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1 Timothy 2:15

ESV Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
NIV But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
NASB But women will be preserved through childbirth—if they continue in faith, love, and sanctity, with moderation.
CSB But she will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with good sense.
NLT But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.
KJV Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

What does 1 Timothy 2:15 mean?

This verse has often been confusing to readers. This is not surprising, since it is often debated among translators. The Greek of this passage does not provide explicit clarity as to what Paul means by these phrases. There are several ways in which this first statement about being "saved through childbearing" can be interpreted, and a few which are clearly not part of Paul's intent here.

First of all, this is clearly not a reference to salvation, in the sense of heaven and hell. Women are not "saved" in that sense by having children, but by Christ, by grace through faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8–9).

Some readers believe Paul is referring to women being kept safe through the physical process of childbirth. That is, that their love and self-control will keep them alive during the dangerous process of labor and delivery. This is possible, but seems highly unlikely given the context of both this passage and the rest of the New Testament.

Others think Paul might have been referring to women avoiding the dangers of the world by remaining at home to raise children. The idea would be that a woman who focuses on godly behavior in the home, as a mother, is "preserved" from the kind of deception and failure Eve experienced. This, again, is possible, but also seems unlikely.

A more likely interpretation is that Paul is, in this first phrase, still referring to Eve when he mentions "salvation." Paul has just referenced the Old Testament account of Adam and Eve. Adam was formed first, then Eve. Eve was then deceived by the Devil (1 Timothy 2:14). Yet, according to this view of Paul's words, Eve can continue her legacy through her generations of children (Genesis 3:16; 4:1–3). The term sōthēsetai, often translated as "save," can also mean "to preserve, to keep safe."

By this account, then, women are not "saved" through children in the spiritual sense, but rather leave a legacy or are preserved through bearing children. The same is true of Eve, who had an opportunity to leave a legacy despite her sin. The salvation in this case is that of heritage: women who lead godly lives and raise children are blessed with a special kind of "preservation" in the future.

According to Paul, this legacy is not automatic, but conditional. Women not only have influence through their children; they also must live godly lives.
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