God demands holiness, faith and love, and self-control from all mankind. I don't understand in what point Apostle Paul have said this

Yet she will be saved through childbearing-if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control (1 Timothy 2:15).

What about unmarried women?

Can anyone help me understand this verse?

  • σῴζω has many different meanings. For example, it is translated "made whole" in Luke 8:48, "And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." (KJV)
    – Perry Webb
    Jul 8, 2018 at 12:43
  • 3
    I have always understood that 'the child-bearing' is a reference to the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Verse 14 expresses the deception of woman and the transgression of man. But verse 15 encourages (any) woman to continue in faith and charity and holiness in the light of the coming into the world of Him who was born of woman.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 8, 2018 at 12:53

5 Answers 5


There is a problem with the English translations of this verse.

In the kJV it reads "they shall be saved in childbearing". The ASV says "saved through her child-bearing". The CEV says "will be saved by having children". And, the ERV says "will be saved in their work of having children".

Does anyone stop to think that these translations set up a different method of salvation for women than for men? Women then would not be saved through baptism into Christ (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16), but through works of bearing children?

What about those women who are barren and cannot have children? Or, what about those women who never marry? They cannot be saved?

These questions should let us know that the translation is incorrect. Young's has translated it correctly.

"and she shall be saved through the child-bearing, if they remain in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety." (YLT)

Is it not more clear? Which child-bearing? Hers, or "the"? It is confirmed in the Greek Interlinear transliterated as "dia tes teknogonias".

John 3:5-6.

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily I say unto thee, except that a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh, is [i]flesh: and that that is born of the Spirit, is spirit."

7 Marvel not that I said to thee, Ye must be born again." (GNV)

THE child-bearing is not of the flesh, but of the spirit. We all must be born again of the water and the spirit through baptism into Christ.

The verse is not speaking of a woman's act of child birth. That would make salvation of works. A woman is saved the same way a man is saved - through the birth of the water and the spirit.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17, KJV)

"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (Eph. 4:24, KJV)

"And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:" (Eph. 3:10, KJV)

There is a lot of delivery and birth language in the NT which is all symbolic of the birth of the church of Christ, and the birth of the new spirit of man in Christ. God does not separate women out from that salvation plan. Both men and women are co-heirs of the promise (Rom. 8:17; 1 Pet. 3:7).

  • Well stated! Ellicot also stated (in perfect agreement with this): See next answer
    – user25930
    Jul 8, 2018 at 22:38

Well stated! Ellicott also stated (in perfect agreement with this): "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." "


From a spiritual and prophetic perspective, the woman is symbolic of the church or congregations of believers, on this note, "childbearing" relates to Revelation 12:5. Every Christian believer has the potential of giving birth to the Christ seed (nature, character, function). This birth takes place in the soul.

A Christian believer can be literally single and literally barren but the soul can still spiritually give birth to the fruit of the spirit, be a High Priest and other Christlike character and functions.

In other words, a Christian should not remain at the level of a:

  • Foolish virgin (not enough anointing)

  • Wise virgin (Word and anointing but no birth of a Son)

  • Bride (Word, anointing, meets the bridegroom but no birth of a Son)

  • Wife (Word, anointing, marries the bridegroom but no birth of a Son)

  • The Mother becomes a spiritual Son (From the New Covenant perspective, we need to become the Sons of God who are led by the Holy Spirit because the Son gets the inheritance. This is our childbirth.)

Galatians 4:19 - Berean Study Bible- This is the Son we give birth to

"My children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you."

Colossians 1:27 - Berean Study Bible - This is the Son we give birth to

"To whom God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

This is the reason Tamar tricked Judah to give birth to a Son. Her actions were prophetic.

Deuteronomy 25:5-10 (NKJV) - Marriage Duty of the Surviving Brother

5 “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6 And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. 7 But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’ 8 Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’ 9 then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.’

In many instances, the NT apostles spoke in parables, similitudes, metaphors. They only expounded on the mysteries of the kingdom to mature believers (eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to perceive the unseen realms). The apostles followed the patterns of the teachings of Jesus.

  • 1
    Hi Ken, welcome to the Biblical Hermeneutics site. There are some guidelines that you should be aware of. This site is an academic site interested in providing well researched and well reasoned answers to the questioners query. Therefore, our answers should not only cite scripture but also show from context and/or grammar why the reference supports your answer. For example, instead of just referencing Rev 12:5, it would have been better to quote it and then break down the context or grammar to show prove your point. Also, remember to specifically answer the exact question the questioner posed.
    – alb
    Aug 1, 2018 at 22:13

"Through childbearing" does not mean what seems at first glance. In this verse, "dia" (through) introduces a concessive, and the meaning is "even if she gives birth to the children she will be saved.".


Many people have grappled with the meaning of 1 Tim 2:15. Three basic views have been suggested, and they are closely related to how people interpret the word teknogonia.

  1. Some take teknogonia to refer to having children in the literal sense.
  2. Some take teknogonia to be used in a metaphorical sense to the virtues mentioned.
  3. Some take teknogonia to refer to the extended sense of parenting children.

I have discussed these options in more detail in this article, so here I will only give some excerpts from the article.

There are both linguistic, cultural and contextual considerations to take into account.

The cultural and situational context is that Paul is writing to Timothy about the situation in the church in Ephesus, and he is addressing certain issues where he feels the church is not doing things in the right way. He is particularly concerned about false teachers in the church. Some of these seem to have been women. He gives the following advice in 2:11-12:

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.(NIV)

From this we understand that certain women, probably Greek women, had taken upon themselves the role of authoritative teaching in the church. It is not so much a matter of giving instruction as it is a matter of deciding between false and true teaching. This was a role that at least at that time was limited to men who were well trained in the Scriptures. Women normally had not had the same opportunity for training in the Scriptures, but there were exceptions, like the famous Priscilla (Acts 18:26) and Junia (Rom 16:7). We can guess from Paul’s letter here that some women had become too vocal and dominating taking on the role of teaching in the church about matters that they were not qualified to teach about. So, Paul says that they ought to instead concentrate on taking care of their children at home. They are allowed to participate in the church activities, but do it in submission to their husbands and the church leadership.

In 1 Tim 2:9-10 he advises the women in that church not to show off in terms of dress and jewelry, but instead live quiet lives doing good deeds. If these women are disobedient and go beyond the limits set for them, they may end up like Eve who was deceived by Satan (2:13-14).

Now let us look more at the linguistic issues in 2:15:

There are three key words that are a challenge. The first is the word for save. It is here used in the future tense: (Women/she) will be saved. The word can refer to physical rescue, but here it must refer to spiritual salvation as it always does in Paul’s letters. The word can be used in past, present and future tense.

  1. In the past tense it refers - in the case of believers - to when the person was first saved by faith and became a believer or follower of Christ. Examples: Rom 8:24: “For in this hope we were saved;” Eph 2:5: “it is by grace you have been saved;” Eph 2:8: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith;” Tit 3:5: “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”

  2. In the present tense it refers to an ongoing process that has started and not yet ended, but the eyes are set towards the final salvation. Examples: 1 Cor 1:18: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God;” 1 Cor 15:2: “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” See also 1 Pet 2:2: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation;” Php 2:12: “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

  3. In the future it can refer to the consequence of a fulfilled condition as in Mark 16:16: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;” John 10:9 “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved;” Acts 2:21, Rom 10:13: “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

In Matt 10:22 and other places it refers to the final redemption where the believer enters into eternal life with God and Jesus forever after death and resurrection. In Paul’s letters this is almost always the intended meaning. It is found among other places in 2 Tim 4:18: The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.

It is important to compare with the related passage in 1 Tim 5:13-15 about advice to young women:

They get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.(NIV)

Those who turned away to follow Satan have lost their salvation and will not get the final redemption unless they repent and come back.

The second challenging word is the Greek word teknogonia. It is often translated as childbearing, but if the focus had been on childbearing, it is likely that a different Greek word teknopoiia (making of children) would have been used. When we remember that the Greek word for parents is goneis and teknon means child, a better translation would be child-parenting or as many commentators have put it: childrearing. It includes the birth of children, but the focus is on taking care of children after birth.

Some have argued that if the corresponding verb teknogonein in 1 Tim 5:14 supports the meaning “bearing children”, why would the noun in 1 Tim 2:15 not have the same meaning? Or since Paul uses teknotropein for “bringing up children” in 5:10, why not use the same term in 2:15?

My response is that both the noun and the verb are not restricted to bearing children, but includes both having children and caring for them with the focus on bringing them up. It may be easiest to see the difference when we list 3 related words together:

  1. teknopoiia - the making of children
  2. teknotrofia - the nurturing of children (mainly giving food)
  3. teknogonia - the parenting of children We become parents when we get children, but parenting is so much more that just getting a child and feeding them.

The third challenging word is the Greek preposition dia. It can have different meanings in different contexts. It may refer to means, but here it must refer to what is called attendant circumstance. One of many examples of this sense is found in 1 Pet 3:20:

the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this [event], now saves you (ESV).

The Greek text has the same word for save, but with the dia prefix - were saved through. The water was not the means of salvation, since it was their faith and the ark that saved them, but it was an attendant circumstance. They went through the water while being saved by the ark. (Similarly, believers go through the water of baptism while being saved by faith).

So, in conclusion, the text of 1 Tim 2:15 seems to advise certain (Greek?) women in Ephesus to concentrate on their God-given calling of motherhood which they need to focus on as they continue in faith, love and holiness with prudence. They should refrain from usurping the role of authoritative teachers in the church, because they may easily end up as false teachers. As long as they concentrate on motherhood, they will be kept safe in their already obtained salvation and will eventually reach final redemption.

This advice is similar to what Paul says in 1 Tim 5:14:

So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. (NIV).

Instead of to have children I would translate to be good parents for their children, because once they are married, it is not necessary to talk about having children, but about taking good care of the children as well as the home.

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