For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. But she will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with good sense.
-1 Timothy 2:13-15
What does, “She shall be saved through childbearing”, mean? This is one of those hard sayings or verses that are difficult to interpret. But after running through the possibilities, the context reveals what the text probably means.
At first glance, I thought it might mean that salvation comes through the womb of woman: Christ Jesus was born into this world through a woman. That is wonderful and true, but that probably was not Paul’s point.
The context reveals the meaning of the text here, I believe. And the immediate context is the reference to Adam and Eve, creation order and the woman being deceived and transgressing (violating God’s set boundary, sinning). God holds the woman, the serpent, and the man responsible and announces the penalties; of which Genesis 3:16 is here referred to:
He said to the woman:
I will intensify your labor pains;
you will bear children with painful effort.
Your desire will be for your husband,
yet he will rule over you.
The meaning of “She shall be saved through childbearing” might mean: She will be saved through Christ, despite the physical pain in childbearing brought by the fall.
“It is not through active teaching and ruling activities that Christian women will be saved, but through faithfulness to their proper role, exemplified in motherhood” (Douglas Moo, 1 Timothy 2:11-15: Meaning and Significance).
The Bible teaches that God promised women a life of fulfillment as wives and mothers in the home, if they receive and walk in Christ; and not in the leadership role as elders in the church.
It is also notable that scholars believe that the word “saved” here (“sozo”) means to have good spiritual health, or to be spiritually healthy. To be blunt, Paul is saying that the destiny of women is to bear children, to be mothers; not not in the office of elders. Women will find their fulfillment in the role of mother “if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with good sense.”
What about women who do not or cannot bear children? Can she find fulfillment in life? YES! Walking with God is the destiny for all Christian women that brings fulfillment. Men and women find their highest fulfillment in life through a personal relationship with Jesus. Paul is teaching that the highest earthly fulfillment for women is motherhood and not ruling in the church.