How does salt lose its saltiness?

Last week at prayer, Pastor John posed a question to us: How does salt lose its saltiness? The question leads to more questions. Is the reference literal or is it figurative? Coming from a scientific background, I logically thought this thing through.

The first question that must be addressed is this. What is the chemical composition of the salt? Is it table salt, NaCl? For the sake of this argument, we’ll assume that Jesus is speaking of table salt. When NaCl is combined with water, it is a mixture, not another compound. No discernible chemical reaction occurs. The salt particles enjoy the extra space of not being in crystal form, but the vast majority of the salt molecules don’t mingle with the water–ie share electrons.

The only way for salt to lose its saltiness, from a chemical perspective, is for a chemical reaction to occur. NaCl is a very stable substance. The chemical bond is very tight. You see, sodium and chlorine are happy to become one and share their one electron. Things work out really well for them…they are like the happily married couple that just loves to be married, not matter what hits the fan.

NaCl is used for many purposes. It is used to add flavor to food; it is used to draw out the water in foods; it is used to cure food for longevity; it is used to create traction on icy roads. (Calcium chloride is actually used for this purpose more, but if you don’t have any of that sitting around, you can use table salt to create traction on your front step on a snowy day.) I believe that salt was even used for antiseptic purposes.

So, for salt to lost is pungent saltiness, or change its physical composition, it would have to be diluted in water because it is non-reactive in its crystalline form. Or electricity would have to be introduce to force the sodium chloride into its ionic components thereby changing its chemcial composition.

So, for the Christian, for the salt of the earth, to lose his degree of saltiness, the Gospel would have to diluted in his life. This person is the complacent Christian, the person who does not protect the Truth of the gospel in his life from the rainfall of other ideas and ideologies–Buddhism, Islam, American culture. This person mixes the Truth with a myriad of other ideologies.

Or perhaps this Christian is a skeptic. You know, the hair splitting Christian. They say that they believe in Jesus, but they don’t really want their lives to be changed. “I know that the Bible says that premarital sex is not acceptable, but does that pertain to 2007?” “I know that the Bible says that I should not lie. Does that mean on my taxes too?” Skepticism is an electric shock to the Truth contained in the gospel. Instead of planting faith the size of a mustard seed, it creates doubt that is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Thereby I assert that the question that the Christian, the Christ follower must ask is not necessarily, “How does salt lose its saltiness?” Rather the question should be, “How then can I maintain my saltiness?”

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126 Responses to How does salt lose its saltiness?

  1. Deborah' Empathetic Ear says:

    Great concept.Steadfastness is key.
    To retain that salt we need the Word and action..
    I am so proud of you
    M

  2. salt says:

    and i was MEANT to read this.. as you can see i use “salt” as my nick, and your entry was written on my birthday..

    how great is our god!

  3. deneenwhite says:

    Happy way belated birthday.

    Glad that this entry was meant to be read by you.

    May God bless you abundantly.
    ~D

  4. Alice says:

    Hi Deneen,

    This is a sister in Christ far away over in Singapore. I would like to thank you for posting this revelation on your blog, as I was meditating on this “salt of the earth”, and the Lord lead me to read your blog. It was such a blessing, and I have an answer to your “how then can I maintain my saltiness?”. Of course, that’s my personal revelation too, and it doesn’t represent any other people’s opinions. :P

    I’ve split it into 2 seperate blogs, you’re welcome to read it if you’re interested.
    http://hisalice.multiply.com/journal/item/6
    http://hisalice.multiply.com/journal/item/7

    Stay blessed. :)

  5. deneenwhite says:

    Hi Alice,

    It certainly is a small world…we’re connected from across the world!

    I read your answers…great stuff.

    May God bless you and your work in Singapore!

    Blessings,
    Deneen

  6. jayesh says:

    Not to burst your bubble or seem rude, I think you’re slightly off here. To scientifically divulge into how salt might become unsalty (dilution) and then use that word to fabricate an application is a hermeneutical nightmare – you just can’t credibly do that.

    If you look at this passage in context, you find that it is located in Jesus’ sermon on the mount, and immediately after speaking about salt, He goes on to speak about light, and how we are to let our light shine by being good examples to other people. Jesus is talking about the same thing when He is speaking about salt.

    You hit the nail on the head when you said that salt is used to flavour food; likewise, as Christians, we are the ‘salt/seasoning/light’ of this world. Like salt, we have a small presence in this world yet are able to make a tremendous difference by the way we act. God uses even small people like us to execute His perfect and sovereign will and to bring His chosen into His kingdom.

    Finally, when Jesus talks about salt losing saltiness, He is using an example to demonstrate how important it is for us to ‘season the dish’ by being good examples and influences to other people. Nobody has ever heard of (solid) salt losing saltiness – it is preposterous. But that is why this example has such a good effect. If we, as Christians, are not good examples to the people of this world, then we are, according to Jesus, ‘no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.’

    It is not an easy passage, but it is one which should challenge us, and help us to strive to live more godly lives. God bless, and I hope this encourages and challenges you.

    • christine says:

      I was looking for a scientific basis for the concept of “salt losing it’s saltiness” and I agree that chemically it could only be done if it reacted with and bonded to another chemical. Diluting salt if it means “adding water” is how it’s made possible for the salt to be tasted and even traces of salt can often be tasted. So it’s obvious that Jesus did not wish us to “stay salty” by staying safe and dry even though that’s how we store salt away.
      I’m going to think upon this some more as I go about the dynamics of mixing with other people in the world. We are also told to “let our speech be seasoned”.

    • Bill says:

      (Nobody has ever heard of (solid) salt losing saltiness – it is preposterous.) Thank You. It’s the same thing as the Mustard Tree, there is no such thing. If Jesus describes something that can’t be don’t try to make it be. The meaning is in the fact that it can’t be.

      • Michael Schmidt says:

        I don’t know. Perhaps the salt of the day was a mixture of sodium chloride and some other salt, such as calcium carbonate, stored in an unglazed pottery jar. In humid weather the sodium chloride would readily deliquesce and seep into the pottery. What would be left is just the chalky calcium carbonate.

        I don’t think this is too farfetched. If you evaporate sea water, the first salt to crystallize out is calcium carbonate, not sodium chloride. If the salt preparers of the day were not careful, it would be easy to prepare a salt mixture that contained salts other than sodium chloride.

    • david says:

      Hopefully after 5 1/2 years after your reply you have realized that you were wrong. Salt and light illustrate 2 principles and not the same one. To say “nobody has ever hear of solid salt losing its savor- it is preposterous”, is wrong through and through. Read this quote from Henry Maundrell, an academic at Oxford University and a Church of England clergyman in the 1600’s, “I broke a piece of it, of which that part that was exposed to the rain, sun, and air, though it had the sparks and particles of salt, yet it had perfectly lost its savour. The inner part, which was connected to the rock, retained its savour, as I found by proof.”

  7. deneenwhite says:

    I appreciate your input. I understand the context of the scripture…it’s location in the overall scheme of the Bible. What I was talking about is personal application. It’s important to not only read the word but also to discern how to apply it to everyday life.

    Thanks for the comment!
    ~Deneen

  8. bookstoremom says:

    Thanks for the blog! I was just googling (?) “how does salt lose its saltiness?” and yours was the first! Great thoughts! As I was reading the blog and comments, it occurred to me that salt in small amounts is great! But if the salt stays in the shaker or stays in a big chunk, it is too much and ruins the food- or burns the mouth. You know? We are more effective when used with the world, not holed up in our “Christian-community”. This isn’t meant to be divisive at all, I just see a lot of people staying so tight within the “community” that they are ineffective- or even abrasive. That’s my 2 cents~ keep up the good work!

  9. deneenwhite says:

    I completely agree. I don’t believe that Jesus ever intended for His followers to stick together and not be infused into the world…God knows that when I am in a large group (clump) of christians I break out into a cold sweat…even though I am one…lol :)

    Thanks for your comment!

  10. Ed West says:

    Jesus precedes the salt and light passage with the power to become salt and light; it is His presence in us through a broken, mournful(repentant), meek, and hungering for all of God that will melt a cold heart like salt on ice and bring the hope of God’s light to a very dark world. All Praise to Jesus!!

  11. ron says:

    This is all very interesting. I would underscore the contextual use of salt and light as what believers are to “be” in the world.
    Concerning the salt, I understand the emphasis to be on flavor and not as much on preservation although that is certainly a purpose of such. It is also worth noting the value of salt in the time of Jesus’ teaching.
    I found the following exerpt from a devotional which gave interesting perspective as well…
    “But we have to take care that the salt that is in us doesn’t lose its flavor. The salt that people used two thousand years ago was not the chemical compound of sodium and chloride (NaCl) that we use today. Instead it was gathered from veins or layers found in the earth and mixed with impurities. If the salt was exposed to natural elements such as rain, sun and air for an extensive period of time, it lost its flavor. The flavorless salt was good for nothing else but to be thrown on the streets where it destroyed all fertility. So instead of being a preserving agent, the salt became a destructive agent.”
    http://www.christianchefs.org/newsletters/2004/09CITK.html
    Go… be “salt and light!”

    • Kathy K says:

      Thanks for the link. My woman’s group is studying Mark and we were discussing salt today. Love the link to Christianchefs.org.

  12. dingdonghw says:

    Thanks for sharing. I was study the sermon on the mount (Matthew Chapter 5) and was wondering whether The Lord Jesus Christ was talking about the preservation of seasoning properties of the salt.
    Can a salt lose its saltiness in solid form?

  13. Heath says:

    just in reply to Jayesh’s comment ; please explain salt loosing saltiness in context,
    jesus did not say light can loose its lightiness. so the question does not arise,
    was he wrong and limited in his understanding of the nature of salt?.

  14. Heath says:

    Just in case someone is wondering what my problem is?

    “Nobody has ever heard of (solid) salt losing saltiness – it is preposterous.”

    ” If the salt was exposed to natural elements such as rain, sun and air for an extensive period of time, it lost its flavor.” Hmmm ..

    There is an obvious contradiction. If the reasoning of the first statement were to be followed it would seem Jesus was making a hypothetical statement regarding an impossibility, one you could not be mistaken about; yet his other illustration one where a light is hidden(very much do able) hardly makes this plausible.
    The other one would insinuate that either he did not know about the nature of salt or He did know but was using the parable even though he knew he was sharing partial truth. That does not sound like one who would say “I am the truth”
    Resolution?

    • milton says:

      how about the suggestion from little girl in an SS class that as well adding flavor to our food , salt makes people thirsty as our live should: causing others to thirst for Jesus just a thought

    • Jim says:

      The problem is most of americans they only know about one salt in the UK the are different salts that are in different levels of saltiness, so obliviously salt can be weaken and that is what Christ was dealing with.

    • Debi says:

      if you put a bowl over a flame, it will quickly go out. so I’m not so sure it is very much doable.

      • Bill Pickersgill says:

        Debbie Christ is telling you that it can how hard is this , he said if it loses it ‘s saltiness how can it be made salty again it can’t !!! it’s talking about losing ypur salvation you can’t fall away to such a point from God’s way being holy pure etc! go back out into the world and then come back to following Christ , pure and simple

        Thank You
        Bill

  15. Jesica says:

    Hi!

    I know you posted this a long time ago, but I just wanted to thank you. I’m preparing to lead a study on The Sermon on The Mount right now, and Googled “salt losing saltiness” and found your site.

    From your observations, to those of your readers, it’s been a big help.

    I tend to think that Jesus was speaking of the type of salt found in region, since the land of Israel is so rich in salt…especially near the Dead Sea. That type of salt makes more sense to me, in context, because Jesus used examples of the land in so many of His teachings, and because that type of salt could lose it’s saltiness.

    Just my thoughts..but I’m no scientist! :)

    Thank you again for your blog. Sounds like you have a wonderful pastor! What a blessing!

    In Jesus,
    Jesica

  16. James says:

    Deneen,

    hi there. As Jessica mentioned, I know this was posted ages ago! But it is still helping peopel worldwide. I believe this is a wonderful application of this Scripture and the Words of Jesus.

    Yes, we mustn’t use things out of context, but I believe you’ve done a great job. Probably among the best I have come across in interpreting and applying this specific verse. I, like others, Googled the exact phrase of the title of this entry and this is what I came up with.

    I’m a pastor in South Africa, and am actually preparing to share on this very subject. And so this was very helpful. I don’t only use the internet to prepare for messages, of course! :-D DR Michael Eaton, DR RT Kendall etc. all provide incredible Biblically sound doctrine and Spirit led material. Just thought I’d throw those names in there for others who may need some extra influences!

    Well, thanks again Deneen. Fabulous job.

    Chow. From Durban, South Africa

  17. Pingback: Salt « NCCC Raw Bible Study

  18. Christian says:

    Ah, but don’t forget; salt not only has flavor but it enhances the flavor of foods. It does no good sitting forever in a box on a shelf in a cupboard, which describes how many people think of Church – apart from this world. For salt to fulfill it’s purpose it must be added to, mingled with and conjoined with other foods and spices. The Christian must not be afraid to get out and relate with non Christians. And unlike other spices, salt does not change the flavor of the food, it enhances it. That being said, too much can ruin the recipe.

  19. deneenwhite says:

    Christian, it’s funny that you made this comment today. I am writing a blog about how the church has to get out and be among people rather than occupying itself in the four walls…

  20. Bob says:

    Came upon your site really late, but thought I’d share a simple thought.

    “How does salt lose it’s saltiness?”

    It would have, to stop being salt.

    God Bless and good luck with your new blog!
    Looking forward to it.

  21. Edmond Scott says:

    You’re correct, dead sea salt is sodium chloride. But it does lose its saltiness.

    Pliney the Elder said. “Rome does not like to get salt from the Dead Sea as over time it becomes tasteless.

    Chemists have told me that Dead Sea salt loses its flavor, due mainly to the presence of bromines,
    magnesium, and boron in the water.

    And in Jesus’ time if people wanted to get salt that would be salty indefinitely, they went to sources in Gaza, and Northern Palestine (on the Eastern border of Syria).

  22. Edmond Scott says:

    I forgot something! Salt in the Dead Sea also contains gypsum, along with bromines (bromides?), boron, and magnesium.
    Always give the benefit of the doubt to Jesus.

    Again, as always, Jesus was right in saying salt can lose its saltiness.

  23. Denise Dempster says:

    Our pastor talked today about salt losing its saltiness. My husband and I were discussing this on the way home. I jokingly said I would “google” this subject in order to learn more about salt. Your blog came up. Nothing surprises me anymore. We had come to the conclusion that salt could lose its saltiness if it is diluted so much that it no longer had any impact and lost its ability to flavor its surroundings. Likewise, many Christians become so much like the rest of the world that it is difficult to distinguish them from unbelievers. As a Christian, our sole (soul) purpose in life is to reflect the life of Christ but if we fail to do this, we are of no use in the Kingdom of God. So this would go along with the light being hidden as well.

    i enjoyed reading the comments as well. Thanks for your blog.

  24. Rommel says:

    I agree with denise..Jesus may not be talking of the common tablesalt (NaCl) here but the other kind of salt commonly found in that place which was that coming from the dead sea. It is the one that loses its saltiness.
    The clue to understand more about this passage lies in the cross-referrences of Mat5:13 which is mark 9:50 and luke 14:34-35, particularly that of luke.
    He mentions there one of the common use of the dead sea salt or even any other kind of salt. Aside from being used as food seasoning, preservation and many others, salt can also use to kill some kinds of harmful micro organisms thriving in manures or the soil-common grounds for bacterias. By that, the manure becomes a good fertilizer for the soil that makes the plants planted on it grow healthy.
    Here’s the application. Using these two uses of salt, the Lord wants us, as Christ’ followers to be become
    1. an agent of growth (spiritual)to our fellow believers, and
    2. become an agent that eliminates the bad influences from the most “dirtiest” community that we can be into. That when we are there in their midst, gossiping cease, slanders againts anybody stops..or sin never prevails because there is a christian with a good testimony that shines in that world of filth or darkness.
    And so the Lord mentions after that the light which has the same interpretation and application.
    Knowing what kind of salt the Lord uses to explain this is important, yes, but understanding the essence of this teaching, I believe is more rewarding.

  25. E! says:

    Hey this has been great to read. I’m preparing a Conference program for children and was just looking at Salt and Light and I wondered how salt lost it’s saltiness.

    Thanks to everyone for all their input it is greatly valued and helped me in many things.

    One thought I’ve had so far is adding on to the fact that salt enhances…so I’m translating that for the children to salt encourages and brings out the purposes that God has in a person.

    Thanks again.

  26. deneenwhite says:

    Erin,

    I am glad that you enjoyed reading the give and take about salt. It amazes me that people continue to come to this post and comment :)

    I pray for God’s blessings at your conference!
    ~D

  27. Thomas says:

    Thank you for explaining this to me, I had been wondering about this for a while.
    I have just one question. If a Christian loses his/her ‘saltiness’ i.e. through doubt, or through personal (corrupt) interpretations of scripture; can he/she ever regain their saltiness?

    Thank you again, this was a very interesting read!

    • deneenwhite says:

      That’s a great question. I think that a Christian can regain saltiness. What I’ve personally found is that the trials that I go through–doubt, unbelief, trouble with other people of faith, challenges by those who do not have faith–actually increase what I like to think of as my saltiness. That’s just my two cents, though :)

      Thanks for reading!
      ~D

      • Sarah says:

        Also, when salt is diluted by the sea, if it is set in the “sun”, the sun will dry up the liquid and reform into sea salt. :0) That is, in the presence of Jesus Christ, the Son, we can return to that pure form of salt. God is so AWESOME!! :0) Have a blessed day!
        -Sarah

      • William Pickersgill says:

        I don’t understand how no one understand’s that Christ is saying it can lose it’s saltiness and he goes on to say it’s good for nothing it’s spiritual and about eternal security you can lose your salvation if you fall away to a certain point like it say’s in Hebrews

  28. Pingback: Salt Of The Earth « Thom Cole’s Blog

  29. GLenn Newell says:

    A very excellent thought and expressed very well. As a Church elder I feel that more people need to understand the true meaning of the parables of Jesus. I know this example is not often considered a parable since no story is told but it is Jesus was using an earthly comparison to express a heavenly meaning. He wanted His followers to understand something and we need to understand what he meant.

  30. Jim says:

    You guys are weird. You are into the Christian = Salt and losing it and all that. Jeeze. When Jesus said it everybody went ‘Oh yea man.” They knew EXACTLY what he meant. Relatively pure sodium chloride was used for foods. Calcium chloride and potassium chloride were other salts but were bitter-not salty. You would not use these for seasoning food. They could not visually detect the difference. Only by tasting could you tell the diff. It pretty much looked the same. So when you got a batch of salt that had too much of the other salts you said the salt lost its saltiness. Salt was VERY valuable. So to have to toss it out on the dirty road was like real sadness, cost, a shame, and disappointment. It really meant useless. It is not about people being trampled by God, or thrown out. It was something people ran into all the time and could identify with. Like sour milk, a bitter tomato. Looks normal but tastes bad. Throw it out. Yes. We all get diluted by unsalt. We gotta guard against it. I am preparing a demo for a men’s group where I will have them taste look a like salts but they will quickly detect which is the good stuff and which is not. One you want to taste, the other puke out. It is a pretty sensual thing Jesus was talking about. There was no doubt what he meant.

  31. Jesus Freak says:

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I really dont care about the salt stuff I am just so happy you belive in Christ

  32. Marc says:

    I think many of you completely missed the point of this gospel passage. To introduce science into the argument only helps to increase the validity of Christ’s claim regarding salt, but one must understand science to even use it in comparison to what is being put forth in the Gospel. In order for salt to lose its flavor, the chemical compound must change; thereby it no longer can be classified as salt. The point that Jesus is making in his sermon on the mount is that it is impossible for salt to lose its flavor. Salt was an extremely valuable substance in the ancient world. It was used to pay the roman solders; hence the word salary derives from this historic fact. It was used to both season and preserve meats. So basically what Jesus is saying is that man never loses his appeal to an all loving God and is never seen as useless or unworthy of his love. That is the point that Jesus is making here, that God loves us so very much, that no matter what we do, we cannot lose his favor, thus salt does not lose its flavor, if it does, it is no longer salt.

  33. Brian says:

    34 “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Luke 14:34-35 NKJV)

    I have read this verse in context and believe they are talking about Sea Salt and not Table Salt. This is from a scientific standpoint. Why would table salt be used for the dunghill? I honestly believe its just a parable and not meant to be scientifically accurate just more of an explanitory value like that posted by Marc Above.

  34. Steve says:

    What a great discussion; I also came across this message while writing a sermon/searching the topic on google.

    Two thoughts come to mind as I read this

    1) In this story Jesus is speaking to people in His own context, and the words need to be understood as such. When pre-scientific Palestine hears the words ‘you are the salt of the earth’, they would never understand it as ‘you are NaCl/pure salt (which we know today cannot lose its saltiness’, but would understand salt as they knew it, coming in an impure form the Dead Sea. There’s historical and scientific evidence that Dead Sea salt does lose its flavour (as Edmund Scott wrote about above). Taking the parable to talk about table salt would skew the metaphor.

    2) When salt loses its saltiness (because of bromines/magnesium in the water), it not only ceases to provide flavour but is actually harmful. John Calvin says when salt’s thrown onto the ground, it destroys plant life and makes soil unable to grow anything. I think there’s a great message in this–Christ calls us to be salt of the earth (add flavour to the world, preserve the good things in this creation, heal wounds of sin and sickness)–if we are hypocritical, serving our own interests and sinful nature, our ‘saltiness’ becomes bitter and actually destroys life.

  35. Joel says:

    I was just reading the sermon on the mount and wondered this. Great answer and solution. I read on wiki answers that some forms of salt can lose their “saltiness” they are shown to be less pure like salt from evaporated salt water and rock salt.

  36. Dan Hopkins says:

    I am the author of several books on the Buddhist sources to Christianity.

    I am always amazed at the Christians who Jesus’ words which word lifted from Buddhist texts, to speak against Buddhism.

    To be sure, as with all gospel themes, the salt losing it’s flavor it without question Buddhist. In the earliest Pali Buddhist accounts we read how a cube of salt in a cup of water is hard to swallow, but that same cube in the Ganges river is not detectable to the taste. Further use of this kind is found in the Mahaparanibbana sutta. But the Jesus authors lifted the salt from the Sanskrit Nirvana sutra, where at least we get a longer explination as to its meaning.

    • Ben says:

      “In the earliest Pali Buddhist accounts we read how a cube of salt in a cup of water is hard to swallow, but that same cube in the Ganges river is not detectable to the taste.”

      How exactly do you account for the “saltiness” being considered a good thing in this text, and a bad thing in yours?

      Is it not possible that an understanding of salt and it’s “saltiness” was not simply a cultural idea that the Israelites grew up with- considering that they used it quite often to preserve their meat, add flavour to their food, etc?

      I saw a reference to salt in a commercial once. Was that lifted from the Sanskrit Nirvana sutra too?

      You can not simply assume that since the texts both refer to salt, that one was taken from the other.

  37. Eduardo says:

    I also would like to comment that besides loving this explanation, for a Hebrew to hear that, the meaning was so much more enhanced by the fact that their offerings were to be sprinkled with salt as explained in Leviticus 2:13 and Numbers 18:19 (among other passages.) There was something holy and valuable about salt and we must strive to be holy and peculiar, and to be valuable like another person made the comment. It is funny how someone said you missed the point. There is no point missed. You made a comment on one aspect of what Jesus was saying here but as always, the richness of his speech is to appreciated because like you said, the Spirit talks to us as we read His words and each one will learn a lot from the same words differently, according to his or her background and level of faith. I loved you comment. Thanks for posting.

    • deneenwhite says:

      Thank you Eduardo! I appreciate your comment and that you read this blog.

      Blessings,
      ~D

    • JRB says:

      We must be careful not to give the idea that scripture changes meaning from person to person. God’s word is truth. God’s Spirit is the Spirit of truth. Truth is consistent. This is why we can cross-reference scriptures to learn more about a topic. Of course, it is even possible to match unrelated scriptures, so caution is advised here, too. We in the Church are merely trying to discover truth – not manufacture or modify it. There are many translations of the Bible today, but the greatest concern of the translators should be to get as close to what was written on the original manuscripts [called autographs] as possible because this is what God actually said. In the same way, we who study and meditate upon the word must try to unearth the true meaning. Content, context and [cultural] climate is a simple outline for doing this. I’ve seen bits of each of these in the posts here. Once the meaning is determined, then we can look into what variety of applications are possible. By the way, my pastor is preaching on the Sermon on the Mount currently, and this is why I began to search for the “Can salt lose its saltiness/savor/flavor?” question. I have to say this discussion has challenged my thinking. But I am still convinced that Jesus was only talking about salt’s flavor since “savor” just means “flavor”. I’ve heard sermons that tried to squeeze every quality or use of salt out of this passage and very good points were made, but wouldn’t it be better to use passages that actually address those points rather that read into this one something that just isn’t there? The spiritual application I take away from this word “flavor” is “attractiveness”. Some have already mentioned our actions and example. I’d like to throw in the word “character”. This is what makes a Christian attractive to those around him, i.e. humilty, love, wisdom, truthfulness, loyalty, patience, kindness, compassion, availability, etc., etc. When God said, “O taste and see that the LORD is good…” (Ps. 34:8), He meant we would be attracted to His character. And in another place He uses the metaphor of honey in the honey comb for His word and the experience of meditating on it. His word helps us receive and express His character because as we “chew” upon it, the character of His Spirit within us [Christians] is released.

      • Andrew says:

        JRB, I’ll agree with you that Scripture does not change its meaning from person to person. I think Eduardo was making a different point. Scripture is so deep and vast that the parts which resonate with our hearts may differ because of our different situations. A command to “Trust God’s timing” may encourage a frantic person to relax and a lazy person to get up off the couch… was it then a contradictory message? No, but the context of each person’s life when they hear God’s call is different.

  38. Obinna says:

    wow..this is an eye opener… i came online and googled “how can salt loose its saltiness”.. having no clue really and got to the end of this blog with a well of information on the subject…. may GOD bless all of you who have left messages on here, its been really helpful…

    I also want to add that, jesus is.. “i am” and dat means dat his words dont get primitive in application… theres no searching of his understanding o his infinite wisdom… whether u consider nacl or cacl or kcl, it doesnt matter… his word is life and the holy spirit unveils an understanding of GOD’s word according to our need… or according to where we are at a particular time….

    Our Go reigns… He is risen…. He is… He is all and in all….

  39. Hi, I hail from Brazil.
    You say skepticism is bad for a Christian, and exemplify skepticism as regarding sexual mores. Yet you claim to be from a science background, and your post has plenty of scientific data. We all know science thrives on skepticism. The scientific method is investigative and demands that all hypotheses be based on naturalistic assumptions. Peer review is an additional layer of skepticism to keep a scientists moral integrity in check. In fact, there can be no such thing as the natural sciences without skepticism. How do you perceive the role of scientific skepticism in the life of a Christian? Can a Christian be a scientist without losing his/her “saltiness” while remaining true to the scientific endeavour? Do scientific discoveries affect your theological views? Should a skeptically motivated naturalistic view of the cosmos influence theology? To what extent? How does this interact with the concept of Christian “saltiness”? Can Christian scientists lose their “flavor”? Are you into creationism?
    Thank you for your attention,
    Alex

    • Ben says:

      Hello person from about a year ago,

      I feel the writer misused the word ‘skepticism’ in this context. The way ‘skepticism’ was used here, would probably have been better translated as Christian nominalism, or Christian hypocrisy. There was no application in this verse about not having doubts.

      Doubts like, “Is what I’m reading here actually true?” are perfectly legitimate. I’d say they should be encouraged. Assuming the Bible is accurate doubts like, “Does Jesus really know what is best for me in this situation?” are not. Deciding that your God doesn’t know what’s best in a situation, really is an indication that that God isn’t really your Lord.

      Also, I thought I better mention this. Science is not by necessity naturalistic. In fact, skepticism would not assume the cosmos to be naturalistic at all.

      The statement, “The scientific method is investigative and demands that all hypotheses be based on naturalistic assumptions” is false, because the assumptions are not meant to have the restriction that they must be naturalistic. This would be unreasonably unscientific, to disregard explanations simply because they do not fit within the worldview of naturalism.

      A similar example would be the rejection of quantum physics last century. A mistake which many physicists made was to assume that realism was true (which was perhaps intuitive, but funnily enough not actually accurate).

      So to answer your question,
      “Should a skeptically motivated naturalistic view of the cosmos influence theology?”

      It shouldn’t. Often I run into Christians who believe in God personally, but when talking about science quickly move into the ‘real’ world, where we ignore such silly ideas. This in itself is a little absurd. As I have just said, true science will not necessarily be naturalistic. I’m sure you realize that the universe that is governed by our physical laws, is the same universe that God occupies. Nothing about science requires God to be non-existent. There is no reason to make some kind of distinction between the world of our religion and the world of our scientific ideas.

      Skepticism is a welcome idea, but I would warn you to be skeptical within reason. I find that people will readily put their faith in the most absurd ideas when they are labelled as science, but will try to believe the most radical alternatives possible before allowing the possibility of the existence of God.

  40. Leslie Lamb says:

    Because Salt Preserves, the only reason GOD has protected America for so long is because a strong remnant of His Children are still here praying and doing Mission work. His Children are the Salt that is preserving America from total decay. Jesus is So Sweet. Thank you Almighty GOD.

  41. Greg says:

    Thanks for your thoughts. Just a side note, beyond it’s “traction” properties on icy surfaces salt is useful because it lowers the freezing point of water. This helps slippery sidewalks to melt quickly because they’ll become liquid even when a little under 32 deg. F. (You also don’t have to clean it up. )

  42. Pingback: (Mark 8 & 9) Jesus continues to teach and perform miracles « Biblein365days Blog

  43. Kay says:

    Regarding “how can salt be made salty again” the Holy Spirit instructed me to read the previous verse at Mark 9:49: “For everyone will be tested with fire.” Further study showed that the Greek version says everyone will be “salted with fire”. Some manuscripts have added Leviticus 2:13 “Every sacrifice offering of yours shall be salted with salt.” In Revelation 3:10 Christ warns that there willl be a “great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.” Surely this is where we are now. Make sure you are one of those who washed their robes and are ready for his return! See Revelation 7:14. That’s what Jesus was also referring to when he humbly and gently washed the disciple’s feet and asked us to do it for each other. We can’t help but pick up filth in this world in our Christian walk and we need to let God “sanctify us” (make us holy) with His Word, His truth (John 17:17, Ephesians 5:26). We need to be aware of the times and be a holy people, for without holiness, we won’t see God. These revelations changed my life dramatically and opened my eyes to the multitude of scripture that supports it. There’s nothing like the truth to set you free!

    • JRB says:

      On the reference to Jesus washing the disciples feet (John 13:3-17)and asking (or was that a command? vs 15) them to wash each others’ feet, it is interesting to look at Jesus’ dialogue with Peter. Peter first refused to let Jesus wash his feet, then wanted to be washed all over basically when Jesus said if he refused, Peter would have no part with Him. Jesus then told Peter anyone who had been washed [all over] only needed his feet washed. Jesus said they [His disciples] were not all washed [all over] referring to Judas Iscariot. I see in this both an analogy for conversion, i.e the new birth, [being washed all over] which is never repeated and Christian discipline [washing each others' feet] which should happen as needed. See Matthew 18:15-17

  44. lukebrugger says:

    Thanks for the insight. Good stuff.

    http://www.LukeBrugger.com

  45. S Crawford says:

    Thank you lord for your continued pouring of wisdom, great info thank you. all glory to god

  46. Steve says:

    I really enjoyed reading all these posts!

    This passage often tripped me up especially when I have backslidden and felt useless for God – I thought I had become useless and in effect, had. I felt hopeless because He says the salt cannot become salty again. However, Jesus made the statement – you ARE the salt of the earth. That is redemptive. If the salt from the dead sea had impurities in it, like I’ve read about in these posts, then it only makes sense – we are saints who are still in this fleshly body. We are redeemed sinners. We are salt that has impurities with it. We can still choose to sin or to live for Christ. We need to put on Christ every day. When we live for the flesh, the world, etc, it is as if we are telling Christ to “take a back seat for a while, while I enjoy this sin for a season.” Our salt, our influence in the world then is hidden because we are in the flesh, enjoying our sin for a season. We are having no effect on the world. BUT! We are still salt. The real salt was leached out of that situation and what was left was our carnal (impure) selves which is ineffective and people trod over us because of our hypocricy. However, the real salt, Christ in us, is still there (Remember, we left him in the backseat?!), it was just leached away by the current of sin in our lives, leaving the impurities behind, which was our hypocrisy, sin. So, can we, or how do we become salty again? Well, the salt needs to be “dried out” again. Repentance is the drying out process. We get rid of the impurities through repentance. We return to our true selves – salt, pure salt. We return to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls and He makes us fit again, salty again. Thank you Jesus for the millions of second chances you give us. Your mercies never fail. The truth sets free!!

    God bless you – get salty again! Like an addict that needs a dry time, that’s what we need when we’ve been addicted to sin – God sends us dry times to allow the salt to become salty again!!!! Thank God for the hard times in your life. Thank God for the dessert times. He is restoring your soul! Trust Him. He loves you. His “harshness” is actually His kindness, His mercies toward you, his chastening is his infinite love for you. You are his child, and what child is there that does not need chastening. At the time, it is not pleasant (remember getting spanked as a child?!), but in the end it works the peaceable fruit of righteousness. God wants to heal and restore us to saltiness, effective use for His kingdom. Let him, dry out, get sober!

  47. Bible critics often claim that the Holy Scriptures say something they do not. Any of us can be guilty of inserting our culture into the Bible. For instance, when Jesus said “if the salt has lost its flavor…” (Matthew 5:13), it is wrong to mistake that as sodium chloride. That’s our language. What Jesus meant by salt was not sodium chloride, but a substance that usually came from the Dead Sea that contained some of what we call salt but also contained white gypsum. That “salt” could lose its saltiness, because the gypsum content became too high as the other leached out. What we call “salt” cannot lose its saltiness. Salt has a different meaning today. We cannot retrofit today’s meaning as some have done trying to claim that Jesus didn’t know what he was talking about.

  48. Susan says:

    The search for an answer to the saltiness question was great up until this point.

    “So, for the Christian, for the salt of the earth, to lose his degree of saltiness, the Gospel would have to diluted in his life. This person is the complacent Christian,…”

    The next part of the interpretation is troubling.

    “…the person who does not protect the Truth of the gospel in his life from the rainfall of other ideas and ideologies–Buddhism, Islam, American culture. This person mixes the Truth with a myriad of other ideologies.”

    Several verses down from the “salt and light” portion of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples that he is not doing away with the law. The Pharisees are accusing Jesus of teaching heresy. Jesus is saying that the poor in spirit, the meek, the pure in heart, are godly. The attitude of the day was that if you were sick or poor that it was a result of sin. It was your own fault you were in that condition, and if you did not have an acceptable sacrifice for the priests you could not be forgiven. To be forgiven you had to say the right prayers at the right time, have the correct sacrifice and be in good with the priests. The people had Roman soldiers taking their crops, killing their firstborn sons, and taxing them, unlike the scribes and Pharisees who lived in the Temple.

    Jesus was trying to convince his followers to act within the spirit of the law, and that if they thought they knew the prescription for getting to heaven like the Pharisees they were wrong.

    All good things come from God. So if there are good things in other teachings, then they must be from God. That’s what discernment is for. The Truth is not capable of being diluted, but people are capable of being deluded. We must remain spiritually “salty” and recognize the Light where we see it.

  49. Lew says:

    Wow! I’m amazed by what a long run this blog discussion on “salt losing its saltiness” has had. I personally found your initial reflection and all the subsequent comments very enriching and thought provoking… Most has been said, but I want to contribute by expressing some my own thoughts. I’ll start by quoting Reginald H. Fuller since I found his writing very enlightening on the overall meaning of this particular part of the Gospel. He wrote:

    “The Sermon on the Mount does not say that the disciples are to become the salt, that they are to become like a city on a hill or make themselves a light amid the darkness of the world. They are all those things, and that because Jesus has called them and they have responded. Rather, they are expected to manifest what they are: “Let your light so shine before men.”

    How is this done? By good works. Our text (Matthew 5:13-16) does not specify what these good works are. It is more concerned to insist that good works are not the meritorious deeds of the disciples themselves, for the world that sees them does not praise the disciples for them, but the heavenly Father. The good works of the disciples point away from themselves to the grace of God through which they were wrought.”

    The nature of those “good deeds”/witness can be found in the “Beatitudes” of the Sermon on the Mount; they can be found in all the prophets of the O.T. For example, see Isaiah 58:7-10, when he says that temple fasts, sacrifices and prayers are meaningless to the Lord if we do not feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the oppressed and the homeless, care for the afflicted; if we do not remove from our midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech! Because, right relationship with God is intimately connected to right relationship with our fellow human beings (the one law of love). The same thought is found in Jesus’ parable on the sheep and the goats.

    But, our faith (as St. Paul says in 1 Cor 2:1-5) is not built on human wisdom or strength, but rather on the power of God’s Grace. The same can be said of whatever “good deeds” we perform in faith. Whatever we are able to say or do ultimately relies on the power of God’s Spirit acting in us. So, we cannot take pride in it; rather, we must, like Jesus, always place all we do and teach at the service of the Glory of God the Father.

    Also, as you said above, a true disciple of Christ must not simply bask in God’s Grace and enjoy it like some private little gift for his or her own selfish benefit. Neither, as you alluded, can it be something that is simply nurtured and protected in the safe “greenhouse” environment of our Christian community… Rather, a disciple of Christ must iluminate and give flavor to the world without being of the world by giving testimony to God’s glory through his or her good deeds in the world. Otherwise the very purpose for our existence, the reason we have been called and given this tremendous gift of Grace would be totally frustrated and, therefore, useless to God and to man… Our call is to manifest who we already are by God’s Grace: salt, light, a city on a hill. That way, others may come to know, love, praise and serve our awesome God.

    God bless you,

    Lew

  50. Jen Poet says:

    Preserve my Saltiness (The poem)
    Is Your voice calm?
    Is it the still small voice?
    Is Your voice raging?
    Is it like a roaring storm?

    The cares of this world,
    the ever increasing want-list
    made me sweat
    for fear of being left behind

    I forgot how to follow
    the lead of the Spirit.
    With each sunrise and sunset,
    I was drawn to wasting away.

    I cried out for help
    and my friend led me to the light
    And by the chasteness of Your word
    I learnt to light the lamp for others

    Preserve my saltiness Lord,
    Let me wear the aroma of God’s -flavors
    on my head like a crown,
    and wrap it around my being without blemish.

    As deep calls unto deep
    I kneel before your throne,
    and receive the mandate to promulgate
    the promises of your Holy Word.

    (c) Jennifer Ehidiamen

  51. Jed says:

    Salt also loses it’s composition if sitting in the sun or next to heat too long. Another important concept is that when it loses it’s saltiness its not even good enough to throw on the dung pile… BECAUSE it is a crystal and can pick up the dung particles and carry disease when the wind blows and people breathe it in.
    There’s nothing more dangerous than a believer playing “make” believer and leading others astray with false teachings.

  52. Michael says:

    Just wanted to confirm, like several others before me, that Google continues to throw readers your way on this topic. Hope that’s encouraging to you, now several years after you wrote this blog entry and spawned the useful discussion that has followed. It helps that your heading matches the question many would ask after reading Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:13 (such as when preparing a study on the topic, like a number of others noted). Thanks to all who have weighed in on the subject.

    • deneenwhite says:

      Thank you Michael…for reading and for your encouragement. It honestly blows my mind that this post has been commented on so consistently for so long…that must mean that it’s a God thing, not a me thing.

  53. Adam says:

    Thanks for posting your thoughts, God started talking to me about this last night. I feel as though salt losing it’s essence and the covering of a lamp are similar. I think that being “salty” is letting your “light shine”. So the questions that come up are “how are we quenching the spirit in our lives?” or “how are we concealing the light of Jesus in our lives?” I’m sure there are more questions to ask about this. But I believe that sin corrupts our character. Sin could be what “covers the lamp”. Or dilutes the salt.
    Paul seems to go back and forth about the idea of sin, grace increases when we sin because God is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness. But he also says that we shouldn’t sin. So what if Sin really did hold us back from the fullness of our destiny?

  54. Sarah says:

    This is so AWESOME!! I decided to start studying the parables of Jesus Christ in Matthew. The first one is “Salt and Light”. Who knew there was so much to know about salt!! I would like to add something to your post. The idea of mixture. Mixture dilutes the flavor of salt. So lets use water as an example. If you use enough water you can not taste the salt at all. So what is mixture in my life. When I speak God’s word from my mouth and then behind closed doors I say mean things to my husband or I gossip or speak negitively about even myself. Whatever comes out of my mouth that is against God’s word is “mixture”. Therefore diluting the power of God in my life and causing me to lose my “flavor”. How I behave in church vs. how I behave at work. How I say I spend my time vs how I really spend my time. Do I devote as much time to God’s word as I do to getting ready for church. These are all “mixture” in my life! Anyway, I thought you hit the nail right on the head! Thank you for this post! Who knew an individual could get this excited about salt!!! LOL! Have a blessed day!
    -Sarah H.

  55. Seb says:

    This is a pretty good analogy with “Table Salt”, but I’m not too sure if they did use table salt in the days of Jesus. Maybe in context, they used the salt from the dead sea, which may have a more complicated chemical composition.

  56. Joy says:

    I was just reading the Bible, checking a lot of scripture out about salt (started in Leviticus 2 actually) and came to this exact question: How DOES salt lose its saltiness?? I really like your literal and metaphorical stance-thanks! God bless.

  57. Ben says:

    Not great exegesis, but you still got to a reasonable application. I don’t see how it possibly could make sense to try use the chemical composition and properties of salt to interpret what this verse means; considering that Jesus said this to his disciples over 2000 years ago, who wouldn’t have had a concept of what the word ‘molecule’ was supposed to mean.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to consider that in their context, his disciples would have understood salt to just be something that could be used as a preservative for their food, etc, rather than something with a tight chemical bond?

    Sorry to complain, but It surprises me a little how often Christians read the Bible as if it wasn’t written in a specific context at a specific time. We need to be extra careful with the way we interpret our text, making sure that we understand exactly what Jesus meant, to the people he said it to, at the time that he said it; otherwise we have a real danger of drawing whatever conclusions we feel fit with the way we’re living at the moment.

    • deneenwhite says:

      It wasn’t meant to be ‘great exegesis.’ I do agree however, that I should have taken into account that salt was used as a preservative…not in the context that I used.

    • JRB says:

      But Ben, in neither the content nor the context was the concept of salt as a preservstive mentioned. Flavor is the point. The cultural climate could shed light on how salt might lose its “savior” as some have already attempted to address.

  58. DJM says:

    Thank you for this insightful article. It really answers the question the title poses.
    Btw, what does the blog title mean?

  59. TrueFlight says:

    I tend to believe the Bible more literal and less allegorical.
    I believe if God says we can lose our savor, Then I want to know how so I can avoid that trap.
    I think the definition of savor/tasteless will shed a little light on this discussion.
    From Strong’s Concordance.
    to be foolish, to act foolishly
    to make foolish
    to prove a person or a thing foolish
    to make flat and tasteless
    of salt that has lost its strength and flavour

    Diluting the salt fits with this passage. Diluting the Word comes to mind for me.

  60. Olatunde says:

    Waoh! this is smply awesome. A blog written as far back as 2007 still impacting men? The Lord bless you and all who have contributed and will still do. I just came (like some others) to google and here i am. I pray God will continue to grant us insight into His Word. I agree that Jesus was speaking in context to His disciples at that time but does it mean the same Word does not apply to us now? Yes i believe it does for this Jesus is the same Yesterday, Today and Forever. Once again, i appreciate you and look forward to reading more from you. God bless you.

  61. Mike L. says:

    Why, is there all this argument? Does the same passage have to mean the same thing to everybody? Do you not trust your G-d to meet you at your understanding? When my father spoke to me as a child he said much of what he says today “I love you”, “don’t drink too much” (and I don’t), ect. but the meanings have become much more complex. For example with this text, The author spread his enlightenment based on his understanding of dilution, another with purity, yet myself (and sorry I didn’t read all of the replies if this were to say this earlier) I think of how clumps of salt are not as salty as finely spread salt (more surface area). I think about how I prefer my salt to be course in storage (so as to protect the inner salts from the elements and contamination) and then I grind it very finely when I go to use it.

    I’ve been up for a long time and can’t think of a good enlightenment based on “koshering” salt. Could someone step up to the plate for this? Koshering salt is basically the “ideal” crystal size to be spread across meat in order to draw out the un-kosher blood. The salt is then wiped off leaving the clean meat while the unclean salt is thrown out (as in out of the house completely because it’s not even good enough for the garbage – it’s as LEAVEN especially at Passover).

    Hope this helps.
    -Michael

  62. Bryan says:

    Actually, if you put salt (NaCl) into water, it will dissociate. That is, the Oxygen molecules will surround the Na and pull it loose, and the Hydrogen will surround the Chloride and pull it loose. Water has a partial polarity. It basically has a partial positive on the H and a partial negative on the O. Thus, NaCl is fully soluble in water (up to 359 g/L). So, scientifically you can lose your saltiness.

  63. Joshua says:

    After reading these post I am thankful to all who have posted and even more thankful for the gracious blog host and her comments. In algebra we use equations to encapsulate a truth that can be applied over a series of unrelated functions. Jesus’ parables and analogies likewise hold truths that can be applied across time, space and our unrelated lives & situations. The truth of the scriptures cannot be understood simply by our analysis devoid of “our life context”. No more than music can be understood if it were never experienced. It is helpful and necessary to grasp the author’s original context to understand the breath, width of the intended purpose. However the beauty of these words is in their meaning. They come down through translation, lost context and still carry a meaning that even children can grasp.

    If you are this valuable, flavorful, strong compound (salt) you are intended to be put to good use. If you were made to shine like the noon day to illuminate the truth of God’s word then do not squander your gift.

    Too often we are tempted to fill our hearts with imitations of fulfillment. We are tempted to find our usefulness in analyzing the equations critically and finding joy in pointing out each others flaws*. Jesus warns us to examine ourselves before we look at each other. Truth is not something we can measure and weigh like a natural object so that we may have an advantage over another; but it is alive, yes living. As Christians we see truth in the person of Jesus and we can acknowledge the truth found in other cultures**, but with recognition that any and every good thing comes from our heavenly father.

    This group of parables was given to Jesus’ disciples in the broad sense of the term ‘disciple’. This is who you are Jesus proclaims… Matthew 5:13

    **God is able to be known and desires to know us individually… He has purposed our lives to be as glorious as a city on a hill shining for all the world to see. We need to concern ourselves with what we are, we are called “Salt and Light” by God’s choosing. Not by what we have brought to God, but by his word that is already inside us*. He put the seed of yearning in our hearts; a taste for the transcendent in our mouths. So He tells us who we are and if that is who we are, then we are to shine. We are to use our lives for a good and satisfying purpose, to bring God glory.

    The emphasis in this parables equation is not “what we aren’t”, but “what we are”. To understand a part of the equation and miss the point is the worst kind of error. (∞ – x)=∞ If God has set my life up to shine so bright than who am I to try to cover this great light with a tiny basket of my insecurities and failures? What are my failures in light of God’s brilliance? What can I take away from His glory with my shame? So let me add my short comings, fears and failures to God and watch as he multiplies good deeds after, good deeds. I’ve heard it said “God does much with very little and even more with nothing. God’s mathematics are amazing!”

    See we find in the parable of the Good Samaritan a man with the wrong theology and the right solution; because he was connected to the heart of Jesus. That parable opens our eyes to see beyond or skepticism, critical attitude, and our lofty religious pious and see the truth living. To see the love and compassion that seeps from every pore of the Fathers being demonstrated through our vessels. **God has a personality, character and will… The Christian faith acknowledges the distance between us and God, but insists that God is not just concerned about being acknowledged as God… but known. Known, closer than brother, more intimate then a lover and more personal than a friend. This discussion is based on that kind of relationship and cannot be seen through any other lenses clearly. You cannot chose to live by Matthew 5 with out being connected to the one who choose you to live this out.

  64. Nicholas says:

    Great revelation am going through the passage and i wondered how salt can lose taste but am blessed.i now know what should bother me most is how to maintain the taste than 2 lose.God bless you. Nicholas.Kenya.

  65. Rene Reid says:

    Yes, salt can actually lose its saltiness. When I was a child, I heard adults talk about their salt losing flavor, but I never saw it for myself. I’m in my fifties, and I can now say that I’ve finally seen it. Once salt loses its saltiness, it doesn’t matter how much one salts, it flavors very little. My mom salt lost its saltiness, and I had to tell her to throw it out and purchase new salt because, by golly, she wasn’t going to toss it. I’ve never seen this phenomena before or after, but this I do know from experience: salt CAN lose its saltiness. As far as I know, my mother’s salt did not get wet. It never got clumpy which is what I would expect if it were wet. Why did it lose its saltiness? I don’t know. It was a name brand salt, Morton’s. Other salts have remained salty for years and years and years. It’s a mystery to me, but it can and does happen.

    • victor says:

      thanks for all ur comments ok. In all you remain an insult to the earth if you fail as salt of the earth. Blss u.

  66. Laura Hechel says:

    Thank you. This is a logical and practical presentation of a solid answer to the question in my heart this morning. Much appreciated.

  67. RobYork. says:

    You may not be aware of the fact that God has fulfilled “Numerous specific prophecies for this Day !!!”

    FIVE raised from the dead.

    The Pillar of Fire photographed SIX times with His Prophet.

    God kept His word and sent His Prophet.

    God stated in the word of God that God would send a Prophet in the End Times that is to say, “Right now.”

    God kept His word and God sent that Prophet, God`s chosen vessel was William Marrion Branham.

    God raised the dead on FIVE occasions through this ministry.

    God was photographed, veiled in the form of the Pillar of Fire on SIX occasions, with His Prophet.

    God healed numerous people through this ministry.

    Here are the scriptures:
    The word of God plainly states that in the LAST DAYS there shall arise FALSE PROPHETS……
    Matthew 24:24
    For there shall arise false Christs, and FALSE PROPHETS, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

    However, what most people do not realize is that the SAME BIBLE also speaks of a GENUINE PROPHET in the LAST DAYS.

    Therefore, there will be, “One genuine prophet” and at the same time, “Numerous false prophets.”

    God has sent that GENUINE PROPHET who was rejected by the denominations, thereby fulfilling these (and other) scriptures in our day…….
    Malachi 4:5.
    Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet BEFORE the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

    God states that He will send His Prophet, just before “The coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” that is to say, RIGHT NOW.
    We read in……..
    Malachi 4:6.
    And he (The Elijah prophet) shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, AND the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

    John the baptist ONLY “Turned the hearts of the fathers to the children”……
    Luke 1:17.
    And he (John the baptist) shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

    The “Fathers” were the old, ancient orthodox fathers, the “Child- ren” were the “Believers” who had gathered around Jesus.

    The other part of the verse, in Malachi 4:6…..
    “And the heart of the children to their fathers”

    Is fulfilled in THIS DAY, as the heart of the “Children,” (The true believers in this day) are turned back to the heart of the “Pent- ecostal fathers” as the “Correct doctrine” is restored.

    Furthermore, the Earth was NOT “Burned up” immediately after the ministry of John the baptist……
    Malachi 4:1 – 3.
    1. For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
    2. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
    3. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.

    Jesus speaks of this “End Time Elijah prophet” (and also the Elijah prophet of 2000 years ago, who was John the baptist) in the following verses, in other words there are TWO separate and DISTINCT prophets spoken of…..
    Matthew 17:10 – 13.
    10. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
    11. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall FIRST COME, (this statement is future tense, Jesus is talking about a prophet who will precede His return) and RESTORE all things.

    (This prophet will RESTORE the original understanding of God`s word which has been lost down the last 2000 years, how could John restore that which had not yet been written ?)

    12. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
    13. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. (Now Jesus speaks of John the baptist)

    This end time Elijah is spoken of in this verse……
    Revelation 10:7.
    But in the days of the voice of the seventh ANGEL when he shall begin to sound the mystery of God should be finished as He has declared to His servants the prophets.

    This angel (Messenger) is the angel to the Laodicean church age which is the seventh and final church age……
    Revelation 3:14.
    And unto the ANGEL of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.

    This angel (Messenger) is one of the SEVEN STARS in the hand of Jesus……
    Revelation 1:16 – 20.
    16. And he had in his right hand SEVEN STARS, and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
    17. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
    18. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
    19. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
    20. The mystery of the SEVEN STARS which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks.
    The SEVEN STARS are the ANGELS of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

    The word “ANGEL” means “MESSENGER” these are men used by God down the last 2000 years.

    One angel (Messenger) for each of the seven church ages.

    And also……
    Revelation 2:1
    Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the SEVEN STARS in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

    And also……
    Revelation 3:1
    And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the SEVEN STARS, I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

    Jesus is laying a GREAT AMOUNT of importance on the fact that the SEVEN STARS are in his RIGHT HAND !!!

    Strange then, how religious people see this fact as, “No big deal !!”

    The man who God has used today is William Marrion Branham.

    God raised the dead on FIVE different occasions through this ministry, God healed countless sick people, and God (Veiled in the form of The Pillar of Fire) was photographed with His prophet on SIX occasions.

    The Lord would discern the thoughts and intents of the hearts of the people (as He did at Abraham`s tent door) through this ministry thereby fulfilling……..
    Luke 17:28 – 30.
    28. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
    29. But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
    30. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

  68. Ken E. says:

    In ancient times, salt would be harvested from places like the Dead Sea, and it would contain many impurities – sand and other minerals in addition to NaCl. Those impurities were relatively insoluble in water compared to salt, which is pretty soluble. So, this mixture of salt and other things would start off fairly salty, but in time, ater being stored and transported in a cloth bag, moisture in the air would slowly but surely dissolve away the salt, leaving behind a higher and higher concentration of impurities. Eventually, the mixture would taste less and less salty, until if was useless as a flavoring or a preservative, and was thrown out on the ground. So, Christ’s metaphor is an apt one for a believer who has lost his passion for God.

  69. Gbadeyanka Emmanuel says:

    I appreciate this explanation. I will not loose my spiritual christian saltiness in Jesus name. Amen.

  70. Gbadeyanka Emmanuel says:

    I appreciate this explanation. I will not loose my spiritual christian saltiness in Jesus name. Amen and Amen. God bless u all.

  71. greigwegerle says:

    2013, and the reading goes on – Quite a fascinating discussion. God certainly is still speaking loud and clear (even if it takes a little searching). Keep me salty, Jesus! Amen.

  72. greigwegerle says:

    2013 and counting! God certainly is still speaking clearly about this issue.

    Keep us salty, Jesus! Amen

  73. Melissa says:

    I really appreciate this entry. I like the applications you made. I hope its ok if I use some of your examples as I teach women the scriptures.

    Also, I hope you’ll check out my church’s website. We do personal bible studies and are spreading the word of God to all nations, just like Matthew 28:18-20 commands.

  74. Dr. John Ramey D Min says:

    If Jesus had actually said, salt i might agree with all of the brain straining on this subject but he did not use the word salt at all. He used the Greek word Halas, which is “prudence” and the word for savor that he used was “Mo-rah-ee-no” (phonecitally spelled) which means to become foolish, insipid, or a fool. So how can salt (be foolish)? it can not. But prudence, which means, able to make sound judgments in practical matters, to be discrete in conduct, circumspect and not rash, is the exact opposite of foolish.

    Jesus was not playing word games, he said what he meant, King James changed it. But the disciples were intently told that they were and were to continue to be, the prudent factor in the earth that is capable of exercising sound judgment. It was the clear dilenation of the difference between Christian living and wordly living and has nothing to do with flavor or being a preservative.

    I know that there have been decades and more, of taking the English word as it stands, but Jesus did not speak English to the disciples he spoke, Aramaic and the New Testament was written in Greek so it is there we must begin.

    Salt is mineral and no matter how long it stays in the earth when it is found, it is salty. Put a block in the pasture for cows and no matter how much rain falls, or how long the sun beats down on it, it remains salty for the simple fact that Salt is salt and will always be salt. Jesus never contradicted that physical fact.

    • Bill Pickersgill says:

      John, what you said is ridiculous Christ said salt can lose it’s saltiness and he said it’s of no use only to be thrown on the dung pile and he’s talking about or it relates to eternal security there is none once one falls away to that point they can’t be brought back salt can’t get it’s saltiness back if it loses its saltiness

  75. Paul says:

    Read most of the comments, thanks! We are called to be the salt of the earth—to preserve the messge of the Cross, offer healing for the sin sick soul and share the flavor (faithfulness) of His love in a world that has lost it’s saltiness! When we who have been born again of the Spirit refuse to pick up His Cross and follow Him in doing so, we become as saltless as the world He called us to be the salt of! I wonder if the message He was trying to get through to His discples was–“PLEASE–pass the salt!”

  76. hisnotmine says:

    Thanks for your thoughts. It spurred me on to more study for a similar text of Luke 14:25-35.

  77. Jaime says:

    Remember to consult the Holy Spirit for understanding the Word.

  78. Mike says:

    wonderful blog it has need very helpful may God bless you for being salt and light~ Thanks

  79. Tom says:

    A thought provoking question indeed and a very well thought out answer. However Jesus also said, “how can it be made salty again,” rhetorically meaning that it can’t. Therefore the watered down, or complacent Christian cannot be the the answer either, because they have the ability to repent and be fully devoted again!

    Furthermore, it’s clear that Jesus is using a metaphor. Salt has replaced another word for dramatic effect, similar to, it’s raining cats and dogs! That missing word or phrase is torrential or driven rain.

    Therefore we must discover what word salt replaces to correctly understand the message and whatever that word is it must also be irreplaceable once lost!

    Not only that but two actions must coincide with the loss of saltiness. The perpetrator must be thrown out and trampled by men too!

    The truth will be known once these combined conditions are answered.

    I apologize if it appears that I’m raining on your parade but the answer must be contextual with the complete passage. If we truly want to discover the truth.

    Tom

  80. Francoforte says:

    I’m a writer from Den Haag, Netherlands just forwarded this onto a colleague who was running a little research on this. And she in fact bought me lunch just because I discovered it for her… lol. Actually, allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal… But yeah, thanks for spending some time to write about this matter here on your blog.

  81. Ilse says:

    Great thoughts! We were discussing salt and its lack of saltiness tonight and with my first google I found you. Thanks and God bless.

  82. Christian says:

    A disciple has to either give up everything and follow, or not follow at all. A person can only build a tower if he knows he can finish it, or not start building at all. We can only weigh up the cost of discipleship and be truly born again, or we told not to bother in the first place. We can only go to wear with the chance of winning, or seek out peace terms knowing we couldn’t complete it. Salt is either salty and has a use, or not salty and has no use. A light is either in the room and gives light, or under a bowl is of no use. Has no-one talked about the context in cost of discipleship? Maybe I missed it, but you all have incredible understanding of scripture I must say. I’ll get to that cost in a sec. Foremost, “It is fit for neither the soil nor the manure heap.” Salt was used as fertilizer and as disinfectant or purifier. Fertilizer will allow plants to grow, so can we use ourselves (work toward) for others and the growth of the kingdom. Disinfectant can be used to make what is unclean clean, so can we be used to purify people by bringing them to the Word of God to forgive sins (or even cast out demons?). If it is no longer salty, or if we have lost our way through sin and/or have no works to glorify the Father, we can neither be used for the growth of the kingdom or to help clean sinners. This interpretation I learnt from a sermon.

    This saying is in the ‘sermon on the mount’ and also in Luke 14:25. Sometimes only contrasting and comparing other words of Yeshua (Jesus) can explain. “no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl” a light under a bowl will have no use. Salt without its saltiness will have no use.”A city on a hill cannot be hidden” true born again Christians will be watched they can’t hide themselves, and that example they set will be the notion everyone will have of Christians. Your light must shine before men so that they glorify your Father in heaven. Your salt must be salty to help everyone else. You can’t hide, you can’t do it unless you’re in all the way.

    The Holy Ghost has explained to me some more while reading this page. Thank you Father, for my flesh and blood (or intelligence) can’t understand this, but your Spirit explains it. Yeshua precedes this verse in Luke with the COST of discipleship. What is the cost of discipleship? EVERYTHING. Hence, being born again and having no attachment to the world, even your parents. To be born again will cost you everything. But only those who are born again will see the kingdom. And its only those who are truly born again who will be used to truly salt the earth, or humanity. The cost is massive, but only them who weigh up that cost and follow will able to lead people to fertilize or clean their souls in Yeshua.

    MOST IMPORTANTLY, the cost of discipleship contrasts perfectly with saltiness. Salt is either salty, or not salty. There’s no half way point. In or out, calculate whether you can do it to the very end. Same with discipleship, or building a tower. In the same way you either give up everything and follow the Lord, or don’t do it at all. Like the King who will not go to war with 10,000 men when opposed with 20,000, or like you won’t build a tower knowing you can’t finish it to be ridiculed for laying foundation and not estimating the cost at the outset. This is the context the verse is said in, weighing up cost of building tower, going to war or being a disciple, ALL or nothing. Salty or not.

    “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat” Luke 22:31 … to find impurities, right? I pray I can be born again truly, I know I cannot hide myself from view, nor my light be of any use under a bowl. And I realize now that if I can’t give up everything, I cant follow, if i can’t see it through knowing the cost there’s no point beginning. If I’m not salty, I’m ‘unsalty’ and of little use. I’m less than all of you, the worst sinner, and I feel like a child learning all this with my understanding quite low. I’ve enjoyed everyone’s thoughts. Even the crumbs from your table Lord will I relish. Please, Father save me although I dont deserve the childrens bread. xx

  83. Andrew says:

    I was just thinking about salt and if you add too much salt to cooking it can taste horrid, on the other hand if you add too little, the food tastes bland. So I think that it is important to add the right amount. In adding the correct amount you enhance the taste of the actual dish you are eating or cooking.

    When I’ve made my dish and eat it and find that it tastes beautiful, I never say “oh that salt is amazing” I say “wow the food was amazing” this means that salt is only meant to enhance the flavour of the dish and be unnoticed. Equally as Christians I think through understanding, wisdom and insight, we are to enhance our situations and bring out the best in those situations.

    If I add the same amount of salt that I use for a pot of rice to one fried egg. The egg will taste vile. So use the correct amount.

  84. Dorothy C. says:

    I see that this was written quite a few years ago. As a former blogger myself, I praise God that HIS word and revelation never grows old or lose its relevancy. I happened upon this as I was looking for “scientific” ways that salt loses its savor in preparation for a bible study….so glad I came upon this…blessed beyond words. Thank you and continued revelation of who HE is and all that HE has done for us THROUGH Christ Jesus!

  85. Folake Isona says:

    Thank you so much for the write up,its more blessing than you imagine

  86. Derek says:

    The Christian Church has lost its saltiness ( effectiveness) because it does not KNOW who it is in Christ

  87. Andrews Allotey says:

    How then can I maintain my saltiness?
    Good question
    I need an answer please. Thank u

  88. tt says:

    I think the passage mean that if someone dies without accepting Christ as lord and savior he/she is going to perish, like salt if loses it saltines its useless , Jesus can not save such person, which means dying without knowing Christ you are like salt which lost its saltiness

  89. Ellery says:

    This really helped me out this morning. I was reading Matthew 5 and couldn’t get past this problem. Thanks!

  90. DioVinci says:

    I must say even in 2014, this post on your blog has been mind opening and enriching. thanks so much for allowing God to use you spark up a hunger in the hearts of people, a hunger to keep up our relevance in the world. the universe needs us, believers in Christ Jesus and we can not afford to keep it aglow with the fruits of the Spirit in our day to day lived experiences. come O Holy Spirit and en-kindle in us the fire of your love to burn brightly for the world to see.

  91. Rick Schuley says:

    Jesus did not hand common NaCl. Therefore his salt tasted different and was a mixture rather than a compound. So it is very possible, when exposed to moisture , that the salt dissolved out and insoluble compounds were left, thus losing its saltiness.

  92. Zachary Roberts says:

    Considering the context, that we are lights as well, I think he is saying that we are salt and cannot help it…can salt really lose its saltiness? No, and they had no knowledge of this kind of science you speak of. Can a light not help but be a light? No… You can hide it, but it is still light. Is he stating that salt can really law its saltiness? Or is it rhetorical? Rather than a punitive interpretation, I think Christ is saying something else here. Which I think is what you are saying, essentially.

  93. Anthony112 says:

    i love this answer but in the context Jesus does say throwing out the salt to be trampled on because its lost its savor, so if it meant watered down wheres the salt to be thrown out? if its watered down then you cant throw it out cause it would be deluded?

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