Bill Mounce on 1Ti 2.15 (saved through childbirth)

Today’s “Mondays with Mounce” on Zondervan’s Koinonia blog discusses that ever-confusing verse, 1Ti 2.15. Here’s Mounce’s summary:

The position I take in my commentary [Mounce wrote the $amz(0849902452 WBC volume on the Pastorals) — RB] is that Paul is talking about how women work out their salvation, in the same sense that Paul says all of us should work out our salvation (σωτηριαν κατεργαζεσθε) with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). The women were not to listen to what the opponents were teaching, looking for other avenues of how their Christian commitment should show itself, which probably included staying out of marriage (1 Tim 4:3) and hence childbirth. But they were to stay in their marriages and see their God-given privilege of bearing children as something to be enjoyed and treasured.

But whatever your specific interpretation, Paul’s consistent use of σωζω argues for some understanding of spiritual salvation in this passage, and not some other meaning more accurately conveyed by ῥυομαι.

Second Timothy 4.19-22

[This is part of a running series on translating Second Timothy. See the introductory post for more information — RB]

Phrasing/Translation: 2Ti 4.19-22

19 Ἄσπασαι
19 Greet
    καὶ Ἀκύλαν
    and Aquila
    καὶ τὸν Ὀνησιφόρου οἶκον.
    and the household of Onesiphorus.

20 Ἔραστος ἔμεινεν
20 Erastus remained
    ἐν Κορίνθῳ,
    in Corinth,

Τρόφιμον δὲ ἀπέλιπον
and Trophimus I left
    ἐν Μιλήτῳ
    in Miletus
    as he was sick.

21 Σπούδασον
21 Make every effort
    πρὸ χειμῶνος ἐλθεῖν.
    to come before winter.

Ἀσπάζεταί σε Εὔβουλος
Eubulus greets you,
    καὶ Πούδης
    as do Pudens
    καὶ Λίνος
    and Linus
    καὶ Κλαυδία
    and Claudia
    καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ πάντες.
    and all the brothers.

22 Ὁ κύριος
22 The Lord be
    μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματός σου.
    with your spirit.

ἡ χάρις
Grace be
    μεθʼ ὑμῶν.
    with you all.


Verse 19

Ἄσπασαι] The whole verse is a greeting, a fairly common phenomenon in Paul’s letters (e.g. Romans 16) and also generally amongst letters found in the papyri (see Francis Xavier J. Exler, $amz(1592442153 A Study in Greek Epistolography: The Form of an Ancient Greek Letter)). Paul is sending greetings to several parties in Ephesus, instructing Timothy to greet these people in his name.

Πρίσκαν καὶ Ἀκύλαν] Prisca (elsewhere Priscilla) and Aquila, a couple known to Paul as evidenced in other letters (Ro 16.3; 1Co 16.19) and Acts (Acts 18.2, 18, 26).

καὶ τὸν Ὀνησιφόρου οἶκον] Mentioned earlier in 2Ti 1.16.

Verse 20

Ἔραστος ἔμεινεν] “Erastus” is a topical frame; we have a switch from the greetings to Paul’s dispensing of information. This name is mentioned in the greeting section of Romans (Rom 16.23) and also in Acts (Acts 19.22).

ἐν Κορίνθῳ] prepositional phrase, modifying the verb “remained”; Paul is giving Timothy information as to Erastus’ whereabouts.

Τρόφιμον δὲ ἀπέλιπον] The δὲ is developmental; we see a progression of information regarding the location of another person. Trophimus is mentioned in Acts 20.4; 21.29. In Acts 21.29, Trophimus is described as “the Ephesian”; in Acts 20.4 he is associated with Timothy and Tychicus.

ἐν Μιλήτῳ] prepositional phrase, modifying ἀπέλιπον, again giving location.

ἀσθενοῦντα] participial clause, here providing circumstance of Paul’s leaving Trophimus. Modifying the main verb ἀπέλιπον.

Verse 21

Σπούδασον] imperative verb; Paul is shifting from information reporting to a final instruction.

πρὸ χειμῶνος ἐλθεῖν] prepositional phrase, modifying previous verb, giving the time frame in which Timothy is to attempt to come to Paul.

Ἀσπάζεταί σε Εὔβουλος] More greetings. Here, the greetings are sent from Paul to Timothy; these are likely people who also know Timothy or who know of him and/or his task in Ephesus. This whole portion of greetings is curious because earlier Paul had mentioned that only Luke was with him (2Ti 4.11). These could also be people that Paul is in contact with via letter.

καὶ Πούδης καὶ Λίνος καὶ Κλαυδία] As with Eubulus, this is the only mention of these names (Pudens, Linus, and Claudia) in the New Testament.

καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ πάντες] This is a catch-all, basically “and all the other believers here”.

Verse 22

Ὁ κύριος] Shift from greetings to a final benediction. This clause has an implied “to be” verb.

μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματός σου] prepositional phrase, modifies the implied verb. Note that this is singular, “the Lord be with your spirit”.

ἡ χάρις] Another topic shift, now to grace. Again, this clause has an implied “to be” verb.

μεθʼ ὑμῶν] prepositional phrase, modifies the implied verb. Here the pronoun is plural, “Grace be with you (plural)”.