Will Women Be Saved Through Childbearing?

Will Women Be Saved Through Childbearing? September 25, 2019

It’s one of the weirdest verses in the entire Bible. The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy and reminds him to encourage women in Ephesus not to adorn their hair, or to wear expensive clothing, and then after saying he won’t permit a woman to teach drops this bomb:

“But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” [1 Tim. 2:15]

Uhm….what now?

Before I go into what this verse actually means, I have to stop and point out that this verse does not mean that women who bear children will be saved. As if women who remain single or who are barren will not be. Believe it or not, I have heard some very smart Bible teachers use this verse to say exactly that. It’s totally false and completely ridiculous.

It also does not mean that men are saved by their faith in Christ and women are saved by bearing children. Again, I’ve heard that too.

And, this verse does NOT have anything at all to do with Eve and the prophecy about the birth of Christ and the snake biting your heel but your children crushing his head. Again, I’ve heard that one, too, and it’s totally bogus.

So, what does this verse mean?

Well, this is one of those verses that you simply cannot understand if you don’t pay attention to a few details. First, you need to notice that Paul is writing to Timothy who is in Ephesus. That’s the first clue.

The second clue is that the city of Ephesus was ground zero for Artemis worship. This detail is highly significant. We can see just how wonky Artemis worshippers in Ephesus were if we look at Acts 19:28 when the people get upset at Paul and the other Apostles for threatening the craftsmen who made a living thanks to the shrine of Artemis in that city and end up starting a giant mob, chanting “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” for two hours. Yes. Two solid hours of chanting “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” [See Acts 19:28-34] That’s pretty extreme.

Now, a little digging online will show you that Artemis worship was a female cultic religion. Women who worshipped Artemis did so by adorning their hair with ribbons and jewelry and dressing in expensive clothing. Hmm….kinda makes Paul’s statement to Timothy regarding this same detail a bit more relevant, no?

Then, you notice this about Artemis worship: Women who honored Artemis did so in order to seek protection for themselves and their unborn children through the childbirth process.

Aaahhhh…..get it now?

See, Paul was writing to Timothy, who was serving the church in Ephesus where many people – especially the women – came out of [or were otherwise influenced by] the female Artemis cult which dominated their city. [Note: The Temple of Artemis was once one of the Seven Wonders of the World]

Keep in mind that in ancient times childbirth was a bit more dangerous than it is today. Women and children sometimes both died in the birth process. At least one of them – the mother or the child – might not survive the experience in many cases. So, you can imagine that this brought a lot of anxiety to women at the time who got pregnant and were worried that they or their child might die during the birthing process.

So, Paul wants to assure the Christian women in Ephesus that they and their children will be saved through the childbearing process if they simply put their hope and trust in Christ – not Artemis. Therefore, they have no need to adorn their hair or wear elaborate clothing [to appease Artemis] for protection because Christ will be their protection.

For further information about this passage, and other difficult passages of scripture, you may appreciate my book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible” and an excellent book by Jon Zens called “What’s With Paul and Women?” which goes into even more detail about how many of Paul’s statements about women have been taken out of context or simply misunderstood completely over the years.

If you’d like to know about those specific verses where the Bible appears to forbid women to speak or teach in the Church, I’d love to share my 5 Minute Video Series on YouTube which examines each of them in detail.

Bottom line: There are some verses in the Bible that really don’t make any sense unless you take the time to dig a little deeper and look for the actual context. Plus, there are a few verses where some words were intentionally changed or left out to advance a Patriarchical or Anti-LGBTQ agenda.

Read carefully, my friends.

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife are returning to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure.

Keith’s newest book, “Jesus Unveiled: Forsaking Church As We Know It For Ekklesia As God Intended” released on June 9, 2019 on Amazon, and features a Foreword by author Richard Jacobson.
Keith’s Podcast: Heretic Happy Hour Podcast is on iTunes and Podbean. 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • James Elliott

    Once again, i liked how this passage was treated. Just the context alone helps with the understanding that Paul wasn’t be so much anti-woman (especially for the time and place he lived in) as he was more specifically addressing issues around being people of faith in a particular setting. I think there is a certain relevancy as we speak to being people of faith, standing apart from the world around us, and trusting Christ. Maybe the line from the “Little Shop of Horrors” would relate – “Lift up your head, wipe off the mascara…Seymour is standing beside you.”

  • Iain Lovejoy

    I would respectfully suggest that you are wrong in this, because the passage simply cannot grammatically be construed that way.
    The problem is that the passage doesn’t say women (plural) shall be saved but simply “she” (singular) will be saved, and goes on to say this “she” will be saved if “they” (plural) continue in faith etc. The group of people continuing in faith cannot grammatically be the same as the (singular) person bearing the children. Whoever “she” is, unless you re-write the text, she is saved by her children’s faith, not her own.
    The key to understanding the passage to my mind is in identifying who this “she” is. The only possible candidate that I can see is Eve in the previous verse, since no other woman is mentioned, which means Eve’s children who save her are everyone, since Eve is above all else the mother of all mankind.
    Verse 15 appears to me a link passage between chapter 2 and chapter 3 – Eve’s sin, and thus Eve herself, is to be redeemed through her children, exemplified in the people of the church, who are to continue in faith etc as described in the following chapters.
    I do not think there is any particular need to introduce speculation about Artemis etc, which, for the reasons above, is I think necessarily wrong.

  • Herm

    Iain, respectfully, what are we arguing here?

    1 Timothy 2:1-15 NIV
    I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— [2] for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. [3] This is good, and pleases God our Savior, [4] who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, [6] who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. [7] And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles. [8] Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. [9] I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, [10] but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. [11] A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. [12] I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. [13] For Adam was formed first, then Eve. [14] And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. [15] But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

    I am not at all sure where Jesus, the Christ, ever spoke, throughout the four canonized Gospels, to anything Paul, Silas and Timothy addressed to the Thessalonians in regards to worship and/or Eve. Jesus, in counsel with the Spirit of truth (who appeared as a dove in all four Gospels), knew of mankind at minimum 9,000 years earlier in the Fertile Crescent. Jesus did speak to where true worshippers must worship, witnessed to in the Gospel of John.

    John 4:21-26 NIV
    “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. [22] You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. [23] Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. [24] God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” [25] The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” [26] Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

    Would true worshippers, worshipping in the Spirit and in truth, point those who do not know the Spirit to institutions of theology, doctrine, or differing sectarian dogma to know and worship the Father of God? Children do not point those interested in getting to know their family, especially if interested in becoming adopted into their family, to institutions studying their family. Children of God, disciples and siblings of the Messiah, invite all who sincerely want to know their Brother, Father and family Advocate to visit their one Teacher, their one Father and their one Instructor (Matthew 23:8-12) in person.

    Children of God have not, nor ever will be, left orphaned, for certain since Jesus recognized his personal disciples (students), as sisters, brothers and mother … family doing the will of their mutual Father. God is spirit. Children of God are spirit. Mankind is, to our knowledge today, the only animal species on earth gifted the opportunity to share and communicate through an image of God, which is spirit.

    I am interested in how you, an obviously sincere debating student of theology, reconcile differences in Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels and the teaching of apostles following the four Gospels in the “Christian” New Testament.

  • Herm

    Iain, I thought I was replying to you but posted to the article comment section, instead. Please, read my comment/reply as posted two hours following your comment. Thank you.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Sorry, can’t make head nor tail of what you are saying, or how it relates to my own comment.
    In so far as you may think the New Testament letters contradict Jesus, I can’t really comment unless you say how. In general it would be extremely odd if the recorded words of Jesus in the Gospels contradicted the teachings of the New Testament letters, since as far as anyone knows the letters were written first and the gospels afterwards by the very people to whom the letters were written and whom the letters’ authors taught.

  • Herm

    Okay Iain, thanks for trying. Your response pretty much shows how real, as versus theoretical, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is with and in your heart and mind of spirit. I would invite you to seek, knock and ask the Spirit of truth (Google or look up Spirit of truth, Advocate, Counselor, Holy Spirit, and “dove” in your New Testament concordance) and, also, ask yourself who more do you need to lead, teach and guide you forever, beginning today. I will guarantee that if you sincerely invite him to come upon you, and remain, you will then make head and tail of what I am saying. Otherwise, you will remain, as I did from 17 to 50, a student of institutions of theology (the study of God), doctrine and differing sectarian dogma, not a student (disciple) of the Messiah who lives with all authority on earth and in heaven. Jesus is real and available to all who seek him directly. Good luck with trusting the New Testament as being in total agreement with itself, possibly as the inerrant word of God.

  • CO Fines

    Never heard this explanation of this problem passage in First Timothy before, and it sounds plausible, but also sounds like something someone could come up with off the top of their head to justify a position. Never heard of Jon Zens before either. Checking the recommended book out online, he sounds like either my kind of maverick thinker or someone who thinks of themself as maverick but who I would call just plain wacky. No way to tell without reading the book, and I was fortunate to score a used copy online for half price, which I am willing to gamble here. I’ll be looking for sources to substantiate the claims and putting my God given discernment to work. Thanks for the tip, Keith.

  • Herm

    KEITH, I know you’re travelling, and I wish you well, but Disgus just automatically put my last reply to Iain “waiting to be approved by” you. What is going on here? Please help.

  • Debra Simpson

    This is a good explanation. But…can Paul actually promise these women that if they trust in Christ, they and their children will not die in childbirth? I sure haven’t noticed that Jesus just takes our problems away.