Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth:

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

You yourselves are the wit with of the earth. When, however, that wit is made insipid in what will it be seasoned? In nothing is it still effective except being tossed out to be trampled down bu these people.

KJV : 

Matthew 5:13 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.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is one of the most fun verses of Jesus's words. It blends a number of multiple meanings together and plays on its words. The KVJ translation goes straight to the easiest, most consistent meaning, but that meaning doesn't completely work. Nor were these words chosen for their obvious meaning.

The Greek metaphorical meaning of salt is "wit." So, since Jesus was using the term as a metaphor, he is primarily praising people for their cleverness. However, salt had other meanings in Jesus 's era as well. It was used as money to pay wages. Our word "salary" comes from the Roman word for salt. It was also the most common preservative for food and used to temper blades. So Jesus might have also been implying that people were valuable, as a reservoir of common sense and preservers of tradition. The fact that this verse is about with and knowledge makes its connection to the next verse, Matthew 5:14, much clearer.

Jesus uses two different verbs to play with the meaning of "salt." The verb translated as "lose its  savour/saltiness" means "to be made a fool" and "to make insipid." The choice of this word makes Jesus use of "salt" as a metaphor for "wit" fairly clear. The conjunction here is not "if" but more like our "when," that is, something likely to happen. Chemically, salt cannot lose its saltiness in the same way that a clever person can lose their common sense. But after using a verb that moves the meaning of "salt" to "wit," Jesus uses another uncommon verb that is translated as "salted,"  that refers to using sales as a purifying meat for sacrifice and tempering blades that moves the meaning back to "salt" in the sense of "preserve."

The two Greek words translated as "for nothing" in the phrase "good for nothing" literally means "in nothing" but the "good" should be "strong." "Good for nothing" is a common English phrase, but doesn't quite capture the sense of "strong in nothing" if we are referring to the strength of "wit" and "preservation."  The phrase "in nothing" could just as easily mean "in no matter" or "in regards to no one."

NIV : 

Matthew 5:13  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.

NLT : 

Matthew 5:13 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.

Wordplay: 

 Salt is a metaphor for wit and for money.

The word translated as "lost savor" means "play the fool."

The word translated as "shall be salted" also implies "to santify" or "to temper."

The word "to be good" means  "to be worth," which is a play on the meaning of salt as money. 

The use of the "salt" and "trodden upon" metaphors and a play on the two different meanings of  the word translated as "to be salted." 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ὑμεῖς (pron 2nd pl nom) "Ye" is from humeis, which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you." This version of hte pronoun is only used for emphasis.

ἐστὲ (2nd pl pres ind act) "Are" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

τὸ (article sg neut nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ἅλας [3 verses](noun sg neut nom) "The salt" is halas, which means "salt", "salt-rock", "brine," and is a metaphor for "sales" and "wit."

τῆς (article sg fem gen) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

γῆς: (noun sg fem gen) "Of the earth" is ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

ἐὰν (conj) "If" is from ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

δὲ (partic) "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

τὸ (article sg neut nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

ἅλας" [3 verses](noun sg neut nom) The salt" is from halas, which means "salt", "salt-rock", "brine," and is a metaphor for "sales" and "wit."

μωρανθῇ (verb 3rd sg aor subj pass of μωραίνω) "Lost his savour" is from moraino, which means "to play a fool", "to make foolish,"  "to act foolishly", "to be silly," and "to be insipid."

ἐν (prep) "-with" is from en (with tis below), which mea amdens "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τίνι (irreg sg dat) "Where-" is from tis (with en above) which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

λισθήσεται;[2 verses] (3rd sg fut ind pass) "Salted" is from halizo, which has two separate meanings, "to salt," as in salting food, and "to gather together," "to collect [pieces]," and "to meet together (passive)." The passive form of the "salted" form only typically applies to sheep, that is, putting out salt for them. It is used in the Septuagint ( Exo 30:35, Lev 2:13, Isa 51:6, Eze 16:4 ) to translate the Hebrew malach, which is translated as "to be rubbed with salt," "to be tempered," and "to be dissipated."

εἰς (prep) "For" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

οὐδὲν (adj sg neut nom) "Nothing" is from oudeis which means "no one", "not one", "nothing", "naught", "good for naught," and "no matter."

ἰσχύει (3rd sg pres ind act) "It is good" is from ischuo, which means "to be strong", "to be powerful", "to prevail", "to be worth," and "to be equivalent to."

ἔτι (adv) "It is thenceforth" is from eti, which means "yet" and "still" (with the Present), "already" (with the Past), "yet" and "longer" (with the Future), "no longer" (with a negative), and"still" and "besides" (of degree).

εἰ μὴ (conj) "But" is from ei me, which is the conjunction that means literally "if not" and is usually translated as "except" or "unless." With de in between the sense is "otherwise." The εἰ is the particle used usually usually to express a condition "if" or or  indirect questions, "whether." The (me) is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no."

βληθὲν (part sg aor pass neut nom) "Cast" is from ballo, which means "to throw", "to let fall", "to put", "to pour," or "to cast." "Cast" is from ballo, which means "to throw", "to let fall", "to put", "to pour," or "to cast."

ἔξω (adv) "Out" is from exô (exo), which means "out of a place", "outside", "external things," and "beyond a time."

καταπατεῖσθαι [3 verses] (verb pres inf mp) "To be trodden" is katapateo, which means "to trod underfoot", "trample," and "trample down." It's literal meaning is "to walk down." It is also a metaphor for treating someone rudely or spurning them, treating them with neglect.

ὑπὸ (prep) "Under" is from hypo, which means "by", "before,' and "under," (with genitive and passive verbs of cause, as here). It means literally "by showing."

τῶν (article pl masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- u

ἀνθρώπων. (noun pl masc gen) "Men" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

KJV Analysis: 

Ye -- The pronoun "ye" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural.

are -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

salt -- "Salt" means "salt", "salt-rock", "brine," and is a metaphor for "sales" and "wit." Salt was used as money to pay wages. Our word "salary" comes from the Roman word for salt. Salt was also the most common preservative for food.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

earth: -- The word translated as "earth" means "land," "dirt," and the "planet." It is like the English word for "earth" except that it has a little more sense of arable land. A key difference between the next verse and this one is the use of the term "earth" here, which refers to the planet. The next verse uses the term "world" which refers to the world order of men. By using the term for the planet here, Christ is saying the people are the salt of the natural world, the God-made planet, not society. The following verse refers to society (for more on the difference between earth and the world see this article).

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  

if -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

the - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

salt -- "Salt" means "salt", "salt-rock", "brine," and is a metaphor for "sales" and "wit." Salt was used as money to pay wages. Our word "salary" comes from the Roman word for salt. Salt was also the most common preservative for food.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action competed in the past. The tense here is an action at a point in time, past, present or future.

lost his savour, -- (MM) The Greek word translated as "lost his savor," means "to make a fool," or, in the passive, as it is here, "to be made a fool." The from is something that might take place at some time, as would be assumed with a clause beginning with "when" in English. The choice of this words makes Jesus use of "salt" as a metaphor for wit clear.

where- -- The word translated as "where" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who", "what", or even "why".  Here the phrase something like "in what."

-with -- The word translated as "with" means "in," "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." The Greek words translated as "wherewith" could mean a range of things from simply "in what" or "with anything." Both words have a wide range of meanings.

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

it  -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

be  -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

salted? -- (MM) The word translated as "made salty" is another play on words, and, as usual, one that only works in Greek. The Greek verb means "to salt" but it is the passive, future tense. The passive form is ujsually only used for putting out salt for sheep. However, this Greek verb is used to translated a Hebrew word that means "to be rubbed with salt" t and "to dissipate." The "be rubbed with salt" use in the OT is primarily to purify meat for sacrifice but also to its role in tempering blades.

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

is -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb.

thenceforth  -- "Thenceforth  " is an adverb that means "yet" and "still", "already",  "longer", "no longer" (with a negative), "still" and "besides". 

good -- The verb translated as "it is good" means "It is strong." The phrase is not from the verb "is" with the adjective "good." This has to be expressed as a verbal phrase because to verb in English means "be strong." This verb means "to be strong in body", "to be powerful," or "to be worth." Christ uses it primarily to mean "strong in body."

for -- (WW) The word translated as "for" it not the usual word translated as "for," but a word that primarily means "into," and which usually has the sense of "in." However, it is a different "in" that the word above in "in what." It can mean "for" when describing a purpose but has a number of other uses as well.

nothing, -- The word translated as "nothing" also means "no one" and can mean, by itself, "good for nothing." If this was used with a verb form of "to be," the "good for nothing" meaning would be the clear winner. Unfortunately, it is not.

but -- (WW) Two Greek words are translated as "but" is usually translated as "except." They mean "if not." The "not" is the negative of opinion, so the sense is, "not thought." This plays with the whole "wit" idea. This is not either of the two common words translated as "but."

to -- (WF) This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English  but the verb is a participle ("tossing") not an infinitive.

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

cast --  The word translated as "cast" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss" but some that we don't have, such as "to fall." The form is passive and in the form of an adjective modifying "salt." This verb is often translated as "cast out" without the explicit "out" added here.

out -- The word translated as "out" means "out of a place" and "outside."

and  -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "and" in the Greek source.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the following verb requires a "to" in English.

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

trodden -- The word for "trodden"means "to trod underfoot", "trample," and "trample down." It is also is also a metaphor for treating someone rudely or spurning them, treating them with neglect. It is an uncommon word for Jesus, used only three times. It is in a tense indicating something that happens at some time, which is the form required by the untranslated "if" or "except" above.

under -- The word translated as "under" primarily means "by", "under," "down under," or "with" (with the genitive and a passive verb). Its primary meaning is "under" both in the sense of moving under, being under, and being under different forms of compulsion.

foot -- There is no Greek word "foot" in this verse, but it is implied by the verb.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

men. -- The Greek word for "men" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples". 

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" seems to indicate an action completed in the past, but the tense is something happening at a point in time past, present, or future.
  • MM -- Many Meanings -- This verb translated as "lost its savour" has several different meanings that work here and is a form of wordplay.
  • MM -- Many Meanings -- This verb translated as "salted" also has several different meanings that work here.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "for" means "into."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "but" means "except."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "to" indicates an infinitive verb, but the verb
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "men" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

You -- The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural.

are -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

salt -- "Salt" means "salt", "salt-rock", "brine," and is a metaphor for "sales" and "wit." Salt was used as money to pay wages. Our word "salary" comes from the Roman word for salt. Salt was also the most common preservative for food.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

earth: -- The word translated as "earth" means "land," "dirt," and the "planet." It is like the English word for "earth" except that it has a little more sense of arable land. A key difference between the next verse and this one is the use of the term "earth" here, which refers to the planet. The next verse uses the term "world" which refers to the world order of men. By using the term for the planet here, Christ is saying the people are the salt of the natural world, the God-made planet, not society. The following verse refers to society (for more on the difference between earth and the world see this article).

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  

if -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

the - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

salt -- "Salt" means "salt", "salt-rock", "brine," and is a metaphor for "sales" and "wit." Salt was used as money to pay wages. Our word "salary" comes from the Roman word for salt. Salt was also the most common preservative for food.

loses its saltiness, -- (MM) The Greek word translated as "lost its saltiness," means "to make a fool," or, in the passive, as it is here, "to be made a fool." The from is something that might take place at some time, as would be assumed with a clause beginning with "when" in English. The choice of this word makes Jesus use of "salt" as a metaphor for "wit "clear. Only in this passage is this Greek word ever translated as "to make tasteless" from the verb's sense of " and "to be made insipid."  Chemically, salt cannot lose its saltiness in the same way that a clever person can lose their common sense.

how  -- (WW) This how is from a two-word phrase that means  "in what."  The "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for."  The "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who", "what", or even "why".

can -- (WW) This helping verb here should be "will" to indicate that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. There is not verb indicating "can."

it  -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

be  -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

made salty? -- (MM) The word translated as "made salty" is another play on words, and, as usual, one that only works in Greek. The Greek verb means "to salt" but it is the passive, future tense. The passive form is usually only used for putting out salt for sheep. However, this Greek verb is used to translate a Hebrew word that means "to be rubbed with salt" and "to dissipate." The "be rubbed with salt" used in the OT is primarily to purify meat for sacrifice but also to its role in tempering blades.

again -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "again" in the Greek source.

It -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

is -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb.

no longer -- "Not longer" is an adverb that means "yet" and "still", "already",  "longer", "no longer" (with a negative), "still" and "besides". The "no longer" sense comes from the "nothing" that is changed to "anything" here. 

good -- The verb translated as "it is good" means "It is strong." The phrase is not from the verb "is" with the adjective "good." This has to be expressed as a verbal phrase because to verb in English means "be strong." This verb means "to be strong in body", "to be powerful," or "to be worth." Christ uses it primarily to mean "strong in body."

for -- (WW) The word translated as "for" it not the usual word translated as "for," but a word that primarily means "into," and which usually has the sense of "in." However, it is a different "in" that the word above in "in what." It can mean "for" when describing a purpose but has a number of other uses as well.

anything, -- The word translated as "anything" also means "no one" and :nothing". It can mean, by itself, "good for nothing." If this was used with a verb form of "to be," the "good for nothing" meaning would be the clear winner. Unfortunately, it is not.

except --  Two Greek words are translated as "but" is usually translated as "except." They mean "if not." The "not" is the negative of opinion, so the sense is, "not thought." This plays with the whole "wit" idea. This is not either of the two common words translated as "but."

to -- (WF) This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English  but the verb is a participle ("tossing") not an infinitive.

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

thrown --  The word translated as "thrown" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss" but some that we don't have, such as "to fall." The form is passive and in the form of an adjective modifying "salt." This verb is often translated as "tossed out" without the explicit "out" added here.

out -- The word translated as "out" means "out of a place" and "outside."

and  -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "and" in the Greek source.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the following verb requires a "to" in English.

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

trampled -- The word for "trampled" means "to trod underfoot", "trample," and "trample down." It is also is also a metaphor for treating someone rudely or spurning them, treating them with neglect. It is an uncommon word for Jesus, used only three times. It is in a tense indicating something that happens at some time, which is the form required by the untranslated "if" or "except" above.

under -- The word translated as "under" primarily means "by", "under," "down under," or "with" (with the genitive and a passive verb). Its primary meaning is "under" both in the sense of moving under, being under, and being under different forms of compulsion.

foot -- (There is no Greek word "foot" in this verse, but it is implied by the verb.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

untranslated "men"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "men" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples". 

NIV Translation Issues: 

9
  • MM -- Many Meanings -- This verb translated as "loses its saltiness" has several different meanings that work here and is a form of wordplay.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "how" means "in what."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "can" should be "will" to portray the future tense of the verb.
  • MM -- Many Meanings -- This verb translated as "made salty" also has several different meanings that work here.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "for" means "into."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "to" indicates an infinitive verb, but the verb
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "men" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "men"  is not shown in the English translation.

NLT Analysis: 

You -- The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural.

are -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

salt -- "Salt" means "salt", "salt-rock", "brine," and is a metaphor for "sales" and "wit." Salt was used as money to pay wages. Our word "salary" comes from the Roman word for salt. Salt was also the most common preservative for food.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

earth: -- The word translated as "earth" means "land," "dirt," and the "planet." It is like the English word for "earth" except that it has a little more sense of arable land. A key difference between the next verse and this one is the use of the term "earth" here, which refers to the planet. The next verse uses the term "world" which refers to the world order of men. By using the term for the planet here, Christ is saying the people are the salt of the natural world, the God-made planet, not society. The following verse refers to society (for more on the difference between earth and the world see this article).

But -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. 

untranslated "in"-- (MW) The untranslated word  "in" also means "within", "with," or "among."

what -- The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who", "what", or even "why".

good --  The verb translated as "good" means "It is be strong." The phrase is not from the verb "is" with the adjective "good." This has to be expressed as a verbal phrase because to verb in English means "be strong." This verb means "to be strong physically", "to be powerful," or "to be worth." Christ uses it primarily to mean "strong in body."

untranslated "yet"-- (MW) The untranslated word "yet" and "still", "already",  "longer", "no longer" (with a negative), "still" and "besides". The "no longer" sense comes from the "nothing" that is changed to "anything" here.

untranslated "in"-- (MW) The untranslated word  "in," also means "within", "with," or "among."

untranslated "nothing"-- (MW) The untranslated word "nothing" also means "no one" and "no man". It can mean, by itself, "good for nothing."

is -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "is" in the Greek source.

untranslated "the"-- (MW) The untranslated word "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

salt -- "Salt" means "salt", "salt-rock", "brine," and is a metaphor for "sales" and "wit." Salt was used as money to pay wages. Our word "salary" comes from the Roman word for salt. Salt was also the most common preservative for food.

if -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

has -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action competed in the past. The tense here is an action at a point in time, past, present or future.

lost its flavor  -- (MM) The Greek word translated as "lost its flavor" means "to make a fool," or, in the passive, as it is here, "to be made a fool." The from is something that might take place at some time, as would be assumed with a clause beginning with "when" in English. The choice of this words makes Jesus use of "salt" as a metaphor for wit clear. Only in this passage is this Greek word ever translated as "to make tasteless" from the verb's sense of " and "to be made insipid."  Chemically, salt cannot lose its saltiness in the same way that a clever person can lose their common sense.

Can you make -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "can you make" in the Greek source.

it  --  (WF) This is from the third-person, singular form of the passive verb. It is not the object of the verb.

salty  -- (MM, WF) The verb translated as "salty" is another play on words, and, as usual, one that only works in Greek. The Greek verb means "to salt" but it is the passive, future tense. The passive form is usually only used for putting out salt for sheep. However, this Greek verb is used to translate a Hebrew word that means "to be rubbed with salt" and "to dissipate." The "be rubbed with salt" used in the OT is primarily to purify meat for sacrifice but also to its role in tempering blades.

again -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "again" in the Greek source.

untranslated "except"-- (MW) The untranslated words "except." from their literal meaning of "if not." The "not" is the negative of opinion, so the sense is, "not thought." This plays with the whole "wit" idea. This is not either of the two common words translated as "but."

It -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

will  -- (WT) This helping verb indicates the future tense of the verb but the verb is the present tense.

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

thrown --  (WF) The word translated as "thrown" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss" but some that we don't have, such as "to fall." The form is passive and in the form of an adjective modifying "salt." This verb is often translated as "tossed out" without the explicit "out" added here. The form is not an active verb, but an infinitive.

out -- The word translated as "out" means "out of a place" and "outside."

and  -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "and" in the Greek source.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the following verb requires a "to" in English.

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

trampled -- The word for "trampled" means "to trod underfoot", "trample," and "trample down." It is also is also a metaphor for treating someone rudely or spurning them, treating them with neglect. It is an uncommon word for Jesus, used only three times. It is in a tense indicating something that happens at some time, which is the form required by the untranslated "if" or "except" above.

under -- The word translated as "under" primarily means "by", "under," "down under," or "with" (with the genitive and a passive verb). Its primary meaning is "under" both in the sense of moving under, being under, and being under different forms of compulsion.

foot -- There is no Greek word "foot" in this verse, but it is implied by the verb.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

untranslated "men"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "men" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples". 

as worthless. -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "as worthless." in the Greek source.

NLT Translation Issues: 

19
  •  
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "in" before "what" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yet"  is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "nothing" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "is" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "salt" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "has" seems to indicate an action completed in the past, but the tense is something happening at a point in time past, present, or future.
  • MM -- Many Meanings -- This verb translated as "lost its flavor" has several different meanings that work here and is a form of wordplay.
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "can you make" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "it" is not the object of the verb but its subject.
  • MM -- Many Meanings -- This verb translated as "salty" also has several different meanings that work here.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "salty" is not an adjective but a future, passive verb, "will be salted."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "again" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "except" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "will" seems to indicate the future tense, but the tense is present.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "thrown" is not an active verb but an infinitive.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "men" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "men"  is not shown in the English translation.
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "as worthless" doesn't exist in the source.

The Spoken Version: 

“You all are,” he continued affectionately, “the salt of the earth!” He tapped his temple knowingly to make it clear he was referring to the salt of their common sense. “But—” he said, striking his forehead with his palm as if something suddenly occurred to him. “What if?” He asked, “The salt is insipid? Played for a fool?”
The crowd laughed.
“In what,” the speaker demanded, “is it going to get salty?” He tapped his forehead again. “In nothing,” he said sadly. “It is worth nothing except being dumped out.” He made the motion of throwing out trash. “And being walked on by people.” He tramped around to illustrate.

evidence: 

11.00

Front Page Date: 

Apr 19 2020