But women will be saved through child bearing — if they continue in faith, love, and holiness with propriety . 1 Timothy 2:15
I shared this passage at Bible study within the context of another issue…namely, the condition of Adam and Eve at the time they chose to disobey God. 1 Timothy 2:11-15.
One dear lady blurted out, “Does that mean that women who cannot bear children are not saved?!”
Uh-oh. However steeped in emotion, it is a logical question.
What I wanted was to take her “…but-I-CAN’T-have-children…” pain away. Wafting through the corridors of my mind was the sentiment, “Does God really say THAT?” Brought up short by the Serpent’s words to Eve, I confess, I wished it said something else. Changing God’s word comes with a heavy penalty so I opted out of that real quick. We cannot pick and choose truth nor amend it when it doesn’t feel cozy. No amount of wanting can change reality. So…
“I did not write it.” Were the words that sprang unchecked from my lips. Yet there it was. The battle to understand what God really said… the truth he intended …had begun.
What does this text really say? What doesn’t it say? …and what on earth are we supposed to do with reality according to God?
Women shall be saved. That is comforting. What kind of “saved”? Strong’s Exhaustive concordance records nine different words all translated, “saved”.
The word used here is [Strong’s #4982]–sozo– to save, rescue, deliver; to heal; by extension: to be in right relationship with God, with the implication that the condition before salvation was one of grave danger or distress.
The offer: Being healed is available. That is to say, we are not healthy at one point but now can be brought into right relationship with God (be made healthy) from “grave danger” (that condition we are saved from). The idea is that one could die from said threat which is certainly distressful. Contextually the text suggests that the danger of death experienced is the very same one Eve got herself into by listening to the Serpent, eating the fruit and making Adam complicit in her error.
I say offer because we have that “IF” qualifier tagging along in the text.
IF a woman continues in faith, love, and holiness with propriety she will be saved through childbearing [strong’s #5042:- childbearing …from 5088 – to give birth, bear ; produce + #1096 – to come into existence, be born; to be, become, happen; (used in certain contexts to introduce a new section or paragraph in Hebrew narrative style “and it came to pass”] . #5042 is only used as “childbearing” once and that is in 1 Timothy 2:15.
Right standing with God is conditional for us women. Whether the issue is longevity (continuing in) or methodology (with propriety), being saved through child-bearing is a difficult teaching.
Note that the woman is responsible for both the longevity and the methodology not the act of saving.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,it is the gift of God;
Ephesians 2:8 (NASB)
For the moment let’s concentrate on what we are responsible for.
Faith: [Strong’s #4102] faithfulness, belief and trust –this trust carries with it the implication that actions based on that trust may follow. Essentially this is a loyalty, being true and trust worthy as we rely on the Mighty One throughout the day …everyday.
Love: [Strong’s# 26 ]The active love of God for his son and his people; The active love his people are to have for God, each other and even enemies. Love is active; real love does things.
Holiness: [Strong’s # 4997] Sanctification (the state of being sanctified- to make something holy, to give official acceptance or approval to something; the state of growing in Divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion.) Holy (in moral quality), consecrated (ceremonially acceptable to God).
This is definitely an on going thing. We say that life is a process, a journey. Here it is a growing. As we repeatedly choose good actions, good alliances, good whatever, we grow. That is, we change over time in a positive way. Picture the upward growth of a grapevine, make that vine a symbol of a woman and you see what kind of growth we’re looking at. Better yet, you see what type of growth we women are supposed to emulate.
Continuing on in these things is our job. Vines repeat their actions towards fruitfulness season after season.
How do we get the job done?
With propriety: appropriateness, reasonableness, mental soundness. This word comes from one that means to be in a right state of mind, to have sober judgment; to be self-controlled.
What I get from this word is that we should live life doing what is right, able to defend our choice, exercise effective boundaries and do everything on purpose. Sounds great but it is extremely difficult for broken people like me to accomplish on our own. No wonder Paul gives Titus the formula for successful women!
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may[a]encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Titus 2:3-5 (NASB)
Now let’s tackle the saving bit. Women are saved (see above definition) through child bearing.
The text might say actually giving birth saves but elsewhere the Scripture declares,
6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6 (NASB)
I know some women who have children and are brazenly opposed to God and other women who have no children who are dear and seek the LORD. Some godly women remain barren for most of their lives and then have children (Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel are examples). Other godly women give a new meaning to the word “fertile” and have lots of children…deep sigh.
A word of caution: It is possible to over think this. As to who is saved and who is not, only God knows. Rest assured he definitely does. Make sure we do what it is we are responsible for and leave the rest in his capable hands.
19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” 2 Timothy 2:19 (NASB)
And we might want to pray for the barren women we know. Isaac did and God gave Rebekah twins.