There is a significant amount of confusion in our modern society when it comes to genders. Our culture is losing the clear Biblical (and scientific) belief that there are just two genders (male and female) and that they are not changeable. There are a number of reasons for this, but one of the primary reasons for this is our culture is drifting ever further away from a Biblical perspective on Biblical manhood and womanhood. Last month we saw the first two differences between men and women. First. God made men and women with different, but complementary roles. Second, God created men and women with a different appearance, fitted for different outward styles. This month we will continue to see the Biblical differences between men and women.
A third important difference between men and women is their overall demeaner, that is, their outward demeanor is different. Paul wrote a letter to the newly formed Thessalonian church shortly after being forced to leave due to persecution. In the letter Paul defended his ministry by using a simile to compare His mission team’s demeanor to the Thessalonians to both mothers and fathers. They were like mothers, Paul says, because they were gentile and affectionate (). They were like fathers, Paul says, because they encouraged and urged the believers to live godly lives (). The fact that Paul uses a simile (a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind) indicates that Paul understood then mothers tend to be inherently nurturing while men tend to be more ????????. Of course, this does not mean that men cannot be compassionate, and women can’t display leadership – after all, Paul felt like his own ministry could be compared to both – but it does mean that as a general rule, certain behaviors tend to be more natural to particular genders.
Finally, men and women are created with a different goal of godly character traits. Again, there is overlap to some extent, but God has given us several verses which exhort women to be Christlike in a somewhat differently way that men should be Christlike (I Pet. 3:1-7). True feminine beauty – inward beauty – is described as respectful, pure, and gentile. Other passages also emphasize this gentleness (I Tim. 2:11). In contrast I Peter 3:1-7 teaches that men should exercise their leadership with understanding, honor, and caring. True Biblical masculinity then is this kind of inward strength. Again, this is emphasized throughout scripture (1 Cor. 16:13-14). Peter also warns men not to abuse their power as they are the “stronger vessel.” This is not teaching that men are superior, but rather that men (as a general rule) are stronger than their wives and shouldn’t use this to abuse their authority.
Biblical masculinity and femininity is something our culture is moving away from. According to our culture, men and women are different because of social constraints. The Bible teaches that men and women are different because God created them that way (Gen. 1:27; Gen. 5:2). He created them equal in value, but different in their roles, outward appearance, demeaner, and different in what godliness looks like for each one. If we expect to maintain a Biblical perspective on genders we also must maintain a biblical perspective on Biblical womanhood, and manhood.