Could you explain 1 Timothy 2:15?


by Shawn Brasseaux

“Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” First Timothy 2:15 can be a difficult verse at first glance, but it is really quite simple. In this Bible study, we will scan the context to shed light on this most mysterious verse. To the Scriptures!

The context begins at verse 9, so will start there: “[9] In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; [10] But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. [11] Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. [12] But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. [13] For Adam was first formed, then Eve. [14] And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. [15] Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

While the above verses can describe Christian women in their day-to-day living at home or in public, it really is how they are to behave in the local church, amongst other Christians in an assembly setting. (The behavior of Christian men is found in verse 8.) Please bear in mind that the entire Book of 1 Timothy is how the local church is organized and functions.

Verses 11-14 are a reminder that Christian women are to submit to male leadership in the assembly (or, by extension, in the marriage relationship—see Ephesians 5:22-24 and Colossians 3:18). Remember, as Paul points out, Adam was created first, then Eve. This was the order Satan caused Eve to ignore back in Genesis chapter 3 when he tempted her. Recall that God gave Adam the commandment about not eating the forbidden fruit in Genesis 2:16-17. Adam was expected to relay those instructions to Eve. Either Adam failed to properly communicate those words to Eve, or she simply forgot them. Whatever the reason, she misquoted God in Genesis 3:2-3, which eventually led to Satan getting the advantage and causing man to fall into sin. God wants the local church to guard against such a disaster from re-occurring. Remember, if the local assembly loses its testimony, there goes God’s testimony in the community!

Paul says Eve was “deceived” whereas Adam was “not deceived” (1 Timothy 2:14). Satan confused Eve so that she was seduced, distracted, from God’s Word. Had she submitted to Adam’s headship, he would have been able to help her remember what God had originally said (since Adam, recall, had been entrusted with those directions first). Furthermore, Adam knew exactly what Satan was doing with Eve, and yet Adam did nothing to stop it. Adam refused to function as the head of his wife. So, both Adam and Eve were at fault. Neither Adam nor Eve behaved as God intended—both failed to function in their respective roles. Men/husbands are to lead their women/wives into God’s truth, both in the marriage relationship and the local assembly. Paul highlights in 1 Timothy 2:14 how Eve “being deceived” was “in the transgression.” In verse 15, he shows Christian women how not to transgress as Eve did. He is also going to implicitly state how men can avoid repeating Adam’s mistake.

With all of that said, verse 15 is much clearer: “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” In spite of Eve being “in the transgression” (verse 14), a Christian woman today can be “saved” from Satan’s influence. The Christian woman can overcome where Eve failed. This is where people can get a little silly, so we need to exercise caution here. “Saved” in this context does not mean justification and going to heaven, but rather deliverance from Satan getting the advantage as he did with Eve. If the Christian woman will fulfill her God-given role (“childbearing”—cf. 1 Timothy 5:14), and “they continue” (not “her” but “they,” meaning she and her husband) as God intended—respecting the role of male leadership—they will not repeat the mistakes of Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 3.

The Christian husband/man and Christian wife/woman are to “continue in faith,” remembering and believing what God said about marriage and the role of the sexes. (Adam and Eve failed to do this.) The husband and wife are to “continue in charity,” looking out for each other and seeking each other’s best interest, being vigilant against Satan’s attacks. (Adam and Eve did not do this.) The husband and wife are to “continue in holiness with sobriety,” acting like God’s people (who they are) with a mind that thinks like God’s people would. (Adam and Eve did not do this either.)


First Timothy 2:15 is God’s design in keeping Satan from causing trouble in the local church (as well as in the marriage relationship). There is spiritual safety for women if they submit to God’s order and role of the sexes. With Spirit-filled men leading local assemblies and marriages, Satan has a harder time deceiving the women like he did Eve. If you want to see chaos in an assembly where women are usurping that authority over men, confusing the role of the sexes, just take a look at Corinth. See 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 and 14:33-35. For more information, please refer to our “head coverings” article linked below.

Also see:
» Must Christian women wear head coverings?
» How does Satan operate today?
» Did Adam die or did he not die in Genesis 3?