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Koinonia (/ˌkɔɪnˈnə/)[1] is a transliterated form of the Greek word, κοινωνία, which means communion, joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, etc. It identifies the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the Christian church, the Body of Christ.

New Testament usage[edit]

The essential meaning of the koinonia embraces concepts conveyed in the English terms community, communion, joint participation, sharing and intimacy. Koinonia can therefore refer in some contexts to a jointly contributed gift.[2] The word appears 19 times in most editions of the Greek New Testament. In the New American Standard Bible, it is translated "fellowship" twelve times, "sharing" three times, and "participation" and "contribution" twice each.[3]

The first usage of koinonia in the Greek New Testament is found in Acts 2:42–47.

Sacramental meaning[edit]

The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion with one another in the one body of Christ. This was the full meaning of eucharistic koinonia in the early Catholic Church.[4] St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "the Eucharist is the sacrament of the unity of the Church, which results from the fact that many are one in Christ."[5]

In popular media[edit]

Koinonia was the final word to be spelled out for the 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee. It was correctly answered by Karthik Nemmani, a 14-year-old Indian-American boy from McKinney, Texas.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Koinonia also spelt Kenonia- New Testament Greek Lexicon - New American Standard". Bible Study Tools.
  2. ^ Thayer 1885, p. 352.
  3. ^ NAS Exhaustive Concordance
  4. ^ Hertling, L. Communion, Church and Papacy in Early Christianity Chicago: Loyola University, 1972.
  5. ^ ST III, 82. 2 ad 3; cf. 82. 9 ad 2.
  6. ^ CNN, Steve Almasy. "Texas teen wins National Spelling Bee". CNN. Retrieved 2018-06-01.


  • NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries. The Lockman Foundation. 1998 [1981].
  • Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (1979). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
  • Lynch, Robert Porter; Ninon Prozonic (2006). "How the Greeks created the First Golden Age of Innovation" (Word document). p. 14. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
  • Richards, Lawrence O. (1985). Expository Dictionary of Bible Words. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Corporation.
  • Thayer, Joseph H. (1885). Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]