Bible Question:

What is the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:15? What is the meaning of the phrase "women will be saved In childbearing"?

Bible Answer:

1 Timothy 2:15 is a difficult passage to understand in our English Bibles. The purpose of this article is to explain the meaning of this verse. Our primary focus will be on the meaning of the phrase “women will be saved through childbearing.” The first question to be explained is, “What is the meaning of women will be saved in childbearing?” The second question is, “What is the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:15?

Women Saved Through Childbearing

The Meaning of Women Saved In Childbearing

The most important phrase in 1 Timothy 2:15 is “preserved through the bearing of children.” Here is the verse,

But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. 1 Timothy 2:15 (NASB)

In the KJV, ESV and NIV Bibles the verse reads like this,

Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. 1 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

. . . but she shall be saved through the childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety. 1 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. 1 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

Among these Bibles, the most important phrase reads as, “saved through the childbearing.” To unscramble the meaning of this verse, we need to understand the meaning of two Greek words in this verse and several parts of Greek grammar.

The first Greek word that that we need to understand is translated as “bearing of children” in the NASB and as “childbearing” in other Bibles. This word is not a verb but a noun.[1] It refers to an event, a thing, or a person and not an action. It does not referring to doing something. The Greek word is teknogonia. The word refers to the result of children being born and not the act of bearing  children or the act of giving birth.[2] It refers to the result. We could say it refers to “childbearing” in general.

It is also important to notice another Greek word. The word is “the.” It occurs just before teknogonia. At this point the rules of Greek grammar help us to understand that this event — teknogonia — is not just any event but the event. That is, it refers to a specific childbearing. It refers to the “childbearing.” It indicates there is one special child. While the passage does not name Jesus Christ, it is very clear that in Scripture there is only one special child. He is Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are to understand that “the childbearing” refers to the incarnation of Christ.”[3, 4, 5, 6] Additional proof is provided in the rest of the sentence.

The Meaning of 1 Timothy 2:15

The next important Greek word in the NASB translation of verse 15 is “preserved.” This Greek word for “preserved” is sozo. It means “to save.” That is how the KJV, ESV, and the NIV translated the word. The word usually means “to save” in a spiritual sense. Now we can understand verse 15. First, verse 14 tells us that Eve was deceived and consequently, fell into sin.

And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. 1 Timothy 2:14-15 (NASB)

Then verse 15 widens the discussion to all women. It says that all women can be saved through “the child-born,” that is, through faith in Christ. Then we are told that they will be saved if they continue in faith, love, and sanctity with self-restraint. That is the characteristic of true Christians. True Christians will continue in the faith, display love and sanctification with self-control. For example, 1 John 2:19 says,

They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:19 (NASB)

 

Conclusion

In summary, verse 15 is an encouraging statement that even though Eve, as the legal head of women, fell into sin by being deceived, every woman who places her faith in “the child-born” will be saved.  The mark of true faith is that true faith continues. The evidence of true faith is love and sanctification. So, the meaning of “women saved through childbearing” is that even though Eve was deceived and sinned, all women can be saved through Jesus Christ.

 

References:

1. Balz and Schneider. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans Publishing Com. 1993., p. 340-341.
2. Ibid.
3. Late and rare word (in Aristotle). Here alone in N.T. From teknogonos and this from teknon and root geno. This trans­lation makes it refer to the birth of the Saviour as glorifying womanhood. Robertson, A. T. Word Pictures in the New Testament (Luke 10:41). Broadman Press. 1933. vol., p. 570.
4. Homer Kent. The Pastoral Epistles and Titus. Moody Press. 1975. pp. 118-120.
5. R. C. H. Lenski. Commentary on the New Testament. Hendrickson Publishers. 1998. pp. 573-574.
6. John Stott. The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus. The Bible Speaks Today. Inter-Varsity Press. 1996. pp. 87-88.

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