1 Tim. 2:15, use of future

From: David Moore (dvdmoore@dcfreenet.seflin.lib.fl.us)
Date: Sat Oct 21 1995 - 19:23:02 EDT

        Having followed with interest the thread on 1 Tim. 2:15, I include
the following which I posted to b-greek in a slightly different form a
little over than a year ago:


        1Tim. 2:15 has been interpreted in many ways because its implication, as
usually understood, seems to be that women may be saved by bearing
children (which is not borne out as a general principle in other parts of
Scripture) and also because it is not clear whether MEINWSIN, etc. refers
to women or to the children. If, however, one understands the future
SWQHSETAI as a verb referring to Eve which is future from her point of
view, then "she was to be saved" could very naturally refer to Eve. The
reference that Paul is using here would be Gen. 3:15 (He began working
this part of Genisis in 1Tim. 2:13.). Paul's referring to Eve in this
verse would also agree with the singular of SWQHSETAI. EAN MEINWSIN EN
children Eve bore, since Caine was rejected for the murder of his brother
and the Savior finally came through the line of Seth. Understanding 1Tim.
2:15 in this way, we could see Paul's portrayal of Eve's experience as an
example of how motherhood may be a way to spiritual blessings when the
children arereared in godliness. But it would not constitute a way of
*salvation* for other women, since the promised Savior has already been

        Another example of a similar construction in Paul, which employs the
periphrastic, rather than grammatical future is Col. 2:17. The passage
contains the phrase hA ESTIN SKIA TWN MELLONTWN. In this context, Paul is
talking about various points of the Jewish Law that false teachers were
trying to impose on believers in Colassae. He is pointing out that they
constitute merely a shadow, but that the substance, or reality of them has
to do with Christ. If we take the periphrastic future in its usual sense
here, we would have to think that when he uses the words TWN MELLONTWN
Paul is speaking of things that will be revealed in the future (perhaps at
the Parousia?). If, however, we may understand him to be speaking of
things that were futurefrom the standpoint of Old Testament times when the
laws referred to were established, his statement makes more sense. Some
translations and commentaries support the latter interpretation. Eadie
(_Colossians_, ad loc.) says, "The apostle employs ESTI in the present,
not because...the blessings are yet future to the present point of time;
but either because...he gives a definition, or because the apostle
transports himself ideally to a period when ritual Judaism was of Divine
obligation, and when it was really the shadow of things yet to come." C.
F. D. Moule (_The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon_, ad loc.)
translates "which are only a shadow of what was to come..." And Goodspeed
renders it, "That was all only the shadow of something that was to

        If these may be legitimately taken as instances of verbs in future
tense understood as future from a past point of view, then the question
arises whether this is a purely Greek construction or if there is Semitic
thought behind it. The Semitic imperfect may have just such ameaning as I
have proposed for these two futures and could be translated into Koine
Greek by either the grammatical or periphrastic future. Besides its
imperfect sense, the Semitic imperfect's meaning may also be future from
any point in time in particular. Paul might think in this way. He uses
other expressions that are apparently colored by his Semitic background.
If, however, the expression is common to Greek, then we should also be
able to find it in other Greek writings outside the Judeo-Christian

David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida of the Assemblies of God
dvdmoore@dcfreenet.seflin.lib.fl.us Department of Education

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