What does Luke 14:35 mean?
ESV: It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
NIV: It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear."
NASB: It is useless either for the soil or the manure pile, so it is thrown out. The one who has ears to hear, let him hear.'
CSB: It isn’t fit for the soil or for the manure pile; they throw it out. Let anyone who has ears to hear listen."
NLT: Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!'
KJV: It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
NKJV: It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Verse Commentary:
Jesus finishes this lesson on the kingdom of God with a warning against living as a useless disciple. Being His disciple requires humility, generosity, attentiveness, and loyalty (Luke 14:1–33). Anything less is like salt that provides no flavor and no preservation: it's pointless and defeats its own purposes.

People in Jesus' time were not able to fully purify salt. They took it from dried pools near the Dead Sea where the water had evaporated and left mineral deposits. The salt always included some of those minerals. Sometimes, the mixture got wet and the salt washed out, leaving useless dirt and sand.

Jesus-followers are supposed to be distinct, as salt is. They are supposed to be humble, giving, ready to obey God, and willing to sacrifice everything for Him. If they do not maintain these qualities, they prove that they are not useful. They are like minerals from which all the salt has rinsed away; they are worthless for their intended purpose (Luke 14:34).

Even if a Jesus-follower "loses their salt," that doesn't mean they have lost their salvation. Jesus is talking about a faithful life of service, and salt can always be replenished. The Holy Spirit guides us into truth (John 16:13), especially the truth about Jesus (John 15:26). He is our helper who will be with us forever (John 14:16). He can replace our "salt."

In Luke 14, Jesus describes what people need to do to inherit the blessings of the kingdom of God: they need to value the things that God values and live their lives accordingly. In Luke 15, Jesus explains His part. Like a shepherd with a lost sheep or a woman with a lost coin, He will search energetically for the lost souls who need Him. Like the father of a son who has rejected him, Jesus will wait until we repent and return to Him, humbler and better able to accept His gifts.
Verse Context:
Luke 14:34–35 finishes Jesus' teaching on the serious consequences of following Him. His followers need to be willing to sacrifice their families, their lives, and all the possessions they own (Luke 14:25–33). Here, Jesus explains that it does no good to jump into the Christian life and then slowly drift away. Citizens of the kingdom of God need to remain "salty"—be strong in the faith. If they don't, at best they are useless; at worst they prove they aren't really Christians. Next, Jesus presents three parables about how God actively seeks the lost. This metaphor of salt is also in Matthew 5:13.
Chapter Summary:
A Pharisee invites Jesus to a formal dinner. There, Jesus teaches lessons using invitations and feasts as a theme. These emphasize humility and the importance of not making excuses. After the dinner, Jesus warns that those who seek to follow Him will experience hardship. Believers should "count the cost" and understand what aspects of this world they may have to give up.
Chapter Context:
Luke 14 continues Jesus' doctrinal march to Jerusalem and the cross. Luke 14 and 15 contain the second grouping of one miracle and a series of discussions about the kingdom of God and salvation; Luke 13:10–35 is the first. Next will be a collection of warnings about rejecting God's kingdom (Luke 16:1—17:10) and two more sets of lessons about the kingdom and salvation, each beginning with a single miracle (Luke 17:11—18:34; 18:35—19:27). After this comes Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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