Have you ever wanted to know what salt in the Bible actually means? It is mentioned over 40 times, and Jesus even said in Matthew 5:13: “You are the salt of the Earth.” What does the salt of the earth mean? How are we salt of the Earth? What do salt and light mean and how does it relate in our lives?
As Christians, it is important to read the Bible, share inspiring stories and verses with others, and to understand the different symbols/ signs mentioned in Scripture. This way, we gain a better understanding of ourselves and how to live according to God’s design.
So today, let us unravel the wonderful truths about the meaning of salt in the Bible, its significance, and how we can truly become genuine salt of the earth.
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Bible Verses about Salt
Numbers 18:19 - All the offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to the LORD, I have I to you, and your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD to you and your descendants with you.
Colossians 4:6 - Let your speech [be] always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Mark 9:50 - Salt [is] good: but if the salt has lost his saltiness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
Mark 9:49 - For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
Leviticus 2:13 - 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.
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Meaning of Salt in the Bible
The Bible is full of symbols. Notably, one of these interesting symbols mentioned in the Bible is salt. Here are the different meanings of salt and how they relate to our lives.
Salt as a Covenant
Salt is known as a covenant. It is sometimes synonymous with the word “covenant”, and the scriptures mentioned “covenant of salt” three times.
2 Chronicles 13:5 "Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?"
Leviticus 2:13 "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."
Numbers 18:19 "All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute forever: it is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee."
Salt is used as a preservative, which means it is instrumental for making things last longer. So when we say, “covenant of salt”, it simply means that the covenant is perpetual and not to be broken, just as how salt preserves.
Salt as a Symbol of Friendship and Loyalty
In Biblical days, friendship and loyalty are sealed with salt. Why salt? Because the essence of salt is simple - it does not change. When you dissolve salt in water, you know you can dissolve it.
We do it all the time in our cooking, when you add salt to your soups and stews and other recipes. However, if you evaporate the water off of that dish that has been seasoned with salt, you end up with salt crystals. It is so amazing!
In both Islam and Judaism, salt seals a bargain instead of just giving your word because of how immutable the quality of salt is. This is why salt symbolizes a long-lasting friendship and relationship between people. It is also a symbol of God’s everlasting love for us! “His love endures forever” - Psalms 136
Salt Adds Flavor
This is an obvious meaning of salt - that it is a flavor-enhancing agent to food.
Now how does this relate to everyday life being that we are “salt of the earth? Most people assume salt adds flavor to food. On the contrary, what really happens is the releasing of flavor by breaking the cell walls in vegetables, fruits and meats. As a result, this allows us to enjoy the natural flavor of foods. As the cells break down, this process releases the unique aroma and flavor in food.
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus Christ tells us “You are the salt of the earth.” As His creation, we are to enhance the beauty of the world around us. To be salt and light. Your presence is designed to uplift, enhance, bring light and glorify your Father, not to destroy or harm others. Our very essence and duty is to be salt and light. Therefore we become the beautiful creation that our Father in heaven has created!
Salt as a Preservative
As I have mentioned earlier, salt is used to preserve the freshness of food. We season meat with salt to keep it fresh, we pickle fruits and vegetables by adding salt and prevent them from perishing. Salt sustains life. It signifies faithfulness. Likewise, Jesus Christ represents salt: He preserves life, sustains life, and is faithful to His promises to us.
Salt as a Valuable Mineral
In Leviticus, the Mosaic law teaches the free will offering of people came with salt. These offerings also included unleavened bread, birds, goats, sheep, and cattle. Furthermore, salt was always part of these free-will offerings to show that they represented a covenant - a promise.
Aside from the fact that salt was a symbol of a covenant, this mineral was often an important part of the offering because it was an expensive and highly valued mineral. Historically, salt was hard to come by. You could not simply go to a store and buy it. Generally, God uses the valuable to signify His promises.
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Salt as a Source of Nourishment
Did you know that salt is very rich in trace minerals and nourishing to the body? Trace minerals give salt a uniqueness in flavor. Bleached and chemicalized salt is absent of this satisfying taste.
Be cautious when buying salt as not all salts are created equal. I would recommend Redmond’s Real Salt, with lovely colors that are simply all-natural. Redmond's salt has the minerals present and not altered.
Salt is abundant in trace minerals necessary for health and these key minerals are lost when overly processed. When the trace minerals are present your body responds with health and vigor!
How to Be the Salt of the World
The Bible states we are the salt of the world. But the question is, how can we do this? The answer is simple. We are to be that flavoring agent to spread the Gospel as Jesus's disciples did so that the flavors of God’s grace and love can be experienced.
Isn’t this beautiful? We are to share kindness and goodness to those around us, so in our own ways, we can help ease their troubles and experience a taste of heaven here on earth. But at the same time, salt can also lose its influence. Luke 14:34-35 teaches salt can be useless for the soil or for the manure pile.
As shared in Taste and See by Margaret Feinberg:
The Luke passage suggest that salt plays a role in manure, too. Salt helps break down fresh excrement for better plant absorption. The minerals also prevent dunghills from rotting and becoming useless for providing nutrients to crops.
Luke clarifies that when Jesus warns of losing our saltiness, he's not describing table salt, he's describing fertilizer salt. Yes, as the salt of the earth, we are agents of human flourishing. Jesus is calling us to be fertilizer in his kingdom. Although salt never loses its flavor we as Christians can lose our effectiveness.
This is why Jesus wants us to be the salt of the earth that preserves, sustains, and brings out the “flavor” or goodness in ourselves and others. We are the preserver of life. We are to be that flavor enhancer for people who may be hard to deal with. Our mission is to help them see how God works in our lives, share the Good news, and direct them to the Sustainer of life.
And I would like you to always remember this:
You may sometimes question your value in this world and feel like you have little impact on the earth, or are weak, or small, or not powerful enough. Likewise is a little kernel of salt that is bursting with flavor and potency to preserve and enhance flavor!
Be the salt and light in the world that spreads kindness to others through words, thoughts, and actions that embody God’s goodness. In a unique, loving way, you can allow others to experience the Lord’s presence in their lives by being a good friend, child, parent, spouse, colleague, church member!