Book cover: True community, The Biblical Practice of Koinonia by Jerry Bridges

True Community

The Biblical Practice of Koinonia

by Jerry Bridges


In his Preface, Jerry Bridges said, "I am aware that others have written some excellent work on the subject of community, so this book is not intended to say all there is to say on the subject. Rather, I have attempted to show that an understanding and application of biblical koinonia will help all of us practice true community."

We Americans tend to have an individualistic approach to life. The Bible emphasizes the need for Christians to be involved with one another in community. The Greek word koinonia is usually translated fellowship. By detailing the deeper meaning of koinonia, Jerry Bridges describes in twelve chapters what Christian community ideally can be. The titles of the chapters are:

  1.  Sharing a Common Life
  2.  Union with God
  3.  Communion with God
  4.  Fellowship and Community
  5.  Spiritual Fellowship
  6.  Partnership in the Gospel
  7.  Spiritual Gifts Within the Community
  8.  Sharing your Possessions
  9.  Supporting Your Local Ministry
  10.  The Fellowship of Suffering
  11.  The Fellowship of Serving
  12.  Social Fellowship

Each chapter begins with a scripture reference which relates to the topic of the chapter. Each chapter ends with a few group discussion questions which would be useful to small groups for the study of the topic.

In the first chapter the author points out the New English Bible translates koinonia as "sharing a common life." He goes on to say, "This is the most basic meaning of koinonia, or fellowship. It is sharing a common life with other believers—a life that, as John [1 John 1:3] says, we share with God the Father and God the Son. It is a relationship, not an activity."

In the second chapter, Jerry Bridges reminds us of our dependence on Jesus to enable us to "bear much fruit" (John 15:5) and "should promote vigorous activity," not passivity on our part. One of the activities most needed within the community is prayer.

Although, he is quick to state that fellowship is not primarily a pot luck and secular conversation, he does include social fellowship as an important part of community participation. 

None of us likes suffering; yet when we share life in common we do share in one another's suffering. My personal opinion is one of the reasons social websites are so popular is the ability it provides to distance ourselves from experiencing one another’s problems. We can have a virtual social life without the inevitable friction and heartache of face to face relationships. I am grateful for the Internet and email with its convenient and quick means of communication, but for deep connections to form, people need to be in proximity to one another.

True Community gives us a magnified view of what it could be like to experience Acts 2:42: "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship [koinonia], to the breaking of bread [potluck?] and to prayer." Maybe then we could also experience their awe at the mighty works of God.

Book Review
By Scarlett Stough
Title: True Community, The Biblical Practice of Koinonia
Author: Jerry Bridges, copyright 2012 (originally published as True Fellowship and Crisis of Caring)
Publisher: NAVPRESS.
13: 978-1-61747-175-9


Volume 12 Issue 3 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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