1 Tim. 2:15, She, They, and Salvation through Child Bearing | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry

There is probably a play on words occurring in the Greek in v. 15 when it says “she will be saved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith . . . ” In Ephesus, where Timothy was when Paul wrote this epistle, the Greek goddess Artemis was the goddess of hunting, wilderness, wild animals, and childbirth.1 Ephesian women would pray to Artemis so that they would be “saved” through childbirth. Now, the word for salvation in Greek is “soterias,” and one of the other names of Artemis was “soteira”2 which is very close to the Greek word for salvation! Paul may very well have been referring to this goddess by saying that the Ephesian women who were converts from the cult of Artemis/Soteira were to trust in Christ to deliver them through childbirth instead of looking to the pagan goddess. This is why Paul then switches to “they” in reference to continuing in “faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint” (v. 15). He first speaks of women as “she” by analogy in reference to Eve (she) and then moves to “they” as he speaks to women in general–applying the principle of Eve’s “womanness” to them and especially in the area of them bearing children.

This gains weight as an argument when we note that Artemis was referenced in the New Testament, and Paul was trying to dissuade people from following this false goddess.

“23 And about that time there arose no small disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen,” 25 these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. 26 “And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. 27 “And not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship should even be dethroned from her magnificence. 25 these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. 26 “And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. 27 “And not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship should even be dethroned from her magnificence.” (Acts 19:23-27).

So, we see that Paul was working against the false goddess Artemis–also known as Soteira, and it would make sense that he would reference her in passing in 1 Tim. 2:15.

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https://carm.org/1-tim-215-she-they-and-salvation-through-child-bearing?platform=hootsuite

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