The Birth of the Child
KJV Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
D-R Yet she shall be saved through childbearing; if she continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.
ESV Yet she will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
RSV Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty
NRSV Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.
NIV But women [Greek she] will be saved [restored] through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
NASB But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
The Message On the other hand, her childbearing brought about salvation, reversing Eve. But this salvation only comes to those who continue in faith, love, and holiness, gathering it all into maturity. You can depend on this.
CEV But women will be saved by having children, if they stay faithful, loving, holy, and modest.
Or "brought safely through childbirth" or "saved by the birth of a child" (that is, by the birth of Jesus) or "saved by being good mothers."
Darby But she shall be preserved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness with discretion.
TNIV But women [ Greek she] will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
The Source And she will be saved by means of the Birth of the Child, if they continue to be trustworthy, loving and holy and have good sense.
Footnote: she Eve (see link for full notes)
The major grammatical difficulty with this verse is that the first half has a singular subject 'she' and the second half has a plural 'they'. I have marked in red the translations that modify the subject away from what is written in the Greek in order to reconcile the two halves of the verse and give them the same subject, women.
It is interesting to note that the NRSV is closer to the original than the RSV. The D-R, RSV, NASB, NIV, TNIV, and CEV have all made the subjects agree by changing the subject in either the first or second half.
The Darby translation is literal, choosing to go with the plain language meaning 'preserved' instead of the theological meaning of 'saved'.
The very real problem is that the verse cries out for interpretation. Are women to be 'saved' by childbearing? Darby and others could not agree to justification by childbearing, so they read it as 'preserved.' Many women today, especially advocates of natural childbirth, prefer this reading. Some do not. However, it does not resolve the problem of deciding who is the subject of the verse, woman or women?
The KJV, NRSV and the ESV have let the verse stand as is without interpretation.
The Message and the Source provide the only translations that both give meaning to the verse and show how the first and second half of the verse have a different subject - in the first half, 'Eve', and in the second half 'women' or 'Adam and Eve'. The footnotes of the CEV also provide excellent information.
If the translation of the Message and the Source are used, then this verse parallels 1 Cor. 15:35.
"And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." (KJV)
"But the woman made a mistake as she was beguiled and she will be saved by means of the Birth of the Child" (The Source)
And it reflects Gen 3:15.
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman,
and between thy seed and her seed;
it shall bruise thy head,
and thou shalt bruise his heel. (KJV)
I have written about this in the the Seed of the Woman here. This is a difficult verse and I appreciate the intent of the KJV, ESV and NRSV. It is also good to see the footnotes of the CEV.
However, ideally a meaningful plain English translation should be found. The Source is worth considering as a straightforward word for word translation. The 'birth of the child' might well be one way to translate τεκνογονια. However, this word, τεκνογονια, does not mean 'childrearing' or 'motherhood' per se.
I wonder if there is a related Hebrew expression that might shed further light on this. Ann Nyland's notes on 1 Timothy are online here.
Let us celebrate together the Birth of the Child.