Women in the Church—Part 3

The comments to the previous posts are so thought-provoking. Thanks, in particular, to Kameron and Kaci for pointing out the I Timothy 2 passage that shows the tie-in of women’s role in the church and Eve’s sin.

Of course that brought up another LARGE question—what does childbearing have to do with salvation? After all, the passage ends with this:

But women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. (NASB)

Some translations actually say “saved” instead of “preserved.”

My trusty, rusty Wycliffe Commentary points to Genesis 3:15, 16 but says something about the incarnation of Christ, adding “Through this childbearing the woman who believes and continues in godliness shall be saved.”

Certainly the Genesis verses allude to Christ’s coming, but I wonder if Paul wasn’t referring more specifically to the curse laid on women:

To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Yet your desire shall be for your husband,
And he whall rule over you.”
– Genesis 3:16

Anyone else feeling uncomfortable with where this is going? 😀

Here’s my take on all this: “preserved” is probably a better translation than “saved” because of the spiritual connotation we give to the latter word. The issue, as I see it, was, Why wasn’t Eve instantly wiped off the face of the earth for her sin, for believing a lie?

God chose to preserve her, literally, but instituted the pain-in-childbirth curse on her. And, yes, childbirth was the method He used to bring about the incarnation of His Son. So in that regard Womankind has been preserved by—through, because of—childbirth.

Certainly the body of Scripture points to nothing that any of us, man or woman, can do to merit salvation, so this verse must be understood in that light.

As to Kaci’s other comment—that Adam didn’t sin—I think the qualifer might be misleading. Adam wasn’t deceived. He most certainly did sin. His was the sin of knowing that he was disobeying, understanding that Satan had lied about God, and going along with it anyway.

Why did he? Perhaps he thought he couldn’t live without Eve. In which case, he was sacrificing his relationship with God for a relationship with his wife. Perhaps he thought this problem was too great for God to fix. In that case he doubted God’s omnipotence. There are probably other possible motives, but regardless, he was not trusting God or acknowledging Him for who He truly is. Most definitely Adam sinned. Again, this point is clear all through the New Testament, so this I Timothy verse must be understood in light of that teaching.

I mentioned yesterday that I found it interesting the women commenting, all in agreement that God has limited a woman’s role in the church, characterized themselves as closer to Mary than to Martha. Why is this significant? Because accepting a limited role has nothing to do with temperment or giftedness or intellect (as the woman who sparked these thoughts indicated). It has everything to do with believing that the Bible is True and Authoritative. That it needs to be followed, even in the hard things or the things we don’t completely understand.

In other words, we can either choose to duplicate Eve’s sin and believe the lies of culture, or we can choose to get it right—to listen to what God says and believe Him.

Published in: on October 5, 2006 at 10:35 am  Comments (11)  
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