Monday, April 2, 2007

Hold Fast

Greek Word Pronunciation: ep-EK-o
Strong's Number: 1907
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 2091
Key Verse: “... holding fast the word of life …” -- Philippians 2:16

Epecho is a compound verb, comprised of epi, meaning “upon” and echo meaning “to hold.” Thus, it came to mean “to hold upon; to hold one’s mind towards; to observe, or to give attention to; to give heed.” In classical Greek, it is to hold out, to present, as to offer wine to a guest.

In the Septuagint, this word can be found in Job 18:2, when Bildad said “show understanding and then we can talk.” In Job 30:26, Job said “when I expected good, then evil came.” And in Genesis 8:10, Noah waited for the dove.

Epecho appears 5 times in the New Testament. In Luke 14:7, Christ spoke a parable when He noticed how guests had been picking out places of honor at the table. In Acts 3:5, the lame man began to give attention to Peter and John, expecting something from them. And in Acts 19:22, Paul stayed in Asia for a while. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16 to “pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching.” Every minister should take heed to his life and conversation, and doctrine should be preached according to the Scriptures, tending to edification.

In the key verse, PHILIPPIANS 2:16, Paul tells the Philippian church to “hold fast the word of life.” The word is in present tense, indicating a continuous practice of holding forth God’s Word to the world. The idea is a possible allusion to towers which were built at the entrance of harbors, on which fires were kept during the night to direct ships into the port. Matthew Henry says, “It is our duty not only to hold fast, but to hold forth the word of life; not only to hold it fast for our own benefit, but to hold it forth for the benefit of others, to hold it forth as the candlestick holds forth the candle, which makes it appear to advantage all around, or as the luminaries of the heavens, which shed their influence far and wide.”

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