Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.
I. WHAT IS MEANT BY HOLDING FORTH THE WORD OF LIFE. As a standard bearer holds out an ensign to direct the march or animate the attack; as a man who holds forth a clear light in the midst of darkness to illuminate the path and direct the steps of travellers; as the fires which were kept burning at the entrance of harbours to direct ships into port, so are Christians to hold forth the light of life. It is to be held forth in —
1. Its great and distinguishing doctrines. These are the nerves and sinews of the Word. They must be understood intelligently, and defended valiantly. "Be always ready to give an answer for the hope that is in you."
2. In its peculiar spirit. This distinguishes the gospel from every other religious system. It is a spirit of love to God and man (ver. 5).
3. In its practice. The imitation of Christ, obedience, self-denial.
4. Eminently, conspicuously.
II. MOTIVES TO ENFORCE THIS DUTY.
1. The nature and design of the gospel demand this.
2. This is the best means of high Christian attainment.
3. This is the most effective means of usefulness.
(J. Hanes, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.