There is one passage of Scripture I have always wondered about and have never been able to fully understand or explain.
“Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:15
You read that passage and you’re like what? Women saved through child bearing? There was a story of one tribe who believed this meant literal salvation so the women were encouraged to bear as many children as possible so they would have a greater chance of entering heaven. We know that not every woman who gives birth to a child is a Christian or receives eternal life. So this is one of those passages where the context must be studied to see what Paul is teaching. This is where proper hermeneutics comes in. In studying the seven different views of the passage, I stumbled upon an article that really brought this passage clarity and helped me understand it.
Andreas Köstenberger, professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote another amazing commentary on the passage and his explanation of the passage was mind blowing to me. Let’s examine the language of the word “saved” in the passage to help us understand the meaning. “Sozo” in the greek here is not salvation, but is defined in the Strong’s concordance as “to keep safe and sound, rescue from danger or destruction, or to “preserve.” Köstenberger says the meaning here is that “women will be spiritually preserved or protected from Satan by adhering to their God ordained role related to the family and the home.”
Wow. Amazing clarity. This is contrasted with Eve, who transgressed those boundaries and fell into temptation. We can compare the use of the word “sozo” to another passage in 1 Timothy 4:16 “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
“It is not speaking of literal salvation of the hearers, but hoping to protect them and preserve from the false teachers and the devil.”
Let’s break down the rest of the context. In vs 12, Paul lays out the boundaries for women in the church- “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” Then breaking down the reasons behind this in vs 13-14- “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” It was God’s created order from design and also laying out the devastating scenario of the fall in which the reversal of God’s created order took place. So Paul is addressing the glaring question..”How can women today avoid the mistake that Eve made?”
Köstenberger goes on to explain how that question is answered. “By adhering to their God given boundaries (male headship) and tending to their God given responsibilities.” I can say for myself, that all of the times I have fallen into sin or temptation, are times when I have stepped outside of the boundaries of my husband and his headship. He cannot protect me if I don’t follow his leadership. Also, when I am idle and not keeping busy in the home, I am more prone to temptation and sin. We are warned in Scripture about this type of woman-
1 Timothy 5:13 “Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.”
Women who do not stay busy in the home and neglect their “caretaking” roles are more prone to sin. Titus 2:5 lays out our non-negotiable role as women of taking care of our homes so that the Word of God will not be reviled. “To be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
Women who pursue priorities outside of the home and neglect that role are more prone to fall into gossip, adultery, coveting, and temptation to sin altogether. Married women should be under the protective leadership of their husbands and not neglecting their God given roles of “caretaker.” This passage helps us to see what is necessary to preserve women from the destruction of sin. This is not to say women at home will never sin. But in neglecting this duty and stepping out from our head, we are more likely to sin. This is the reason behind my fighting feminism as hard as I am. So many women are being deceived and convinced they need to pursue goals and dreams outside of the home all at the detriment to their family. The Scripture teaches us this is not only to our family’s benefit for the woman to be at home, but also for the woman’s spiritual benefit and preservation. Society has convinced women that they don’t need a man. This is absolutely contrary to the Scripture which teaches that men are are head and a hedge of protection and wisdom.We see the mistake Eve made and we are taught how to avoid that. We can avoid that by submitting to God’s design of male headship and not neglecting our roles of taking care of our homes.
Why are so many women not content to do this? Buying into the lie of society that says being at home is not a worthy enough goal. The lie that says women don’t need a leader and to submit to a man. Taking care of our homes and raising up children should be the most important priority for a godly woman. 1 Timothy 5:14-15 gives us more detail on what encompasses “childbearing” and connects the temptation of straying with their lack of being busy at home.
“Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan.”
“Child bearing is not simply limited to the act of “bearing or giving birth” but is including a woman’s familial and domestic role.” -Andreas Köstenberger
“The home is the domain where a married woman fulfills herself in God’s design.” -John Macarthur
Oh how I pray for women to see this and live this out! God has designed us in a beautiful role and responsibility for birthing, nurturing, raising and discipling our children. We have been given the role of caring for the home, running it well, making it warm and beautiful. We provide for the needs of our family and diligently serve them. The role of women being subordinate to men is not a punishment, but is indeed a privilege. It’s a privilege to have a leader, protector, and provider. May Christ give us joy and and keep us from sin and temptation as we fulfill our glorious role at home!
3 thoughts on “Are women really saved through child bearing?”
Thanks for sharing! -Lauran