What is a Man (Part 1): Introduction

There is no shortage of messages in our world today on the topic of manhood and masculinity. On one end of the spectrum, we have those who are trying to erase masculinity and replace it with femininity. On the other end is a worldly definition of what a “real man” is that celebrates the worst parts of man’s sinfulness and does not align with Scripture.

Author Nancy Pearcey, a professor at Houston Baptist University, has written a book called The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes. In a recent podcast interview, Nancy Pearcey explained that “the problem with our view of manhood today is that ‘There are two competing scripts for masculinity.’ They are the God Man vs the Real Man. The Bible says men are made in God’s image, as are women. And that men’s unique masculine strengths are not given to them just to get whatever they want, but to provide, protect and take care of the people they love. So where did the idea infiltrate culture that masculinity is toxic? The irony is that the secular view of masculinity created the image of toxicity, or ‘The Real Man’ image. Pearcey says, ‘Culture imposes this ‘real man’ script on men that contains a lot of the traits that, of course, we consider toxic: entitlement, dominance, control, and so on. When these traits are disconnected from the moral vision of the God man, it can slide into being toxic.’ Her data, mined from social science research, shows how toxic masculinity comes from the secular culture. Says Pearcey, ‘The problem is that men are being accused of being toxic, and the solution actually turns out to be a Christian view of masculinity.’” 

Scripture is not silent on the topic of manhood. In 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, Paul encourages men: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” This passage raises a question that our current culture is trying to answer and woefully missing the mark on – what does it mean to be and act like a man?

Paul’s words point men to take the posture of a soldier with eyes up and a refusal to give up ground. This imagery is also reminiscent of coaching athletes. In any sport – whether male or female, on a field or a court – coaches teach young people the needed stance and which direction to look. A young man holding a baseball bat learns to look at the pitcher’s cap instead of the pitcher himself. This focal point helps a batter detect the pitcher’s hand as it comes up over his cap to deliver the ball. If a young woman is handling the front of a volleyball court, she does not look back to watch her teammates serve. Her eyes stay forward as she waits for the ball to come over her head. This stance and focus keep her positioned perfectly for accelerating to the net to return, block, or spike the ball.

We need this same type of wisdom offered to soldiers and athletes on stance and where to focus in our spiritual lives. We have a real enemy, and we are navigating life in a grossly confused world where a continual war is being waged on feminity and masculinity. 

That is why I invite you to join me for a series on the biblical definition of a man. While we do not attack those who believe differently than we do, we also cannot affirm any belief that does not line up with Scripture. We must look to God’s Word and refuse to budge from His Word. Using similar guiding questions from the series on biblical womanhood, we will consider what a man is physically, spiritually, sexually, paternally, missionally, and relationally in light of Scripture. 

Writing and developing this series has personally challenged me, but it is not solely for men. If God has blessed you with the task of raising boys, this series will help you as you teach them about who God would have them become. If you are a parent blessed with raising daughters, these posts will help you train them in what to look for in a future partner. If you are a single woman hoping to marry, I pray this series helps you as you decide what kind of man you want to covenant your life with. So while this message is about biblical manhood, it is for the whole church. Be sure to keep a watch on social media and here on the Living Worthy Ministries blog so you don’t miss a single post.