A few weeks ago my husband taught an incredible lesson in our Wednesday night Bible Study. He entitled his lesson, “When to Keep Your Mouth Shut”. What a powerful lesson! Since that time I have dwelt on the lesson. I’ve endeavored to do a better job.
This morning I woke up with Colossians 4:6 pounding in my spirit.
The King James Version: Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
The Amplified Bible: Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].
The New International Version: Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
The Message: Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.
As I began to read the various translations two words began to stick out to me grace(gracious) and salt. Although salt is most commonly thought of as a product to make bland foods tastier, less than 5% of salt is used for that purpose. Other purposes are for removing snow and ices from roads to prevent hazardous conditions, softening water, preserving food, and stabilizing soil for construction. About 70% is used in the chemical industry as a source of chlorine. In the form of chlorine salt is used to purify water, sterilization, as a disinfectant and bleaching agent.
Salt has always been an important commodity. Today salt is inexpensive but that wasn't always the case. Salt can be used to preserve foods. The human body requires salt. Hence, it has been an extremely valuable commodity throughout time. In early times Roman soldiers received a salt allowance as part of their pay.
A favorite scripture in thinking about our words or conversation is Proverbs 15:1.
King James Version: A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
New International Version: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The Amplified Bible: A SOFT answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.
The Message: A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.
Just as salt softens, cleans, enhances flavor, and reduce chances for tragedy so should a Christian’s words. We should be gracious – tactful, delicate, showing kindness, compassion and mercy.
Matthew 5:13 admonishes that we are the salt of the earth.
The Amplified Bible: You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.
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 by men.
The Message: Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
King James Version: 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.
A man can never be separated from his words and actions. We have a purpose and without it we are worthless! Let’s flavor, soften, cleanse, and preserve others by allowing our words and actions to draw others to the Lord.