Matthew 5:13
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"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.

New Living Translation
"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

English Standard Version
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

New American Standard Bible
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

King James Bible
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It's no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.

International Standard Version
"You are the salt of the world. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty again? It's good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled on by people.

NET Bible
"You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will it be salted? It is good for nothing except to be thrown outside and to be trodden upon by people.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, how will it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its savour, with what shall it be salted? From then on it is good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men.

King James 2000 Bible
You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savor, how shall it be salted? it is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

American King James Version
You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his flavor, with which shall it be salted? it is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

American Standard Version
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.

Douay-Rheims Bible
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.

Darby Bible Translation
*Ye* are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have become insipid, wherewith shall it be salted? It is no longer fit for anything but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot by men.

English Revised Version
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.

Webster's Bible Translation
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt hath lost its savor, with what shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot by men.

Weymouth New Testament
"*You* are the salt of the earth; but if salt has become tasteless, in what way can it regain its saltness? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown away and trodden on by the passers by.

World English Bible
"You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.

Young's Literal Translation
'Ye are the salt of the land, but if the salt may lose savour, in what shall it be salted? for nothing is it good henceforth, except to be cast without, and to be trodden down by men.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth. Mankind, lying in ignorance and wickedness, were as a vast heap, ready to putrify; but Christ sent forth his disciples, by their lives and doctrines to season it with knowledge and grace. If they are not such as they should be, they are as salt that has lost its savour. If a man can take up the profession of Christ, and yet remain graceless, no other doctrine, no other means, can make him profitable. Our light must shine, by doing such good works as men may see. What is between God and our souls, must be kept to ourselves; but that which is of itself open to the sight of men, we must study to make suitable to our profession, and praiseworthy. We must aim at the glory of God.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 13. - Ye are the salt, etc. (cf. a similar saying in Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34, 35). Weiss thinks that St. Luke gives it in its original context; that St. Matthew is right in interpreting it as of special reference to the disciples; and that St. Mark applies it the most freely. It may, indeed, be that its position here is only the result of the inspired guidance of the evangelist; but, on the whole, it seems more probable that so natural a figure was used more than once by our Lord, and that he really spoke these words in his sermon on the mount, as well as on the later occasion indicated by St. Luke. Ye; i.e. the μαθηταί of ver. 1. Are, in fact (ἐστέ); therefore recognize the responsibility. The salt of the earth. It has been disputed whether allusion is here made to the preservative properties of salt or to the flavour it imparts; i.e. whether Christ is thinking of his disciples as preserving the world from decay, or as giving it a good flavour to the Divine taste. Surely a useless question; forgetful of the fact that spiritual realities are being dealt with, and that it is therefore impossible for the one effect to be really separated from the other. Our Lord is thinking of the moral tone which his disciples are to give to humanity. The connexion with vers. 11, 12 is - Persecution must be borne unless you are to lose your moral tone, which is to be to the earth what salt is to its surroundings, preserving from corruption and fitting for (in your case Divine) appreciation. What χάρις is to be to the Christian λόγος (Colossians 4:6), that the Christian himself is to be to the world. If... have lost its savour (μωρανθῇ); so elsewhere in Luke 14:34 only. Salt that has lost its distinctive qualities is here said to lack its proper mind or sense. Salt without sharpness is like an ἄνθρωπος ἄλογος; for man is a ζῶον λογικόν. On the fact of salt losing its virtue, cf. Thomson ('Land and the Book,' p. 382: 1887), "It is a well-known fact that the salt of this country [i.e. Palestine] when in contact with the ground, or exposed to rain and sun, does become insipid and useless. From the manner in which it is gathered [vide infra], much earth and other impurities are necessarily collected with it. Not a little of it is so impure that it cannot be used at all; and such salt soon effloresces and turns to dust - not to fruitful soil, however. It is not only good for nothing itself, but it actually destroys all fertility wherever it is thrown.... No man will allow it to be thrown on to his field, and the only place for it is the street; and there it is cast, to be trodden under foot of men." It should be observed that the salt used in Palestine is not manufactured by boiling clean salt water, nor quarried from mines, but is obtained from marshes along the seashore, as in Cyprus, or from salt lakes in the interior, which dry up in summer, as the one in the desert north of Palmyra, and the great Lake of Jebbul, south-east of Aleppo. Further, rock-salt is found in abundance at the south end of the Dead Sea (cf. Thomson, loc. cit). Wherewith shall it be salted? i.e. not if you will not act as salt, wherewith shall the earth be salted? (apparently Luther and Erasmus); but what quality can take the place of moral tone to produce in you the same result? You are as salt. If you lose your distinctive qualities, where, can you find that which answers to them? It is thenceforth good for nothing. Our Lord here lays stress, not on want of fitness (εὔθετον, Luke), but on want of inherent power. "It is only useful for that purpose to which one applies what is absolutely useless" (Weiss-Meyer).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Ye are the salt of the earth,.... This is to be understood of the disciples and apostles of Christ; who might be compared to "salt", because of the savoury doctrines they preached; as all such are, which are agreeable to the Scriptures, and are of the evangelic kind, which are full of Christ, serve to exalt him, and to magnify the grace of God; and are suitable to the experiences of the saints, and are according to godliness, and tend to promote it: also because of their savoury lives and conversations; whereby they recommended, and gave sanction to the doctrines they preached, were examples to the saints, and checks upon wicked men. These were the salt "of the earth"; that is, of the inhabitants of the earth, not of the land of Judea only, where they first lived and preached, but of the whole world, into which they were afterwards sent to preach the Gospel.

But if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? The "savour" here supposed that it may be lost, cannot mean the savour of grace, or true grace itself, which cannot be lost, being an incorruptible seed; but either gifts qualifying men for the ministry, which may cease; or the savoury doctrines of the Gospel, which may be departed from; or a seeming savoury conversation, which may be neglected; or that seeming savour, zeal, and affection, with which the Gospel is preached, which may be dropped: and particular respect seems to be had to Judas, whom Christ had chosen to the apostleship, and was a devil; and who he knew would lose his usefulness and place, and become an unprofitable wretch, and at last be rejected of God and men; and this case is proposed to them all, in order to engage them to take heed to themselves, their doctrine and ministry. Moreover, this is but a supposition;

if the salt, &c. and proves no matter of fact; and the Jews have a saying (k), that all that season lose their savour "hmej hgypm hnya but salt does not lose its savour". Should it do so,

it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot. Salt is good for nothing, but to make things savoury, and preserve from putrefacation; and when it has lost its savour, it is of no use, neither to men nor beasts, as some things are when corrupted; nor is it of any use to the land, or dunghill, for it makes barren, and not fruitful: so ministers of the word, when they have dropped the savoury doctrines of the Gospel, or have quitted their former seeming savoury and exemplary conversations; as their usefulness is gone, so, generally speaking, it is never retrieved; they are cast out of the churches of Christ, and are treated with contempt by everyone.

(k) T. Bab. Betzah, fol. 14. 1.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

13-16. We have here the practical application of the foregoing principles to those disciples who sat listening to them, and to their successors in all time. Our Lord, though He began by pronouncing certain characters to be blessed—without express reference to any of His hearers—does not close the beatitudes without intimating that such characters were in existence, and that already they were before Him. Accordingly, from characters He comes to persons possessing them, saying, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you," &c. (Mt 5:11). And now, continuing this mode of direct personal address, He startles those humble, unknown men by pronouncing them the exalted benefactors of their whole species.

Ye are the salt of the earth—to preserve it from corruption, to season its insipidity, to freshen and sweeten it. The value of salt for these purposes is abundantly referred to by classical writers as well as in Scripture; and hence its symbolical significance in the religious offerings as well of those without as of those within the pale of revealed religion. In Scripture, mankind, under the unrestrained workings of their own evil nature, are represented as entirely corrupt. Thus, before the flood (Ge 6:11, 12); after the flood (Ge 8:21); in the days of David (Ps 14:2, 3); in the days of Isaiah (Isa 1:5, 6); and in the days of Paul (Eph 2:1-3; see also Job 14:4; 15:15, 16; Joh 3:6; compared with Ro 8:8; Tit 3:2, 3). The remedy for this, says our Lord here, is the active presence of His disciples among their fellows. The character and principles of Christians, brought into close contact with it, are designed to arrest the festering corruption of humanity and season its insipidity. But how, it may be asked, are Christians to do this office for their fellow men, if their righteousness only exasperate them, and recoil, in every form of persecution, upon themselves? The answer is: That is but the first and partial effect of their Christianity upon the world: though the great proportion would dislike and reject the truth, a small but noble band would receive and hold it fast; and in the struggle that would ensue, one and another even of the opposing party would come over to His ranks, and at length the Gospel would carry all before it.

but if the salt have lost his savour—"become unsavory" or "insipid"; losing its saline or salting property. The meaning is: If that Christianity on which the health of the world depends, does in any age, region, or individual, exist only in name, or if it contain not those saving elements for want of which the world languishes,

wherewith shall it be salted?—How shall the salting qualities be restored to it? (Compare Mr 9:50). Whether salt ever does lose its saline property—about which there is a difference of opinion—is a question of no moment here. The point of the case lies in the supposition—that if it should lose it, the consequence would be as here described. So with Christians. The question is not: Can, or do, the saints ever totally lose that grace which makes them a blessing to their fellow men? But, What is to be the issue of that Christianity which is found wanting in those elements which can alone stay the corruption and season the tastelessness of an all-pervading carnality? The restoration or non-restoration of grace, or true living Christianity, to those who have lost it, has, in our judgment, nothing at all to do here. The question is not, If a man lose his grace, how shall that grace be restored to him? but, Since living Christianity is the only "salt of the earth," if men lose that, what else can supply its place? What follows is the appalling answer to this question.

it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out—a figurative expression of indignant exclusion from the kingdom of God (compare Mt 8:12; 22:13; Joh 6:37; 9:34).

and to be trodden under foot of men—expressive of contempt and scorn. It is not the mere want of a certain character, but the want of it in those whose profession and appearance were fitted to beget expectation of finding it.

Matthew 5:13 Additional Commentaries
Context
Salt and Light
13"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;…
Cross References
Job 6:6
Is tasteless food eaten without salt, or is there flavor in the sap of the mallow?

Mark 9:50
"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other."

Luke 14:34
"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?

Hebrews 10:29
How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Treasury of Scripture

You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his flavor, with which shall it be salted? it is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

the salt.

Leviticus 2:13 And every oblation of your meat offering shall you season with salt…

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you …

if.

Mark 9:49,50 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall …

Luke 14:34,35 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his flavor, with which shall …

Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have …

2 Peter 2:20,21 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through …

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