Mothers Saved in Childbearing? Part 2

Reprinted (with permission) from Faith Pulpit, March/April, 2010. See Part 1.

The Meaning of “She Will Be Saved in Childbearing”

In view of these considerations, what does the phrase “she will be saved in childbearing” mean? Several views have been offered:

(1) Women will be kept safe physically during childbirth.1 However, many godly women have died in childbirth. Moreover, the term “salvation” regularly has a spiritual meaning in Paul’s writings.

(2) Women in Paul’s day would be kept from teaching false doctrine through their maternal roles.”2 Nevertheless, “Paul roots his teaching deeply in the culture-transcending events of the Creation and Fall of man and woman. There is absolutely nothing in the passage which would suggest that Paul issued his instructions because of a local situation of societal pressure.”3

(3) Women will be saved through good works, represented by childbearing.4 Scriptures, however, teach that salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Christ―not by works (Eph. 2:8, 9).

(4) Women will be saved through the particular childbearing of Jesus.5 Those who hold this view link “childbearing” with Genesis 3:15 and emphasize the particularizing function of the article.6 The antecedent of “she will be saved” is Eve (who may represent “woman” generically), who then becomes Mary, the mother of Jesus. However, Parry pointedly observes, “It is difficult to believe that S. Paul would have alluded to the Incarnation in this obscure and cursory manner.”7 Moreover, Mary was not saved by giving birth to Jesus.8

(5) Christian mothers will be “saved,” or “delivered,” from the sin of exercising authority over men in the church because they give their time and effort in bearing children. This view interprets “she will be saved” as a woman’s deliverance from the effects of sin and childbearing as both bearing and rearing children.9 As Calvin explained, “the Apostle does not speak merely about having children, but about enduring all the distresses, which are manifold and severe, both in the birth and the rearing of children.”10

Conclusion

The grammatical and historical considerations lead me to prefer the last view. A Christian woman is “saved,” or “delivered,” from the sin of exercising authority over man in the church (specifically, teaching him) if she is faithful in her God-ordained role of bearing and rearing children. Moreover, her place in God’s overall plan of redemption (already implied in Gen. 3), is “preserved” through such a role. Paul selected childbearing because of its mention in Genesis 3, and “because of the emphasis of the false teachers who denigrated marriage and the maternal role of women.”11

Deliverance through motherhood has a condition: godly character. Although the passage deals with a woman’s church life, faithfulness to motherhood will affect her whole life.

The connection Paul made to the curse on Eve (Gen. 3:16) supports this conclusion.12 For the woman, her increased pain in childbearing becomes a blessing―her “salvation.” Childbearing will preserve her special role in God’s redemptive plan by keeping her from exercising authority over a man, which is her “forbidden fruit” in the context of church worship.

The coming of Christ allowed the woman to overcome her desire to rule over her husband (see Gen. 3:16b and 4:7). But also, childbearing (which multiplied in pain and sorrow due to the Fall) has taken a redemptive turn by playing a part in overcoming sin’s corruption of Creation. Not only is Eve’s prophesied Seed the Redeemer, but women in general are given a redemptive opportunity and purpose in their own (painful) childbearing.13

Application

Paul is not saying that all women must have children in order to be saved or to live a godly life. “He selects childbearing because it is the most notable example of the divinely intended difference in role between men and women, and most women throughout history have had children.”14 Although the term “childbearing” here refers strictly to bearing and nurturing children, we may apply it in its broad sense of nurturing children.

Christian married women who are not able to bear children may fulfill their motherhood role by adopting or by fostering children (cf. Eph. 1:5; Ps. 68:5). And all Christian women, married or unmarried, may nurture children spiritually as Paul did Timothy―Paul’s “true son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2).

God’s Word differs greatly from our culture’s voices that belittle motherhood. God calls Christian mothers to rear godly children. First Timothy 2:15 should motivate all Christian women to bestow their God-given maternal instincts on needy children. With God’s help, we may rear children for His glory and look forward to our Savior’s commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

 

Notes

1 H. A. Ironside, Timothy Titus and Philemon (Neptune: Loizeaux, 1947), 72.

2 David Scholer, “1 Timothy 2:9-15 & the Place of Women in the Church’s Ministry” in Women, Authority & the Bible, Alvera Mickelsen, ed. (Downers Grove: IVP, 1986), 200.

3 Douglas Moo, “1 Timothy 2:11-15: Meaning and Significance” in Trinity Journal 1, no. 1 (Spring 1980): 62-83): 82.

4 C. Spicq, Saint Paul Les Epitres Pastorales, Tome I, Etudes Bibliques (Paris: Gabalda, 1969), 383.

5 Kent, Pastoral Epistles, 114-116.

6 Ibid., 115.

7 John Party, The Pastoral Epistles (London: Cambridge University, 1920), 15.

8 Introducing her as a new player into the drama “unnecessarily complicates an already confusing passage” (Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 145).

9 “Childbearing” is not merely a synecdoche of a woman’s godly works (cf., Moo, “1 Timothy 2:11-15”:72).

10 John Calvin, The Epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, William Pringle trans. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948), 71.

11 Thomas R. Schreiner, “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15: A Dialogue with Scholarship” in Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, Andreas Kostenberger and Thomas Schreiner, eds. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005), 119.

12 On contrasting v. 15 with vv. 11 and 12 or connecting it with vv. 13 and 14: “These two interpretations are not mutually exclusive” (Mounce, Pastoral Epistles), 147.

13 Paul Hartog, personal interview.

14 Schreiner, “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” 118.


Martha Hartog is an adjunct faculty member at Faith Baptist BIble College, teaching women’s ministries courses since 2001. She holds BA and MA degrees from Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. Martha has served as a children’s worker, pastor’s wife, librarian and is actively involved in women’s ministries. Martha helped her husband, John II, start Maranatha Baptist Church in Grimes, Iowa. Her husband and her sons, John III and Paul, teach at Faith. Martha and John live in Ankeny and attend Faith Baptist Church in Cambridge, Iowa.

13724 reads

There are 57 Comments

Ted Bigelow's picture

Thank you for this wonderful article.

Views 2, 3, and 5 regard child raising in 1 Timothy 2:15 as the activity of child raising and not the actual event itself of giving birth. This argues with the article's conclusion which states: "the term 'childbearing' here refers strictly to bearing and nurturing children, we may apply it in its broad sense of nurturing children."

If this were the case we would be looking for some kind of verbal structure for "childbearing" in this verse. Instead, Paul uses a noun, and even marks it out with a definite article. This is consistent only with 4, while views 1, 2, 3, and 5 all regard the noun as a verb.

Steve Davis's picture

This was a great summary of views and demonstrates the difficulty of interpreting this passge. I would highly recommend an article by Andeas Kostenberger. Here are some excerpts:

https://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-2-No-4/Saved-Through-Childbearing

"Numerous references in 1 and 2 Timothy speak of a person's need to guard what has been entrusted to him or similar expressions (see e.g. 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 2:12, 14; 4:7, 15, 18). Conversely, Paul warns against following the example of those who "strayed" or "turned aside" from the right way (see e.g. 1 Tim. 1:6, 19-20; 2:14; 3:6, 7; 4:1; 5:12, 13, 15, 21; 6:9-10, 21). This list impressively demonstrates that underlying Paul's writing to Timothy was a strong concern that believers under Timothy's care be kept safe from the errors of false teaching (including life-style implications) and the false teachers themselves, who ultimately were instruments of Satan. Paul conceived of the pastoral task therefore as a struggle for the protection of believers from Satan and for God. If this be so, and 'women shall be kept safe by childbearing' is the likely rendering of 1 Timothy 2:15, what are women to be kept safe from? On the basis of what has been said thus far, and without much further demonstration, it can be argued that what women are to be kept safe from is being deceived, ultimately by Satan himself."

"We've come a long way in our efforts to understand the true message of 1 Timothy 2:15 for women in Paul's and our day. What we have argued is that Paul here expresses concern that women be kept safe from being deceived by Satan, and that he therefore encourages women to embrace and pursue their God-ordained calling centering around the family and the home. Our concern today should be, like Paul's, that women discern and adhere to their God-given calling in life."

J. D. Coleman's picture

In support of Hartog's conclusion (#5), 1 Timothy 5:13-14 offers some parallel instructions concerning the potential temptations of younger widows.

Quote:
"They learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander."

Women are protected from temptation when they remain focused on their God-ordained role.

Anne Sokol's picture

i should wait until i have something more profound to say, but that moment may never come.

i don't like the #2 dismissal, it seems strange. i think there were quite a few things going on specific culturally in the epistles (and other books) that we don't know about very clearly.

i shy from her conclusion b/c I guess i don't want to find my "salvation" from a particular sin based on an activity or value system, if you can get what I mean though i might not be saying it right.

i have to value taking care of kids as my escape from female chauvinism in the church?

If, for some reason, as a christian woman, my life never intersects with children, I am more likely to be dominant over men in the church?

I think really, Christ is sufficient for my escape from this sin.

would we then argue that Christ or God Himself gives us children as His means of escape for us?

i dont' know. that seems kind of weird.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I understand your misgivings, Anne, but it seems like the most consistent explanation. Just like the woman is in submission to her father/husband as the weaker vessel. The implication is that without male leadership, she will be more likely to step out of her God-given gender role.

It's hard not to take some things as a bit... insulting?... especially when you feel that it doesn't apply to you. Some women are very good at self-regulating, but let's face it- many aren't without some external influence being brought to bear, such as marriage and child-rearing.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Christ's sufficiency for us to escape from sins often takes the form of obedience to Him. For example, the way we escape from sins like malice, anger, bitterness (among the "put offs" of Eph. and Colossians) is to forgive, bless those who curse us, etc. (these are also among the "put ons"). So this is really not a novel idea. Men also have commands to obey in order to escape certain sins, such as the one to love our wives so that we avoid being embittered against them (or harsh to them if you take it that way Col. 3.19).

It doesn't say "husbands shall be saved through loving their wives," but the point would essentially be the same--expressed differently.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Diane Heeney's picture

I was interested in this post from Larry's "Stuff Out Loud" blog:

Quote:
As we approach Mother’s Day, I am reminded that moms are given great tasks. When it comes to spiritual influence, God gave men the task of teaching in the church. He said that “woman are saved through childbearing” (1 Timothy 2:15).

What did he mean? I think he meant that a woman’s way of repairing the damage of the fall takes place through her influence on her children. She was not given the task of leading the church through teaching, but of raising her children to not follow in the ways of Eve, who for the pleasure of the moment brought a world full of hurt.


http://stuffoutloud.blogspot.com/search?q=1+Tim+2%3A15 ]Here's the whole post.

"I pray to God this day to make me an extraordinary Christian." --Whitefield http://strengthfortoday.wordpress.com

Ted Bigelow's picture

Hey beloved -

I am blessed with a glorious wife who has given birth to 4 wonderful children, standing alongside me and raising them in the fear of the Lord. But 1 Timothy 2:15 is not about women raising godly children!

"Childbearing" is a noun, not a verb in the verse. It refers to the event of childbirth, not the action of child raising.

As wonderful as motherhood is, and as much as we are all blessed when mother's love Christ and raise their families to love Christ, that simply can't be what Paul is referring to in this passage.

This passage is a good example of application driving interpretation. In reality, no one is hurt by interpreting it as raising children.

But what we miss when we do that is handling the text as it stands written, and letting it speak in its own words.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I don't think noun vs. verb makes much difference here. A noun is required because it's the object of "in" but the noun itself refers to activity. Sort of like "photography" or "worship" or "edification." So the question is really on of the scope of meaning here: either noun or verb could refer to the specific act of giving birth or, as a kind of [URL=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synecdoche ]synecdoche[/URL ], either a noun or a verb could stand in for "everything involved in raising children."
I'm not personally totally convinced of the latter yet, but close.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Ted Bigelow's picture

Hi Aaron,

Synecdoche is indeed being used, but as in all synecdoches, the part that represents the whole has to be inferred by the verb. For example, in the phrase "their feet run to evil" (Pro. 1:16), the feet express the whole - the whole body running to evil. It is the whole body that does evil, not just the feet. As you can see, the synecdoche here is impossible to infer except by the verb, "runs."

So too in 1 Timothy 2:15 we infer the synecdoche from the verb. In this case, the verb is quite strong: "saved:" "The woman is saved through the childbearing." The childbearing is a part of what expresses the whole.

At this point we are given two choices. Either "the childbearing" represents the whole of a woman's faithful life of child raising, or "the childbearing" is the event of Mary giving birth to Jesus and represents the whole of His sinless life and death on behalf of sinful women.

If the first, then the verb "saved" must mean "preserved." If the second, then the verb means "saved." Preserved is the lesser used and weaker of the two uses. "Saved" is the much more widely used and stronger of the two uses. Simply based on the verb alone we ought to try to see how its primary sense fits.

If you look at 1 Timothy 2:15 in the original, you'll notice that this secondary sense doesn't fit with Paul placement of "sozein" in v. 15 - it is the very first word of v. 15 and quite emphatic. Paul wanted it to be read emphatically as "saved." This becomes clearer when contextual factors are taken into account. 1 Timothy 2:14 closes off, "the woman was deceived and became a "transgressor" (ESV). Paul is not discussing how a woman reverses the Fall (as the other view requires), but how a woman is saved from transgression.

Here then is a second grammatical reason for why the interpretation that "a woman is preserved from transgression by raising children in the faith" is incorrect. The verb saved emphatically means "saved." The first reason is what I mentioned above: the childbearing is a noun, not a verb.

When we mistakenly, I believe, interpret 1 Timothy 2:15 as teaching that a woman is saved by raising children, we then must immediately jump in with all sorts of qualifying statements about what that doesn't mean. That in itself is telling. We must say, "oh, but this doesn't apply to a woman who is infertile." And, "oh, if you came to faith late in life, after child bearing years, it doesn't apply to you." And, "oh, salvation here doesn't mean salvation, but perseverance." And what shall we say to the truly saved woman who professes to love Christ, but was a single mother, and perhaps did a poor job of raising her children in the faith? Perhaps she was a new Christian when her children were young teenagers, and they now fully follow the world in their adulthood. Is the Christian mother lost? "Oh no," we say. So you see, we can't really let this verse stand on its own when we interpret it as teaching "preserved by child raising." We have to rescue it with qualifying statements.

The simpler explanation by far is that Paul is referring to a childbirth, or as he writes, "the childbirth," i.e., the miraculous and singular birth of Jesus Christ through which women are saved. This interpretation has no fight with its grammar. It regards the noun as a noun, and "sozein" as an emphatic verb meaning salvation in keeping with the context. It recognizes the definite article before the noun "childbearing" for what it is: a definite article.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I don't think noun vs. verb makes much difference here. A noun is required because it's the object of "in" but the noun itself refers to activity.

The preposition in the original is "through,"not "in." A woman (1 Timothy 2:15) is not saved in the the birth of Christ, but through the birth of Christ, pointing to His vicarious life and death on her behalf.

Interpreted this way, the verse is evangelistic and points a woman away from herself and over to Christ. It teaches a woman who loves Christ that just as her salvation was due to Christ's life and death, so also the woman's continuance "in faith and love and holiness, with self-control" (1 Timothy 2:15) will come from Him as well. Every saved woman is responsible to persevere in her faith, but even her perseverance will indeed come from Christ, even as their initial salvation did.

Rob Fall's picture

on this one.
The correct interpretation of this passage must, in my opinion, consider those women who in the providence of God are childless.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Synecdoche isn't really that complicated. Often a noun is used in reference to a larger noun of which it is a part. There is no verb dependency, though I'd agree there is context dependency. For example, people say "I'm going to church." The meaning of "church" there is more than either the building or the people but in usage represents all the activities and people as well as the place. The "going" isn't part of the synecdoche.
In the case of this passage, what allows "childbearing" to stand in for something bigger is that "save" may also be interpreted in a variety of ways. So "save" only constrains "childbearing" if you constrain "save" first.

Rob, about the childless, I think it is not the problem it may seem to be. Paul does't say "every woman who ever lives is saved through childbearing," so I think the view the article presents holds up. In this case, we're making that assumption that Paul allows for some unstated exceptions. We have a very similar problem with Peter's "weaker vessel" reference (I'm thinking it's 1 Peter 3:7-8 or so). No matter what sort of weakness we take that to be referring to, not all women are "weaker" than all men. He is expressing a general principle that fits most cases.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Rob Fall's picture

Aaron, I figured as much. My point is childlessness must be an explicit (though admittedly minor) part of the correct interpretation. If an interpretation doesn't take childlessness into consideration, IMHO, that interpretation is faulty.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Synecdoche isn't really that complicated. Often a noun is used in reference to a larger noun of which it is a part. There is no verb dependency, though I'd agree there is context dependency. For example, people say "I'm going to church." The meaning of "church" there is more than either the building or the people but in usage represents all the activities and people as well as the place. The "going" isn't part of the synecdoche.
In the case of this passage, what allows "childbearing" to stand in for something bigger is that "save" may also be interpreted in a variety of ways. So "save" only constrains "childbearing" if you constrain "save" first.

Rob, about the childless, I think it is not the problem it may seem to be. Paul doesn't say "every woman who ever lives is saved through childbearing," so I think the view the article presents holds up. In this case, we're making that assumption that Paul allows for some unstated exceptions. We have a very similar problem with Peter's "weaker vessel" reference (I'm thinking it's 1 Peter 3:7-8 or so). No matter what sort of weakness we take that to be referring to, not all women are "weaker" than all men. He is expressing a general principle that fits most cases.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Ted Bigelow's picture

Big word, simple concept, Bleah

But allow me to show you that the verb is critical to the synecdoche's meaning, in both your example, and 1 Timothy 2:15.

Aaron, if I tiger-maul your synecdoche example from "I'm going to church," to "I'm church," the synecdoche is in shreds. Your synecdoche requires the verb to be intelligible, even to a tiger. To further express your synecdoche's dependence on the verb, let's change the verb in your example from going to building: I'm building a church." The synecdoche you proposed is gone, for now the noun church can only mean a physical building, and not refer to the larger whole, such as the people, or the various church activities, including it's languid pot luck suppers with Aunt Emma's sour pickles. Your synedoche is gone because its meaning depended on the verb.

Now, bringing it back to 1 Timothy 2:15, the verb save is very emphatic in the Greek. When a Greek author makes a verb emphatic, he intensifies its meaning. In 1 Timothy 2:15, the idea then is "she shall really be saved." We get it: she will be fully and totally saved from deception and transgression (1 Timothy 2:14). Praise God.

But 1 Timothy 2:15 doesn't make any sense when the intensified verb save is translated preserved; It offends even the most stodgy of church pot lucks. After all, what does "she shall really be preserved" mean? Pickled? :Sp

C'mon. Not even Aunt Emma enjoys that.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Well, in my example, multiple verbs would work to serve the synecdoche (attending, visiting, checking out, invading, disrupting), but no, of course, it doesn't make sense with no verb at all.
In any case, the possibilities for the meaning of save are multiple. Martha summarized them in part 1 and footnotes some good places to explore. Then very briefly supports her conclusion here in part 2. Personally, I find the idea of "delivered from the sin of usurping authority over men" to answer well to the context as well as Coleman's observation in [URL=http://sharperiron.org/article/mothers-saved-childbearing-part-2#comment... ]comment 3[/URL ].
Interestingly, she sites Moo against the idea of overly broad synecdoche (childbearing=woman's good works in general), so I suppose we're talking about how much to narrow it. I don't have Moo on the passage. Would be interesting to see what he says on the snyecdoche idea in particular.
Would also be interesting to see more of Calvin's development of the idea if he goes any deeper into it.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Ted Bigelow's picture

Since we're this far down the road anyway.....

Let's tease it out. What would an emphatic sense of "delivered from the sin of usurping authority over men" mean? I'm asking you to acknowledge the emphatic placement of "sozein" in 1 Timothy 2:15, and then apply it to your translation. Wink

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Why wouldn't it mean "certainly delivered from the sin of usurping authority over men" or perhaps "fully delivered" or "especially delivered" (i.e., other things deliver, too but this one stands out) ? The emphatic position is notoriously ambiguous.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Anne Sokol's picture

macarthur & minnick have differing interps from each other &this article. if i were teaching this at this pt‚i would focus on the qualities mentioned at the end of this verse‚ pointing to Christ.

Kevin Subra's picture

The Immediate Context

  • 1 Timothy 2 contrasts men in their roles (albeit briefly, but with deep implications, with men [aner - used only of adult men ] directed to pray everywhere, raising up holy hands without wrath and doubting) with women in their roles (dress, character, & conduct).
  • It further defines a woman's God-designed role with a woman's God-assigned responsibility, regarding her disposition while learning, and prohibitions of teaching and of leading a man (again, aner). The context is clearly not addressing salvation from sin (conversion) but activity (character and conduct) based upon gender (not specific to married women or mothers).
  • Still further, it uses for supporting evidence for the prohibitions God's creation order (man first, then woman), and the woman's choice based upon being deceived. Both relate to her position and purpose in God's plan, not to her salvation from sin. Both evidence her failure in taking the lead (and Adam following her "because you hearkened to the voice of your wife"), and the resultant failure of Adam in following rather than leading.

The Book Context

As someone has already pointed out, the directions for women (widows) in 1 Tim 5 parallel this role-based idea. The widows being considered for support were required to do in essence what 1 Tim 2 prescribes (1 Tim 5:9-10). It is interesting that neither teaching nor leading are hinted at as requirements for worthy widows, but being a one-man woman and raising children are clearly delineated as such. Additionally, the younger widows are instructed to "marry, bear children, and manage the home," not to teach or lead, start a ministry, etc. One could also refer to Titus 2 for a similar list of home-focused, gender-specific instructions.

The Bible Context

Paul's "reasons" for his gender-based exhortations and instructions seem to be directly related to God's creative purpose. Though it may rub people the wrong way today, God designed the genders each with complementary roles and purposes. Paul is not suggesting something new in 1 Timothy 2. He is simply applying what God designed in Genesis, and what is seen throughout Scripture.

Genesis 1, 2, & 3 clearly define God's plan for gender. "Being fruitful and multiplying" has its implications, as does the man being created first, and commanded by God regarding the trees prior to the woman being created. Even in the confrontation after the fall, the woman feels the impact of sin in the realm of motherhood and her relationship to her husband. That is profound. Roles of both men and women did not change. They just become sin-influenced. Nothing changes that anywhere in Scripture. (cf Psalm 127, 128; Prov 31; Malachi 2; etc.) Even in the incarnation, womanhood is expressed in motherhood.

The context cannot support an eternal salvation view. The context, not a word, must determine the meaning. The Scripture, not our current culture or perceptions, must define our beliefs.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Kevin Subra's picture

Anne Sokol wrote:
i should wait until i have something more profound to say, but that moment may never come.

i don't like the #2 dismissal, it seems strange. i think there were quite a few things going on specific culturally in the epistles (and other books) that we don't know about very clearly.

i shy from her conclusion b/c I guess i don't want to find my "salvation" from a particular sin based on an activity or value system, if you can get what I mean though i might not be saying it right.

i have to value taking care of kids as my escape from female chauvinism in the church?

If, for some reason, as a christian woman, my life never intersects with children, I am more likely to be dominant over men in the church?

I think really, Christ is sufficient for my escape from this sin.

would we then argue that Christ or God Himself gives us children as His means of escape for us?

i dont' know. that seems kind of weird.

Anne, just some questions to stimulate, hoping to avoid "the sigh" ;>D,

  • Is what we like, want, consider weird, think, or make us comfortable the measure of theology?
  • Is it impossible to determine the meaning and application of Scripture because of unknown culture? (If not, what is the point of Scripture then?)
  • How do we determine what is of the culture of that day, and what is applicable today? (interesting that Paul referred to creation, not culture, when making his point)
  • How does one determine if he/she is the one affected by his/her culture, which affects his/her view of Scripture?
  • Does an exception ("not intersecting children") destroy the entire design? (and how would anyone not intersect children?)
  • Are there other meanings of the word "saved"? (Hint: yes, and incidentally, "escape" is not one of them...)

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Kevin Subra's picture

Martha did a fine job, and I draw similar conclusions.

However,

I do find it contradictory that she teaches on a passage that follows the prohibition for women to teach. I know most would not even think of this, but it is nonetheless true. I do not question her skills or ability. It is teaching by any definition, and her explanation seems to elude her actions in the writing of the article.

I do not question Martha's ability, skill, intellect, or motives. I do believe that the preceding verses (1 Tim 2:11-12) prohibit what she has done. There is no precedent in Scripture for a woman taking on such a teaching role. It goes back to God's design for men and women, which is reinforced throughout Scripture. Paul's reasoning points back to creation (1 Tim 2:13-14), not culture (his or ours). It points to gender, not location (such as a church building or college setting). Adam was formed first, then Eve, and Eve, being deceived, fell into transgression. Both are true in any setting, because they relate to God's design (positively, then negatively when it was violated).

I will offer that God appointed men to lead and to teach throughout history (who says God does not have a sense of humor?). Our culture, even our church culture, has slowly ignored that (as have many now-liberal churches). Ephesians 4:11 indicates that those given by God as pastor-teachers are described by God as responsible to equip the saints. Most would limit such offices to men (based upon 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9, as well as the gender of the apostles, etc.)

Some would tie the prohibition "not to teach" with "men," but there are no qualifications for women teachers. Even in Titus 2:3, the older women includes ALL older women, who are to teach all younger women. It is not an official position (class, etc.) but an assigned, ongoing responsibility. And the content is described in Titus 2:4-5, which would directly relate to womanhood (woman to woman).

Just thinking, and writing.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Don Johnson's picture

Kevin Subra wrote:
I do find it contradictory that she teaches on a passage that follows the prohibition for women to teach. I know most would not even think of this, but it is nonetheless true.

It seems the context of 1 Tim 2 is the public worship services of a local church. How far should we extend the application of this prohibition? We tend not to allow a woman to teach in a Christian college chapel, for example, but we do allow them to teach non-religion courses in the classroom. Is teaching by writing an article covered by the prohibition? I would tend to doubt it. I think the teaching referred to is aural teaching in religion. So church services, college chapels and religion classes are under the prohibition, but other avenues are open.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Quote:
Even in Titus 2:3, the older women includes ALL older women, who are to teach all younger women. It is not an official position (class, etc.) but an assigned, ongoing responsibility. And the content is described in Titus 2:4-5, which would directly relate to womanhood (woman to woman).

I agree, but what venues for teaching are restricted? I think it is reasonable to assume that since the only clear restriction is in a church setting, other avenues are open, as Bro. Johnson said. Elsewise a woman dare not open her mouth lest she say something that a man within earshot doesn't already know. So I am not sure exactly what you mean, Bro. Subra. Is it because the article was originally published in Faith Pulpit and then reprinted here where men and women read, learn, and discuss? Do you think women should not write books or blog or teach classes? If a woman is teaching a women's Bible study, and a man enters the room, should she stop talking until he leaves?

These questions may sound ridiculous, but I've seen such ideas proposed, and I've always wondered how one would be able to apply the principle (of a woman never being in a situation where she 'teaches' a man) in reality. And please don't mistake me for someone who believes women should be in teaching 'positions' where men are concerned- I've never been able to 'give a testimony' in a church service in good conscience, but in day to day life... it just gets really confusing to me how we are to be a teachers of women but without ever doing so where a man could see/hear/read what we've said.

Quote:
Paul is not saying that all women must have children in order to be saved or to live a godly life. “He selects childbearing because it is the most notable example of the divinely intended difference in role between men and women, and most women throughout history have had children.”14 Although the term “childbearing” here refers strictly to bearing and nurturing children, we may apply it in its broad sense of nurturing children.

Christian married women who are not able to bear children may fulfill their motherhood role by adopting or by fostering children (cf. Eph. 1:5; Ps. 68:5). And all Christian women, married or unmarried, may nurture children spiritually as Paul did Timothy―Paul’s “true son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2).

God’s Word differs greatly from our culture’s voices that belittle motherhood. God calls Christian mothers to rear godly children. First Timothy 2:15 should motivate all Christian women to bestow their God-given maternal instincts on needy children.

Some women say that they just don't have a maternal instinct and that they aren't 'good with kids'. Would this be an example of someone without 'natural affection'? Is it a 'curse' for a woman not to care for/about children ... thinking Deut. 28:56-57 ...

Kevin Subra's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
It seems the context of 1 Tim 2 is the public worship services of a local church.

Don, what you say is the normal response, and I'm not sure if my understanding today even qualifies as a minority, so I know that the monkey is on my back.

Paul gives no such geographic or topical arguments or restrictions. The Garden of Eden was not a church (either building or assembly). Paul's foundation for his instruction is rooted in God's assignment for gender. Does a man cease to be a man, or a woman cease to be a woman, when in a different location or discussing a different topic? On the contrary, the arguments that Paul uses are trans-cultural and have no expressed or implied limits. He in no way brings up or argues "in the church" in any way. He certainly could have qualified what he said. He did not.

Don Johnson wrote:
How far should we extend the application of this prohibition?

As I would understand this passage, and Paul's comments, we are not extending anything. We are simply acknowledging what God's design is from the very beginning. Paul does not express new truth. He simply applies God's purposeful pattern (and it's Edenic violation) to the Ephesus setting. The prohibition is a result of God's design from creation onward. It is not a church issue. He is simply applying God's great and good gender design to the church in this instance.

Don Johnson wrote:
We tend not to allow a woman to teach in a Christian college chapel, for example, but we do allow them to teach non-religion courses in the classroom.

We tend to do many things, I agree. What is Biblical? What is the pattern? Whom did God choose to lead nations, prophesy, counsel, and serve as the foundation of the church? Male leadership is pervasive in Scripture, and the few exceptions are notable because of their rarity (and it could be argued that they did not presume upon the leaders of the day).

On what premise do we "tend" these things? What is our foundation, if not the Biblical pattern and proclamation? (I believe both are valid.) In reality, the monkey is probably on the back of those that are expanding the gender-blending movement to prove their diffusion of God-given roles in all of society, the church, government, and the home. We are experiencing this in a steady way in conservative circles, and I believe that this article is just another evidence of our ongoing departure.

On a side note, I have pondered the non-biblical (extra-biblical?) organizations such as colleges. If they are truly given their right to exist by being extensions of the local church in some way (I do not find this to be Biblically sustainable), then why would they not be governed under the "rules" of the NT for the church? Paul doesn't add, "unless they are teaching non-religion courses in the classroom." That wholly ignores his creation-based, gender-specific arguments to which he refers.

Don Johnson wrote:
Is teaching by writing an article covered by the prohibition?

Does Paul give any qualification? Is it teaching? Is it religious teaching? Were Paul's epistles teaching? Each seems clearly easy to answer.

Don Johnson wrote:
I would tend to doubt it. I think the teaching referred to is aural teaching in religion.

You are adding two arbitrary stipulations that do not exist anywhere in the text, from what I can see, Don. (1) Teaching must be audible, which would eliminate anything visual, even for the deaf; and (2) teaching must be religious, which is not found either in the text or in Paul's substantiating references to the creation account. I see no textual support for either.

Don Johnson wrote:
So church services, college chapels and religion classes are under the prohibition, but other avenues are open.

I won't repeat my arguments, but I've addressed these. Incidentally, the article referenced in this post was first published in the Faith Pulpit, which is a religious seminary publication that is mostly read by [male ] pastors, I presume, and now it is posted on a website mostly frequented by pastors and male leaders. It is a religious article in a context of instruction to the church at large (or at least FBBC&TS constituency at large). It hardly seems like reading it out loud or presenting in a classroom changes the nature of its content.

One suggestion for further aggravation - It is my observation as I have pondered the non-church church-related organizations that one of the key benefits to their existence is that they can bypass various limitations placed upon the church. This would include leadership structure and selection, gender roles, limited responsibility vs. ongoing shepherding, charging tuition vs. freewill giving, democratic form of government vs. hierarchical episcopal leadership (usually with the oversight of a presbytery of some type), narrow classroom instruction vs. life and experience instruction, etc. If such an article could not be presented from a pulpit in a church, why would it be OK to present it in the Faith Pulpit publication that would somehow describe itself as an extension of the church with content that was specifically given to Timothy for instruction to the church?

Thank you for the interaction, Don.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Jim's picture

Kevin Subra wrote:
Paul gives no such geographic or topical arguments or restrictions.

Context, I think, of 1 Timothy

1 Tim 3:15, "if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth."

Answers the question about 1 Tim 2:12

Kevin Subra's picture

I think that you have great questions, Susan.

Susan R ][quote wrote:
I agree, but what venues for teaching are restricted? I think it is reasonable to assume that since the only clear restriction is in a church setting, other avenues are open, as Bro. Johnson said.

I covered this in my interaction with Don. There really is no "clear restriction" in the text. It is a general restriction based upon creation, not culture, location, content, or venue.

Susan R wrote:
Elsewise a woman dare not open her mouth lest she say something that a man within earshot doesn't already know. So I am not sure exactly what you mean, Bro. Subra.

Teaching is an intentional position with the purpose of instructing others, isn't it? The prohibition is not fear-producing, but order-producing and God honoring. I'm not sure someone could violate this accidentally.

Susan R wrote:
Is it because the article was originally published in Faith Pulpit and then reprinted here where men and women read, learn, and discuss?

I believe there are several issues here:

  • The content is confused by the messenger. The truths of the Word are intended to be taught to the church by men selected by God (Eph 4:11-2; 1 Tim 3:1-7)
  • The content is confused by the context. Paul had just instructed Timonthy not to teach. This paper is clearly teaching.
  • The content is confused by the recipient. Paul wrote to Timothy to teach these things to the church. He did not instruct Timothy to pass them on to the women to do so. (Incidentally, I had a seminary class on the Pastoral Epistles at FBBC&TS. We had no women visitors to help us wade through the mire of this passage.)
  • The content is confused by the institution that published the paper. They are a conservative Christian college/seminary that believes in men pastoring. Yet they have a woman present a paper on Timothy. They would not allow her to teach the class, I presume (hopefully correctly).

Susan R wrote:
Do you think women should not write books or blog or teach classes?

Books: Not if they are attempting to explain Scripture, which I believe is the role of pastor-teachers. If they relate to the realm of women (1 Tim 5:11-12; 1 Tim 5:14; Titus 2:3-5), I believe it would be in line with Scripture.
Blog: For what reason? For what audience? At what cost or distraction from what God assigned? (1 Tim 5:11-12; 1 Tim 5:14; Titus 2:3-5)
Teach Classes: Yes and No (see below)

Susan R wrote:
If a woman is teaching a women's Bible study, and a man enters the room, should she stop talking until he leaves?

That is where this issue rises or falls. Where in the Bible does it give an example, instruction, or mandate to have women's Bible studies? If the pastor-teachers are given to equip the church (Eph 4:11-16), is that inadequate? Did God, in leaving out instructions for women's Bible studies, forget a needed area? I do not think so. The Bible simply does not hint at women's Bible studies.

Here are some summary statements (far from a thorough explanation, but hopefully these will be helpful):

(1) The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus gave some apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teaches to equip the saints for ministry and bring them all to maturity [Eph 4:11-16 ]. These are men (this idea is not argued in our circles). This indicates that these leaders can equip and fully bring all believers -- men, women, and children -- to maturity (without the mention of women's Bible studies).

(2) The one place that speaks of older women teaching younger women [Titus 2:3-5 ] is used often to support women's Bible studies. However, I would point out a few key observations:

-- ABOUT WHO TEACHES: The passage seems to indicate that not just some, but all older women are to be teaching the younger women. "The older women are to be teaching the younger women..." This indicates that the teaching involved is not formal (i.e. classroom setting type of teaching) nor limited to just a few older women. It would seem to indicate that the teaching is ongoing, as any older woman has an opportunity to influence a younger woman. It is interesting that there are no qualifications listed for "women's Bible study leaders," which futher indicates that it is not Bible studies done by SOME older women, but daily teaching expected from ALL older women.

-- ABOUT WHAT IS TAUGHT: The passage indicates (and limits) what the older women teach to the list given: "that they admonish the young women:
(a) to love their husbands,
(b) to love their children,
(c) to be discreet,
(d) chaste,
(e) homemakers,
(f) good,
(g) obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed."

If women's Bible studies *could* be validated to be held in some type of formal setting, they would be limited to these topics. All the topics are directly related to women and their roles - things that every older woman would be versed in and experienced in. Studies of books of the Bible or other Biblical teachings would not be allowed if this passage was truly believed and practiced. Based upon what I said in my first observation, these topics seem best taught as older women interact with younger women on a day-to-day basis (as well as mothers and grandmothers teaching their daughters and granddaughters these things).

(3) Nowhere in Biblical history do you have God using women to teach women. Men are assigned that role, from the garden of Eden onward. Husbands are commanded to purify their own wives by "the washing of water by the word," [Eph 5:26 ] not other women.

(4) Women are given the privilege of serving as God assigns, not as they choose (same with men). Nowhere are women suggested as leading Bible studies. Instead, as in 1 Tim 5, women are commended for:

[being ] the wife of one man,
[being ] well reported for good works, [described as ]
if she has brought up children, (motherhood)
if she has lodged strangers, (hospitality)
if she has washed the saints' feet, (serving)
if she has relieved the afflicted, (caring for the sick)
if she has diligently followed every good work.

This would be a similar list as found in Proverbs 31 (which doesn't mention any teaching either). Younger widows are told, not to hold Bible studies, but to marry, bear children, and manage the home. [1 Tim 5:14 ]

(5) James 3:1 gives the command that not many of us are to become teachers. There is no "grab a book and start a Bibe study" idea in Scripture (which is actually, if you think about it, a book study).

(6) In 1 Tim 2, it might be seen that women are even commanded not to be teaching (as well as not having authority over men). I would understand this to be, at the very least, what women leading Bible studies are doing.

I have preached a study on this, if you are interested in hearing a more full version:

Susan R wrote:
These questions may sound ridiculous, but I've seen such ideas proposed, and I've always wondered how one would be able to apply the principle (of a woman never being in a situation where she 'teaches' a man) in reality. And please don't mistake me for someone who believes women should be in teaching 'positions' where men are concerned- I've never been able to 'give a testimony' in a church service in good conscience, but in day to day life... it just gets really confusing to me how we are to be a teachers of women but without ever doing so where a man could see/hear/read what we've said.

I understand the confusion. I believe that the confusion comes because people reject what is clearly stated in Scripture. That sounds audacious, but the Bible isn't that confusing in these areas. It is confusing when people blame 1 Tim 2, for example, on the culture of the day, when Paul does not even mention the culture. He points to creation. It is ultimately a rejection of God's plan and purpose initially revealed and patterned in Genesis 1-3.

Susan R wrote:
Some women say that they just don't have a maternal instinct and that they aren't 'good with kids'. Would this be an example of someone without 'natural affection'? Is it a 'curse' for a woman not to care for/about children ... thinking Deut. 28:56-57 ...

Instinct? Sin nature? Selfish self? Some men do not like/want to lead. Some men are not good husbands (and don't want to be).

FYI - My wonderful wife teaches Sunday school (lessons that I prepare for the entire Sunday school). She has taught a Titus 2 class, with my assistance in the study area. She is one of the best teachers I know.

Excellent questions, Susan. I hope that I have at least offered food for thought. Just don't read it out loud while your husband is around (just kidding) ;>D

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Kevin Subra's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
Kevin Subra wrote:
Paul gives no such geographic or topical arguments or restrictions.

Context, I think, of 1 Timothy

1 Tim 3:15, "if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth."

Answers the question about 1 Tim 2:12


Jim, are you implying the the "household of God" is a building? The household of God is a family, not a place. It is how you live in the family of God. Literally, "in order that you might know how in the household [family ] of God to be behaving, which is assembly of living God." THE assembly and an assembly are two distinct things. Though no article is present, Paul seems to be speaking of THE church (as no local church is by itself the pillar and ground of the truth) and our conduct in "it" as the living, breathing family of God, not just when the local body assembles, as I would understand it. It is not religion restricted to a building, a time, or place, is it?

Paul gives no qualification in 1 Tim 2:12, such as "unless," or "only in this circumstance," etc. It would be interesting to see how you would understand the instruction of women's modest apparel in light of your view. Is propriety and moderation restricted to assembly times? (1Tim 2:9)

I would still direct you to Paul's point of reference - God's creative order, and the consequences of violating that order in Eden. Both are trans-cultural and true for all time. Adam was created first, not in a church setting. Paul applies it to the church setting, as he does Eve's failure in deception.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Kevin, you're overlooking the setting. Timothy was serving in an actual local church and Paul was writing to him telling him how to handle things there. Though the household of God there is the people, not a building, you can see the people and they are "the church" when they are gathered as the church. So Paul makes an argument from creation but applies it to church life. This is really the only interpretation I've ever seen that is able to account for the occasional prophetess, judge or other female leader in the OT. (i.e., the restrictions are not intended to apply to women abosolutely outside the church setting).
But your view does resonate with me. I think as a society we'd be better off recognizing that the women who are suitable for the kinds of leadership roles traditionally assigned to men are quite exceptional (for that matter, men who are suitable are pretty few and far between as well, but still slightly less so.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Kevin Subra wrote:
Teaching is an intentional position with the purpose of instructing others, isn't it?

I don't think so, not by default. I am taught by testimony, example, and sometimes just casual conversation. The Holy Spirit often uses what a person says in passing to spark something in my own mind and heart- so there is the position of 'teacher' and then there is the kind of teaching that takes place in a more organic manner.

I also don't see how the lack of a mandate becomes a prohibition, or we must needs dispense with Sunday School, youth groups, church buildings, and modern comforts and technology. I mean, when's the last time someone in the congregation fell out of a window because the preacher went on all night?

Older women are commanded to teach young women certain things- we agree on that, and I agree with you more than I disagree- but I've seen no Biblical restrictions on this being accomplished in a group setting 'on purpose'. However, I do believe that there is a lack of mentoring in favor of study groups and fellowships, which IMO accounts for the shallow nature of our relationships and the lack of daily admonishing and encouraging that probably should be taking place. And if an older woman is teaching a younger woman Biblical principles of marriage, child rearing, and overall good character, how does she do so without teaching what Scripture has to say about those things, and how do you separate those things from their foundation in solid theology?

But to come back to the appropriate focus of women on family and nurturing- even if they aren't married or have children themselves. I know a young woman who is a missionary to Chile, and will be teaching ESL in the public schools, as well as classes on purity and modesty with the Bible as a textbook. She's living out Scriptural singlehood by focusing on serving God without distraction, but her role is still a nurturing one, and she will be working under the leadership of a pastor and a local missionary family. There's nothing in Scripture that contradicts what she's doing and how she's doing it. We do have examples of women ministering in a variety of ways, but the problem is that we have few specifics from which to create a list of dogmatic do's and don't's. (Mary and Martha, Dorcas, Phoebe, Priscilla, Lydia...)

Kevin Subra's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Kevin, you're overlooking the setting. Timothy was serving in an actual local church and Paul was writing to him telling him how to handle things there. Though the household of God there is the people, not a building, you can see the people and they are "the church" when they are gathered as the church. So Paul makes an argument from creation but applies it to church life. This is really the only interpretation I've ever seen that is able to account for the occasional prophetess, judge or other female leader in the OT. (i.e., the restrictions are not intended to apply to women abosolutely outside the church setting).
But your view does resonate with me. I think as a society we'd be better off recognizing that the women who are suitable for the kinds of leadership roles traditionally assigned to men are quite exceptional (for that matter, men who are suitable are pretty few and far between as well, but still slightly less so.)

I understand what you are saying, Aaron. However, I do not believe that the arguments from creation can be pigeon-holed to a church setting in any way. That is the setting, but the text or Paul's support does not restrict this in such a way. I very much understand the setting of 1 Timothy. Paul's arguments are not derived from that setting. Instead, they are applied to that setting. The creation principles are from outside the setting. The order of creation (male then female) where Adam was first formed, then Eve, is not limited by time, place, culture, or institution. It stands true in any setting, because it is not dependent upon any setting, and therefore does not change. It is a past tense principle that is unalterable. No amount of argument can be leveled to this Genesis support can change it, because it is a principle based upon creation order, not events contemporary with the writing, or current events. The same comments can be made of Paul's second reference.

I reiterate that Paul is applying Genesis, not creating a new restriction, in 1 Timothy. He references God's creative plan and resultant order. This order, even in the instances of "the occasional prophetess, judge or other female leader" (though I do not think that the latter term truly exists in the OT apart from foreign leaders such as the Queen of Sheba or those that wrongfully grabbed power, such as Athaliah [2 Kings 11:1 ]).

To say that "the restrictions are not intended to apply to women absolutely outside the church setting" is upside down for the very reason that the restrictions are not based in the setting of the church but in creation order and gender design. It is substantiated throughout Scripture in God's patterns and practices, from Genesis to Psalms to Proverbs to 1 Timothy and Titus.

Suitability to leadership is somewhat not an issue. Adam, as a man, was appointed leader in Genesis 2, and held accountable as the man in Genesis 3. I think you are confusing roles with positions. I believe men are designed and appointed to lead, though some are called to lead in greater capacities. What "leadership" roles would you consider suitable for women, based upon Scripture?

Thanks for your interaction.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Pages

Help keep SI’s server humming. A few bucks makes a difference.