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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Communion (2)

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COMMUNION.—It is surprising that neither the substantive (κοινωνία) nor the verb (κοινωνεῖν), which represent the concept of ‘communion’ in NT, is to be found in any of our four Gospels. It would, however, be unsafe, and indeed untrue to fact, to assume on this account that the idea of communion is wanting. While there is an absence of the words concerned, there is no absence of the conception itself. A careful study of the Gospels, on the contrary, not only reveals a plain recognition of this vital aspect of the religious life, but also (and especially in the records of our Lord’s teaching preserved by St. John) presents the conception to us with a certain clear, if unobtrusive, prominence.

The subject contains three distinct parts, which will naturally be considered separately: (1) The communion of Christ with the Father; (2) our communion with God; (3) our communion one with another.

1. The communion of Christ with the Father.—The more conspicuous aspect of our Lord’s communion with the Father as reflected in the Gospels, is that which characterized His earthly ministry. But it is not the only aspect presented. Christ Himself clearly claimed to have enjoyed pre-existent communion with His Father (John 17:5; John 17:24), and the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel in three or four weighty clauses confirms the claim. This pre-existent communion included both unity of essence and life, and fellowship in work, (a) The Word was πρὸς τὸν θεόν (John 1:1), realizing His very personality ‘in active intercourse with and in perfect communion with God’ (Westcott, in loc). His nature was the nature of Deity (καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος, ib.). His Sonship is unique (John 1:14; and for the uniqueness of the relationship cf. the important Synoptic passage, Matthew 11:27 = Luke 10:22). His is the πλήρωμα—the sum of the Divine attributes (John 1:16, cf. Colossians 1:19; Colossians 2:9; Ephesians 1:23), and He is μονογενὴς θεός (John 1:18)—‘One Who is God only-begotten’ (Westcott). (b) The pre-existent communion not merely consisted in identity of essence, but was also expressed by fellowship in work. The Word was the Agent in the work of Creation (John 1:3; John 1:10, cf. also 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:16 : His work in sustaining the Universe so created is taught in Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3). See art. Creator.

Our Lord’s realization of His Father’s presence during His life upon earth was constant. That He Himself laid claim to such fellowship is beyond contention. He did so directly in His words (Matthew 11:27 = Luke 10:22, John 12:49-50; John 14:6; John 14:10-11; John 16:28; John 16:32), emphasizing especially His unity with the Father (John 10:30-38; John 12:44; John 14:7 ff.), and accepting with approval the title of ‘God’ (John 20:28-29). He did so even more impressively, if less directly, by assuming His Father’s functions in the world (Mark 2:5; Mark 2:7 = Matthew 9:2-3 = Luke 5:20-21; Luke 7:48) and representing Himself as controlling Divine forces and originating Divine missions (Matthew 11:27 a, John 15:26; John 20:22-23). Moreover, any attempt to explain away that intimate knowledge of God which the Gospels consistently ascribe to Him, is compelled to disregard not merely the passages in which His own words and actions distinctly assume it, but also not a few in which, whether with approval or with disapproval, others recognize that He claimed to possess it (John 5:18; John 10:33; John 13:3; John 19:7, cf. also John 17:7-8). See Claims of Christ.

But apart altogether from His specific claim to the enjoyment of this Divine fellowship, we have abundant evidence of its existence in His earthly life itself. The sense of communion was an integral part of that life. It is one of those elements in His personality that could not be eliminated from it. A Christ unconscious of intercourse with God would not be the Christ of the Gospels. It was this sense of communion that moulded His first recorded conception of duty (Luke 2:49, Authorized Version or Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885). The thirty years of quiet preparation for a three years’ ministry (the proportions are suggestive; for other examples of equipment in seclusion see Exodus 3:1, Luke 1:80, Galatians 1:15-17) may without doubt be summed up as one long experience of fellowship with His Father. And the recognition of this union, which marks His first thoughts of His mission, and which must so largely have constituted His earthly preparation for it, is found to be His constant support amid the stress of the work itself. It is present in a special manner in the Baptism which signalized the beginning of His ministry among men (Mark 1:10-11 = Matthew 3:16-17 = Luke 3:21-22). It is His stay alike before the labours of the day begin (Mark 1:35), at the very moment of service (Mark 6:41 ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν; cf. also Mark 7:34; Mark 8:24, John 6:11; John 11:41), and when refreshment of soul is needed at the close of the long hours of toil (Mark 6:46 = Matthew 14:23, Luke 5:16). The Gospels, indeed, make it plain that He regarded such communion as a condition on which the accomplishment of certain work depended (Mark 9:29, cf. John 5:30), and we cannot fail to observe the frequency with which both He and His biographers insist that the Divine Presence is with Him in all His words and works (Luke 4:14; Luke 4:18, John 3:34; John 5:19-21; John 5:36; John 8:16; John 8:26; John 8:20). So constant is the communion, that even the most familiar objects of Nature convey to Him suggestions of the Father in heaven (Matthew 6:26; Matthew 6:28). It is noteworthy that retirement for intimate converse with unseen realities is especially recorded as preceding Christ’s action or speech at certain great crises in the development of His life-mission (Luke is particularly careful to draw attention to this; see Luke 3:21; Luke 6:12-13; Luke 9:18; Luke 9:28 ff., Luke 22:41; Luke 23:46; cf. also Mark 9:2, John 12:28; John 17:1 ff.), and that intercession for individual men had its place in this sacred experience (Luke 22:31-32; cf. Luke 23:34, John 17:6-26).

Thus constantly, alike at critical junctures and in more normal moments, did the sense of His Father’s presence uphold Him. In one mysterious moment, the full meaning of which baffles human explanation. His consciousness of it appears to have wavered (Mark 15:34); yet even this cry of desolation must not be considered apart from the certain restoration of the communion revealed in the calm confidence of the last word of all (Luke 23:46). See art. Dereliction.

One further point maybe briefly suggested. Our Lord’s communion with the Father was not inconsistent with His endurance of temptation. Nay, it was under the strong impulse of that Spirit whose presence with Him was at once the sign and the expression of His union with God (see Mark 1:10), that He submitted to the assaults of evil (Mark 1:12-13, note ἐκβάλλει, = Matthew 4:1 = Luke 4:1). The protracted testing (ἦν πειραζόμενος, analytical tense, cf. the suggestion of other occasions of temptation in the plur. ἐν τοῖς πειρασμοῖς μου, Luke 22:28, and John 12:27), successfully endured, itself became to our Lord the means of a fresh assurance and (perhaps we may add) a fuller realization of fellowship with the spiritual world (Mark 1:13 διηκόνουν—impf.). In this respect, as in others also, His life of communion, while in one sense unique (Luke 10:22), is seen to be the exemplar of our own.

2. Our communion with God.—The reality of the believer’s communion with God is plainly revealed in the teaching of the Gospels. This communion is presented sometimes in terms of a relationship with the Father, sometimes in terms of a relationship with the Son, sometimes in terms of a relationship with the Spirit; but all three presentations alike are relevant to our study (1 John 2:23 b, cf. 1 John 1:3, John 14:16-17).* [Note: It is scarcely necessary to point out that for purposes of doctrine, I Jn. ranks as practically a part of the Fourth Gospel.] if our outline is to be at once clear and comprehensive, we must treat the passages concerned under two headings. The first (a) will include those that deal with the state of communion with God into which a man is brought when he becomes the servant of God; the second (b) those that relate to the life of conscious communion with God which it is his privilege to live from that time forward. The distinction, as will shortly appear, is by no means an unnecessary one, the second experience being at once more vivid and more profound than the first need necessarily be.

(a) It is clear that in the case of every believer the barrier raised between himself and God by his sin has been broken down. In other words, he has been restored to a state of communion with God. The means by which this state is brought about have both a Divine and a human significance. It is in considering their Divine aspect that we reach the point of closest connexion between the communion of believers with God and the communion of Christ with His Father. For these in a true sense stand to one another in the relation of effect and cause (cf. what is implied in such passages as John 1:16; John 14:6; John 14:12; John 17:21-23). It is in virtue of our Lord’s perfect fellowship with God that through His life and death we too can gain unrestricted admission to the Divine Presence. This truth is all-important. It needs no detailed proof. The whole story of the Incarnation and of the Cross is one long exposition of it. Perhaps it is symbolically represented in Mark 15:38. The conditions required on the human side for restoration to the state of communion with God appear plainly in our Lord’s teaching. This state is described in varied language and under different metaphors. Sometimes it is presented as citizenship in God’s kingdom (Mark 10:14-15, John 3:3); sometimes as discipleship (Luke 14:26, John 8:31), friendship (John 15:15), and even kinship (Mark 3:32-35) with Christ Himself. In other places it is spoken of as a personal knowledge of Him (1 John 2:3); in others, again, as a following in His footsteps (Mark 8:34, John 8:12); and in yet others as the possession of a new type of life (John 3:16 : for the definition of eternal life as ‘knowing God’ see John 17:3, 1 John 5:20). As one condition of finding this experience, which, in whatever terms it be described, places men in a new relationship with God, Christ mentions childlikeness of disposition (Mark 10:15). As other conditions He emphasizes poverty of spirit (Matthew 5:3, Luke 18:9 ff.). and the performance of the Divine will in a life of righteousness and love (Mark 3:35, Luke 6:35-36; Luke 8:21, John 8:31; John 14:23, cf. 1 John 1:6; 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:6). In one very important passage, addressed both to the multitude and to His own band of disciples, He may perhaps be said to include all individual conditions. ‘If any man willeth to come after me, let him renounce himself’ (Mark 8:34 and ||). This saying has a meaning far more profound than that suggested by our English versions. Taken with the explanation contained in the verse that follows, it really leads us to the basis of communion. All communion between two persons, whether human and human or human and Divine, is possible only in virtue of some element common to the natures of both (see John 4:24; John 8:47; cf. the same principle differently applied in John 5:27). Man’s sole possibility of communion with God lies in his possession, potential or actual, of the Divine life (cf. John 1:9). But joined to the ‘self’ (the second ψυχή of Mark 8:35) which is capable of union with God, he is conscious also of another ‘self’ (the first ψυχή of Mark 8:35) which is incongruous with that close relationship to Deity. The condition of realizing the one ‘self,’ and with it, in natural sequence, communion with God, is the renunciation of the other and lower ‘self.’

So both Mark 8:34-35 : the ἐαυτον of Mark 8:34 is thus equivalent to the first ψυχη of Mark 8:35 The ‘taking up his cross’—i.e. for his own crucifixion thereon—defines the ‘renouncing himself’ more closely. The teaching of the whole passage is the Evangelic representation of the Pauline doctrine of self-crucifixion, cf. Galatians 2:20; Galatians 5:24.

To change the figure somewhat, the unity of life involved in the idea of communion between man and God can be attained only through man’s rising to God’s life. This, it is true, would have been outside his power had not God first stooped to his level. But in the Incarnation this step of infinite condescension has been taken, and by it the possibility of mankind’s rising to the life of God—in other words, the possibility of its entering into a state of communion with God—has been once for all secured. In order to make this state of communion his own, Christ teaches, each individual man must now leave his lower life, with all that pertains to it, behind; must be content to ‘renounce himself’; must be willing to ‘lose’ that life’ which cannot consist with the Divine life. So complete, indeed, is to be the severance from the past, that the experience in which it is brought about is called a ‘new birth’ (John 3:3), as real as, though of a type essentially different from, the physical birth (John 3:6). When with this self-renouncement is combined that faith in Christ which leads to union with Him and reliance upon Him (πιστεύειν εἰςJohn 3:16; John 3:36; John 6:29; John 11:26), we have the experience which sums up into one great whole the various individual conditions required on the human side for entering into the state of communion with God.

(b) Quite distinct in thought from the state of communion into which all believers are brought, is the life of communion which it is their privilege to enjoy. The one is always a fact, the other is also a consciously realized experience. Like so many of the blessings revealed in NT, such a life of communion is too rich an experience to be described in any one phrase or under a single metaphor. In different contexts it is presented in different ways. Sometimes, for example, it is set forth as an abiding in Christ who also abides in the believer (John 15:4 ff.). In other places it is represented as an indwelling of the Spirit (John 14:16-20; John 16:7; John 16:13-15, 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13), whose presence, to believers (as in a deeper sense to their Lord) the sign and expression of union with God, is to be with them from the moment of their initiation into the new life (Mark 1:8 and || ||, 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13). Yet another statement, emphasizing in a remarkable metaphor the inwardness and intimacy of the union that results, sets the experience before us as a mystical feeding upon Christ (John 6, esp. John 6:53-58, cf. also John 6:35). But while there is variation in the language in which this sense of the Divine Presence is set forth, there is no question as to the reality of the experience itself. It is the inspiration of this Unseen Presence that shall give to believers definite guidance in moments of crisis and perplexity (Mark 13:11 and ||, Luke 12:11-12). It is in this communion with God that they will find their surest refuge against fears and dangers (Mark 13:18 = Matthew 24:20) and against the assaults of temptation (Mark 14:38 and ||). Such fellowship, too, is their ground of certainty, alike in their teaching (John 3:11—note the plurals; 1 John 1:1-3) and in their belief (cf. John 4:42). It is, moreover, the source of all their fitness for service (cf. Gabriel’s suggestive speech, Luke 1:19) and the means of all their fruit-bearing (John 15:1-10). As would have been expected, the full significance of this converse with God is not understood, nor is its closest intimacy appropriated, in the earliest days of initiation. Knowledge of God, like knowledge of men, has to be realized progressively (cf. χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος, John 1:16). There are degrees of intimacy (cf. John 15:15 and the suggestive interchange of ἀγαπᾶν and φιλεῖν in John 21:15 ff.), and the extent to which the believer is admitted into fellowship is proportionate to the progress he has made in the lessons previously taught (cf. the significant connexion between Mark 8:31; Mark 8:27-29, which is clearly brought out in the emphatic καὶ ἤρξατο διδάσκειν of Mark 8:31 : cf. also Mark 4:33, John 16:12). The reason for this basis of progress is plain. An important element in communion being self-adjustment to God’s will (cf. our Lord’s own illustration of this, Mark 14:36 and ||), the degree of intimacy that ensues will naturally be conditioned by the extent to which this element is rendered prominent. Thus, while its neglect will open up the possibility of lapsing even to one who has been on intimate terms with Christ (Mark 14:18, John 13:18), its constant and progressive practice may bring a man to a union with God so close as to constitute his complete possession by Divine influence (cf. the Baptist’s magnificent description of himself as a ‘Voice,’ John 1:23, taken from Isaiah 40:3). And the fellowship so enjoyed and ever more intimately realized under the restricted conditions of earth, is to find its perfect consummation only in the hereafter (John 12:26; John 14:2-3; John 17:24, cf. 1 John 3:2). See art. Abiding.

The means by which, according to the Gospel teaching, the believer will practise this life of communion with God, may be briefly indicated. Prominent among them is seclusion from the world for the purpose of definite prayer. The importance of this our Lord emphasized by His own example. He also enjoined it upon His followers by oft-repeated precepts (Matthew 6:8; Matthew 7:7-8; Matthew 26:41 and ||, Luke 6:28; Luke 18:1). At the same time the Evangelic teaching does not aim at making recluses. There are active as well as passive means of enjoying intercourse with God, and our Lord’s whole training of the Twelve indicates, even more clearly than any individual saying (cf. John 17:10), His belief in the Divine communion that is found in the service of mankind. The sense of fellowship with God vivified in secret devotion is to be realized afresh and tested in contact with men (so 1 John 4:8; 1 John 4:12; 1 John 4:16).

Two more points call for separate attention. (1) Before His death our Lord ordained a rite which not only symbolizes the union of His followers with Himself, but is also a means of its progressive realization. If an intimate connexion between the Lord’s Supper (Mark 14:22 ff. and ||) and the Jewish Passover may, as seems reasonable, be assumed, that conception of the Christian rite which represents it as a means of communion between the individual soul and its Saviour would appear to have a basis in the foundation principle on which all ancient worship, whether Jewish or heathen, rests—the belief that to partake of a sacrifice is to enter into some kind of fellowship with the Deity. This aspect of the Lord’s Supper does not, of course, exhaust its meaning (see art. Lord’s Supper), but it is certainly prominent, and it is emphasized both by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 10:18) and by Christ Himself (John 6:56, where the eating would certainly include that of the Lord’s Supper, even though, as is most probable, it does not refer to it exclusively).

(2) One more suggestion may be put forward. Our Lord seems to hint at a special means of communion with Himself which is really a particular extension of the self-renouncement considered above. This is a mysterious fellowship with Him in His own sufferings for mankind (Mark 10:38-39 = Matthew 20:22-23 a; for a symbolical illustration see Mark 15:21). It is only a hint, but the words are significant; and, taken in conjunction with St. Paul’s ἀνταναπληρῶ τὰ ὑστερήματα τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου (Colossians 1:24) and his purpose τοῦ γνῶναικοινωνίαν παθημάτων αὐτοῦ (Philippians 3:10; cf. also 2 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 4:10; 1 Peter 4:13), would certainly seem to imply that the believer’s own sufferings for Christ’s sake may become a medium through which he may enter into close communion with his Lord.

Even this brief study will have revealed that the Gospel conception of the Christian’s communion with God is essentially different from that of the Quietist. Whether we have regard to our Lord’s example or to His teaching, whether we are thinking of the status of fellowship or of its conscious practice, the means by which the Divine communion is realized are not exclusively periods of secluded contemplation. In Christ’s own life upon earth the two elements of active and passive fellowship are signally combined. The sense of union with the Unseen Father, fostered in lonely retreat, is also intensified in moments of strenuous activity. In His thoughts for the lives of His followers, too, the consciousness of God’s presence is secured not alone by solitary worship, but also by the doing of the Divine will, by the earnest struggle to subdue the lower self, and even by active participation in the very sufferings of Christ. So the servant, as his Lord, must practise the communion of service as well as the communion of retirement (cf., again, John 17:15). The desire for the permanent consciousness of the more immediate Presence must be sunk in the mission of carrying to others the tidings of salvation (Mark 5:18-20 = Luke 8:38-39). It is but natural that in the moment of special revelation on the mountain the disciple should long to make it his abiding place (Mark 9:5 and ||); but his Master can never forget the need of service on the ordinary levels of life (Mark 9:14 ff. and ||). And the experience of the one is the source of power for the other (Mark 9:29, cf. John 15:4).

3. Our communion one with another.—Just as our communion with God was seen to bear a close relation to our Lord’s communion with the Father, so our spiritual fellowship one with another rests upon the fellowship of each with Christ. As we had occasion to point out above, communion between any two persons is possible only in virtue of some element common to the natures of both. This common possession in the case of believers is the life, the ‘self,’ which is called into being and ever progressively realized in their individual communion with Christ. The possibility of our spiritual fellowship with one another rests ultimately upon what He is and our relationship to what He is (see 1 John 1:1-3, and especially 1 John 1:7; cf. also 1 Corinthians 10:16-17). His Presence is the bond of union in which we are one, and in which we realize the oneness that we possess (Matthew 18:20). Indeed, the two types of communion—the communion with God and the communion with our fellow-believers—react each upon the other. On the one hand, as we have just seen, our communion with men rests upon our communion with Christ; on the other hand, our Divine fellowship may be intensified (Matthew 18:20 again and Matthew 25:40) or impeded (Matthew 5:23-24; Matthew 6:15; Matthew 25:45, Mark 11:25) by our relations with our fellow-men.

That our Lord looked for the unity of His followers is not open to question. He both prophesied it (John 10:16) and prayed for it (John 17:11 b, John 17:21). An intimate friend, clearly one of an inner circle of disciples and probably John himself, understood its attainment to be part of His purpose in dying for mankind (John 11:52). Moreover, it is natural to suppose that the desire to ensure it would contribute to His decision to found an organized society (Matthew 16:18) and to institute an important rite (Mark 14:22 ff. and ||) for those who should believe in Him. The unity of His followers was even to be one of the grounds on which He based His appeal for the world’s faith (John 17:21 b). Of His wish for this unity, therefore, there can scarcely be reasonable doubt. But when we ask in what He meant the unity to consist, agreement is not so easily reached. The expression of His followers’ unity certainly includes kind and unselfish relations with one another—mutual honour and service (Mark 10:35-45 = Matthew 20:20-28), mutual forgiveness (Matthew 6:14, Luke 17:3-4), mutual love (John 13:34; John 15:12). It is exemplified further by participation in the common work (John 4:36-38). Another very special means of its realization, the Lord’s Supper, we have already indicated. Although this particular aspect of the rite is not actually revealed in the Gospel narrative itself, it will scarcely be questioned that one of the great truths which it both signifies and secures, is that of the fellowship of Christ’s followers. The sacred service in which the believer may realize communion with His Lord (see § 2 above), is also a means by which he is to apprehend his oneness with all other believers (see 1 Corinthians 10:17).

While, however, it is plain that in Christ’s teaching the communion of Christians is at once attested and secured by means like these, it is disputed whether He designed their unity to be simply a spiritual or also an external one. Three important passages may be very briefly considered. (1) John 10:16 affords no support to the upholders of an external unity. The true rendering is unquestionably, ‘They shall become one flock’ ( Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885; cf. Tindale and Coverdale), and not, ‘There shall be one fold’ (Authorized Version; cf. Vulgate). The unity mentioned here is one that is realized in the personal relation of each member of the flock to the Great Shepherd Himself.—(2) There is teaching a little more definite in John 17:11; John 17:21-22 In both these places our Lord makes His own unity with the Father the exemplar of the unity of believers. Reverence forbids any dogmatic statement as to the point to which this sacred analogy can be pressed. But Christ’s own words in the immediate context contain suggestions as to His meaning in using the analogy. It is noticeable that here also, as in John 10:6, the underlying basis of unity is the believers’ personal relation to Christ (and the Father). ‘That they may be one, even as we are one,’ in John 10:22, is at once defined more closely in the words, ‘I in them, and thou in me’ (John 10:23). The resultant unity is gained through the medium not of an external, but of a purely spiritual, condition (ἵνα ὧσιν τετελειωμένοι εἰς ἕν, John 10:23). In the same way, in the statement of John 10:11, it is a spiritual relationship to God that will yield the unity Christ craves for His disciples. This unity will follow upon their being ‘kept ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου.’ It will be assured if their relationship to the Father is a counterpart of what had been their relationship to Christ (John 10:12), i.e. a personal relationship. Whatever, therefore, be the exact meaning which the analogy used by our Lord was intended to convey, His own language in the context appears to make it plain that it must be interpreted with a spiritual rather than with an external significance.—(3) This conclusion derives not a little support from the incident of Mark 9:38 ff. When a definite test case arose, He declared the real fellowship of His followers to depend not upon any outward bond of union between them, but upon each bearing such a relationship to Himself as would be involved in His working ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου. True, the man in question may not have been a nominal disciple of our Lord, but that in His view he was a real disciple is distinctly stated (Mark 9:40). This instance, therefore, may be regarded as a practical application on the part of Christ Himself of the teaching under consideration; and thus it strongly confirms the interpretation that we have put upon it. It would be outside the scope of the present article to consider arguments for or against the corporate unity of Christians drawn from other sources, some of which are very strong and all of which must, of course, be duly weighed before a fair judgment on the whole question can be reached. But so far as the subject-matter before us is concerned, we find it hard to resist the conclusion that such external unity formed no part of the teaching of Christ and the Gospels.

One word must be added. The ‘communion of saints’ joins the believer not merely to his fellow-Christians upon earth, but also to those who have passed within the veil (cf. Hebrews 12:1). This aspect of communion is not emphasized in the Gospels, but there are indications that the fellowship of believers upon earth was linked in the thought of Christ to the yet closer fellowship of those beyond death. At any rate, it is worthy of notice that in instituting the sacred rite which, as we have seen, at once witnesses to and secures our communion one with another, our Lord carefully pointed forward to the reunion that will take place in the world to come (Matthew 26:29; note μεθʼ ὑμῶν); and that in a few suggestive words He represented the earthly gathering as incomplete apart from its final consummation in the heavenly kingdom (Luke 22:16). See further artt. Fellowship, Unity.

Literature.—DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] , s.v.; Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, ii. 151 ff.; Weiss, NT Theol, ii. 367 ff.; Beyschlag, NT Theol. i. 217 ff.; Herrmann, Com. of the Christian with God; Maclaren, Holy of Holies, chs. xvi.–xix.; MacCulloch, Comparative Theology, 216, 254; Stearns, Evidence of Chr. Experience, 179; Strong, Historical Christianity, 11; Westcott, Historic Faith, 123, 247; McGiffert, Apostles’ Creed, 32, 200; Expos. Times, iii. 197, v. 464 (R. F. Weymouth); Tasker, Spiritual Communion.

H. Bisseker.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Communion (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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