The Meaning Of Salt In The Bible: Purity, Preservation, And Promises

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Published by Shannon Jacobs



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Salt plays a vital role in our daily lives and has done so since ancient times, serving various purposes such as seasoning and preservation.

In the Bible, salt takes on a deeper spiritual significance. As Christians, understanding these biblical references to salt can enhance our comprehension of the Scriptures and the messages they convey.

Key Takeaways

  • Salt, used in biblical offerings, symbolizes purity, sincerity, loyalty, and constancy, highlighting these virtues’ importance in our relationship with God.
  • In the Bible, salt symbolizes renewal, preservation, and life’s trials. Figures like Elisha and Jesus use it to denote new beginnings, believers’ influence, and Christians’ role in preserving society’s moral and spiritual aspects.
  • In the Bible, salt symbolizes an eternal bond in covenants and offerings. It signifies loyalty and friendship in religious practices. Its practical uses, like preserving food and enhancing flavor, metaphorically depict the Christian role in upholding goodness and adding value to the world.
salt scattered on a table

What Is The Meaning Of Salt In The Bible?

The meaning of salt in the Bible extends beyond its practical use as a valuable commodity. Salt[1], or sodium chloride, which is derived from neutralization and can be obtained from mines or seawater, symbolizes spiritual significance in biblical contexts.

It represents more than just a physical substance; it carries profound spiritual meanings that deepen our understanding of biblical teachings.

God’s requirement for salt in offerings, as stated in Leviticus 2:13, teaches us about purity and sincerity in our relationship with Him. Salt, being unchangeable and pure, symbolizes the purity of heart God desires in sacrifices.

In ancient times, salt was a prized mineral and even used as payment for Roman soldiers. Its addition to offerings increased their value, teaching us to give our all to God. The use of salt in the Bible is not arbitrary; it conveys a powerful message about God’s desired relationship with His people.

salt scattered on a counter

What Does Salt Symbolize?

Salt symbolizes new beginnings and the end of past troubles. This is illustrated when Elisha purifies a spring in Jericho with salt, signifying a fresh start as the once-barren land becomes fruitful.

Salt also embodies loyalty and friendship. Consuming salt together forms a bond of protection between individuals, even former enemies. This practice is rooted in the unchangeable nature of salt, which remains after water evaporates from a salt-seasoned dish.

In Islam and Judaism, the enduring quality of salt is used to seal agreements, symbolizing lasting relationships and God’s eternal love, as expressed in Psalm 136: “His love endures forever.”

salt scattered on a kitchen counter

What Does Salt Represent In Life?

In life, salt represents trials. As God’s people, we face these trials, or “salted with fire,” as described in Mark 9:42–50. These trials are our sacrifices, and if we remain “flavorful,” we will endure them. It is during these adversities that our faith grows, deepening our relationship with God.

Jesus referred to His followers as the “salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13), implying that believers are preservers of the world. In the first-century Middle East, salt helped preserve food, especially meat. Similarly, Christians protect the world from the inherent evil in society.

Christians, like salt, enhance life’s flavor. Just as salt enhances food taste, Christians living under the Holy Spirit’s guidance and in obedience to Christ positively impact the world. In times of strife, sorrow, and hatred, we are called to be peacemakers, healers, and exemplars of God’s love (Luke 6:35).

Jesus’ call for His followers to be the “salt of the earth” underscores the role of Christians in preventing humanity’s descent into godlessness and chaos. Like salt altering food’s flavor, the influence of godly people can change a culture. However, losing our “divine flavor” or “saltiness” renders our words meaningless.

salt used in a lot of ways

The Uses Of Salt

Salt Adds Flavor

Salt enhances food flavor by breaking down cell walls, releasing the food’s natural taste. In Matthew 5:13, Jesus refers to His followers as the “salt of the earth,” implying they should enhance the world’s beauty. He warns, however, that if salt loses its saltiness, it becomes useless.

Jesus isn’t referring to table salt but to fertilizer salt. As “salt of the earth,” we’re agents of human flourishing. Jesus invites us to be like fertilizer in His kingdom. While salt retains its flavor, Christians can lose their effectiveness. Hence, Jesus calls us to preserve, sustain, and enhance life’s taste.

Salt As A Preservative

Salt, being aseptic, prevents food spoilage, extending its consumption period. It doesn’t cure diseases, but it inhibits their spread. Like salt, Jesus Christ preserves and sustains life, fulfilling His promises.

As Christians, we’re called to be “salt and light.” Our obedience to God’s will helps preserve goodness in the world and slow its moral and spiritual decay.

Salt As A Valuable Mineral

According to the Mosaic law in Leviticus, salt accompanies free-will offerings, which include unleavened bread, birds, goats, sheep, and cattle, symbolizing a covenant or promise. Salt, a valuable and scarce mineral, was a significant part of these offerings. Generally, God uses such valuable items to signify His promises.

salt all scattered on a table

3 Bible Verses About Salt

Numbers 18:19

“All the offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to the LORD, I have I to you, and your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD to you and your descendants with you.”

Colossians 4:6

“Let your speech [be] always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” The purpose of the believer’s words is to preserve the message of Christ, allowing it to reach as many people as possible. What a Christian says should add value to the conversation; our words should be encouraging or beneficial. Finally, the “flavor” of how we speak and act should reflect the truth of our renewed Christian lives.

Another aspect of gracious speech is the ability to answer unbelievers’ questions. The ability to communicate Christ entails a positive presentation of the gospel and the ability to defend it (Titus 1:9). It is not enough to know. To respond truly “Christian,” one must present the truth with appropriate words and attitude.

Leviticus 2:13

“And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering; with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.”

salt is being sprinkled

Salt As A Covenant

Salt as a covenant in the Bible symbolizes an unbreakable, eternal bond, akin to the preserving nature of salt. This is evident when Moses instructs the Israelites to add salt to their offerings, signifying a lasting agreement, known as “be riyth” in Hebrew.

This covenant, a pact of loyalty and friendship, reveals God’s enduring bond with His people. It’s mentioned in Numbers 18:19, when Moses discusses God’s covenant with the priests, and in 2 Chronicles 13:5, regarding God’s covenant with King David.

Many Jews continue to honor these salt covenants. A common ritual involves dipping bread in salt every Friday at sunset, symbolizing their ongoing commitment to God.

How To Be The Salt Of The World?

To be the salt of the world, we must acknowledge our role in preserving humanity from sin, as symbolized in the Bible. The first step towards fulfilling this role is recognizing Christ as the Son of God who provides eternal life (1 John 5:20). This recognition nurtures a deeper relationship with Christ, guiding us on the path to salvation.

We are called to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior” and serve Him faithfully, acknowledging His salvation. Obedience is the key to entering God’s kingdom.

Lastly, being the “salt and light” involves sharing Christ’s gospel and influencing others by spreading His teachings.

a person holding salt


As Christians, our role is to be the “salt of the earth,” enhancing life’s flavor. This requires faith in Christ, obedience to the Holy Spirit, and confidence in our ability to spread goodness, love, and grace.

Like salt enhances food’s flavor, we can positively impact others and add to God’s creation’s beauty, thereby glorifying God.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does The Salt Represent In The Bible?

In the Bible, salt represents several spiritual concepts. It symbolizes an everlasting covenant, as mentioned three times in the scriptures. As a preservative, it embodies the faithfulness of Jesus in preserving and sustaining life.

Salt also signifies purity, perfection, wisdom, hospitality, durability, and fidelity. Additionally, due to its high value, salt often formed an important part of offerings, further symbolizing its role in the covenant.

What Does God Say About Being Salt?

In Matthew 5:13, Jesus stated that God said Christians, being the salt, should preserve and enhance the world. Salt symbolizes an everlasting covenant between God and His people, as seen in Numbers 18:19 and 2 Chronicles 13:5.

In Colossians 4:6, Paul advises believers to season their conversation with grace, symbolizing wisdom. Lastly, in Mark 9:49, Jesus mentions that everyone will be “salted with fire,” which can be interpreted as everyone undergoing trials.

What Does Salt Signify Spiritually?

Spiritually, salt signifies an everlasting covenant, represents the faithfulness of Jesus in preserving life, symbolizes purity and perfection, and due to its value, it plays a crucial role in offerings.

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