The writer of Hebrews contends that Christians ought to earnestly give heed to the things that were spoken (i.e., gospel principles), lest they drift away from them (Hebrews 2:1). Of special interest in this passage is the verb “give heed” (Grk. prosecho), which derives from pros (facing, towards) and echo (to have, hold). The etymology thus suggests turning one’s attention toward an object and holding it fast. The word is used in a variety of ways in the New Testament.
It may denote one whose affection is so riveted upon a thing that such has become an addiction. Hence, one addicted to wine should not be appointed a deacon (1 Timothy 3:8). The term can be used of diligent devotion to a responsibility, such as a priest who gives attendance to the altar (Hebrews 7:13), or of overseers who take heed to their own lives, and who properly supervise the church (Acts 20:28).
But prosecho is employed also of the disposition that surrenders in obedience to the gospel of Christ. Consider the following.
- In Samaria, honest souls gave heed to Philip’s preaching (Acts 8:6), which, as Luke subsequently explains, means they believed his message and they were baptized, both men and women (8:12). Mark these two passages and connect them with a line in your Bible.
- When Lydia’s heart was opened by Paul’s proclamation of the gospel of Christ, she gave heed to the things which were spoken by the apostle (Acts 16:14), which meant, as the context clearly reveals, she was immersed (v. 15). Again, appropriate notations should be entered in your Testament.
It thus becomes quite apparent that when one truly gives heed to the Lord’s will, he obeys the gospel. Correspondingly, one who refuses to be immersed into Christ, simply has not given heed to the mind of God.
Now here is an important point. Many do not hesitate to argue that baptism is not essential in order to receive salvation. Yet, how many are brazen enough to contend: “It is not necessary to give heed to the Lord in order to be saved.” However, this must be the conclusion when immersion is repudiated, as a comparison of the foregoing passages plainly shows. Use this argument effectively in your efforts to teach the lost.