Does 1 Timothy 2 say that a woman who dies in childbirth will go to heaven?

Some assert that if a woman dies in child-birth she goes to heaven, basing this on 1 Timothy 2:15. What does that passage really teach?

The most certain thing about the passage named is that it does not teach what is suggested. God has but one way of saving sinners from hell and fitting them for heaven, and that way is through faith in His beloved Son. As to what it does teach, various commentators have given various replies, several of which, though differing, do not necessarily exclude one another. For it is quite probable that more thoughts than one were in the apostle’s mind as he penned the words, “She shall be saved through the childbearing, if they continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety” (R.V.).

To understand them we must take into consideration the entire paragraph, from verse 8 onwards, in which Paul teaches that men have a place of public testimony to fill, from which women are definitely debarred. For this prohibition he assigns two reasons: (x) that the man was first in creation, v. 13, and (z) that the woman was first in transgression, v. 14.. That verse 15 is closely connected with verse i, the “Notwithstanding” with which it begins makes quite evident, and there can therefore be no doubt that when using the expression, “through the childbearing,” the apostle has in mind the sentence pronounced by the Lord on the woman in Genesis  3:6. In that sentence there were two parts: (i) that she was to have sorrow in childbearing, and (a) that she was to be subjected to the man. The latter of these is in keeping with the principle upon which Paul has been just before insisting; while as to the former he has, in this 15th verse, something to add, in which warning and encouragement are combined. For, just as the curse pronounced on the woman was associated with her childbearing, so also, in the words addressed to the Serpent in the preceding verse, was the provision for her salvation in the promised “Seed.” Therefore the right path for her, the path in which “she shall be saved” (chiefly in the present sense of that word, so common in the epistles), is the very opposite of that public and prominent one forbidden her in verses 11 and 12. It is the path of home life and subjection; by keeping in which the very curse of Gen. 3 is turned into blessing. Compare those other words of the apostle in chap. 5. 13-15, where the dangers besetting young women who have no home cares are vividly depicted, and the way to be saved therefrom is the same as here. In fact he even uses there the verbal form of this word “childbearing,” of which neither noun nor verb is found anywhere else in the New Testament. Observe also, by way of contrast, how the young man1  Timothy 4:16, is to be “saved” by going on diligently with his public ministry of the Word.

W.R.