Chapter 6:5. And the powers of the world to come. The five things mentioned here have been variously explained.
1 Enlightened, -- baptized, say most of the fathers, and some moderns too, but without any countenance from the use of the word in Scripture, either in the New Testament or in the Sept. It means to emit light, to bring to light, to enlighten, and hence to instruct, to teach. It is often used in the Sept. for a word that means to teach in Hebrew. The taught, the instructed in the duty and necessity of repentance and in Christian truth generally, were no doubt |the enlightened.| This is the meaning given to it by Crotius, Beza, Dr Owen, Doddridge, Scott, Stuart, etc.
2 The heavenly gift, -- faith -- Christ -- the Holy Spirit -- pardon of sins -- peace of conscience -- eternal life: all these have been stated, but the first, |faith towards God,| mentioned in the first verse, is no doubt what is meant.
3. Partakers of the Holy Ghost; that is, in his miraculous powers, as understood by most; it is what is evidently intimated by |baptisms and laying on of hands| in the second verse.
4 The good word of God, -- the Gospel -- the Gospel covenant -- the promises of the Gospel -- the heavenly inheritance: such have been the explanations given. There are but two places where the phrase |the good word| occurs, and that is in Jeremiah 29:10, and in 33:14; and there it means the promise of restoration given to the Jews, and here it clearly means the promise of the resurrection mentioned in the second verse.
5. The powers of the world to come; that is, miraculous powers, say most; but aio<n oj me>llon, |the world to come,| says Schleusner never means in the New Testament the time of the Gospel, but the future world. See Matthew 12:32; Luke 18:30; Ephesians 1:21. He therefore explains the clause thus, |The power and efficacy of the doctrine respecting the future felicity of Christians in heaven.| It would have comported more with the |eternal judgment| in these converse, had he said, |respecting the future state both of the saved and of the lost in the next world;| for eternal judgment refers to both.
To |taste,| according to the usage of Scripture, is to know, to partake of, to experience, to possess, to enjoy. It does not mean here, as some have thought, slightly to touch a thing, or to sip it, but to know, to know experimentally, to feel, or to enjoy.
Thus we see that there is a complete correspondence between the particulars mentioned here and the things stated in verses 1 and 2.