Re: 1 Tim. 2:15--"get safely through"

From: Patrick J. Brennan (
Date: Sat Nov 25 1995 - 01:07:05 EST

On 11/13/95, Bruce Terry wrote:
>A belated comment on 1 Tim. 2:15:
>I have for a number of years been intrigued by James Moffatt's translation of
>this verse:
>"However, women will get safely through childbirth, if they continue to be
>faithful and loving and holy as well as unassuming."

On 11/13/95 Carl W.Conrad replied:

Wow! This is fascinating. For clarity's sake in comment, let me cite (noch
wieder einmal!) the Greek:


Outside of its context (which, quite frankly, is itself not exceptionally
helpful toward the interpretation of the verse), this translation cannot be
faulted, I think, as a reading of the possible meaning of the Greek text.
In fact, although we do find DIA + genitive to express instrumentality, an
instrumental dative would (from my admittedly Attic perspective) be
preferable by far; and, in view of the fact that ancient childbirth is by
no means without risk of life (Euripides' Medea, remember, says she'd
rather face the foe with a spear on the battlefield three times to giving
birth once!), and given the fact that, outside of the theological sphere,
SWZEIN most normally DOES mean "bring safely," "preserve through peril,"
"keep intact" (as in the parable of the wine and wineskins; I tend to think
of getting safely through a semester!), the first clause of Moffat's
translation seems very natural.

Much as I like the whole version, however, I must admit that I have not
seen SWFROSUNH applied to women anywhere in Greek texts I've studied in a
sense other than sexual purity. When referring to a male, of course, it's
always the rational control of one's appetites generally rather than

May I suggest that SWFROSUNH in this case is not applying to women. The
first part of this sentence
SWQHSETAI DE DIA THS TEKNOGONIAS would be more correctly translated with
"woman" or "she" since SWQHSETAI is in the third person SINGULAR. However
SWFROSUNHS follows the verb MEINWSIN which is third person PLURAL.Could the
second part of this sentence refer to CHILDREN (plural) and not WOMAN

In light of this might this be a better translation:

However the woman (she) will be preserved through the bearing of children,
if they (the children) continue in faith and love and holiness with

Help me out on this one please.

Patrick Brennan
Vista, Ca.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:33 EDT