My wife is an amazing wife, mother, homeschool teacher, and homemaker—but there are days I can tell she feels a bit cooped up. She’s a bright, creative woman with many ambitions, and I know there are days she feels like she could go for some more intelligent conversation beyond teaching ABCs, wiping noses, and breaking up fights over somebody “touching” someone else.
Every now and then she needs to be reminded—all homemaking women need to be reminded—that she is a world-changer. Homemaking isn’t for sissies.
That One Sexist Passage…
It’s in the middle of one of those sexist-sounding Bible passages that gives commentators headaches and modern feminists a mild conniption. Perhaps you’ve read it before…
“Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” – 1 Timothy 2:15
I won’t get into all the implications or all the interpretations of this verse, but here’s the gist of it (as I understand it):
She – In the context, “she” is the first mother, Eve (v.14), but it’s clear Paul is using her as a way to refer to all mothers. He uses plural verbs in the text, which is why the word “they” (i.e. women in general) appears in the translation.
Will Be Saved – Paul is talking here about salvation from sin, sin’s stigma, and sin’s ramifications. Biblically speaking, to be “saved” is not merely to be forgiven, but to be saved from sin’s power and control. In Christ, we are saved from both the guilt of sin and the grip of sin. United to Christ, we are forgiven, adopted into God’s family, and dead to sin—and some day the fullness of salvation will come to the whole Earth.
Through – This does not necessarily mean “saved by” but “saved in the midst of.” It’s like when we say, “My friend has been with me through it all”—we mean that despite all that we’ve experienced, our friend has been there for us. Paul uses a similar figure of speech in 1 Corinthians 3:15, “he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”
Childbearing – Paul is using the term as a synecdoche, which means he’s using part of something to refer to the whole. We do this all the time in English. For example, if I say I am the “breadwinner” of the family, I am not saying I win loaves of bread at work; I am using the word “bread” to refer to all the ways I provide for my family. Similarly, when Paul says “childbearing,” he is talking about the whole feminine role of homemaking, of which bearing children is a part.
If They Continue – Here’s the condition to Paul’s promise. A woman (obviously, a Christian woman) must continue in faith, love, holiness, and self-control to experience the kind of salvation Paul is talking about.
In summary, we could flesh out the translation this way…
“If a woman grows in her faith in Christ, she will experience salvation from the guilt and grip of sin, even in the midst of all her homemaking and child-raising duties.”
How Moms Overcome the Curse
In the context of this passage, Paul is taking his reader’s mind back to the Garden of Eden, back to when the first couple sinned against God (v.13-14).
- For both Adam and Eve, God told them their bodies would be subject to decay and eventually death.
- For Adam, God cursed the ground to make his labor difficult.
- For Eve, God spoke this curse: “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16).
Eve and every mother since has had to face the agony of childbirth. Before the days of epidurals and modern medicine, this aspect of the curse was acutely felt by women everywhere, at times resulting in irreparable damage to a woman’s body or even death. Even today, there can be great pains in conceiving, bearing, and raising children.
But Paul has a better word for women: even in the midst of all the womanly duties of childbearing and homemaking (and all that comes with them), God brings salvation. What was once pronounced as a curse is now one of God’s primary sovereign means to transform women into the image of His Son.
No, the verse says nothing of celibate women or infertile women—those are beyond the purview of Paul’s thoughts here. God can and does use all the trials of life—tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword (Romans 8:35)—to work together for the Christian woman’s good (v.28). Speaking to women in general, Paul is alluding back to the original curse, saying, “Even the heavy trials of your duties at home are not obstacles to salvation. God is saving you in the midst of them.”
Think of the so-called idea “Proverbs 31 Woman,” who is far more than just a domestic busy-body—she’s a world-changer. She doesn’t just provide food and clothing for her household (v.15, 21) and teach her children (v.26)—she’s a real entrepreneur (v.14-15, 18, 24), a real “work-at-home” mom. This kind of mom impacts not just her home but her whole community, and her children rise up and call her blessed (v.28).
More than this, God uses the efforts of homemakers to bring salvation to others, especially her own children.
- Think of the bravery of Jochebed to hide young Moses, the great deliverer of God’s people.
- Think of the influence of Hannah on her son Samuel, the great prophet of Israel that anointed King David.
- Think of the tireless prayers of Elizabeth concerning her son John the Baptist, the forerunner to the Messiah.
- Think of the teaching of Eunice to her son Timothy, the great evangelist who aided Paul in his missions.
- Think of the responsibility of Mary to raise the Son of God.
If you are a homemaker, you do not have a sideline job. God is at work in your home and your heart. What was once just thought to be a curse is now the context in which God is bringing about salvation from the grip of sin—not just for you, but for your kids and for many others in the world.
Encouragement & Inspiration for Homemakers
My wife was recently asked to speak as part of an online Christian Homemaking conference. I’ve had the opportunity to check out all the topics that are going to be covered as part of this conference, and it’s going to be awesome!
Are you feeling discouraged? Are you are feeling like you need help with homemaking? Maybe you feel like you need someone to mentor you? Or maybe you just need a little encouragement to give yourself some grace…
I’d encourage you to check out this year’s Homemaking Ministries Online Conference.
Homemaking Ministries Conference Topics
- The Ministry of Homemaking
- Recovering Biblical Homemaking
- Homemaking and Working from Home: Is it possible to do both?
- Homemaking—the juggling act!
- Saving Time and Money in the Kitchen
- Having a Plan for Keeping Your Home Clean
- Prayer in Homemaking: gaining vision, finding time, and praying with our children
- Finding Joy in Homemaking
- Spiritual Disciplines for the Busy Homemaker
- Calm Your Chaos
- Unrealistic Expectations, Communicating your Needs, and Dealing with Differences
- Bible Memorizations: 5 minutes a day, lifetime benefits for the entire family
You can see all of the speakers, and get all of the nitty gritty details, and buy your ticket on the Homemaking Ministries website. (My beautiful wife is teaching the last session I listed.)
Homemaking Ministries: Ticket Details
I’m so pleased that this conference is being made available at a very affordable rate. With all that you will learn, the ways you’ll be able to bless your family, and the ways you’ll simplify your life, purchasing a ticket really seems like a no-brainer.
Some of the features of the conference…
- Listen in whenever you’d like. You’ll have lifetime access to listen later.
- Receive a Home Management Binder (worth $19.95) with the purchase of your ticket.
- Receive a conference notebook you can print off. You’ll have access to notes, resources, and links from each of the sessions.
You can check out all of the details at the Homemaking Ministries Conference website. My wife hopes to see lots of you in the private facebook page soon!