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Why are we told to “let your words be seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6)?

let your words be seasoned with salt

Our words and the way we communicate them are important. Believers are exhorted in Colossians 4:6, “Let your words be seasoned with salt.” As believers, our words should reflect to others the truth of the gospel. They should reveal how this gospel has transformed our lives. Our words should impact our conversations for the better as we bring a different “flavor” to our interactions, build others up, and share as well as defend the gospel.

The words we speak reflect what is in our hearts, “for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45). When we trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, we become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our lives are transformed; we have been saved from our sins and brought from death to life (Ephesians 2:6). The Holy Spirit lives within us (Romans 8:11). For these reasons, believers’ words should always be “seasoned with salt.”

Jesus called believers to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). Salt is an important mineral; it preserves food, brings out flavor, soothes and heals, and is necessary for life: it balances fluids in the blood and is vital for nerve and muscle function. The salt of the earth metaphor applies to the way believers talk as well as how they live, as Paul indicates: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5–6). The content and tone of our words should impact those around us for the better, especially unbelievers.

A believer’s words are to be seasoned with salt so that we can “know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6). Sharing the gospel includes knowing it, sharing it accurately, and doing so with a humble and gracious attitude—in a palatable way. Believers are called to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). Having an unwholesome, distasteful attitude is not becoming to the gospel of Christ; unsavory motives and attitudes do not produce words “seasoned with salt.”

While not every conversation must specifically be about God, every conversation should be seasoned with salt. We should always be ready to answer others’ questions about our faith, and our words should always reflect Christ, bringing a different “flavor” to what might otherwise be an unsavory conversation. What a Christian says and how he says it ought to add value to a conversation just as salt does for food.

Just the right amount of salt in food brings out flavor and transforms a meal. Our words can be seasoned with salt by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and being gracious in every circumstance. As Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Just as salt has healing properties, our words should bring healing and goodness, encouraging its hearers and pointing them to the One who is vital for life.

Jesus said, “Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other” (Mark 9:50b). What we say and how we say it should always be seasoned with the salt of grace and peace. In order to give a seasoned answer, we must present what we say and how we say it in a way that reflects Christ. May we all prayerfully consider our hearts before we engage our mouths and reflect what the psalmist says in Psalm 19:14: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

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Questions about Colossians

Why are we told to “let your words be seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6)?
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This page last updated: February 7, 2023