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What is the difference in meaning between “fellowship” in 1 Corinthians 1:9 & “communion” in 2 Corinthians 13:14?

1 Corinthians 1:9

9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. KJV, ©1769

Θʹ πιστὸς ὁ θεὸς δι᾽ οὗ ἐκλήθητε εἰς κοινωνίαν τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν TR, 1550

2 Corinthians 13:14

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. KJV, ©1769

ΙΔʹ Ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἡ κοινωνία τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν ἀμήν. TR, 1550

The interlinear bible shows that the 1 Corinthians 1:9 & 2 Corinthians 13:14 has the same Greek word koinónia

So why are two different words used in King James Version (ed. 1769)? Is there any real difference?

Also, what is the meaning of these words? What happens in and during fellowship or communion? What are the benefits of fellowship or communion?

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Firstly, I notice that Robert Young has translated both occasions of the Greek word as 'fellowship'.

It was the chosen decision of the translators of the KJV to vary the words they used in translation to avoid repetition.

They also attempted to express the same Greek words differently in English where they felt the context (in English) would require a different English word. To some extent this can be justified as words have a spectrum of meaning and the English spectrum of one word may not exactly match the Greek spectrum of a Greek word.

But ideally a single word should be found (if possible) to translate a single word.

'Communion' implies a union. 'Fellowship implies a 'fellow'.

I think I can see why the translators, in 1611, have used two different words.

In speaking of Jesus Christ, they have used the word 'fellowship' of him who is regarded in some scriptures as a 'brother' or a 'fellow-heir' and who came 'in the likeness of sinful flesh' and who is seen as a 'surety' (the original means 'one who draws near').

In speaking of the Holy Spirit, they have used the word 'communion' of him who is united in a spiritual union, in regeneration. The Holy Spirit, that Divine Person, is given by the Father and unites with the spirit of the believing soul in a unity. Hence the translators have chosen to express this as 'communion'.

It seems to me, therefore, that the use of the two words reflects the reverence of the KJV translators towards the Person of Jesus Christ and they are emphasizing his humanity in union with his Deity when they say 'fellowship'.

And I think that they are emphasizing the spirituality of the Person of the Holy Spirit in using the word 'communion'.

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  • 1
    Thank you so much brother @NigelJ :-) – Siju George Oct 23 '19 at 0:43
  • You are most welcome, brother @Siju. – Nigel J Oct 23 '19 at 1:21

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