Hebrews 6:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 6:5, NIV: who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age

Hebrews 6:5, ESV: and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,

Hebrews 6:5, KJV: And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

Hebrews 6:5, NASB: and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,

Hebrews 6:5, NLT: who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come--

Hebrews 6:5, CSB: who tasted God's good word and the powers of the coming age,

What does Hebrews 6:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A key component of this verse is the word "tasted," which is sometimes used to suggest that the verse refers to those who have not made a full commitment to Christ. And yet, the same term is used to describe Jesus' experience with death (Hebrews 2:9), which was not superficial. Verse 4 referred to those who had also "tasted" the gift of heaven (Ephesians 2:8) and "shared" the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13–14; Galatians 3:2). In other words, these are not "almost" believers, but actual believers. Since the Bible, on the whole, makes it clear that salvation cannot be lost (John 10:28–30; 1 John 1:9), this passage is not a warning about damnation.

This passage is presented in connection to the story of Israel's disobedience at the borders of the Promised Land (Numbers 13–14). This was a major theme of chapters 3 and 4 (Hebrews 3:12–19; 4:11). There, lack of faith led to disobedience. This resulted in God's severe judgment, and only after that suffering was Israel able to progress. Here, in verses 4 through 8, the same basic dynamic is at work. Those who turn away from the basics of the faith, in response to doubts or disobedience, are beyond any rational arguments. Their only hope of restoration is the same as that of Israel in the wilderness, or a field choked with weeds and thorns: the "fire" of the judgment of God.

Note, this judgment is not destruction. God did not send Israel back to Egypt, or annihilate them. The farmer does not discard the field itself, but rather burns away what is choking it. The Greek term in verse 6 is not apostasia, from which we get the term apostasy, but rather parapesontas, which denotes an error, a wandering from the path, or a fall.

Here, the writer of Hebrews warns us; not that we can lose our salvation, but that we subject ourselves to harsh judgment if shallow faith causes us to fall into doubt and disobedience (Hebrews 3:6; 14).