Salty Speech?

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:5-6 ESV

Language is full of figures of speech, word pictures, and metaphors. I like to think of the Guardians of the Galaxy character Drax the Destroyer. He took everything literally. One character from the show told the main character that figures of speech “went over his head”. Drax responded by saying, “Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it.” You might not be as bad as Drax in picking up metaphors but sometimes figures of speech are “too fast for our reflexes”.

So what does Paul mean by salty speech? He obviously does not mean that we throw salt at people while talking. that would turn a lot of people off to your message. How does salt affect speech? The context of the phrase tells us how to better interpret the figure of speech.

Paul wanted his readers to speak wisely when talking to unbelievers. He also wanted the readers to be able to answer the outsiders well. So salt has something to do with speaking wisely and being able to answer people well.

Understanding the historical context of salt behind this phase is also valuable. Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient Roman world. So much so that soldiers were paid in salt and covenants were made in salt. [1] Salt was also used to preserve food so that it would not spoil as quickly. People did this until the invention of refrigerators. Salt is also used to make food taste better. The last image is probably what Paul has in mind.

When talking to people outside of the faith, we need to fill our conversations with wisdom, “seasoned with salt”, to better answer questions that are presented to us by outsiders of the Christian faith. Wisdom and truth makes the conversation interesting to unbelievers so that they will present to us opportunities to share the gospel. Paul doesn’t want us to use curse words or “salty language” like sailors.

We use wisdom, apologetics, and other salty topics like a hook so that we can share with the unbeliever that 1. God is good. 2. We are not. 3. God is going to judge the world for its sin. 4. God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to die on a cross, and raise from the dead to pay the penalty for our sin. 5. They need to respond by repenting of their sin and putting their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I hope that this has blessed you. Please feel free to comment in the comment section. Please no cursing for pornography. Also feel free to share this post to your friends who need it, or like it. If you want to contact me, you can contact me at with any question you want. Also please feel free to look at the resource page to look at The Using Hermeneutics Series. the book series is designed to teach you biblical interpretation through demonstration. Lord bless you.


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