13 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
[Greek: ανθρώπων which refers to “human beings” or “people”].
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill
cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on
a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men [Greek: ανθρώπων which refers
to“human beings” or “people”], that they may see your good works, and
glorify your Father which is in heaven.
~ King James Version
All the translations into English that I looked at, except for The
Living Bible, use the word “men” to translate the Greek word “ανθρώπων.”
The word “anthropology,” the study of human beings, is derived from “άνθρωπος.”
13 “You are the world's seasoning, to make it tolerable. If you
lose your flavor, what will happen to the world? And you yourselves
will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 You are the world's light-a city on a hill, glowing in the night
for all to see.
15 Don't hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds
glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.”
~ The Living Bible
Some people think that Jesus uses the word “salt” here to refer to
the “preservation” properties of salt; others think that He is referring
to the “flavor.” Is He saying that His disciples should preserve the
world from decay, or that they should be the world’s seasoning? Perhaps
this passage means that His disciples are to stay involved in their
spreading of the truth, enlightening others, and doing good works in
this fallen world. That there is a special need for them in the world,
and if they fall away and fail to fulfill their calling, they will
become useless, or to quote the above passages: “good for nothing” or
This is further emphasized by the reference to “light”; the good
deeds that are done for all to see are a testimony to God’s power and
benevolence. Believers are to behave in a way that cannot cast doubt or,
as it says in the Bible, cause unbelievers to “blaspheme,” as 2 Samuel
12:14 expresses it: to give “…occasion to the enemies of the Lord to
blaspheme…” – or, in other words, to create a stumbling block by
inappropriate behavior so that others remain alienated to the Lord.
In a nutshell, disciples are, as much as possible, to be like Christ;
and even more so, according to John 14:12:
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the
works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall
he do; because I go unto my Father.
~ King James Version