Matthew 5:13-16

Matthew 5:13-16
Narrative Lectionary 114


13 “You are the saltA of the earth,B but if salt has lost its taste,C how can its saltiness be restored?D

Notes on verse 13a

A “salt” = halas. 8x in NT. From hals (salt or a body of salt water). This is salt, figurative for prudence.
B “earth” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.
C “lost its taste” = moraino. 4x in NT. From moros (dull, stupid, moronic, becoming detached from reality); perhaps from musterion (a mystery or a secret doctrine that requires initiation to learn); from mustes (an initiate); from mueo (to initiate someone into the secrets or mysteries of an order; to instruct learn, be disciples; properly, shutting your mouth and eyes to experience mystery); from muo (shutting eyes or mouth). This is to become a fool, taint, become insipid or useless. It can also mean tasteless.
D “saltiness be restored” = halizo. Related to “salt” in v13. 3x in NT. From hals (see note A above). This is to add salt. It can refer to the addition of salt to make sacrifice.

It is no longer goodE for anything but is thrownF out and trampledG under foot.H

Notes on verse 13b

E “good” = ischuo. From ischus (strength, power, ability; power that engages immediate resistance). This is to be strong or have power. It can also refer to being vigorous or to prevail in a literal or figurative sense.
F “thrown” = ballo. This is to throw, cast, rush, place, or drop. It is throwing, but it could be with more or less velocity and with more or less force/violence.
G “trampled” = katapateo. 5x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + pateo (to read, trample on; to trample literally or figuratively); {from patos (trodden) OR from paio (to strike, smite, sting; a hit like a single blow)}. This is to trample, step on. Figuratively, it is to spurn or reject.
H {untranslated} = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.

14 “You are the lightI of the world.J A cityK

Notes on verse 14a

I “light” = phos. From phao (to shine or make visible, especially with rays of light); from the same as phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is light, a source of light, fire, or radiance. This is light with specific reference to what it reveals. It is luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative.
J “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.
K “city” = polis. This is a city or its inhabitants. It is a town of variable size, but one that has walls. This is where “metropolis” and “police” come from.

builtL on a hillM cannotN be hid.O 

Notes on verse 14b

L “built” = keimai. This is to lie, recline, be set, appointed, destined. It is to lie down literally or figuratively.
M “hill” = oros. Perhaps from oro (to rise); perhaps akin to airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is mountain or hill.
N “cannot” = ou + dunamai. Dunamai is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.
O “hid” = krupto. 18x in NT. This is to hide by covering, secret, hidden things. This is the root of the word “cryptography.”

15 People do not lightP a lampQ and putR it under the bushel basket;S

Notes on verse 15a

P “light” = kaio. 11x in NT. This is to kindle, light, blaze. It is light in a literal or figurative sense.
Q “lamp” = luchnos. 14x in NT. Perhaps from the base of leukos (bright, white, brilliant); from luke (light). This is a lamp that is portable and fueled by oil. It can mean light in a literal or figurative sense.
R “put” = tithemi. This is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.
S “bushel basket” = modios. 3x in NT– in this and its parallel passages in Mark and Luke. From Latin modius (modius, a unit of measurement that is about the same as a peck); from modus (measure, limit, way, method, mode); from Proto-Indo-European mod-os (measure) {from med (to measure) + ius (suffix that makes adjectives)}. This is modius, a unit of measurement for dry goods that is about the same as a peck or two English gallons. It is also a container for dry goods holding tis amount. See

rather, they put it on the lampstand,T and it gives lightU to allV in the house.W 

Notes on verse 15b

T “lampstand” = luchnia. Related to “lamp” in v15. 12x in NT. From luchnos (see note Q above). This is lampstand or candlestick.
U “gives light” = lampo. 7x in NT. This is to give light or shine literally or figuratively. This is where the word “lamp” comes from.
V “all” = pas. This is all or every.
W “house” = oikia. From oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple). This is a house, household, goods, property, family, or means.

16 In the same way, let your light shineX before others,Y so that they may seeZ your goodAA worksBB

Notes on verse 16a

X “shine” = lampo. Same as “gives light” in v15. See note U above.
Y “others” = anthropos. Same as {untranslated} in v13. See note H above.
Z “see” = horao. Related to {untranslated} in v13. See note H above.
AA “good” = kalos. This is good, noble, beautiful, correct, or worthy. This is external signs of goodness like beauty, demonstrations of honorable character, showing moral virtues. A different word, agathos, speaks of intrinsic good.
BB “works” = ergon. From ergo (to work, accomplish, do). This is work, task, deed, labor, effort.

and give gloryCC to your FatherDD in heaven.EE

Notes on verse 16b

CC “give glory” = doxazo. From doxa (glory, opinion, praise, honor, renown; particularly used as a quality of God or manifestation of God – splendor); from dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is to render or hold something as glorious, to glorify, honor, magnify, or celebrate. This is ascribing weight to something by recognizing its true value or essence.
DD “Father” = Pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
EE “heaven” = ouranos. Related to “hill” in v14. May be related to oros (see note M above). This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.

Image credit: “Salt, Four Ways” by Tim Sackton, 2012.

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