Salt Losing its Flavor Part 2

Probably the greatest impediment to find meaning in the text is to treat it atomistically, that is to divide or view parts of the bible as unconnected fragments. Instead, the reader should meditate upon what the text is saying, as Psalm 1 instructs. This helps the reader to find concepts in scripture and not just focus on the words by themselves. Salt, in the New Testament, for instance, has the same conceptual range in all its usages.

Salt is Figurative in the New Testament

The term “salt” (halas) is used 8 times by the N.T. writers to convey the same idea each time. Only 4 verses contain its usage. Mk. 9.50 has 3 instances of the term “salt” spoken by The Master which cover the way “salt” is used in all the other places in scripture:

Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another (ESV)

Here, Mark employs a different term than Matthew or Luke for the idea “lost its saltiness.” (Analon), which means “unsalted,” or “lacking salt.” In my first post, I discussed how Luke and Matthew should be literally translated, “become foolish” (morantha), since that is what the term means. It is employed to show the contrast to the Holy Spirit’s fruits of meekness, peace and love in Matthew 5.13. Luke 14.34-35, on the other hand, uses the term in context of counting the cost of discipleship, continually turning from foolishness.

Having “salt,” in the New Testament, means having a Godly goodness which reflects and comes from God. This goodness is expressed to other Christians as well as spiritual outsiders. Conversely, if someone or some action is unsalted, then it probably will be without goodness. If the person becomes foolish (morantha), then Godly goodness will be absent as well. Of course displaying wisdom is the good path and foolishness is harmful. Perhaps The Master defined “salt” when He said it was “good” in Mk. 9.50 and Lk. 14.34.

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