Taking A Careful Look At The Ministry Of Women In The New Testament Church (Part Twenty-One)

It is written:

“Nevertheless [the sentence put upon women of pain in motherhood does not hinder their souls’ salvation, and] they will be saved [eternally] if they continue in faith and love and holiness with self-control, [saved indeed] through the Childbearing or by the birth of the divine Child.” (1 Timothy 2:15)

In Paul’s concluding sections on dealing with the influence of the Artemis cult at Ephesus on the church, he reminds them that it is through the bearing of the Divine Child that women will be saved.

Several things are worthy of note.

First, the Greek text specifies that they will be saved through the birth of THE child. In other words, Paul is not saying that women will be saved through childbearing, but through the birth of a particular Child. This Child, contextually, is a direct reference back to Eve (1 Timothy 2:14-15), and her Child, the promised Messiah.

“The most likely understanding of this verse is that it refers to spiritual salvation through the birth of the Messiah….First, the context: V. 14 summarizes the woman’s fall into sin (iv aaeaPa1EL yryovEv) described in Genesis 3. The one about whom it speaks is “the woman” (f yuvij), Eve, and this one is the natural subject to be understood in v. 15, “she will be saved” = the woman, Eve, will be saved. From what does Eve need to be saved (in both 1 Timothy 2 and Genesis 3)? From ev aQ(XPdaEL yeyovev, the last words preceding this verse. In the protevangelium of Gn. 3:15, which speaks of “her seed” and says “He [the seed] shall bruise you [the serpent = Satan] on the head,” salvation is announced in terms of a child to be borne by the woman. Furthermore, this understanding fits the flow of Paul’s argument. He points out that Eve (f1 yuv~) brought herself into transgression by abandoning her role and taking on that of the man. But by fulfilling her role, difficult as it may be as a result of sin (Gn. 3:16), she gives birth to the Messiah, and thereby “she” (h yuv~, fulfilled, of course, in Mary; cf. Gal. 4:4) brings salvation into the world. The conditional clause (eav µeivwaLV XrX.) signifies that the previous statement is true only when conditions are met, and aw61jaetaL, understood as referring to spiritual salvation, would seem to be the only understanding that fulfills that requirement. Thus deliverance from transgression comes to those who have a true and sincere faith, which points to the usual correlation between salvation and faith in Paul and the attendant and abiding manifestation of faith in a godly life (cf. Romans 6 and 8)….Second, the vocabulary, consideration of which brings us to the detailed examination of the text on the basis of which the view presented above can be tested. be here suggests the contrast between w. 14 and 15. The subject of awOijaetaL is “the woman” (Eve, but also as typical woman) “in transgression.” gression.” That GWEh OETaL is passive indicates that the deliverance is wrought for her by another. That its tense is future points forward from Eve to the promised future deliverance by means of the seed of the woman, which is Christ (Gn. 3:15). oc w (NT 106x; Pl. 29x) is used by Paul in the sense of “save or preserve from eternal death, from judgment, and from all that might lead to such death, e.g., sin, also in a positive sense, bring Messianic salvation, tion, bring to salvation” (BAGD s.v. 2 [798], which places all Pauline occurrences in this category [Rom. 9:27 and 1 Cor. 3:15 being placed both in this category and in another]; cf. also J. Schneider, NIDNTT III, 214f.; W. Foerster, TDNT VII, 992-95). In line with this comprehensive evaluation is the usage of awi;w (1:15; 2:4) and niot1g (1:2, 4, 5, 14, 19[2x]; 2:7) in 1 Timothy up to this point in the flow of the argument….Since mxvoyovia may well indicate the seed of the woman, Jesus (cf. especially Rom. 5:9), it would be in accord with Paul’s usage to understand Spa with the passive form of aw~w in this same manner, which is a normal understanding of &a and fits best with the interpretation being proposed.” (George W. Knight III, Tye New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Pastoral Epistles, 2555-2578 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)

Second, Paul’s point here makes perfect sense while combatting the heresies of thr Artemis sect (who looked down upon men and childbearing in general). The fact is: man and women depend upon each other. As he pointed out to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 11:11-12 (ERV)-But in the Lord the woman needs the man, and the man needs the woman. 12  This is true because woman came from man, but also man is born from woman. Really, everything comes from God.

Third, the text also makes it clear that it is only through a personal faith in the Child/Messiah that women will be saved, and that only if it is an obedient faith. The words of Paul to the Galatians come to mind:

Galatians 5:6-For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

The Messiah’s Word constantly teaches us that in His kingdom, there is much needed work for both men and women.

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