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
Reprinted (with permission) from Faith Pulpit, March/April, 2010.
The topic of a woman’s role in the church has been one of the most heated debates in contemporary Christianity. Moreover, a woman’s role in the home, as a wife and mother, is under attack in our culture. In this article, Mrs. Martha Hartog, adjunct faculty member at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa, addresses this issue with a thoughtful examination of the phrase, “she will be saved in childbearing” (1 Tim. 2:15).
In I Timothy 2:8-15 Paul focused on a woman’s role in the church as well as her role as a mother. The passage closes with these words: “Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control” (2:15).1 A brief look at its context and some grammatical matters should help us understand the meaning and importance of this verse.
Why is a married woman reviewing a book about fulfillment as a single woman? I think I might have a vested interest in such subject matter. I was nearing my 31st birthday on the day my husband and I exchanged vows. I spent years wading through misconceptions and stereotypes, confusion and disappointment. I wish there had been a valuable tool like this book available during those years.
Skip McDonald is now fifty-five years old, satisfied and single. She says of herself, “If one day [God] decides he wants me to marry, I’m confident he’ll make that clear. But I have to admit that I often thank him for my singleness and remind him that I would like to die a single woman” (p. 113).
That’s some out-of-the-box thinking for most single women. This book is a description of her journey to such contentment, a journal of frank observations, and a guide in which Skip bequeaths to her readers the hope she has found in God’s perfect design.
The book is a very accessible 150 pages of easy reading. That is not to say it is not full of deeper thinking, but that it is top-shelf truth placed on an accessible bottom shelf. She provides illustration of her points by way of “interviews” with various single ladies on aspects of the single life. It feels much like a group discussion, with the additional input effectively fleshing out selected points. I would not have hesitated to place this book in the hands of any of the many students I counseled, who were afflicted with “freshman frenzy,” the rash that develops later into “senior panic.”
Becoming God’s True Woman was originally a set of lectures from the March 2000 conference on “Building Strong Families in Your Church,” co-hosted by FamilyLife and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Nancy Leigh DeMoss compiled and edited the book. Its chapters are authored by DeMoss, Barbara Hughes, Susan Hunt, Mary Kassian, Carolyn Mahaney, Dorothy Kelley Patterson, and P. Bunny Wilson. An extensive biography of each woman is included. Each is an experienced author and active in ministry to women.
The book’s primary purpose is to encourage women in the face of feminism in the world—as well as feminist leanings in the church—to “repent, to return to the authority of God’s Word, to embrace God’s priorities and purpose for their lives and homes, and to live out the beauty and the wonder of womanhood as God created it to be” (p. 18). The “true woman” of the title comes from a chapter of Susan Hunt’s:
The dictionary defines true as “consistent with fact or reality; exactly conforming to a rule, standard, or pattern”…
I am currently leading a group of ladies in a study on consecration, using Havergal’s Kept for the Master’s Use (a verse by verse discussion of her hymn, “Take My Life and Let It Be”). The chapter we are now perusing has to do with the line, “Take my will and make it thine—it shall be no longer mine.” That, in essence, is the theme of this book. Though the idea of self denial is not one that has women alone in the Scripture’s crosshairs, Kathie Reimer and her daughter, Lisa Whittle, discuss from a feminine viewpoint seven seeming paradoxes in the Word of God:
An apt sub-title for this book would be, What It Looks Like for Christian Women to Deny Self.