The Greek word koinonia comes from the word koinos, which means, "shared." In our time, the concept of koinonia is best understood as "partnership." A partnership requires shared commitment and benefits. Our partnership is a dual commitment; we can be in partnership with each other because we are in partnership with God through Jesus Christ.
And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers (partners) of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. II Cor 1:7 (1 I Peter 2:24)
And to make all see what is the fellowship (partnership) of the mystery,... Eph 3:9
We do not have any partnership with unbelievers at all. We are committed to and born of God. Unbelievers are under the rule of the devil. To be yoked together with unbelievers causes a division in your commitment to God. No man can (1) serve two masters. James tells us that a double minded man (2) is unstable in all his ways. When we are yoked to two different commitments that pull in opposite directions, we lose our focus on our commitment to our true partner, God. To become effective partners with God and with one another, we must do the things pointed out in verse 6 of the epistle to Philemon.
That the communication (partnership) of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. Philemon 6
Our partnership of believing becomes operable by our coming to a full understanding and discernment of the rights and power that we have in Christ Jesus. Our partnership becomes operational when we manifest those rights and power. We receive potential power when we are born again of God's (3) Spirit. We then have Christ in us. In that single unspeakable (4) gift is all the power that God promises to us. We must exercise that power for God to energize it and bring His promises into fruition. We can be effective partners only when we believe to (5) operate the manifestations of the Spirit and carry out our ministry of reconciliation. (1 Matthew 6:24 2 James 1:8 3 Colossians 1:27 4 II Corinthians 9:15 5 I Corinthians 12:7-11)
How effective we are as the church, is directly proportional to how effective we are a individual operators of the gift of holy Spirit. Note the references to partnership in the following verses:
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you that ye also may have fellowship (partnership) with us:... I Jn. 1:3
For your fellowship (partnership) in the gospel from the first day until now;... Phil. 1:5
...if any fellowship (partnership) of the Spirit,... Phil. 2:1
If thou count me therefore a partner, receive his as myself. Philem. 17
...they gave unto me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship (partnership).... Gal. 2:9
In the early days of the church as recorded in the book of Acts there was tremendous growth and deliverance from bondage. Not since has the church seen such explosive results. Reasons for that are recorded in this verse:
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, (partnership) and in breaking of bread and prayers. Acts 2:42
Four things are listed that the early Christians continued steadfastly in: (2) One, they hungered for the teaching of the messengers of Jesus Christ. There were about 8000 men and their families. (1 II Corinthians 5:18 2 Apostle is transliterated from apostolos which means "messenger or one sent.") It must have taken weeks for the messengers to get around to all the household fellowships to teach. Those teachings are more readily available to us than it was to the early church. There were no telephones, tape players, or TVs. It was all one on one, word of mouth. They thrived on the word of God as spoken by each other.
Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and the fellowship (partnership) of the ministry to the saints. II Cor. 8:4
...and your liberal distribution (partnership) unto them... II Cor. 9:13
But to do good and to communicate (demonstrate your partnership) forget not. Heb. 13.6
If there is one member of the partnership lacking, then the partnership is not operating according to God's word.
And four, in Acts 2:42 they prayed together. Our private prayer, whether with understanding or in (2) tongues, is part of our partnership with God through Christ. As we operate our power before God we can pray together and for one another to great avail. Jesus Christ said "if two of you agree on earth as touching anything that they should ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is (3) in heaven." Therefore, if we walk in the light, (partnership with God) (4) as He is the light, we have partnership with one another. Our partnership one with another is all the things that we are committed to do with and to each other. A good cross section of the things we are to be doing in our partnership can be seen in a study of the Greek word allelon, which means "one another."