Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Weird Word Wednesdays - # 1 (Salt)

Sometimes God's word is weird. Really, it can be.

God already knows I think this and I believe he understands. It's just that over 2,000 years have gone by since Jesus walked and taught on this earth, and though his word is truly timeless, time changes things.

Time changes words and the meaning of them. Since I love words and research, I thought I'd help us all out by explaining the scripture passages that stand out as I come across them.

So for this first Weird Word Wednesday, we'll look at this passage:

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." Matt 5:13

This passage is often used in conjunction with the next one that talks about believers being "light." But I'd always been curious to know what on earth He meant about us being salt. I love salt. See I even dress  it up...
Just a few of my many shakers:)
and I get that it enhances my food and even that our bodies need it to live. But what does it mean to be salt? And what does it mean to lose our saltiness?

The Greek word for salt is halas and it was extremely valuable in ancient times. It was a condiment, preservative and was used on sacrifices. Because the people's diet mainly consisted of vegetables, it was necessary for life. It was also used to make alliances and to buy and sell people; it's where we get our word "salary" and the phrase, "She's not worth her salt."

Here's the part I like the best. Salt was lightly applied to soil as a fertilizer. It was used to stimulate the soil and was valued for its purity. Commentators often refer to it being used as a preservative in this passage, but in context with the part about us being light, scholars believe it's more likely that the proper translation is, "You are the salt for the earth."
We are salt for the earth!

Really, think about that. Our world stinks and we're here to make it better. We're here because we can produce good things and make the world healthier for others.

Salt was often mixed with impurities like gypsum dust and when that happened, it became worthless. When we're impure - when we lose our saltiness - we become worthless in the same way a hidden light does no good for those who need to see. We can fail to be stimulating for others.

Heavenly Father, help us to always remain salty! Amen.

If there's a weird word you're curious about, post a comment and I'll see if I can help get you clarity.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Erika - this was so interesting! Thanks for taking the time to research a word like salt. Researching is NO FUN for me, so I'm glad there are folks like you who are thrilled by such a task, (and folks like me who get to enjoy the results). BTW - I love your salt shaker collection! :)