When a person fell into poverty or ruin in ancient times, the word was empipto (em PIP to). Similarly, the same word was used for the unsuspecting victim who fell into an ambush or fell into barbarian swords. Whether prison, sickness, fire, or poison arrows, there usually seemed to be some kind of ultimate calamity connected with this word. It thrived in an environment of violence and hostility.
Thus, when we come to the seven times empipto is used in the Greek New Testament we will expect it to be a word of undesirable outcomes. Matthew describes the plight of the sheep which falls into a pit (12:11), which is also where blind men will wind up when they try to lead each other (Luke 6:39).
Then the Good Samaritan finds a wounded man who has fallen among thieves (Luke 10:36).
Paul used empipto to warn Timothy about impro¬perly selected elders: they may become puffed up and fall into the condemnation of the devil, or they may fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (1 Tim 3:6-7). Likewise, those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many hurtful cravings that plunge men into ruin and destruction (1 Tim. 6:9).
Whew! Pretty heavy stuff! But everything said thus far pales into insignificance in contrast with the stark terror of the last usage of empipto in Hebrews 10:31. The careless apostate who gives up his faith and turns his back on his Lord should think soberly about life's ultimate calamity: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”