Matthew 5 – Salt/Light of the Earth

MATT 5:13-16


MATT 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.  {Similar to Mark 9:50 & Luke 14:34-35}

[salt of the earth] – When born again, we become like salt; God giving us the flavor.

[lost his savour] – Salt loses flavor by being left out and unused.  If we don’t use what God has given us, then it’s taken and given to another.  If you don’t use it, you lose it (Matt 25:29).  Salt without flavor is useless, and in the same way, faith without works is dead (James 2:17).

[savour] – savor = flavor, but what does the flavor symbolize?  Is the flavor salvation or passion?  If the “savour” is the same as the “light” of Matt 5:16, then the savor is good works.  This actually is related to salvation since we are justified by works and not faith only (James 2:24).

[wherewith shall it be salted] – How can it be made salty again?  It’s impossible (Heb 6:4-6).

[good for nothing] – Tasteless salt is useless for people, a light covered under a basket is useless for people, and a person who doesn’t do good works is useless to people and God.

[trodden under foot of men] – A symbol of hell, just as in the parable of the talents when the talent was not used (Matt 25:30).  Hell is under our feet; in the heart/center of the earth (Matt 12:40).



MATT 5:14 – Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

[light of the world] – Jesus is also the light of the world (John 8:22 & John 9:5).  Like the salty flavor that God gives us, here, when we are born again, we leave the darkness and enter the light (John 3:20-21).  Coming into the light, repenting, and being reborn actually makes us light like Jesus; born again (John 3:3) as sons of God (1Jn 3:1).

[A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid] – What you do for Christ is meant to be seen by people, for example, preaching.  All spiritual gifts that help you work are to be used so others will be edified (1Cor 14:12).  It doesn’t mean to do things for attention to “have glory of men” (Matt 6:2), but to do God’s works to glorify God (Matt 5:16).

[hill] – What does the hill symbolize?  It’s the same as the candlestick of Matt 5:15: the hill is the foundation of the city.  Obeying Jesus Christ is the foundation (1Cor 3:11); obeying what He said to do is the foundation (Luke 6:48-49 or Matt 7:24-27).  A man who has faith in Christ can’t do it secretly.



MATT 5:15 – Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  {Similar to Mark 4:21, Luke 8:16 & Luke 11:33}

[a candle] – G3088 = a portable oil lamp.  They didn’t have wax candles in biblical times.  The parable of the 10 virgins uses the word “lamp G2985” (Matt 25:3), but it may be similar or the same as G3088.

[bushel] – G3426 = A Roman measuring basket of different sizes used for measuring dry things.  What does the basket symbolize?  The basket symbolizes the same as the thorns in the “Parable of the Sower”.  The thorns are “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (Matt 13:22).  In the same way, the basket chokes the light and the light becomes useless.  The basket/bushel are the cares of the world that a person surrounds them self with.  You should leave those things and follow Jesus, changing foundations (Matt 8:19-22, Luke 12:33 & 18:22).

[candlestick] – G3087 = a lamp stand or candlestick.  What does the lamp stand symbolize?  It’s the same as the hill of Matt 5:14; the lamp stand is the foundation of the lamp.  Jesus Christ is the foundation (1Cor 3:11); obeying what He said to do is the foundation (Luke 6:48-49 or Matt 7:24-27).

 [it giveth light unto all that are in the house] – To give instruction to those nearby (Rom 2:19-20), so that they will “open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Jesus” (Acts 26:18).  Same as the fruit produced for all to eat (Matt 13:23).



MATT 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

[your light] – Same as the salt’s flavor from Matt 5:13.  The light is your obedient act of good works towards God, but in this case specifically, instructing people through preaching (Rom 2:19-20).  When the kingdom is preached, miracles happen (Matt 4:23), and God gets glory.

[glorify your Father which is in heaven] – Not so that YOU will get glory as in Matt 6:2, but that GOD will get the glory.  When Jesus preached and taught, He healed people, which didn’t bring glory to himself, but to Father God (Matt 9:8 & Matt 15:31).  This is a perfect example of how to do what He taught.

Kent Owen

Author: Kent Owen

After college I lived in China for 5 years, working as an English teacher and foreign marketing manager. Now i'm an insurance salesman, but my real passion is Christ and learning the bible.

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