Can women be saved through childbirth? As we mentioned in our response to James chapter 2, sometimes the Bible throws us a curve. Salvation by faith alone is seen throughout the New Testament. But there are a few verses we see that seem to offer a different road to salvation. What should we make of these verses?
Last week we looked at James Chapter 2 that seems to teach salvation by works. This week we’ll look at 1 Timothy chapter 2 vs. 14-16. This verse seems to imply that women can be saved by giving birth. Let’s take a look at the passage and see what it has to say.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.
How Do We Make Sense Of This?
So, can women be saved through childbirth as this passage suggests? No, this isn’t the case. Taking a straight reading approach to this passage presents many problems. For instance, it would preclude any woman that hadn’t given birth. This would immediately rule out some of the great women of faith throughout history. It seems like there must be more to the story.
What is Paul really getting at in this passage? Many have suggested that this passage is a reference to the curse from the Garden of Eden. Paul’s reference of Adam draws a comparison back to when God cursed the serpent that deceived Eve.
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
So childbirth I this passage could be referring to the Messiah being born. And through this birth, not just women, but all humans would be saved.
One final thought on this passage. Notice that there is an “if” in the middle of the sentence. “Nevertheless, she will be saved in childbearing if…”. What’s the “if”? If they continue in faith, love and holiness, with self-control. So regardless of the meaning of the first part of the sentence, the woman must still remain in faith. And this lines up with the message we see of salvation by faith elsewhere in Scripture. So no, women cannot be saved through childbirth.