What does 1 Timothy 2:15 mean?
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.
NKJV: Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
First Timothy 2:9–15 is one of the more hotly-debated passages of the New Testament. This section provides instruction on the role of women in the context of Christian worship. Despite some phrases which are unclear, the core message is fairly well-defined. Women are not to focus on dramatic appearance or behavior, but to put their efforts into godliness and good works. Women are also not to override the spiritual leadership of men. Understanding the cultural and scriptural context resolves most objections to the text, but this passage remains a source of contention in the modern church.
Chapter Summary:
In this passage, Paul encourages Timothy to lead his church in prayer, including prayers for government and worldly leaders. This flows naturally from the Christian view of humanity, which sees all men as loved by God and in need of the same salvation from sin. A large portion of the chapter is taken by Paul's comments on the role of women in worship services. Rather than focusing on flashy clothes and dramatic behavior, women are to be modest and godly. In addition, women should not take on specific spiritual leadership roles reserved for men.
Chapter Context:
In chapter 1, Paul charged Timothy to hold fast against false teaching. In chapter 2, Paul begins to lay out the practical steps a church needs to take in order to prevent false doctrine from taking over. This begins with prayer, including prayers for leaders outside the church, so Christians can be left in peace. Paul also explains the separation between the roles of men and women in worship services, which should be read in the context of his comments in chapter 3.
Book Summary:
First Timothy is one of Paul's three ''Pastoral Epistles.'' Paul's other letters, such as Romans, Ephesians, and Colossians, are meant for a broader audience. First Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus are written to specific people whom Paul is advising on how to best lead their local churches. These three letters present a close look at the form and function of church leadership. First Timothy, like 2 Timothy and Titus, is less formal and systematic, and more personal. This gives great insight into the way pastors, deacons, and elders ought to prioritize their time and energy.
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