CHILDBEARING (τεκνογονίας), often also termed childbirth or more technically parturition, refers to the act of bringing forth a child. It involves much physical effort on the part of the mother, which is appropriately called labor. For this reason it is often accomplished with greater facility by those who have indulged in regular physical exercise such as the Heb. women slaves in Egypt did, as compared with most of the rest of the Egyp. populace who doubtless lived in greater ease. This evidently accounts for the statement of Exodus 1:19 that the Heb. women were more lively than Egyp. women and were delivered before the midwives attended them. It is also to be noted in this connection that childbirth was accomplished with the mother sitting on a birthstool (1:16) whereby the force of gravity enhanced the process, prob. the same doubleseated stool used by Egyp. peasant women today. Labor normally consists of three stages: (1) dilation of the mouth (cervix) of the womb lasting eight to fourteen hours, (2) expulsion of the infant through a period of an hour or two as the womb contracts more frequently and more forcibly, and (3) separation and expulsion of the afterbirth (placenta) usually within fifteen minutes. Duration of these three stages varies with the size and shape of the mother’s pelvis, physical energy of the mother, size and presenting part of the infant, and possible complications of childbirth. In the NT the term is used once (1 Tim 2:15) with the article, prob. to refer to Genesis 3:15.


A. R. Short, The Bible and Modern Medicine (1953), 35; A. C. Beck, “Childbirth,” EBr (1963), 5:498-501.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

child’-bar-ing: Only in 1Ti 2:15: "She shall be saved through her (m "the") child-bearing" (dia tes teknogonias). The reference is to the calling of woman as wife and mother, as her ordinary lot in life, and to the anxieties, pains and perils of maternity, as the culmination and representation of the penalties woman has incurred because of the Fall (Ge 3:16). "She shall be saved by keeping faithfully and simply to her allotted sphere as wife and mother" (Dummelow). The preposition dia is not used here instrumentally, as though child-bearing were a means of her salvation, but locally, as in 1Co 3:15, "saved so as through fire," where life is saved by rushing through the flames. The explanation by reference to the incarnation, with an appeal to Ga 4:4, favored by Ellicott and others, seems very mechanical.