You are the Salt of the Earth – Matthew 5:15

Reading Acts

“Salt, city, and light can be used for almost anything, and the history of interpretation shows that this indeed is what has happened” (Luz, Matthew 1-7, 205).

The second section of the Sermon makes two remarkable statements about the followers of Jesus. They are the “salt of the Earth” and the “light of the world.” Both metaphors have become common in western culture, although the meaning of “salt of the earth” has changed. For example, the common dictionary definition is “a simple, good person” just as Jesus’s followers were simple fishermen. But this completely misses the point of what Jesus intended in Matthew 5:13.

Salt Grains Scoop

So what does Jesus mean by these two metaphors? As is common in the teaching of Jesus, he is looking back to the Hebrew Bible and interpreting as a prophet by applying texts and metaphors to himself and his followers.

Since salt is a preserving agent…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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