God made men. He authored maleness, manliness and manhood, and everything these embody. Sex is no accident. It is the product of deliberate design and intent. It is, in fact, a masterstroke of engineering with many fascinating ramifications. The great Architect of the universe created male and female for a magnificent purpose.
What was that purpose? God reveals it in creation itself, through the unique physical designs of men and women—and through special revelation in the pages of the Bible.
As you study and fulfill that divine purpose, you will find great joy, happiness and satisfaction. You will be a blessing to your family, to those around you and to society. And whether or not you realize it, you will also be learning spiritual lessons that will prepare you for eternal life.
What Creation Teaches
Before you even begin to examine the Bible’s instruction on manhood, consider what you can learn from creation itself.
Not all that long ago, before current conveniences came along, regular, daily life required toughness, stamina and muscle. Hunting wasn’t a sport; it was the equivalent of a grocery-store run. Naturally, the more strenuous work went to those who were taller, heavier and stronger—that is, men. The man’s native capacities for greater strength, speed and endurance made him the logical choice for building, protecting, providing and fighting. His more powerful frame and voice also contributed to making him the natural leader in relationships with women.
The fact that human reproduction requires one man and one woman naturally brings men and women into close relationships and family life. And because the woman carries new life, gives birth and nurses the young, she is the natural fit for responsibilities that flow from these biological realities.
Throughout history, division of labor between the sexes simply made sense. And as men and women have assumed duties consistent with these differences, they have knowingly or unknowingly harmonized with the intent of the Maker of male and female.
However, if these aspects of creation are our only source for understanding our purpose, other problems inevitably arise. For example, the fact that a man’s part in reproduction ends biologically at conception has allowed untold numbers of males to abandon the offspring they beget. Men’s physical dominance has led many men to abuse women rather than protect them.
This is why it is so critical to also have the special revelation of Scripture, which reveals, for example, a man’s God-given responsibilities to marry, cleave to and provide for the woman who becomes mother of his children, to actively care for and guide the offspring he begets, and to defend his wife and children from harm rather than posing a threat to them himself.
Today’s society, however, has also rejected the biblical revelation on this subject. Thus, for most people, God’s purposes in creating the sexes are an utter mystery. Distinctions between male and female seem arbitrary—so arbitrary, in fact, that many people have essentially come to view them as interchangeable. It is now common to consider gender more a matter of choice than of biology. Society is conducting a set of radical experiments on marriage, family, gender and sex that overturn millenniums of tradition and wisdom. Nothing reflects the utter confusion about why male and female like the mainstreaming of homosexuality, transgenderism, gender fluidity and related trends.
The consequences of this confusion are disastrous. But society, unwilling to admit this obvious reality, is accelerating in its flight from reason and good sense along with its rejection of God’s truth.
You can choose a saner path.
What the Bible Teaches
God’s laws illuminate the path to happy living. Departing from them is what leaves us in a dark, confused thicket.
The Bible defines sin as the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). His law codifies His way of life, which is love (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:10; Galatians 5:14; 1 John 5:3). It means outgoing concern, giving and sharing, kindness and courtesy, putting the needs of another above your own. God’s way of life is the way of give.
The prevailing spirit of today’s society—self-indulgence, lust, greed, materialism, excess, deceit, cheating and pride—is the way of get, the way of sin. It is also the way of human nature, the way that comes naturally (e.g. Mark 7:21-23; Romans 8:7-8). God helps us overcome this natural tendency, develop righteous character, and live His way of love that produces happiness, joy and peace.
One of the most powerful tools God created to teach us that way is family. A man learns that noble, wonderful way by absorbing himself in his God-given role within the family.
The Bible clearly states that God created humankind male and female (Genesis 1:26-27). God is the source of everything that makes men men and women women. He designed the differences in physique, in emotions, in intellectual and psychological composition. He is the author of masculinity and femininity.
But why? Even those who claim to get their religion from the Bible—can they explain Genesis 1:27? Why did God create sex?
Collate all the observable and scriptural evidence, and you can clearly see that God created these differences to establish order and structure, especially within the family. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Non-Bible believers scoff at this scripture. “Christians” who don’t like it find ways to make it mean something else. But godly men and women see simple logic and beauty in it.
This is getting at the heart of true manhood and womanhood.
For the sake of order and organization, God created men to fulfill one set of responsibilities within the family and within society, and He created women to fill a different and beautifully complementary set of responsibilities.
The Bible shows that men and women, of themselves, are incomplete. After creating Adam, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone …” (Genesis 2:18). So He made Eve—literally from Adam’s rib (verses 21-22). “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman [Hebrew, ishshah], because she was taken out of Man [Hebrew, ish]” (verse 23). Ish is the Hebrew root word for ishshah, just as man is the root for woman. The woman’s very name and original existence came out of the man as purposefully designed by God. Man and woman became “one flesh” through marriage (verse 24). God appointed the man as head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23). The woman was to be his helper, his assistant (Genesis 2:20).
This is the reality that God created and revealed to humankind. It is a vital key to individual, family and societal success! When you understand and wholeheartedly embrace God’s roles for men and women, it brings satisfaction and fulfillment in all your most important relationships: friends, dating, marriage, family. It brings peace to your home and success to your relationships with women.
Are you willing to honestly evaluate yourself and your own attitudes? Are you prepared to discard wrong ideas? Will you accept truth, even when it hurts? It strains the eyes to step from a dark cave into bright sunlight, but “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (read 1 John 1:4-9).
What True Masculinity Looks Like
God’s truth cuts through all of society’s confusion about masculinity and manhood. In His eyes, true masculinity is the evidence in the words and deeds of a man embracing his God-given role—his destiny as a man. In doing so, he is taking on the character and divine nature of God the Father and Jesus Christ.
A masculine man sets his mind to attain the strong qualities of sound character, rock-solid confidence and strength. He is an unselfish, stable, dominant (though not domineering), decisive leader. Yet he is balanced and tempered by the complementary traits of humility, attentiveness, gentleness and refinement. In short, he strives to live as Jesus Christ did.
How can you recognize a truly masculine man?
A positive, upbeat outlook is the first thing you notice. The masculine man has a “can do” attitude and is eager to accept challenges and responsibility. He is a man of balance. He is not egotistical or arrogant, but rather has proper humility, recognizing his own limitations and his deep need for God (Isaiah 64:6; John 15:5). However, he doesn’t put himself down or fret over what others think of him. He allows God to employ and develop his talents and abilities for their best use. He doesn’t covet others’ gifts, nor judge his own worth by comparing himself against others (2 Corinthians 10:12).
His life clearly centers on God. He shows the mindset and demeanor of a man who is in effective daily contact with God through prayer and Bible study. Though content with his station in life (Philippians 4:11), he has real drive and ambition—not because he craves personal aggrandizement, but because he wants to help and serve others, to fulfill his God-given potential, and to bring God glory. He radiates proper confidence, even boldness, knowing he “can do all things through Christ” (verse 13; Proverbs 28:1). This understanding, solidified by experience, drives out unmanly feelings of inferiority and fear.
The masculine man is a man of conviction. He uses common sense and good judgment. He aims to make his decisions based on truth and rightness rather than on others’ opinions, or on taking the easy road. He strives to practice what he preaches, to eliminate hypocrisy and to embody sincerity. He doesn’t compromise his principles. He accepts correction gracefully and is not destroyed by criticism. He doesn’t snap under stress and pressure. Putting his trust in God, he is able to navigate life’s storms with inner strength, stability and peace. He faces challenges head on, alert to opportunities.
The masculine man is master of his body. He maintains vigor, vitality and good health. He tempers his appetites, gets proper exercise and is careful to get good rest. He has the self-control to abstain from drunkenness, premarital sex, illicit drug use and other vices that may tempt him.
He is also unafraid to show emotion (John 11:35). He feels and expresses both joy and pain, yet controls his temper. He is an understanding man, artful in tact and diplomacy. He is attentive to women and children.
The truly masculine man draws other people to him. People sense that he is different, and recognize a winning attitude of right leadership. He demonstrates self-respect as well as respect for others. He appreciates the role of women. At the same time, he takes charge when necessary, properly using authority in a godly manner. He is a blessing to his wife and children, providing security, attentive engagement, successful leadership, firm guidance, emotional stability and real love. He earns esteem from other men and respect from women, providing an example they can look to. His masculine authority, balanced with sensitivity, makes him attractive. When a woman recognizes that a man has her best interests at heart and will consider her needs in his decision-making, she will gladly follow him. She appreciates and is inspired by his positive confidence along with his concern for her and for others.
Such a man is truly a benefit and a blessing to those around him. This is the kind of masculinity the world needs more of.
The truly exciting thing about such masculinity is its spiritual dimension. Study the jobs that God has spelled out for men: protector of women and children; provider for families; husband; father; leader; head. Consider the responsibilities and qualities God commissions in men: supporting those who are weaker; using strength for others’ benefit; supplying a family’s needs and wants; sacrificing for the good of the family and others; loving a woman through firm, compassionate leadership; expanding the family by siring children and then bringing them up, educating them, leading them in the way they should go, helping them grow in character; building society. All of these point in inspiring ways to Jesus Christ and God the Father! They have spectacular spiritual parallels. As you study them and fulfill them, you build a spiritual mindset that brings you in closer harmony with God. Manliness is next to godliness (just as, for a woman, femininity is next to godliness).
The more you fulfill your purpose as a man, the more masculine you become. That is godly masculinity.
Manhood Is a Weapon of Righteousness
Biblical manhood is a weapon to destroy selfishness and to eradicate the wrong thinking, the wishy-washy perspectives, the inward focus of modern manhood.
The office of a godly man shapes you. You can’t shy away from it: You were born for it! God wants to use it to help you grow—not just into a Christian leader, but into a born son of God! You must strive together with God, allowing Him to forge you into the man He needs you to be.
This is the path to manliness, to nobility, to accomplishment, to genuine satisfaction. This is the road that leads your family from disorder to harmony, from darkness into light. It gives your wife security, stability, contentment, peace of mind. It gives your children a window into godliness, a blueprint for achievement and success. This is the route that leads to a shining place of honor in the eternal Family of God.