1 Timothy 2:15
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
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(15) Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.—The last words are more accurately and forcibly rendered—through the childbearing. With that tender and winning courtesy to which, no doubt, humanly speaking, the great missionary owes so much of his vast influence over human hearts, St. Paul, now anxious lest he had wounded with his severe words and stern precepts his Ephesian sisters in Christ, closes his charge to women with a few touching words, bright with the glorious promise they contained. Though their life duties must be different from those of men—yet for them, too, as for men, there was one glorious goal; but for them—the women of Christ—the only road to the goal was the faithful, true carrying out of the quiet home duties he had just sketched out for them. In other words, women will win the great salvation; but if they would win it, they must fulfil their destiny; they must acquiesce in all the conditions of a woman’s life—in the forefront of which St. Paul places the all-important functions and duties of a mother.

This is apparently the obvious meaning of the Apostle’s words—all this lies on the surface—but beneath all this the reverent reader can hardly fail to see another and deeper reference (the presence of the article, “through the childbearing,” gives us the clue)—“she shall be saved by THE childbearing” (the Incarnation) by the relation in which woman stood to the Messiah, in consequence of the primal prophecy that her seed (not man’s) should bruise the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15), the peculiar function of her sex, from its relation to her Saviour, “shall be the medium of her salvation.” (See Bishop Ellicott, in loco.)

If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.—But let no one think that the true saintly woman, painted with such matchless skill by St. Paul, satisfies the conditions of her life by merely fulfilling the duties of a mother.

She must besides, if she would win her crown, hold fast to the Master’s well-known teaching, which enjoins on all His own disciples, men as well as women, faith and love, holiness and modesty. The last word, “modesty,” or discretion, or sobriety (all poor renderings of the Greek sophrosune, which includes, besides, the idea of a fight with and a victory over self), brings back the thoughts to the beautiful Pauline conception of a true woman, who wins her sweet and weighty power in the world by self-effacement.

1 Timothy 2:15. Notwithstanding, she shall be saved in child-bearing — That is, says Locke, she shall be carried safely through child-bearing; a sense which Dr. Whitby illustrates at large, and which Dr. Benson seems partly to adopt, observing, “The apostle having intimated that the man was superior by creation, and the subjection of the woman increased by the fall, he here declares, that if the Christian women continued in holiness and charity, the curse pronounced upon the fall would be removed or mitigated.” To the same purpose also Baxter paraphrases the words: “Though her sin had brought her low, and even under a curse, in the pain and peril of child-bearing, she is, even in that low and sad condition, under God’s merciful protection, and saving covenant of grace, which contains the promise of this life and that to come, if she continue in faith, charity, and purity, with sobriety.” He adds another interpretation, as follows: “Though sin and sorrow in travail came in by the woman, yet by a woman’s child-bearing a Saviour came into the world, (which is some reparation of the honour of the sex,) and so the women may be saved as well as the men by Christ.” This latter sense is nearly that adopted by Macknight, who thus paraphrases on the verse: “However, though Eve was first in transgression, and brought death on herself, her husband, and her posterity, the female sex shall be saved equally with the male; through child-bearing; through bringing forth the Saviour; if they live in faith, and love, and chastity, with that sobriety which I have been recommending.” He adds, by way of note, “The word σωθησεται, saved, in this verse, refers to η γυνη, the woman, in the foregoing verse, who is certainly Eve. But the apostle did not mean to say that she alone was to be saved through child-bearing; but that all her posterity, whether male or female, are to be saved through the childbearing of a woman; as is evident from his adding, If they live in faith, and love, and holiness, with sobriety. For safety in child-bearing doth not depend on that condition, since many pious women die in child-bearing; while others of a contrary character are preserved. The salvation of the human race through child-bearing, was intimated in the sentence passed on the serpent, Genesis 3:15; I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head. Accordingly, the Saviour being conceived in the womb of his mother by the power of the Holy Ghost, he is truly the seed of the woman who was to bruise the head of the serpent. And a woman, by bringing him forth, hath been the occasion of our salvation. If they continue in faith — The change in the number of the verb from the singular to the plural, which is introduced here, was designed by the apostle to show that he does not speak of Eve, nor of any particular woman, [merely,] but of the whole sex.”

2:8-15 Under the gospel, prayer is not to be confined to any one particular house of prayer, but men must pray every where. We must pray in our closets, pray in our families, pray at our meals, pray when we are on journeys, and pray in the solemn assemblies, whether more public or private. We must pray in charity; without wrath, or malice, or anger at any person. We must pray in faith, without doubting, and without disputing. Women who profess the Christian religion, must be modest in apparel, not affecting gaudiness, gaiety, or costliness. Good works are the best ornament; these are, in the sight of God, of great price. Modesty and neatness are more to be consulted in garments than elegance and fashion. And it would be well if the professors of serious godliness were wholly free from vanity in dress. They should spend more time and money in relieving the sick and distressed, than in decorating themselves and their children. To do this in a manner unsuitable to their rank in life, and their profession of godliness, is sinful. These are not trifles, but Divine commands. The best ornaments for professors of godliness, are good works. According to St. Paul, women are not allowed to be public teachers in the church; for teaching is an office of authority. But good women may and ought to teach their children at home the principles of true religion. Also, women must not think themselves excused from learning what is necessary to salvation, though they must not usurp authority. As woman was last in the creation, which is one reason for her subjection, so she was first in the transgression. But there is a word of comfort; that those who continue in sobriety, shall be saved in child-bearing, or with child-bearing, by the Messiah, who was born of a woman. And the especial sorrow to which the female sex is subject, should cause men to exercise their authority with much gentleness, tenderness, and affection.Notwithstanding she shall be saved - The promise in this verse is designed to alleviate the apparent severity of the remarks just made about the condition of woman, and of the allusion to the painful facts of her early history. What the apostle had just said would carry the mind back to the period in which woman introduced sin into the world, and by an obvious and easy association, to the sentence which had been passed on her in consequence of her transgression, and to the burden of sorrows which she was doomed to bear. By the remark in this verse, however, Paul shows that it was not his intention to overwhelm her with anguish. He did not design to harrow up her feelings by an unkind allusion to a melancholy fact in her history. It was necessary for him to state, and for her to know, that her place was secondary and subordinate, and he wished this truth ever to be kept in memory among Christians. It was not unkind or improper also to state the reasons for this opinion, and to show that her own history had demonstrated that she was not designed for headship.

But she was not to be regarded as degraded and abandoned. She was not to be overwhelmed by the recollection of what "the mother of all living" had done. There were consolations in her case. There was a special divine interposition which she might look for, evincing tender care on the part of God in those deep sorrows which had come upon her in consequence of her transgression; and instead of being crushed and broken-hearted on account of her condition, she should remember that the everlasting arms of God would sustain her in her condition of sorrow and pain. Paul, then, would speak to her the language of consolation, and while he would have her occupy her proper place, he would have her feel that "God was her Friend." In regard to the nature of the consolation referred to here, there has been a considerable variety of opinion. Some have held, that by the expression "she shall be saved in child-bearing," the apostle designs to include all the duties of the maternal relation, meaning that she should be saved through the faithful performance of her duties as a mother.

Robinson, Lexicon. Rosenmuller regards the words rendered "child-bearing" (τεκνογονία teknogonia), as synonymous with education, and supposes that the meaning is, that a woman, by the proper training of her children, can obtain salvation as well as her husband, and that her appropriate duty is not public teaching, but the training of her family. Wetstein supposes that it means "she shall be saved from the arts of impostors, and from the luxury and vice of the age, if, instead of wandering about, she remains at home, cultivates modesty, is subject to her husband, and engages carefully in the training of her children." This sense agrees well with the connection. Calvin supposes that the apostle designs to console the woman by the assurance that, if she bears the trials of her condition of sorrow with a proper spirit, abiding in faith and holiness, she will be saved. She is not to regard herself as cut off from the hope of heaven. Doddridge, Macknight, Clarke, and others suppose that it refers to the promise in Genesis 3:15, and means that the woman shall be saved through, or by means of bearing a child, to wit, the Messiah; and that the apostle means to sustain the woman in her sorrows, and in her state of subordination and inferiority, by referring to the honor which has been put upon her by the fact that a woman gave birth to the Messiah. It is supposed also that he means to say that special honor is thus conferred on her over the man, inasmuch as the Messiah had no human father. Doddridge. The objections to this interpretation, however, though it is sustained by most respectable names, seem to me to be insuperable. They are such as these:

(1) The interpretation is too refined and abstruse. It is not that which is obvious. It depends for its point on the fact that the Messiah had no human father, and in the apostle had intended to refer to that, and to build an argument on it it may be doubted whether he would have done it in so obscure a manner. But it may reasonably be questioned whether he would have made that fact a point on which his argument would turn. There would be a species of refinement about such an argument, such as we should not look for in the writings of Paul.

(2) it is not the obvious meaning of the word "child-bearing." There is nothing in the word which requires that it should have any reference to the birth of the Messiah. The word is of a general character, and properly refers to child-hearing in general.

(3) it is not true that woman would be "saved" merely by having given birth to the Messiah. She will be saved, as man will be, as a consequence of his having been born; but there is no evidence that the mere fact that woman gave birth to him, and that he had no human father, did anything to save Mary herself, or any one else of her sex. If, therefore, the word refers to the "bearing" of the Messiah, or to the fact that he was born, it would be no more proper to say that this was connected with the salvation of woman than that of man. The true meaning, it seems to me, has been suggested by Calvin, and may be seen by the following remarks:

(1) The apostle designed to comfort woman, or to alleviate the sadness of the picture which he had drawn respecting her condition.

(2) he had referred, incidentally, as a proof of the subordinate character of her station, to the first apostasy. This naturally suggested the sentence which was passed on her, and the condition of sorrow to which she was doomed, particularly in child-birth. That was the standing demonstration of her guilt; that the condition in which she suffered most; that the situation in which she was in greatest peril.

(3) Paul assures her, therefore, that though she must thus suffer, yet that she ought not to regard herself in her deep sorrows and dangers, though on account of sin, as necessarily under the divine displeasure, or as excluded from the hope of heaven. The way of salvation was open to her as well as to men, and was to be entered in the same manner. If she had faith and holiness, even in her condition of sorrow brought on by guilt, she might as well hope for eternal life as man. The object of the apostle seems to be to guard against a possible construction which might be put on his words, that he did not regard the woman as in circumstances as favorable for salvation as those of man, or as if he thought that salvation for her was more difficult, or perhaps that she could not be saved at all. The general sentiments of the Jews in regard to the salvation of the female sex, and their exclusion from the religious privileges which men enjoy; the views of the Muslims in reference to the inferiority of the sex; and the prevalent feelings in the pagan world, degrading the sex and making their condition, in regard to salvation, far inferior to that of man, show the propriety of what the apostle here says, and the fitness that he should so guard himself that his language could not possibly be construed so as to give countenance to such a sentiment.

According to the interpretation of the passage here proposed, the apostle does not mean to teach that a Christian female would be certainly saved from death in child-birth - for this would not be true, and the proper construction of the passage does not require us to understand him as affirming this. Religion is not designed to make any immediate and direct change in the laws of our physical being. It does not of itself guard us from the pestilence; it does not arrest the progress of disease; it does not save us from death; and, as a matter of fact, woman, by the highest degree of piety, is not necessarily saved from the perils of that condition to which she has been subjected in consequence of the apostasy. The apostle means to show this - that in all her pain and sorrow; amidst all the evidence of apostasy, and all that reminds her that she was "first" in the transgression, she may look up to God as her Friend and strength, and may hope for acceptance and salvation.

If they continue - If woman continues - it being not uncommon to change the singular form to the plural, especially if the subject spoken of have the character of a noun of multitude. Many have understood this of children, as teaching that if the mother were faithful, so that her children continued in faith, she would be saved. But this is not a necessary or probable interpretation. The apostle says nothing of children, and it is not reasonable to suppose that he would make the prospect of her salvation depend on their being pious. This would be to add a hard condition of salvation, and one nowhere else suggested in the New Testament. The object of the apostle evidently is, to show that woman must continue in the faithful service of God if she would be saved - a doctrine everywhere insisted on in the New Testament in reference to all persons. She must not imitate the example of the mother of mankind, but she must faithfully yield obedience to the laws of God until death.

Faith - Faith in the Redeemer and in divine truth, or a life of fidelity in the service of God.

Charity - Love to all; compare notes on 1 Corinthians 13.

Holiness - She must be truly righteous.


15. be saved in childbearing—Greek, "in (literally, 'through') (her, literally, 'the') child-bearing." Through, or by, is often so used to express not the means of her salvation, but the circumstances AMIDST which it has place. Thus 1Co 3:15, "He … shall be saved: yet so as by (literally, 'through,' that is, amidst) fire": in spite of the fiery ordeal which he has necessarily to pass through, he shall be saved. So here, "In spite of the trial of childbearing which she passes through (as her portion of the curse, Ge 3:16, 'in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children'), she shall be saved." Moreover, I think it is implied indirectly that the very curse will be turned into a condition favorable to her salvation, by her faithfully performing her part in doing and suffering what God has assigned to her, namely, child-bearing and home duties, her sphere, as distinguished from public teaching, which is not hers, but man's (1Ti 2:11, 12). In this home sphere, not ordinarily in one of active duty for advancing the kingdom of God, which contradicts the position assigned to her by God, she will be saved on the same terms as all others, namely, by living faith. Some think that there is a reference to the Incarnation "through THE child-bearing" (Greek), the bearing of the child Jesus. Doubtless this is the ground of women's child-bearing in general becoming to them a blessing, instead of a curse; just as in the original prophecy (Ge 3:15, 16) the promise of "the Seed of the woman" (the Saviour) stands in closest connection with the woman's being doomed to "sorrow" in "bringing forth children," her very child-bearing, though in sorrow, being the function assigned to her by God whereby the Saviour was born. This may be an ulterior reference of the Holy Spirit in this verse; but the primary reference required by the context is the one above given. "She shall be saved ([though] with childbearing)," that is, though suffering her part of the primeval curse in childbearing; just as a man shall be saved, though having to bear his part, namely, the sweat of the brow.

if they, &c.—"if the women (plural, taken out of 'the woman,' 1Ti 2:14, which is put for the whole sex) continue," or more literally, "shall (be found at the judgment to) have continued."

faith and charity—the essential way to salvation (1Ti 1:5). Faith is in relation to God. Charity, to our fellow man. Sobriety, to one's self.

sobriety—"sober-mindedness" (see on [2468]1Ti 2:9, as contrasted with the unseemly forwardness reproved in 1Ti 2:11). Mental receptivity and activity in family life were recognized in Christianity as the destiny of woman. One reason alleged here by Paul, is the greater danger of self-deception in the weaker sex, and the spread of errors arising from it, especially in a class of addresses in which sober reflectiveness is least in exercise [Neander]. The case (Ac 21:9) was doubtless in private, not in public.

Though the woman was so unhappy as to be deceived by the serpent, and to be the first in taking the forbidden fruit, and an instrument to entice her husband to do the like, which may give all of that sex a cause of humiliation, and show them the reasonableness of God’s order in putting them in subjection to man, and prohibiting them to break God’s order in usurping authority over the man; yet through the gracious interposition of the Mediator, (afterward born of a woman), she hath no reason to despair, either of a temporal salvation, from the peril and danger of child-birth, or, much less, of an eternal salvation, for

she shall be saved; she stands upon equal ground with the man as to eternal salvation, who cannot be saved without faith and holiness, and a discharge of the duties incumbent upon him, and patient enduring the crosses and trials God exerciseth him with; and the woman also shall be saved, by faithful performance of her duty, and patiently enduring her crosses and trials, in the pains and peril of

child-bearing; notwithstanding they are the sensible marks of God’s displeasure for sin, yet the sufferings of Christ has taken away the said bitterness.

If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety; if she also liveth in the exercise of faith in Christ, and love to God, and her husband, and all saints, and in all exercises of holiness with sobriety. Some refer the pronoun they to the children, because the apostle had been before speaking of the woman in the singular number; but there is nothing more ordinary than that change of the number, especially where collective words are used, that signify a whole species or sex; and it is unreasonable to think the apostle should suspend the salvation of the mother upon the faith and holiness of the child, and to interpret it of the mother’s endeavours towards it, seemeth hardly a sufficient interpretation of the term continue.

Notwithstanding she shall be saved,.... Not Eve, though no doubt she is saved; since she had a sense of her sin, and shame for it, a revelation of the Messiah to her, and faith in him; see Genesis 3:7. But rather any woman, particularly such as profess godliness, who shall be saved

in childbearing; which is to be understood not of a temporal salvation, or being saved through childbearing, through the perilous time, and be delivered out of it; for though this is generally the case, yet not always, nor always the case of good women. Rachel died in childbed: the Jews say (t), for three transgressions women die in childbearing; because they do not take care of their menstrues, and of the cake of the firstfruits, and of lighting the lamp (when the sabbath approaches). But spiritual and eternal salvation is here meant; not that bearing children is the cause, condition, or means of salvation; for as this is not God's way of salvation, so it confines the salvation of women to childbearing ones; and which must give an uneasy reflection to maidens, and women that never bore any; but rather the meaning is, that good women shall be saved, notwithstanding their bearing and bringing forth children in pain and sorrow, according to the original curse, in Genesis 3:16. And so the words administer some comfort to women, in their present situation of subjection and sorrow; though they may be rendered impersonally thus, "notwithstanding there is salvation through the birth of a son": and the sense is, that notwithstanding the fall of man by the means of the woman, yet there is salvation for both men and women, through the birth of Immanuel, the child born, and Son given; at whose birth, the angels sung peace on earth, good will to men; through the true Messiah, the deed of the woman, through the incarnate Saviour, who was made of a woman, there is salvation for lost sinners: he was born of a woman, and came into the world in order to obtain salvation for them; and he has effected it, and it is in him, for all such who apply to him for it; and with it all true believers, men and women, shall be saved through him,

if they continue in faith and charity, and holiness, with sobriety. The Vulgate Latin version reads in the singular, "if she continues", &c. but the sense is the same; for the "she", or woman, is to be taken in a collective sense, as it is in the context, for many women; even for such as profess faith and godliness. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions render the words, "she shall be saved by her children", if they continue, &c. i.e. she shall be saved by bearing of children, and bringing of them up in a religious way; if they, the children, continue as they were brought up; which is a very strange rendering of the words, and is as strange an interpretation of them; and yet is what many have given into, but needs no confutation. The meaning of the words is, that there is salvation through the incarnate Messiah, for all sorts of persons; for all men and women who believe in him, with that faith which works by love, and shows itself in holiness and sobriety; provided that they continue herein. For there are some that profess these things, that have only a temporary faith, and feigned love, and not true holiness; and these fall away, and are not saved; but such who have these graces in truth, as they do, and shall continue in them, so they shall certainly be saved.

(t) Misn. Sabbat, c. 2. sect. 6.

{11} Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

(11) He adds a comfort by the way, that their subjection does not hinder women from being saved as well as men, if they behave themselves in those duties of marriage in a holy and modest manner, with faith and charity.

1 Timothy 2:15. Σωθήσεται δὲ διὰ τῆς τεκνογονίας] σωθήσεται δέ is in opposition to the previous ἐν παραβάσει γέγονε. Still this sentence is not intended merely to moderate the judgment pronounced in 1 Timothy 2:14 (Matthies); after the apostle has forbidden to the woman any activity in church assemblies as unbecoming to her, he now points to the destiny assigned her by God, the fulfilment of which brings salvation to her. The subject of σωθήσεται is ἡ γυνή, to be supplied from the preceding words; but, of course, it applies collectively to the whole sex, while referring specially to Eve.[108]

σωθήσεται is to be taken here in the sense which it continually has in the N. T. (not then equivalent to “she will win for herself merit and reward,” de Wette). Every reason to the contrary falls to the ground, if only we consider that ΤΕΚΝΟΓΟΝΊΑ is regarded as the destiny assigned to the woman by God, and that to the woman ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑ is assured by it under the condition given in the words following: ἘᾺΝ Κ.Τ.Λ. It is to be noted also, that though faith is the only source of salvation, the believer must not fail in fulfilling his duties in faith, if he is to partake in the ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑ.

is taken by several expositors (also Wiesinger) in the sense of “in;”[109] but this is wrong, for either this signification “in” passes over into the signification “by means of,” or it has much the same force as “notwithstanding, in spite of” (Romans 2:27; see Meyer on the passage); διά, however, cannot be used in this sense, since τεκνογονία would in that case have been regarded as a hindrance to the attainment of the σωτηρία. This militates also against Hofmann’s view, “that σώζεσθαι διά τινος has the same meaning here as in 1 Corinthians 3:15, to be saved as through something;” this explanation also makes the τεκνογονία appear to be something through which the woman’s σώζεσθαι is endangered.[110]

τεκνογονία, a word which occurs only here in the N. T. (as also ΤΕΚΝΟΓΟΝΈΩ only in chap. 1 Timothy 5:14, and ΤΕΚΝΟΤΡΟΦΈΩ only in chap. 1 Timothy 5:10), can have here nothing but its etymological meaning. Some, quite wrongly, have taken it as a term for the marriage state, and others have made it synonymous with ΤΕΚΝΟΤΡΟΦΊΑ. This latter view is found in the oldest expositors; thus Theophylact remarks, not without wit: Οὐ ΓΕΝΝῆΣΑΙ ΜΌΝΟΝ ΔΕῖ, ἈΛΛᾺ ΚΑῚ ΠΑΙΔΕῦΣΑΙ· ΤΟῦΤΟ ΓᾺΡ ὌΝΤΩς ΤΕΚΝΟΓΟΝΊΑ, ΕἸ ΔῈ Οὐ, ΟὐΚ ἘΣΤῚ ΤΕΚΝΟΓΟΝΊΑ, ἈΛΛᾺ ΤΕΚΝΟΦΘΟΡΊΑ ἜΣΤΑΙ ΤΑῖς ΓΥΝΑΙΞΊ.

The question, how the ΤΕΚΝΟΓΟΝΊΑ contributes to the ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑ, is answered by most by supplying[111] with the one or the other something of which there is no hint in the words of the apostle, and by which the thought is more or less altered. This much may be granted, that Paul, by laying stress on the ΤΕΚΝΟΓΟΝΊΑ (the occasion for which was probably the ΚΩΛΎΩΝ ΓΑΜΕῖΝ on the part of the heretics, chap. 1 Timothy 4:3), assigns to the woman, who has to conduct herself as passive in the assemblies, the domestic life as the sphere in which—especially in regard to the children—she has to exercise her activity (comp. 1 Timothy 5:14).

In order not to be misunderstood, as if he had said that the ΤΕΚΝΟΓΟΝΊΑ as a purely external fact affects ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑ, he adds the following words: ἘᾺΝ ΜΕΊΝΩΣΙΝ ἘΝ ΠΊΣΤΕΙ Κ.Τ.Λ. The subject of ΜΕΊΝΩΣΙΝ is the collective idea ΓΥΝΉ (see Winer, pp. 481, 586 [E. T. pp. 648, 787]), and not, as many older (Chrysostom and others) and later (Schleiermacher, Mack, Leo, Plitt) expositors think: “the children.” This latter might indeed be supplied from ΤΕΚΝΟΓΟΝΊΑ, but it would give a wrong idea.

It is quite arbitrary, with Heydenreich, to supply “man and wife.”

Paul uses the expressions ἘΝ ΠΊΣΤΕΙ Κ.Τ.Λ. to denote the Christian life in its various aspects. They are not to be limited to the relation of married life, ΠΊΣΤΙς denoting conjugal fidelity; ἈΓΆΠΗ, conjugal love; ἉΓΙΑΣΜΌς, conjugal chastity; and ΣΩΦΡΟΣΎΝΗ, living in regular marriage. ΣΩΦΡΟΣΎΝΗ is named along with the preceding cardinal virtues of the Christian life, because it peculiarly becomes the thoughts of a woman (comp. 1 Timothy 2:9), not because “a woman is apt to lose control of herself through her excitable temperament” (Hofmann). There is in the context no hint of a reference to female weakness.[112]

[108] Even Theophylact declared against the curious view, that Mary is to be taken here as subject. Clearly also Eve cannot here be meant.

[109] Van Oosterzee translates διά by “by means of,” and then says: “it simply indicates a condition in which the woman becomes a partaker of blessedness,” leaving it uncertain in what relation the apostle places τεκνογονία to σώζεσθαι.

[110] Hofmann says in explanation: “If it is appointed to the woman to bear children in pain, she might succumb under such a burden of life;” but, in reply, it is to be observed that τεκνογονία does not mean “to bear children with pain.”

[111] Most think of the faithful fulfilment of maternal duty in the education of children. Chrysostom: τικνογονίαν, φησι, τὸ μὴ μόνον τεκεῖν, ἀλλὰ καὶ κατὰ Θεὸν ἀναγαγεῖν.—According to Heinrichs, Paul means here to say: mulier jam hoc in mundo peccatorum poenas luit, διὰ τῆς τεκνογ. eo, quod cum dolore parturit, adeoque haec τεκνογ. eam quasi σώζειν putanda est, et ipsa σώζεσθαι διὰ τῆς τεκνογονίας. The passage quoted by Heinrichs, Genesis 3:16, does not denote the τεκνογονία as such, but the pains connected with it as a punishment of transgression. According to Plitt, the τεκνογ. serves to farther the woman’s σωτηρία; on the one hand, because by the fulfilment of her wish gratitude is aroused within her; on the other hand, because of her care for her children she is preserved from many frivolities.

[112] De Wette asserts too much when he says that this passage is in contradiction with 1 Corinthians 7:7 ff., 1 Corinthians 7:25 ff., 1 Corinthians 7:38 ff. The truth is rather that the matter is regarded from various points of view. In 1 Corinthians the apostle is delivering his judgment, while he considers the difficult position of Christians amid the hostility of the world, without for a moment denying that τεκνογονία is an ordinance of God. Here, however, he is considering only the latter point, without entering into every detail.

1 Timothy 2:15. σωθήσεται δὲ διὰ τῆς τεκνογονίας: The penalty for transgression, so far as woman is concerned, was expressed in the words, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16). But just as in the case of man, the world being as it is, the sentence has proved a blessing, so it is in the case of woman. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” expresses man’s necessity, duty, privilege, dignity. If the necessity of work be “a stumbling-block,” man can “make it a stepping-stone” (Browning, The Ring and the Book, The Pope, 413), Nay, it is the only stepping-stone available to him. If St. Paul’s argument had led him to emphasise the man’s part in the first transgression, he might have said, “He shall be saved in his toil,” his overcoming the obstacles of nature.

So St. Paul, taking the common-sense view that childbearing, rather than public teaching or the direction of affairs, is woman’s primary function duty, privilege and dignity, reminds Timothy and his readers that there was another aspect of the story in Genesis besides that of woman’s taking the initiative in transgression: the pains of childbirth were her sentence, yet in undergoing these she finds her salvation. She shall be saved in her childbearing (R.V. m. nearly). That is her normal and natural duty; and in the discharge of our normal and natural duties we all, men and women alike, as far as our individual efforts can contribute to it, “work out our own salvation”.

This explanation gives an adequate force to σωθήσεται, and preserves the natural and obvious meaning of τεκνογονία, and gives its force to τῆς. διά here has hardly an instrumental force (as Vulg. per filiorum generationem); it is rather the διά of accompanying circumstances, as in 1 Corinthians 3:15. σωθήσεταιδιὰ πυρός. It remains to note three other explanations:—

(1) She shall be “preserved in the great danger of child-birth”.

(2) Women shall be saved if they bring up their children well, as if τεκνογονία = τεκνοτροφία. So Chrys.

(3) She shall be saved by means of the Childbearing “of Mary, which gave to the world the Author of our Salvation” (Liddon). “The peculiar function of her sex (from its relation to her Saviour) shall be the medium of her salvation” (Ellicott). The R.V., saved through the childbearing, is possibly patient of this interpretation. No doubt it was the privilege of woman alone to be the medium of the Incarnation. This miraculous fact justifies us perhaps in pressing the language of Genesis 3:15, “thy seed,” and in finding an allusion (though this is uncertain) in Galatians 4:4, γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός; but woman cannot be said to be saved by means of a historic privilege, even with the added qualification, “if they continue,” etc. See Luke 11:27-28, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee.… Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God,” etc.

ἐὰν μείνωσιν: This use of μένειν with ἐν and an abstract noun is chiefly Johannine, as the reff. show.

The subject of μείνωσιν is usually taken to be γυναῖκες; but inasmuch as St. Paul has been speaking of women in the marriage relation, it seems better to understand the plural of the woman and her husband. Compare 1 Corinthians 7:36 where γαμείτωσαν refers to the παρθένος and her betrothed, whose existence is implied in the question of her marriage. If this view be accepted, then πίστις, ἀγάπη, and ἁγιασμός refer respectively to the duties of the man and wife to God, to society, and to each other: faith towards God, love to the community, and sanctification in their marital relations. See chap. 1 Timothy 4:12 where these three virtues are again combined. See 1 Timothy 2:9 for σωφροσύνη.

15. in childbearing] R.V. gives the exact force of the Greek through the childbearing, and leaves unsettled which particular interpretation is correct (1) the A.V. ‘in childbearing,’ the preposition rendering merely the circumstances, cf. Romans 4:11 ‘in uncircumcision’;

or (2) the margin of R.V. ‘through her childbearing’: ‘her child-bearing which is her curse may be her highest blessing, as with man’s doom, labour; her domestic life and duties, the sphere of woman’s mission, St Paul lays great stress on good works, the performance of the common duties of life, in opposition to the irregularities of the times; and yet adds the necessary previous condition “if they abide in faith” ’; so Conybeare;

or (3) ‘through the Childbearing—the Incarnation of Christ,’ an early interpretation quoted by Theophylact, and also given in the Ancient Catena recently recovered and published by Dr Cramer, and supported by Hammond, Ellicott and Wordsworth, on the grounds (a) that the parallel passage in 1 Corinthians 11:8-12 closes with a reference to the Incarnation, (b) that in speaking of the transgression and sentence it was in itself natural and appropriate to speak of the sustaining prophecy, (c) that ‘saved’ and ‘through’ both gain in fulness of force.

On the whole (2) seems most probable, this ‘childbearing’ being singled out from among the ‘good works’ of 1 Timothy 2:10. Compare ch. 1 Timothy 5:13-14, where the younger widows are urged not to be ‘idle’ (lit. ‘workless’) or ‘busybodies’ (lit. ‘prying into the work of others’) but to ‘marry, bear children, rule the household’; and note that the verb there and the noun here for childbearing occur nowhere else in N.T. This thought of ‘work’—woman’s proper work—lasts on then to the end of the chapter, and gives the natural transition to other work, the ‘good work’ of a bishop in chap. 3.

if they continue] i.e. women, from ‘the woman’ of 1 Timothy 2:14; the aorist tense implies ‘continue stedfastly.’

faith and charity and holiness] Rather as R.V. love and sanctification, the form of the latter word implying a process of repeated acts: so ‘doubting’ above, the harbouring of doubt upon doubt. The fundamental idea of the Greek noun is ‘separation and, so to speak, consecration and devotion to the service of the Deity’; Trench, N. T. Syn., p. 316. Cf. 2 Timothy 1:9, ‘called us with a holy calling.’ ‘But the thought lies very near that what is set apart from the world and to God should separate itself from the world s defilements and should share in God’s purity.’ Hence the appropriateness of its being linked here with ‘sobriety’ so as to recal the feminine modesty and purity of 1 Timothy 2:9. Cf. Westcott, Hebrews 10:10 ‘the initial consecration and the progressive hallowing.’

1 Timothy 2:15. Σωθήσεται δὲ, but she shall be saved) She shall be rescued from that offence (and from its consequences).—διὰ τῆς τεκνογονίας, in child-bearing) The part of the woman is here described, in antithesis to the duty of teaching and governing: τεκνογονία, bringing forth and training children. He is not speaking here as to the properly-called cause of salvation; for many who bring forth children nevertheless perish: many, who do not bear children, are saved; but the state or condition is denoted, in which a woman may be likely to obtain salvation, although she be not mixed up with the duty that belongs to the man. Wherefore the if has a stronger force here than διὰ, in: and the continuing takes for granted the standing in faith, etc.—μείνωσιν, if they continue) Namely, the women. A Syllepsis[19] of the number. For sobriety, which is presently praised, is competent for (a grace peculiarly becoming in) women: comp. 1 Timothy 2:9. Let them remain within these bounds.—πίστει καὶ ἀγάπῃ, in faith and love) General divisions.—ἁγιασμῷ μετὰ σωφροσύνης) in holiness with sobriety. A special part of sanctification is modesty or moderation, a grace which regulates man in respect of himself, as faith in respect of God, love in respect of our neighbour: ἁγιασμὸς, holiness, especially chastity: σωφροσύνη, moderation, self-control, 1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:11[19] A figure whereby ἡ γυνὴ, the singular, is here expressed, whilst the plural is meant. And accordingly the plural verb μείνωσιν is put, agreeing with γυναῖκες, women, understood.—ED.


Verse 15. - But for notwithstanding, A.V.; through the child-bearing for in child-bearing, A.V.; love for charity, A.V.; sanctification for holiness, A.V. She shall be saved; i.e. the woman generically. The transition from the personal Eve to the generic woman is further marked by the transition from the singular to the plural, "if they continue," etc. The natural and simple explanation of the passage is that the special temporal punishment pronounced against the woman, immediately after her sin, "In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children" (Genesis 3:16) - (to which St. Paul here evidently alludes) - and endured by all women ever since, was a set-off, so to speak, to the special guilt of Eve in yielding to the guile of the serpent; so that now the woman might attain salvation as well as the man (although she was not suffered to teach)if she continued in faith and charity. The child-bearing (τῆς τεκνογονίας); here only; but the verb τεκνογονέω, which occurs in 1 Timothy 5:14, is found (though very rarely) in classical Greek. The equivalent, both in the LXX. and in classical Greek, is τεκνοποιέω. The reference to the birth of Christ - the Seed of the woman - which some commentators Hammond, Peile, Wordsworth, Ellicott, etc.; not Bengel, Alford. or the German school generally) see here, is rather strained, and anyhow cannot be proved without an inspired interpreter. The stress which is laid by some of the above on the use of the definite article here has no justification (see e.g., 2 Peter 1:5-7, where even the R.V. does not think of translating "the virtue," "the knowledge," "the temperance," etc.). Nor is the meaning of διά, which Alford and others press, "through," i.e. "in spite of," like διὰ πυρός in 1 Corinthians 3:15, at all probable from the context. Sanctification (ἀγιασμός; Romans 6:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:3, etc.). Sobriety (σωφροσύνη); as in ver. 9. It only occurs besides in Acts 26:25.

1 Timothy 2:15She shall be saved in childbearing (σωθήσεται διὰ τῆς τεκνογονίας)

Better, "through the childbearing." (1) Saved is used in the ordinary N.T. sense. (2) She shall be saved is set over against hath fallen into transgression. (3) It is difficult to see what is the peculiar saving virtue of childbearing. (4) The subject of σωθήσεται shall be saved is the same as that of ἐν παραβάσει γέγονεν hath fallen into transgression. A common explanation is that γυνή is to be taken in its generic sense as referring to all Christian mothers, who will be saved in fulfilling their proper destiny and acquiescing in all the conditions of a Christian woman's life, instead of attempting to take an active part as teachers or otherwise in public religious assemblies. On the other hand, the woman, Eve, may be regarded as including all the Christian mothers. Notice the change to the plural, "if they continue." She, though she fell into transgression, shall be saved "by the childbearing" (Genesis 3:15); that is, by the relation in which the woman stood to the Messiah. This seems to be the better explanation. Τεκνογονία child bearing, N.T.o. olxx, oClass. Comp. τεκνογονεῖν to bear children, 1 Timothy 5:14. The expression is utterly un-Pauline.

If they continue (ἐὰν μείνωσιν)

They, the woman regarded collectively or as including her descendants. The promise does not exempt them from the cultivation of Christian virtues and the discharge of Christian duties.

Sanctification (ἁγιασμῷ)

A Pauline word; but the triad, faith, love, sanctification, is unique in N.T.

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