In modern usage, the word salty can have a couple of meanings, depending on your generation. For those of us who grew up playing video games, salty is a way to describe a poor sport who blames the game or the controller, or accuses others of cheating. For people older, if I said someone was salty you would probably hear that they tended to use coarse language or curse.

In either case, the understanding we bring into the conversation is quite different than how the apostle Paul uses the term in his letter to the church in Colossi.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
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 4:2-6

In Paul’s application of the word, salty speech is gracious, thoughtful of others and guided by wisdom. The saltiness here is not an overwhelming, unpleasant salt as to be unhealthy or unappealing. The light touch of salt Paul is describing increases the appeal of the words being shared and makes it easier for the hearer to take in.

He desires, he said of his own ministry, to make things clear, which should be our goal as well. We should be aiming to season our speech in this way so that the message we share is pure, true and appealing for the one who hears it.

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published March 1, 2021