A Christian and being born to a family of pastors, I have always heard the word Salt being used in many instances throughout the Bible. When I started being active in ministry, it became more evident that Salt had significance in the Bible due to the many times it has been mentioned throughout scripture. This got me asking, what does Salt symbolize in the Bible?
Salt symbolizes different things throughout the Bible depending on the context in which it has been used. Salt is seen as a sign of a covenant between God and man where people were required to offer Salt to God together with other grains, as is suggested by the book of Leviticus 2:13. Also, Salt is seen as a sign of purification in the Bible during biblical times the Bible suggests that people used Salt to purify and cleanse as is suggested in the book of 2 Kings 2:19-22 where Elisha used Salt to purify the waters of a spring that was causing illness and death.
Salt has been mentioned several times in the Bible in various contexts. When I joined the ministry several years ago, I set out to find out the significance of Salt in the Bible. In this article, I look into the different contexts in which Salt has been used and its meaning throughout the Bible. Read on to find out more.
What is the meaning of Salt in the Bible?
Salt is significant throughout the Bible and has been used in different contexts to mean various things. One of the most common meanings of Salt in the Bible was that Salt was used to signify the covenant between man and God.
The Bible suggests in Leviticus 2:13 that the people of Israel should have included Salt as part of their offering. Also, Salt was quite an expensive commodity during biblical times, and God required that all sacrifices made to Him cost something. Since God wants us to offer Him things that carry significant meaning in our lives and not just things that we can easily do without.
The book of 2 Chronicles 13:5 suggests that God also had a salt covenant between him and King David, where the Bible implies that God gave King David and the people of Israel the kingdom through a salt covenant. Salt was also used largely to preserve and purify. In biblical times societies made use of Salt as a means of preserving food and in religious ceremonies to purify offerings.
How is Salt used in the Bible?
Salt in the Bible was used for various purposes, but the most common way was as a covenant between man and God and to purify things.
In the book of Numbers 18:19, where the Bible suggests that all the offerings that were brought to him should have Salt to symbolize an everlasting covenant of Salt for the people of Israel as well as their children.
Salt was also used to purify and preserve things in the Bible. This is evident in the book of 2 Kings 2:19-22, where the Bible implies that prophet Elisha used Salt to purify the water of a spring that caused a lot of death, illness, and bareness to the people drinking its water.
In the New Testament, Salt is used symbolically, where the Bible suggests that Jesus refers to his disciples as the Salt of the world. Jesus said this to mean that the disciples were a source of purity to the world as well as the source of preservation of all the morals in the world, as is seen in the book of Matthew 5:13. Also, in the book of Colossians 4:6, the Bible suggests that apostle Paul told Christians to salt their words. In this context, he was asking them to choose their words carefully so that they may be pure and get whatever they are asking for.
How many times is Salt mentioned in the Bible?
The word Salt has been mentioned a total of forty times throughout the entire Bible. All these times, it has been used to symbolize various aspects of Christianity. One of the most dominant is that Salt has been used to symbolize a covenant commonly referred to as a covenant of Salt. This can be seen in the book of Leviticus 2:13, as well as many other verses.
It has also been used to symbolize the purifying qualities of Salt, where the Bible suggest that all the offerings that the Israelites brought to God were to be covered in Salt to sanctify it. Many biblical scholars argue that when Jesus was referring to his disciples as the Salt of the world, he was referring to the purifying properties of Salt.
Bible verses about Salt
Leviticus 2:13– this verse explains how God wants the people of Israel to make the offering to Him. The Bible suggests that God asks them not to exclude salt offerings when bringing offerings to Him.
Colossians 4:6– in this verse, apostle Paul tells us that our words should always be sweet and pleasant to listen to. That’s why he says our words should be seasoned with Salt.
Matthew 5:13– in this verse, Jesus is metaphorically asking his disciples to be the Salt of the world. They may be the purity the world needs and should preserve good morals just as Salt is used to preserve the goodness of food.
Ezekiel 43:24– here, God is also telling his people to include Salt in the offerings that they bring to him, for it is a sign of a covenant.
Job 6:6– in this verse, Job asks if tasteless food can be eaten without Salt. From this, we can conclude that people in the Bible used Salt as a flavoring to improve the taste of food.
7 symbolic meanings of Salt in the Bible
Salt symbolizes a covenant
The Bible has mentioned Salt several times as a symbol of a covenant between man and God. First, in the book of Numbers 18:19, the Bible suggests that God had a covenant of Salt with the people of Israel, giving them all the offerings that they had brought to Him. This was a covenant between God and the Israelites for generations.
In the book of 2 Chronicles 13:5, the Bible suggests that God has a covenant of Salt with David. God gave David the kingdom forever and that his sons shall also be rulers over the kingdom. Lastly, in the book of Leviticus 2:13, the Bible implies that God asked the people of Israel to be covering the offerings they brought to Him with Salt as a sign of their covenant, and some scholars thought it was a way to purify the offering,
A sign of purity
In the book of 2 Kings 2:19-22, the Bible suggests that prophet Elisha used Salt to purify the water of a spring that had been causing illness and bareness to the people who would drink the water. We all know that it’s not the slat that made the water pure again but the miracle of God. Salt was used to show that it is pure and that anything it touches is purified.
A sign of friendship
In biblical times when a man ate another man’s Salt, it symbolized lifelong friendship and loyalty. Although there is no evidence of this in the Bible, God used Salt to make covenants, and as we know, a covenant is a life-long agreement unless broken. Salt symbolizes friendship because Salt remains unchanged for a long time, and its flavour remains unchanged throughout its lifetime. As friendships are supposed to last lifetimes and remain unchanged, many people use them to show their friendship to one another.
Sign of trials
In Mark 9: 42-50, the Bible suggests that all Christians will be salted with fire. This passage suggests that as Christians, we will always go through some trials which are supposed to strengthen our faith. The salting by fire described in this passage are the trials we, as Christians, face. When added in large amounts, Salt can be unpleasant but not lethal. We can assume that the Bible meant this when suggesting that, as Christians, we will be salted by fire.
As a flavor enhancer
Most people think that Salt adds flavor. Salt simply bursts the cell walls of the foods we eat, allowing us to enjoy the full potential of the meal. When Jesus told his disciples to become the Salt to the world, it simply meant that they should go and “enhance the flavour” of the world, helping people realize their full potential and purpose by spreading the word to the ends of the earth.
When Jesus told his disciples to go and become the Salt of the world, it meant a couple of things, one of which was to preserve the good morals in the world. As we know, Salt was used in biblical times to preserve the freshness of food. Also, in modern society, we use it in brines as a form of preservation. As Christians, we are Jesus’ disciples and should preserve his work and good morals on earth.
Salt holds various minerals that are essential to the survival of human beings. Without them, we would develop illnesses that would ruin our quality of life. As Christians, we are called upon by Jesus to be the Salt of the world which means we nourish the ones that do not know him yet. This can be done by spreading his word and living a life we can influence others to live Christ-like lives.
What does it mean to be the Salt of the world?
The meaning of “be the salt of the world” isn’t clearly stated in the Bible. Jesus used the phrase metaphorically as he addressed his disciples. Since there is no explanation for this, we can conclude from previous passages in the Bible as well as the physical attribute of Salt.
First, Salt is often used as a flavoring in many different things worldwide. We know that people in the Bible added Salt to their food to enhance the flavor. Although practically unnoticeable, it elevates any meal it is added to, and its absence is surely felt. We can conclude that Jesus wanted his disciples’ presence in the world to be appreciated and their absence to be noticed.
Secondly, Salt was used as a preservative for different foods since they didn’t have the luxury of refrigerators back then. From this, we can assume that Jesus also wanted his disciples to preserve the good morals in the world from the evil that might corrupt them.
Finally, Salt was largely used as an offering to God to symbolize a covenant between man and God. We can assume that Jesus wanted his disciples to give themselves fully in the service of God. To give their lives as a living offering to God by spreading His word and portraying good morals.
How can Christians be the Salt of the world today?
As Christians, we are disciples of Jesus; even if we are not among the first twelve, we still believe and follow his teachings and ways, and we can continue his work. Salt cannot experience its goodness by itself; when combined with other things, it truly comes to life. Like Salt, as Christians, we must give ourselves fully into service and be willing and ready to help when called for. We can also be the Salt of the world by keeping our ways pure and being a good example to the people of the world. However, things might not always go as smoothly as we would want them to because of the ills in society, but the Bible urges us to keep the faith and continue the work of Christ.
Also, as Christians, we are expected to have the preservative qualities of Salt, which means that we are supposed to preserve the works of Jesus. We can do this by continuing to spread the word of God to the ends of the earth hence preserving his ministerial work on earth.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.