Today's reading: I Timothy 1-3
Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty. I Timothy 2:15 NRSV
The verse is actually part of an interpretation of Genesis and the eating of the fruit tree of knowledge. Adam (or man) is free from any implication here as it pictures Eve (woman) as the only one who actually did the transgressing. Therefore, because God punished the woman with painful childbearing, these instructions for Timothy indicate that the only way for a woman to be saved is through bearing children.
There are two things to point out here:
1) Childbearing was a way that society gave women influence and importance. Society and culture does this in many respects even today. This whole section is giving instruction on how men and women are to behave in church according to the society and their proper codes of household behavior. However, the church is not society. The church is God's community on earth. And this community is different, set apart from the rest of the world. The writer of I Timothy is still a product of the culture and society in which they were a part.
2) Genesis never indicates that childbearing saves anyone. In fact, we can understand that childbearing is painful because the baby's head is big. And why is the baby's head so much larger than other animals? Because the brain is bigger and more capable of knowledge. And the tree they ate from? The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Knowledge = bigger brain= painful childbirth. This is a fact of human life not a requirement of salvation.
God, only Jesus can save us. Help us to understand those who wrote your word and the society they lived in. May we learn how to interpret your word so that we are not misled nor is your word used to abuse anyone. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims