As we saw last month, the Bible is clear that there are just two genders (male and female) and that they are not changeable. Unfortunately, as our culture become less Christian, such “basic” concepts will no longer be held by the majority. Obviously, it’s important we don’t want to make a “hasty generalization” (an argument where we reduce a cause down to just one argument), but it’s fair to say that a major reason for this confusion is misunderstanding about God’s design for men and women, that is, a misunderstanding about Biblical manhood and Biblical womanhood.
Biblical manhood and womanhood has largely been lost in our post-modern, post Christian world. Neither are these biblical truths necessarily what we imagine when we think of the historical stereotypical role of men and woman in our society (men are macho and women should be in the kitchen). Nevertheless, the Bible does teach that there are some significant differences between men and women.
First, men and women are different in their God given, designed role. God created men to lead and women to help (Gen. 2:18). Adam was created first, a truth the apostle Paul says is proof that men should be leaders (I Tim. 2:11-12). It was Adam who named the animals (2:19–20), who was given the command not to eat of the tree (2:16–17), and it was Adam who was held responsible for failing to obey God despite the fact that Eve sinned first (Gen. 3:6; cf. Gen. 3:9 & Rom. 5:12-21). Because, men were created to lead, wives ought to submit to their husbands (Eph.5:22). This relationship is best pictured by the roles of Pastors, God’s shepherd-leaders, and deacons, those who come along side and assist/help pastors (I Tim. 5:17. cf., Acts 1:1-6). Unfortunately, due to sin, men often abuse their role as leaders, which is why Peter warns husbands to treat their (physically) weaker wives gently (I Pet. 3:7) and Paul commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25). Men, especially husbands, must remember that God designed women to be capable and industrious and not just to be simply house mats (Prov. 31:10-31) – even while they are to submit to their husbands!
Second, God made men and women different in their appearance, and thus, fitted them for different outward styles of dress. Sexually, men and women look (and function) differently. To go against these clear differences is unnatural (Rom. 1:26-27). Similar language is used when it comes to how women style themselves; it is a disgrace for a woman to have short hair, but nature teaches that long hair on men is a disgrace (1 Cor 11:6, 13–15). Likewise, it is not Unfortunately, there are some genetic disorders which make some people look more like the opposite sex, but these are very rare, and a result of the fall, rather than how God created things to be.
Next month, we will look at two other and final significant differences between men and women. Eventually, I will focus on how the church ought to respond to our culture which has gradually become hostile to our faith in this area. However, understanding and properly modeling the Biblical role of Biblical manhood and womanhood isn’t mutually exclusive of our response – it is an important part of that response (I Pet. 3:5; Matt. 5:13)!