those kinds of fellowship.


Categories of "Fellowship" Variants in the New Testament

being reconciled to God
Rom. 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,
Rom. 15:27 For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.
1 Cor. 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Cor. 9:23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
1 Cor. 10:16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
2 Cor. 1:7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
2 Cor. 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Phil. 1:7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you kin my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace,
Phil. 2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,
Phm. 6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.
1 Pet. 5:1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:
2 Pet. 1:4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
1 John 1:3 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.
1 John 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
1 John 1:7 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 cleanses us from all sin.
shared mission and purpose
Luke 5:10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
2 Cor. 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
2 Cor. 8:23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.
Gal. 2:9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
Phil. 1:5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
Phm. 17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me.
almsgiving
Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Rom. 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Rom. 15:26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.
2 Cor. 8:4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints
2 Cor. 9:13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others,
Gal. 6:6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.
Phil. 4:15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.
1 Tim. 6:18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
Heb. 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
sharing in Christ's or human suffering
2 Cor. 1:7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
Phil. 3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Phil. 4:14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.
Heb. 10:33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.
1 Pet. 4:13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Rev. 1:9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and cthe patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos don account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
sharing in the sins of others
Matt. 23:30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’
Eph. 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
1 Tim. 5:22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.
2 John 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
Rev. 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;
sharing in human mortality
Heb. 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
participating in worship
1 Cor. 10:18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?
1 Cor. 10:20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.