The term is derived from Latin communio (sharing in common).
This basic meaning of the word predates its Christian uses. In Ancient Greek, κοινωνία could apply to a business partnership, to fellowship of life in marriage, to a spiritual relationship with divinity, to comradely fellowship between friends, to a community or society.
In religious contexts, "communion" is the usual English translation of the Greek term κοινωνία (koinonia), which appears in the New Testament, but nowhere in the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint, and which sometimes has a secular significance, as in the case of the partnership between fishermen spoken of in Luke 5:7-10. As a noun, or in its adjectival or verbal forms, it is found in 43 verses of the New Testament. In addition, the noun is found in some manuscripts (used for producing the English translation known as the King James Version, but not for more recent translations) in Ephesians 3:9.
In the New Testament the word is applied, according to the context, to communion, sharing or fellowship with:
Of these usages, Bromiley's International Standard Bible Encyclopedia selects as especially significant the following meanings: