“looking diligently lest any man fall from the grace of God. Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. Looking means to look upon, looking diligently. Some versions use the word “carefully”
I Peter 5:2, “feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly. Not for filthy lucre (to gain something), but of a ready mind”. Oversight (episkopeo) means to look upon. The word is also found in Hebrews 12:15, “looking carefully or looking diligently”. To exercise the oversight, to visit, care for.
Also found in Acts 20:28, “take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God. To feed shows an act of caring, referring to spiritual feeding.
Diligently, to search out, investigate, demand, seek after. (Strong’s) The difference in Hebrews 12:15, is that the Hebrew writer is talking to Christian’s. He is writing to elders. All the Hebrew Christians were commanded to carefully notice the spiritual performance of each other. Implied in the exhortation to exercise oversight is the obligation to institute measures necessary to correct what is wrong.
The reason they were to watch is seen in the phrase, “lest any man fall from the grace of God. Titus 2:10, “it is the grace of God which brings salvation to all”.
To fall short of the grace of God would be to forfeit salvation, and be denied salvation.
All should exercise oversight, “lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you”. Root in the verse is figurative for a person. Moses said in Duet. 29:18,, where Moses described one given to idolatry as a “ root that beareth gall and wormwood. Thayer says that “root” is used, “of a person disposed to apostatize and induce others to commit the same offence”.
Bitterness does not describe an ugly attitude but the effect which this root has on these whom he or she influences. The root produces a bitter or poisonous fruit which is spiritual fatal to him who consumes it. If roots of bitterness in the church are not purged, by their doctrines and examples they will disturb the church and many of the saints will be defied. Not only elders are to keep watch, but we as members also.
- CL Bruner