“Let your speech be always with grace” (Jan-Feb 2017, pp5-8). May I comment on Brother Tony Lines’ explanation regarding the addition of salt to the minchah or meal offering (“meat” in the AV). In Leviticus 2:13 “every oblation of thy [meal] offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou su er the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy [meal] offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt o er salt”. is statute highlights the savoury property of salt – exactly in accord with Colossians 4:6. “grace” and “salt” are parallel attributes of godly speech “that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man”. As Brother Tony points out, our speech ought to emulate Christ’s gracious words.

The paragraph on p6 stating that salt is sodium chloride and discusses its properties needs clarifcation. Salt in Biblical times was not pure sodium chloride as we use today; it contained salts of potassium, calcium and magnesium, the latter two being less soluble than sodium and potassium (alkali metals) salts and when the sodium and potassium were leached out over time, it became worthless. “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 (Matt 5:13).

The comment that salt “would assist with the burning in the fire” needs clarifying. Yes, sodium metal is highly reactive and burns explosively but there is no elemental sodium in sodium chloride (NaCl). Sodium chloride is very stable and unreactive because the sodium is in its ionic form. Once elemental sodium is oxidised it is neutral in all respects, extremely so. It does have one valuable property; its solubility. NaCl is very soluble and absorbs water from meat and fish, fungi and bacteria. Bacteria and fungi are decomposers and NaCl absorbs water from all sorts of food by dehydrating it and it has the same effect on bacteria and most other microorganisms. It preserves most tissue and it is savoury. It is therefore an excellent analogy for the gospel.

Incidentally, I recently injured my finger which became badly infected. My GP prescribed an old remedy along with the antibiotics. The old remedy was to soak the finger in a strong salt solution. It worked like a dream. It dried up many of the ‘bugs‘ in the wound.

Not only are we to be “the salt of the earth”, when Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James and John (Matt 4:18-19) he said, “I will make you fishers of men”. The Greek for “fishers” is alieus or “I will make you salters of men”(see Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary of the NT p16) – ‘I will teach you how to preserve men’. The “salt (alas) of the earth” conveys the same idea. All the words for salt and salters are pronounced with an h as halas and halius from which chemistry derives the name, the halogens, the group of elements that includes chlorine which when it reacts (also violently) producing chloride compounds. The reaction of sodium and chlorine is explosive but the product is neutral.

Also, the prohibition of leaven and honey is similar but for reverse reasons: leaven (yeast) has powerful enzymes which break down starches into simple sugars and then convert the sugars into ethanol, water and carbon dioxide. Honey is a mix of simple sugars that are derived from double and larger sugar molecules. Enzymes in the bees’ gut break the larger sugar molecules into glucose and fructose. So leaven is a powerful decomposer; honey is the product of decomposition. Same ban but for opposite reasons.