How much time do most of us spend reflecting on this verse, particularly the last phrase?
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NKJV)
This verse references the Trinity in the reference to Jesus, God (the Father) and the Spirit. Paul prayed that all of the Corinthians would experience the communion of the Holy Spirit. What does that mean? How do we apply it? Let’s begin with the meaning and usage of the word in the NT. The range of meanings is below.
- κοινωνία koinōnia noun
Communion, association, partnership, fellowship, sharing, contribution.
The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary
The idea of communion, fellowship and mutual participation was a key concept in the early church and was captured by the term koinonia. The word koinonia is used 19 times in the NT, 13 of which are in Paul’s writings. 7 of the 19 references are to our fellowship with one of the three persons of the Trinity. One of those references is in Philippians where it is translated as ‘fellowship of the Spirit.’
1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4 (NKJV)
Koinonia refers to relationship, connection, fellowship, interaction and interchange. Thus inherent in Paul’s prayer for us to experience the ‘communion of the Spirit’ is to understand two things; the need to develop an actual relationship of communion with the Spirit and the need to have the Spirit mediate our relationships with others through our submission to His leading.
Implicit in these ideas is our need to be aware of His indwelling presence. To understand our communion with the Spirit it is helpful to first reflect on what happened at our conversion. We were born again and His Spirit replaced our Spirit. We received a new spirit, His, in our innermost being (2 Cor. 5:17, 21).
Thus I believe a key factor in growing communion is a growing embracing of the reality of “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). I believe that if we are not already walking in this reality then to grow in communion with the Spirit we need to start by recognizing and thanking Him for His indwelling presence and expecting our relationship with Him to grow. These are the first steps.
More to come…