Salt Matthew 5
Posted by adventbiblestudy on February 21, 2010
Salt is one of the key words which has been difficult to locate a proper translation.
KJV Matthew 5:13
13. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Over the past years I have heard and read a number of translations, but none of them provided proof text to support a spiritual interpretation. A translation without proper proof text must be considered a private interpretation. There may be nothing wrong with many private interpretations, but the Bible contains warnings about relying on yourself or others to interpret His word.
KJV Jeremiah 17:5. Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
This is why it is very important to supply proper proof texts with every spiritual interpretation. If an interpretation does not come from God, what guarantee do you have it was not designed to lead you away from God?
This teaches an important lesson. Influence exerted by private interpretations of the key word salt, made it very difficult to recognize the spiritual interpretation. One of the most important rules of Bible study is to never enter into a lesson with a preconceived idea. This is the quickest way to cancel the effects of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit cannot lead out in a lesson when the mind is blocked to new spiritual interpretations. Allowing yourself to imagine you have the power to interpret any text will make it nearly impossible to see any light when it is revealed.
KJV Isaiah 42:18. Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. 19. Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord’s servant? 20. Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.
This parable is recorded in three of the four gospels. To unravel this parable we need to study all three occurrences along with surrounding texts.
KJV Mark 9:49. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 50. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
KJV Luke 14:33. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 34. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35. It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
KJV Matthew 5:10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 13. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Mark 9 tells us, “every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.” This can be easily proven from the scriptures.
KJV Leviticus 2:12. As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour. 13. And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
Salt can represent a sacrifice. Looking at all three occurrences, consider all the similarities. When we think of a physical sacrifice we think of the physical animals mentioned in the book of Leviticus. Now think of a sacrifice in spiritual terms and study the remaining two occurrences in spiritual terms. Do you see the spiritual connection between a sacrifice Luke 14 and the persecution on Matthew 5?
Luke 14 establishes a link between salt and a disciple of Christ. Matthew 10 reinforces this interpretation while opening a new door for consideration. Matthew 10 makes it clear Christ’s disciples will be persecuted. While looking at this parable on the physical level we have to ask; why are Christ’s disciples persecuted? Christ answers this question in verse 12. His followers will be persecuted because they will deliver the same message given by the prophets before them. To look deeper into the subject we have to answer the questions; who persecuted the prophets and why?
KJV Matthew 23:29. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30. And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
KJV Luke 11:46. And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. 47. Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
KJV Luke 11:52. Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
KJV 1 Thessalonians 2:15. Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 16. Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
The Bible tells us, the religious leaders and lawyers persecuted the prophets. This continues throughout history, after the original disciples. The Bible also shows us, prophets and Jesus’ disciples have been and will be persecuted because they are teaching others. This is still common today. How many experiences of persecution can you list in your own life? Every occurrence of persecution has one thing in common. People are persecuted only when they open their mouth. They will never face persecution when they sit back to watch life go by without saying a word.
As we have seen, the surrounding texts have given us a hint of what to look for when we search for the interpretation of the word salt. To find the spiritual interpretation we have to locate texts containing the word salt.
KJV James 3:12. Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. 13. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
KJV Colossians 4:5. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Salt represents your speech or words.
KJV Jeremiah 17:5. Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. 6. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. 7. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. 8. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
A little bit of salt represents good conversation and grace. A large amount of salt represents a people who trust in themselves.
This agrees with the physical aspects of salt. A little bit of salt can enhance the flavor of a dish. Too much can render it useless.
This is also true when sharing scripture. The Holy Spirit works through the word of God, not our words. When our words are few they may indeed add flavor to spiritual food, much like salt can season physical food. When we add too many of our own words, we can spoil the spiritual setting, much like too much salt will spoil any meal.