Within the Pastorals, 1 Timothy 2:9–15 holds pride of place as having more secondary literature devoted to it than any other passage in the letters. Within that passage, verse 15 has received particular focus, and has been interpreted in a surprising number of ways. With the amount of attention given to this crux interpretum it might be thought that possible understandings of the verse have been exhausted, but a new article presents yet another take on this disputed passage:
R. Gregory Jenks, “Eve as Savior of Humanity? From the Genesis Narrative to Paul’s Comments on Childbearing in 1 Timothy 2:15.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 66.1 (2023): 133–61.
Abstract: As the concluding text to one of the more controversial Pauline teachings about women in the church community, 1 Timothy 2:15 carries a host of grammatical, semantic, and cultural questions that tax the most motivated and careful exegete. It is rendered distinctly troublesome by the change in number in the verbs and debates about their referent(s), the meaning of “salvation,” and Paul’s choice of desired attributes. I examine Paul’s use of the figure of Eve by looking first at the Genesis passage, where I consider her role as Adam’s helper, her fall, her curse, and her recovery as keys to interpret her mention in 1 Timothy 2. I offer a surprising solution: Adam, not Eve, is saved through childbirth; that is, humanity is saved from extinction through the woman’s role of mother with the condition that the couple, that is, men and women in the church, maintain the godly attributes listed.
Kenneth L. Waters, Sr., is Professor of New Testament and Associate Dean of Personnel, Contracts, and Undergraduate Studies in the School of Theology of Azusa Pacific University. Those who have sought to probe the depths of the extensive literature on 1 Timothy 2:15 have encountered the two related essays that Waters has produced on this crux interpretum:
“Saved Through Childbearing: Virtues as Children in 1 Timothy 2:11–15.” Journal of Biblical Literature 123.4 (2004): 703–35. “Revisiting Virtues as Children: 1 Timothy 2:15 as Centerpiece for an Egalitarian Soteriology.” Lexington Theological Quarterly 42 (2007): 37–49.
Waters has now incorporated these two essays into a new, book-length treatment of the debated 1 Timothy 2:11–15:
Women, Salvation, and Childbearing: The Mystery of 1 Timothy 2:11–15. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2022.
The book also includes a four-page appendix: “Exploring Further: Teknogonía in Classical Literature” (111–14).
A new contribution to secondary literature on the Pastorals in ZNW:
Anna Rebecca Solevåg, “Birthing, Nursing and Mothering Salvation: Metapher und Realität in den Pastoralbriefen.” Zeitschrift für Neues Testament 24.48 (2021): 45–60.
The article is in German. No abstract is included, so I provide the section headings:
(1) Einleitung (2) Die kognitive Metapherntheorie als theoretisches Instrument für die neutestamentliche Forschung (3) Die Metapher des „Hauses Gottes” in den Pastoralbriefen (4) „Gerettet durch das Gebären von Kindern” als soziale Realität (5) Gebären und Nähren der Erlösung als Realität und Metapher (6) Fazit: Spielt die Metapher eine Rolle?
Another essay has been added to the ocean of literature on 1 Timothy 2:8–15:
Mary Schieferstein. “Formation, Deception, and Childbearing: Reading 1 Timothy 2:13–3:1a in Light of Genesis 2–4.” Presbyterion 47.1 (2021): 112–20.
The paper has no abstract. Schieferstein notes lexical connections between the 1 Timothy and Genesis passages. She finds that “it seems that Paul understands teaching and exercising authority … to be a role for qualified man, rooted in this creational order” (114). She follows Schreiner’s explanation of the situation in Eden: Satan turned the ordered relationship between Adam and Eve on its head, targeting Eve while bypassing Adam, who was present but failed to intervene, abrogating his position of male leadership. In v. 15, it is Eve who will be [spiritually] saved by means of childbearing, and it is Adam and Eve who are in view as continuing “in the virtues which evidence saving faith” (118–19). Being saved by means of childbearing points to the fact that Eve’s giving birth eventuated in the birth of Christ many centuries later; “had Eve never undergone the process of giving birth, there would be no Christ and therefore no salvation” (119).
Schieferstein’s article in Presbyterion comes on the heels of a triad of articles on the larger passage in the same journal: Marjorie J. Cooper and Jay G. Caballero. “Reasoning through Creation Order as a Basis for the Prohibition in 1 Timothy 2:12.” Presbyterion 43.1 (2017): 30–38. Marjorie J. Cooper. “The Prohibition in 1 Timothy 2:12 in Light of Eve’s Having Been Deceived (1 Tim. 2:14–15).” Presbyterion 44.1 (2018): 115–25. Marjorie J. Cooper. “Analysis and Conclusions regarding 1 Timothy 2:9–3:1a.” Presbyterion 45.1 (2019): 96–107.
The notorious exegetical crux of 1 Timothy 2:15 has received attention in Themelios by means of the following treatment:
August, Jared M. “What Must She Do to Be Saved? A Theological Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:15.” Themelios 45.1 (2020): 84–97.
Here’s the abstract: “In 1 Timothy 2:15, Paul asserts ‘the woman will be saved through the childbirth.’ This essay asserts that this ‘woman’ is Eve and that this ‘childbirth’ is the birth of the Messiah. Although this interpretation is by no means new, the contribution of this essay rests in its proposal of the evidence for this view, namely, Paul’s use of the Adam/Christ contrast. This essay first analyzes the grammar and context of 1 Timothy 2:15 to assert that a messianic reading of this passage is an exegetically viable option. Subsequently, each instance in which Adam is mentioned by name in the NT is examined (Luke 3:38; Rom 5:14 [x2]; 1 Cor 15:22, 45 [x2]; 1 Tim 2:13, 14; Jude 14), thereby proposing a pattern for when to expect Paul to develop the Adam/Christ contrast.”