Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Do You Know What Paul Really Taught

Concerning the Issue of Women Obtaining Salvation?

Sam Shamoun

Leading taqiyyist and Christophobe Paul Bilal Williams has produced a short post accusing the blessed Apostle Paul of teaching that women are saved through having babies!

Did you know that according to the New Testament women will be saved through having babies? 

Paul in the New Testament taught (1 Timothy 2):

Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. 12I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

Williams leaves us no choice but to respond to his false accusations and blatant perversion of God’s Word, the Holy Bible.

Did you know that when Williams wants to cast doubt on the veracity of the Holy Bible he will appeal to critical scholarship to prove that the Pastoral Epistles (PE), i.e. 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, were not composed by Paul, but are forgeries written in his name?

Did you know that Williams will assume Pauline authorship for the PE whenever he wishes to demonize this blessed and holy Apostle of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Did you know that Williams’ statements here are a blatant distortion of what the blessed Apostle actually taught concerning the subject of the salvation of women?

Did you know that this passage has been wrenched out of its immediate context since a few verses earlier, Paul makes it abundantly clear that salvation comes as a result of the mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ and the ransom which he paid in order to bring God’s salvation to all mankind?

“This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-7

Did you know that this blessed Apostle reiterates this point all throughout the PE?

For instance, Paul began his inspired letter to Timothy by reminding him of the following trustworthy saying:

“The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were TO BELIEVE IN HIM FOR ETERNAL LIFE.” 1 Timothy 1:15-16

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners so that everyone who believes in him may receive eternal life, a point which the Apostle makes sure to repeat in his second inspired epistle to Timothy:  

“Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, NOT IN VIRTUE OF OUR WORKS but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” 2 Timothy 1:8-12

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Paul says the same thing to Titus:

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another; but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, NOT BECAUSE OF DEEDS DONE BY US IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. The saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men.” Titus 3:3-8


For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us TO RENOUNCE irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:11-14

It is rather apparent from the foregoing texts that the Apostle Paul was not teaching that women are saved by giving birth to children, since he clearly says that no one obtains eternal life by their righteous deeds. Rather, individuals are saved because of the grace and mercy of God, which they freely receive through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord.

However, Paul is also abundantly clear that, once we are saved, God’s grace then empowers us to turn away from evil deeds in order that we might live holy and righteous lives.

Thus, someone who is truly saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will end up doing good works, since these righteous deeds become the necessary sign and evidence that a person has been delivered from the power of sin and Satan.

As Paul says elsewhere:

“And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles—to whom I send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified BY FAITH IN ME.’ Wherefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and perform deeds worthy of their repentance.” Acts 26:15-20

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10

Paul even goes as far as to say that God makes no distinction between males and females when it comes to salvation since they are all one in Christ through their faith, and are therefore equally loved and valued by God:

“yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but THROUGH FAITH INN JESUS CHRIST, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified BY FAITH IN CHRIST, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified.” Galatians 2:16

“Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?… Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?... that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faithfor in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, THROUGH FAITH. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:2, 5, 14, 26-29

Since it is abundantly clear that the blessed Apostle did not believe for a moment that a person is saved by the righteous deeds s/he does, but solely by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, this sufficiently puts to rest William’s blatant misreading of 1 Timothy 2:15.

So then what did Paul mean when he wrote that women will be saved through childbearing?

In light of what he says later on in this same epistle concerning apostates introducing demonic doctrines such as the prohibition of marriage:

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:1-5

The Apostle may have been encouraging women that getting married and having children are not evil acts, but noble ones which they should pursue, since this is what God has assigned for women in general, provided that these roles are carried out “in faith and love and holiness,” and tempered “with modesty.” As such, Paul’s point would be that rearing godly children is one of the righteous deeds which spring from true saving faith, and is therefore a clear indication that God has destined such women for salvation, not wrath. 

Others, however, take this to mean that Paul is speaking of Eve being saved from her sin by the birth of the promised seed spoken of in Genesis 3:15, e.g. the Messiah who comes to crush the head of the serpent under his feet:

“The most likely understanding of this verse is that it refers to spiritual salvation through the birth of the Messiah. Some commentators (Alford, Bernard, Guthrie, Ward) have rejected this view without giving adequate reasons. But good reasons exist for adopting it (so Ellicott; Lock; H. von Soden; Wohlenberg; Huizenga, ‘Women’; cf. RV, RSV margin, NEB margin; with undue emphasis on Mary, Ignatius, Eph. 19; Irenaeus, Haer. 5.19; Justin, Dial. 100).

“First, the context: v. 14 summarizes the woman’s fall into sin (en parabasei gegonen) described in Genesis 3. The one about whom it speaks is ‘the woman’ (he gyne), Eve, and this one is the natural subject to be understood in v. 15, ‘she will be saved’ = the woman, Eve, will be saved. From what does Eve need to be saved (in both 1 Timothy 2 and Genesis 3)? From en parabasei gegonen, the last words preceding this verse. In the protevangelium of Gn. 3:15, which speaks of ‘her seed’ and says, ‘He [the seed] shall bruise you [the serpent = Satan] on the head,’ salvation is announced in terms of a child to be borne by the woman.

“Furthermore, this understanding fits the flow of Paul’s argument. He points out that Eve (he gyne) brought herself into transgression by abandoning her role and taking on that of the man. But by fulfilling her role, difficult as it may be as a result of sin (Gn. 3:16), she gives birth to the Messiah, and thereby ‘she’ (he gyne, fulfilled, of course, in Mary; cf. Gal. 4:4) brings salvation into the world. The conditional clause (ean meinosin ktl.) signifies that the previous statement is true only when conditions are met, and sothesetai, understood as referring to spiritual salvation, would seem to be the only understanding that fulfills the requirement. Thus, deliverance from transgression comes to those who have a true and sincere faith, which points to the usual correlation between salvation and faith in Paul and the attendant and abiding manifestation of faith in a godly life (cf. Romans 6 and 8). There is thus a transition from Eve (he gyne, singular sothesetai) back to women in general (meinosin, plural); in this way the passage serves to show women the importance of their role and of carrying it out in an obedient way, the note on which the passage ends (hagiasmo meta sophrosynes; cf. Mary’s words in Lk. 1:38).” (George W. Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary), eds. I. Howard Marshall and W. Ward Gasque [William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI/ Cambridge, U.K. 1992], pp. 146-147)   

Interestingly, this happens to be the view adopted by a very liberal and critical scholar of Christianity whose book Williams’ was all so giddy about getting (1; 2; 3):

“This passage, like Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians that ‘in the Lord’ the man comes from a woman, might be taken as a general affirmation of ‘childbirth,’ but in both passages the definite article is used with a rare noun that refers to the birth of a child. I am convinced this makes it more likely that the reference is to the birth of Jesus as the second Adam. The author of 1 Timothy is not discussing a woman’s general well-being, but how she can be saved, having become a transgressor, and having led all of humankind in that fallen direction. Christians came to believe that the reference in Genesis 3:15 to the ‘seed’ of the woman crushing the head of the Serpent, or Satan, was a reference not to offspring in general but to Jesus Christ (Romans 16:20).” (James D. Tabor, Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity [Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 2012], Seven: Already But Not Yet, p. 167; bold emphasis ours)(1)         

Still others feel that Paul may have not been addressing the issue of salvation in the sense of obtaining eternal life at all. The Apostle may have been referring to women being delivered from the stigma of inferiority and blameworthiness due to the Fall of Adam and Eve, i.e. women will be delivered from being considered inferior to men because of Eve’s sin in listening to the serpent and influencing Adam to disobey God by eating from the forbidden fruit. As noted conservative Christian expositor and Baptist minister John MacArthur explains:

Preserved is from sozo, the common New Testament word for salvation. The word can also mean ‘to rescue,' 'to preserve safe and unharmed,' 'to heal,' 'to set free,' or 'to deliver from.' It appears a number of times in the New Testament without reference to spiritual salvation (cf. Matt. 8:25; 9:21-22; 10:22; 24:22; 27:40, 42, 49; 2 Tim. 4:18). Paul obviously does not intend to teach that women are eternally saved from the wages of sin through the bearing of children.That would contradict the New Testament's teaching that salvation is by grace through faith alone (cf. Rom. 3:19-20). The future tense and the use of the plural pronoun they indicate that he was not even referring to Eve. The plural and the absence of any connection to the context show Paul was not referring to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as some suggest.

“Paul teaches here that although a woman precipitated the Fall and women bear that responsibility, yet they may be preserved from that stigma through childbearing. The rescue, the delivery, the freeing of women from the stigma of having led the race into sin happens when they bring up a righteous seed. What a perfect counter! Women are far from being second-class citizens because they have the primary responsibility for rearing godly children. Mothers spend far more time with their children than do their fathers, and thus have the greater influence. Fathers cannot know the intimate relationship with their children that their mother establishes from pregnancy, birth, infancy, and early childhood. Paul's point is that while a woman may have led the race into sin, women have the privilege of leading the race out of sin to godliness. That does not mean that God wants all women to bear children; some He doesn't even want married (1 Cor 7:25-40). Paul speaks in general terms. The pain associated with childbirth was the punishment for the woman's sin (Gen. 3:16), but the joy and privilege of child rearing delivers women from the stigma of that sin.

“For women to reverse the blight that has befallen them in the Fall and fulfill their calling they need to raise a godly seed. To do that, they must continue in faith and love, where their salvation really rests. And they must continue in sanctity (holiness) with self-restraint (the same word translated 'discreetly' in verse 9). It is the very appearance, demeanor, and behavior demanded of believing women in the church that becomes their deliverance from any inferior status, as they live godly and raise godly children.

“In this passage we see how God has perfectly balanced the roles of the sexes. (For a complete discussion of the design of God for men and women in the church, see my book Different by Design [Wheaton, Ill.: Victor 1994].) Men are to be the leaders in the church and the family. Women are kept from any accusation of inferiority through the godly influence they have in the lives of their precious children. For the church to depart from this divine order is to perpetuate the disaster of the Fall.” (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1 Timothy [Moody Publishers, Chicago, Il. 1995], pp. 89-90)

Yet, not matter what explanation a person chooses, the fact remains that the blessed Apostle was not saying that women are saved by the act of bearing children. That is simply William’s gross perversion of the text in order to present Paul in the worst possible light. Because of that, we have decided to turn William’s argument against him by documenting Muhammad’s unflattering view of women.

With that said, it is time to move on to the second part of our rebuttal.

Related Articles

Paul and Women
On 1 Tim. 2:11-15 and the Role of Women in Teaching


(1) Christians weren’t the only ones interpreting Genesis 3:15 as a Messianic prophecy, since the Jews did as well:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between the seed of thy son, and the seed of her sons; and it shall be when the sons of the woman keep the commandments of the law, they will be prepared to smite thee upon thy head; but when they forsake the commandments of the law, thou wilt be ready to wound them in their heel. Nevertheless for them there shall be a medicine, but for thee there will be no medicine; and they shall make a remedy for the heel in the days of the King Meshiha. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan

[JERUSALEM. And it shall be when the sons of the woman consider the law, and perform (its) instructions, they will be prepared to smite thee on thy head to kill thee; and when the sons of the woman forsake the commandment of the law, and perform not (its) instructions, thou wilt be ready to wound them in their heel, and hurt them. Nevertheless there shall be a medicine for the sons of the woman, but for thee, serpent, there shall be no medicine: but it is to be that for these there shall be a remedy for the heel in the days of the king Meshiha.] (The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan Ben Uzziel On the Pentateuch With The Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum From the Chaldee, by J. W. Etheridge, M.A. First Published 1862; bold emphasis ours)

“And enmities will I put between you and the woman and between your sons and her sons. And it shall be when her sons observe the Law and put into practice the commandments they will aim at you and smite you on the head and kill you; but when they forsake the commandments of the Law you will aim at and wound him on his feel and make him ill. For her son, however, there will be a remedy, but for you, serpent, there will be no remedy, for they will make peace in the future, in the day of King Messiah.” Targum Neofiti (Alejandro Díez Macho, Neophyti 1: Targum Palestinense MS de la Biblioteca Vaticana, Vol. 1: Genesis: Edición Príncipe, Inroducción General y Versión Castellana [Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1968], pp. 503-504; bold emphasis ours)