- - What does it mean that women will be “saved” through childbearing? (I Timothy 2:15)
Monday, September 5, 2016
Quietness, Salvation and Women
Women, specifically ours sisters in Christ, are often told, and in many instances are instructed, as to their place in the ministry of the church, not surprisingly, by men. They are to be quiet and silent in that place. There is, to be sure, no small number of women who have accepted this instruction and teaching of men. Those women have themselves become active propagators of this message of men concerning the ministry of women in Christ. I will not question the sincerity or the good intentions behind this teaching. I derive no spiritual thrill from casting names on them or questioning their faith. This is not in discussion. What is in discussion is a carnal, worldly approach to the reading and teaching of the scriptures. What is in discussion here is the teaching which continues to be perpetuated as much by men as by women which calls for and places the quiet and saved woman into a second and lower tier in the royal priesthood of believers. This is especially true of women who are willing, able, and even more; who have a calling to teach and preach. This is at vastly serious odds with the scriptures.
When women do teach their audience is to be of feminine gender. Any masculine gender learners must be non-converts, that is, they are to be non-believers. Should any of those masculine gender learners in the audience be converted while the woman is teaching she can no longer teach them. Thus, in this manner the error is perpetuated.
There is a reason why this seriously mistaken notion is as filled with confusion as it is convoluted. It stems from two references in the scriptures which appear in close proximity concerning 1) the quietness of women and 2) the salvation of women in I Timothy 2. It is those two references which are the focus of this article. A secondary reference on the silence of women is found in I Corinthians 14:34.
There may be no greater revelation as to the serious problems with the interpretation than the same passage where the two references are found in I Timothy 2:11-15. The two references are as clear and plain as can be. The problem with the discussion on both sides becomes evident in the uneasy, weak and contrived explanations offered concerning the salvation of woman through childbearing.
a short list of articles
Here is a sampling of a few of those contrived and convoluted explanations. Of course, these are very familiar among scholars and scholars discussion forums. This include new and old scholars as well as the familiar original language word definitions and commentaries:
John Piper How Are Women Saved Through Childbearing? 6/10/2014
John MacArthur How Are Women “Saved Through Childbearing?” 12/5/2014
Sarah Arthur Are Women Really Saved Through Childbirth? 05/2013
Tim Challies Saved Through Childbearing? 06/07/2011
Andreas J. Kostenberger Saved Through Childbearing? A fresh look at I Timothy 2:15 points to protection from Satan
some examples of clear and simple teaching
Jesus taught the multitudes through the use of parables in order for them to examine and understand the message of the kingdom of heaven. When Jesus used parables they had the intended effect of provoking, teaching, encouraging and allowing the people to think. This was nothing like their religious leaders who had no desire or patience to invest towards building understanding and edification for the people. Parables seem to be a clear and simple form of teaching. However even when Jesus did not teach with parables his teaching appears to have been plain and simply enough. Still this did not necessarily translate into a quick acceptance of his teaching by those who heard it. The lawyer who sought to justify himself is one example. The rich young ruler is another one.
The washing of the feet of the disciples is one demonstrative example. It appears to be simple and clear enough. Today some disciples designate a regular day of the month or the year when they designate a chosen group among them whose feet will be washed. This is noble. It is commendable. It is praiseworthy, but it is not as though this sincere imitation of the feet washing by Jesus necessarily reflects an understanding beyond the simple act of washing feet.
The apostle Paul was not one given to teaching in parables. He delivered much teaching often with a great deal of explanation. His teaching was not above being misunderstood by some of his listeners. Paul makes reference to one instance when the saints in Christ misunderstood his teaching. (I Corinthians 5:9-12)
What does the teaching of Jesus in parables, feet washing and Paul’s teaching have to do in the matter of quietness, salvation and women? It is that even simple, clear teaching, such as parables, can pose a challenge for the learner and is not necessarily readily understood. This might serve as a clue for some brothers and sisters who are quick to claim that the teaching of Paul in I Timothy 2:9-15 is clear and needs no interpretation.
Here is a test of that claim towards the interpretation and teaching of scripture. Is there anyone who has cut out the eye that offended them or cut off the hand that caused them to sin? Of course, the reply goes something like this: What Jesus meant . . . hence, the rightful need for interpretation of a very clear and plain teaching from Jesus. The following three paragraphs are from my article.
There are three elements which Paul bears out concerning salvation and which focus exclusively on the woman: 1) the instruction (I do not permit a woman to teach), 2) the reason for the instruction ( FOR Adam was first formed . . . BUT the woman being deceived), and 3) the expected results from the instruction (BUT she will be saved through her childbearing).
There is a another instance of an objective with a similar end result involving the salvation of a certain individual who became the focus of Paul's admonition in I Corinthians chapter five. Paul gave an instruction deliver such a one to Satan, (I Corinthians 5:5a) the reason for that instruction, for the destruction of his flesh, (I Corinthians 5:5b) and the result; that his spirit may be saved. (I Corinthians 5:5c) The progression from point 1 to point 2 to point 3 in the I Timothy passage suggests these (instruction, reason for instruction and expected results from that instruction) are related and are inseparable. Any response to one part can not be done while disregarding or discarding the other two.
So, why did Paul, given the NT examples of obedience to the gospel message of salvation (a belief) through faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior state the expected results for points 1 & 2 in point 3 that the woman will be saved through her childbearing?
Artemis and childbearing
Paul began his ministry in Ephesus where Artemis was to the Gentiles in Ephesus and Asia what Yahweh was to the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea. Luke, the inspired writer of Acts introduced the saints in Christ to the Artemis in Acts 19. Although there were numerous and different beliefs held about Artemis there were no more than about three which were very much in common throughout Asia. One of those beliefs was that she was born first. Then, she turned and assisted her mother give birth to her twin brother Apollo. Subsequently, according to the beliefs which evolved around Artemis, became the savior of women _ in childbirth.
Now, note the underlined key words in the Timothy passage above and how each of these stand out as a contrast and an affront by Paul against the belief of Artemis. Cultural is an anomaly which though it may look like religion or civic law it does not draw its authority from either of these, but solely from the social interactions of people. In America we call that peer pressure. The practice of concerning childbearing in Ephesus and Asia was not a cultural practice. It was a religious practice as it is alluded to in this Timothy passage; the belief that Artemis was the savior of women. Paul's refutation is that Jesus is the savior of mankind. Artemis was totally self-deceived in her belief, both of being born first (This is yet another Artemis belief which reverberates in Paul's writing when he asserts that it is Jesus who is firstborn, not of woman, but of the resurrection.) and of being the savior of women.
unlike Artemis: Adam and Eve
Paul wisely but unabashedly affronts further the claims of Artemis: Unlike Artemis, Adam and Eve were not born. They were created by the one by whom, through whom and for whom all things were created. (Colossians 1:15) Paul's point is not who was deceived, totally deceived or deceived first as much as he was pointing to the deceptive message of a deceived Artemis as savior who could not save anyone. Eve, like Artemis, was deceived, but unlike Artemis there was redemption for Eve as well as all women and all mankind through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God. His point is not, as some actually suggest and as some teach today, that the childbearing by the woman can free her from the stigma (utterly appalling) of being the first to sin. The only other reference which Paul made to childbearing was in I Timothy 5:14 as a way of not giving occasion to the enemy. In Ephesus the enemy's name was Artemis.
There is at the very least a need for a serious examination of the teaching of men and women by which the teaching of the apostle Paul concerning the quietness and salvation of women casts and relegates them to the fringes of teaching and preaching in the royal priesthood of believers. There is at worse a time for those saints who would impede those women who have a calling to teach and preach to stand aside.
It is truly a contrived, force and convoluted explanation which imposes quietness and salvation on women in Christ under the guise of having the authority of the apostle Paul. The best light shed on quietness and salvation of women in Ephesus shines through brightest when the saints examine just a little closer the cult of Artemis. This was the focus of Paul’s strategies and tactics to dethrone and demolish the cult of Artemis.
This is not about blindly suggesting or advocating a change in the practice of the saints without understanding the scriptures and launching forward. There must and there is to be understanding and edification for the saints in Christ if these things are done through the work of the Holy Spirit in every one of us.