As we reflect on ‘partnership’, another word comes to mind: Koinonia. It isn’t an English word but comes from Ancient Greek. You may have encountered it at church or in Sunday school. We once attended a class called Koinonia, with the name used to emphasize Christian fellowship. But koinonia is a bit bigger than this.
Here are some of the ways that koinonia is used in the New Testament.
- It is used to talk about the fellowship of believers and our relationship with God.
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship (koinonia) with us. And our fellowship (koinonia) is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3).
- It is also used in relation to believers sharing the Gospel. Paul talks about our partnership together in the faith.
Paul writes to Philemon: I pray that your partnership (koinonia) with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ (Philemon 6).
As we look forward to serving in our assignment, we are eager to enjoy fellowship and partnership with all of you in the ministry of the Gospel. We use the word ‘partnership’ to emphasize the two-way relationship we have with you. We encourage one another, teach one another, and share with one another. As Paul writes, may this deepen our understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.
In our work with Wycliffe Bible Translators, it is our desire to advance the cause of Scripture access among minority language communities. But we also want to engage with the English-speaking church in North America about the importance of Bible translation, including how the study of language and linguistics can improve our understanding of the Biblical languages. This is true for students, pastors, and scholars, but it applies to everyone involved in the life of the church.