Questions From Readers
● What do the words at 1 Timothy 2:15 mean?—“She shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”—A. B., Washington.
This text is made more clear by quoting it, along with its setting, from the New World Translation: “I desire the women to adorn themselves in well-arranged dress, with modesty and soundness of mind, not with styles of hair braiding and gold or pearls or very expensive garb, but in the way which befits women professing to reverence God, namely, through good works. Let a woman learn in silence with full submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Also Adam was not deceived, but the woman was thoroughly deceived and came to be in transgression. However, she will be kept safe through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and sanctification along with soundness of mind.”—1 Tim. 2:9-15.
Paul is here speaking of literal women in the Christian congregation. He recommends that they dress with modesty and good sense, that they depend on good works for adornment rather than showy and expensive garb. He counsels them to learn in silence, keeping their assigned place in the congregation and not trying to replace the men in positions of authority. Then he cites, as an example to show the wisdom of this arrangement, the case of Adam and Eve. The man came first then, not the woman. Also, the man was not deceived, but the woman was. Back there in Eden she ran ahead of her husband. The results were disastrous to them both. Neither of them will have a resurrection in the new world. Eve’s bearing of children will not save her; no more than will childbearing save the wicked women that perished in the Flood or those who will die at Armageddon. After using Adam and Eve as examples to show the wisdom of God’s arrangement for man to exercise the authority in the congregation, the apostle continues his discussion concerning the conduct of Christian women in the congregation: “She will be kept safe through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and sanctification along with soundness of mind.”
Certainly no reasonable person will argue that women are saved merely because they bear children. Her being “saved” by this could not mean saved to life eternal. Recall the woman who had a flow of blood, and who was healed when she touched Jesus. He said to her, “Your faith has saved you.” (Matt. 9:22, NW, margin) He did not mean she was saved to life eternal, but that she had been healed and made safe from further plague by this affliction of hers. So in the case of the women in the Christian congregation, they “will be kept safe through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and sanctification along with soundness of mind”. The woman’s place in the marriage arrangement is to bear the children and instruct them in the ways of Jehovah. That, along with her Kingdom service, will keep her busy, without her having to try to help run the theocratic organization. Playing this role of hers, she will be kept safe from idleness or misconduct.
In the fifth chapter of this letter to Timothy Paul discusses some of the pitfalls into which some women fall, and after speaking of some of the younger widows running around unoccupied and gossiping and meddling in other people’s affairs, he advises: “I desire the younger widows to marry, to bear children, to manage a household, to give no inducement to the opposer to revile.” (1Ti 5 Vss. 11-15, NW) That will hold them down, give them something to do. That will be a profitable occupation for them, will keep them safe. If they do their duty as wives and mothers managing a household, and continue their service as Kingdom publishers, they will be safe from the snares that catch idle and untheocratic women.
● What is the understanding today of the command to women not to cut their hair?—F. A., Tennessee.
Respecting the cutting of women’s hair, referred to in 1 Corinthians chapter 11, this does not refer to cutting it to shorten it for convenience’ sake but still leaving a feminine touch to it, but cutting it short like a man’s so as to resemble a man and thereby remove this natural God-given sign of woman’s subjection to man and of the church’s subjection to Christ her head.