Category Archives: Biblical Manhood

Leadership in the Home

Part 3 of the Biblical Manhood Series:

Men are called to be leaders in their homes. In Ephesians 5:23, Paul writes “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body…(ESV)”. Way back when God created Adam, He created Eve as Adam’s helper. It does not mean, again, that women take a lesser role to men, rather it means that men and women have different and distinct roles. Often times however, our culture (church and secular) gets in a bad mood about this. I do not mean either gender is more important or less important, I only mean to say that God has created men with a specific purpose and role and He has created women with a specific purpose and role. For further reading and a helpful article on Complementariansim, go to this article by Mary Kassian: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/9/04/complementarianism-for-dummies/

What does the role of men as leaders mean? As I stated in my previous blog, here, men are created to be workers and have families. But what are the ways in which they lead? Leadership has become quite a big phenomena in society today. Everywhere we turn, it seems success is determined by the level of leadership we can attain. If we lead well, our businesses will do well. If we lead well, our communities will be safer and better. If we lead well, our churches will be more successful. While leadership is important, and we should spend time developing leaders who lead well, we have all but made leadership the new discipleship. In the church, we have replaced making disciples with making leaders. Again, I affirm the need to make leaders. I affirm the importance of developing leaders in the same way that I affirm the importance of developing evangelists, or developing teachers, or developing people to be hospitable. Leadership must be within the context of a biblical worldview, understanding the gift of leadership and thus cultivating an environment more concerned with developing disciples rather than focusing in on one gift of many. Paul affirms this in Romans 12:4-8 (ESV):

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our service; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (emphasis added)

In the complementarian view, there is not only this completeness in the home with the male and female, but in the church as well. Both the home and the church are God’s communities of His people. In the church, the larger family, the gifts given to the saints are given as equal in worth and dignity, but different in role. Each one contributes and makes the complete picture of the church. But what about the home? What about the gifts of the different roles in the home?

The different roles in the home are primarily male and female. The male should first have the role of husband, and then as the Lord gives them children, he will become father. If the child is a male, then he will be a son. A son is not a daughter because he is not female. I am saddened to see gender confusion in our culture. People of all walks have affirmed the parenting technique to allow the child to choose what is good for himself or herself. For instance, if the son wants to act like a daughter, they believe that he is just expressing himself and they do not want to confuse or damage him. If he wants to act like a daughter even though he is a son, that is fine.

Notice I said they. They do that. They as in secular culture, and even secularized church cultures. I think the Bible teaches something different. Proverbs 22:6a says, “train up a child…”. The ability for a son to learn how to live and what is good is not to be given over to the son, rather is primarily the responsibility of the parents. Proverbs 22:6 is a command to parents to teach and to train their children in the ways that they should go. This verse also implies that there is a right way and a wrong way for a child to be trained up. For instance, it is wrong to allow the son to act like a daughter because he is male. Males are sons. Sons become men. If we, in the earliest and most formative years of a persons life, allow them to make patterns and have systems that are contrary to their very DNA, we are rejecting God’s perfect design of and distinction between male and female.

As God’s people, we cannot mix our message. The affirmation of gender roles is important and crucial if we are to have marriages saved, homes restored, and men who are truly godly men. So, what does a godly man do? A godly man leads his home into godliness. Paul writes in Ephesians 5:25-30 about how men are to lead their wives into godliness:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

Paul first writes about love. Men, as the leaders in your home, love your wife. Love her in the same way that Christ loved the church, which is sacrificial, denying of yourself, even betraying yourself for her and her needs. Jesus betrayed Himself for the church. Men, love your wives with this intensity.

Paul then writes about sanctification. Sanctification is the process of being made holy. As we have taken our position of holy in Christ, we are to then work out our salvation, or put our holiness into practice. Men, as leaders in your home, sanctify your wife. We know that this cannot happen apart from the inner working of the Holy Spirit, and is primarily the grace of God that leads us into sanctification. But, just like a preacher who may lead someone into salvation, by the working of the Holy Spirit, so men are to lead their wives, by the power of the Spirit, into sanctification. Paul says by washing her with the water of the Word. This is the level of theology. Methods may vary. For instance, in my home, we have a family time of reading the Bible and prayer each night right before we put our daughter to bed. But more specifically, for me with my wife, I take opportunity as it arises to point her into godliness (and she lovingly and graciously does the same for me). Others have a set time of devotion and bible study together. The method is different, but the theology is the same. At whatever level of method you do this, it must be done. It is a God-given responsibility to husbands to lead their wives into godliness. This does not, however, mean that women cannot read the Bible and understand and have a close relationship with their Savior. It only is to say, that God’s intended order and purpose for the home is to have the husband lovingly, gently, and consistently lead his wife into godliness.

These two spiritual leadership principles cannot be separated. This is what Paul means in v. 29, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it”. Men loving (cherishing) their wives means that they will sanctify their wives, and as they sanctify (nourish) their wives, they will begin to have a deeper and more meaningful love for their wives. Cherishing fuels nourishing, and nourishing fuels more cherishing!

Men are also to lead their children. Paul writes in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” God’s intended purpose for the father is to discipline and to train his children to be God fearing, obedient to the Lord, and worshipers of God.

Often, I see mothers having to be the primary discipliners in the home because the father has checked out. There is a stereotype in secular culture about dads being lazy, incompetent, and fun, but nothing more. Dad’s should be fun, but the goal for dads is not to win their children’s affection by letting them do things mommy wouldn’t let them do. Fathers are the primary disciplinarian in the home. I do not mean that mothers cannot and should not discipline, rather fathers ought to take the lead with their children and with their wives to carry out discipline. Discipline is both positive and negative. It is reinforcement of good. But it is also a correction and reproof of bad. Fathers, we must master both. And, fathers, we must discipline lovingly and truthfully. If our discipline is full of truth, but disconnected from our love for our children, we will no doubt experience rebellion in our children. If our discipline is full of love and no truth, we will wrongly lead our children into something other than a true godly life. Discipline that is given with both love and truth is one that aims at the heart, and understands that behavior stems from the sinfulness of the heart, even in young children.

Training is also an important part of the fathers leadership to his children. It is important to understand what we are training our children in. Fathers are to train their children in the instruction of the Lord. I want my children to know how valuable it is to follow and obey Jesus. I want them to see that their daddy treasures Christ in his heart, and they see that when I walk in obedience to God. Training is mentoring as an example and in teaching. As we live our lives, we model what is to live for Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Fathers, this is the number one task in training. Model Christ in such a way that if your children do not model after you, they will be in rebellion after Jesus. But training also involves teaching and instruction. Moses makes this connection in Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children…”. Moses says to train your children, both by living the example and setting the things of God on your own hearts, but also by making them known to your children and grandchildren. Fathers, there is nothing more loving you can do than to equip your children in the Word of God. This is accomplished by both disciplining and training your children.

Men, your role is to be the leader in your home. Lead your families spiritually. Lead your wives by loving them as Christ loves His bride, the church. Also lead your wives by sanctifying them, washing them with the water that is the Word of God. Lead your children by disciplining them, both when their hearts cause them to disobey and when God leads them to do good. Also, lead your children by training them. Equip them in the Word of God. Read theology, read church history, and read the Bible with them. Model what it means to be a Christ follower to them. Point them to Christ by living for Christ. As men lovingly lead, serve, and train in their homes, women and children will more lovingly and readily willing to follow. This is God’s plan and order for us.

Other important resources to help in the category of leading your wife and leading your children:

Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy More Than to Make us Happy by Gary Thomas

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Post written by: Aaron Hale

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The Role of Men in the Home

I often hear different gripes from different people about men.  I can scroll down my Facebook newsfeed and all but guarantee that I will be reading about a “friends” gripe with men and how men need to grow up and become men.  I am often guilty of thinking and talking about the need for men in the home and how rare it seems to see men fulfilling their God-given role in their home.  What I think happens is something that secular psychology has accomplished in our country – we have become really good at making keen observations.  I have and others have become so aware that one of the major problems in our society is that men have abandoned their posts.  But has merely observing this done any good?  Have we accomplished something if all we have done is pointed out the obvious?  We need more.  We need to not only make good observations, but also translate those observations into real help.  It is not enough to only say “men need to grow up”, or “he’s not really being a man, he is acting like a boy”.

Based on the observation by many in the secular realm and in the Christian realm, we need a fresh view of the old truths found in Scripture.  Not that the truths change, but that we need to be reminded of them, just as Peter says in 2 Peter 1:12 “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.”  And it starts with Jesus.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  I wrote in my previous blog about how sin, since the beginning, has always turned biblical manhood (and womanhood) upside down.  The problem with men in our culture (and every culture and age since Adam and Eve sinned), is that we are sinful.  The reason I become lazy and do not lovingly serve my wife is because I think selfishly about what I think I want.  The reason men refuse to commit, but will gladly move in and let the women work while they are at home is because men (and women) think sinfully and selfishly.  It is, by nature, a heart problem.  But there is good news!  I do not have to be that type of man!  Jesus says that if I am in Him, my old, selfishly motivated nature, is gone!  But not only is it gone, I also have a new nature!  The man who is selfish, lazy, rude, unloving, angry, and any other adjective you may think of, has been nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ and has passed away.  If I believe and trust in Jesus, I am given a new nature.  My new nature is a restoration of God’s original design for me.  I am freed from sin and am now able to be selfless, hard-working, kind mannered, gentle, and so on.  Am I perfect? No, ask my wife.  Seriously.  I can still be all those old, sinful things, but that is not who I am.  So, men, start with Jesus.  Trust Jesus, and trust that He has removed everything sinful from you and freed you to become the man He has designed and planned for you to be.

With that, what does it mean to be a man?  How has God designed men to be?  Let’s look at Adam.  Genesis 2:15 (ESV) says “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”  Genesis 2:24 says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  These two verses give us two primary purposes for men that are God given.  God made men to work and God made men to have a family.  There are several things that could and should be said about each of these, but it is important to know that God created Adam for these two things.  God made the garden with Adam in mind.  God planned for the garden to be worked and kept by Adam.  Similarly, God made Eve with Adam in mind.  God was not caught off guard by the fact that there was no other suitable helper for Adam.  God did not think that the lions, or tigers, or bears (oh my!) would be suitable mates for Adam.  Eve was the plan.  Adam and Eve.  And Adam would hold fast to his wife, Eve.  Let’s break these two purposes down further.

1. Work.  Work was created for Adam before he sinned.  Work is not something that is the result of sin and therefore should not be avoided.  God made Adam with the purpose to work.  The sinful nature of men is to shy away from this.  Work is hard.  Work takes us away from what we really want to be doing.  But God made us to work.  Paul writes in Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ.”  Paul connects work with Christian worship.  He also writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you ear or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  There is a connection between working and glorifying God.  To deny ourselves work is to deny God glory.  But there is more than just work. There is a right heart attitude to our work.  It is not enough just to claim to have a job.  What kind of reviews do you receive?  Does it matter?  What kind of employee are you?  These are all important questions.  Paul says to glorify God in whatever you do.  Another way to say that is that Paul says to glorify God in our work (or school work, or yard work, etc.).  But Paul also says how to glorify God with our work.  He says to work heartily.  Work hard!  Do good work!  I once worked as a bookstore manager for a major Christian retailer.  In my stocking books, it was my aim to be the fastest and best book stocker around.  Why?  Because in my hard work and nice looking shelves, I could point others to Jesus.  God receives glory when I work hard.

2. Family.  Family was created for Adam before he sinned.  Family is, like work, not the result of sin or a provision made in the midst of sin.  Therefore, having a family should not be avoided.  I argue it should the main goal for young men.  Family begins, for men, in finding a wife.  Much can be said about this, and has been said about this in the recent months.  The gay marriage debate is a definition debate, which means those for gay marriage want to define marriage differently than those who oppose gay marriage.  While the purpose of this post is not to debunk gay marriage, it starts here.  I fully believe that one cannot be a Bible-believing Christian while supporting gay marriage.  Why?  Because God planned for Adam and his wife Eve to be the central crown jewel of His creation.  God saw the uniqueness and differences as very good, and created Eve for Adam and Adam for Eve.  The institution of marriage, and thus family, by God is by definition between a man and a woman.  You may support gay marriage, but it does not replace or recreate this central truth of Scripture.  Call it love, but it will always be different than the love of between a man and his wife as God has defined it.  That being said, I know many will disagree, and I even know the arguments you will use to disagree.  The truth, however, is that God created Adam to have a wife, Eve.  This is the pattern for God’s creation.  God plans for Adam and Eve and for them to have children and to populate the earth (Genesis 1:27-28).  As Adam works, he has a wife, and Adam works, with the help of his wife Eve, to provide for them.  As they become one flesh, they have children, and now Adam, with the help of his wife Eve, work to provide for them.

Marriage is also important because it is a reflection of the gospel.  In Ephesians 5:31-33, Paul says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  The picture of the husband and wife becoming one leads us to a greater truth.  The greater truth is that Jesus woos us.  He came for us.  He came after us.  He came to unite us with Him.  Jesus saves His bride, the church.  This is one of the main themes of Scripture – God rescuing for Himself a people.

Work and family are tied directly to the gospel.   Though we physically work, we know that One has come to work on our behalf.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says “For our sake (His bride) God made Jesus to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  We rest in the work of Jesus, knowing that our effort to please God is futile and impossible.  Our physical work, however, is a reflection of Jesus spiritual work on our behalf.  As men work, they work not only for themselves, but on behalf of their families.  Their families can rest in the man’s good work.  Not only does being a man start with Jesus, but it ends with Him as well.  The chief goal for men is to glorify God and to lead their families to Jesus, to worship and enjoy Him as Savior and Lord.  Paul writes in Ephesians 5:25-30:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body.

The husband, who is the Christ picture, is to sanctify his wife (and kids) by the washing of the water of the word.  This purpose is the larger purpose of Jesus, the “husband”, making his “bride”, the church, to be holy and spotless.  As men work to provide and protect their families,  the greatest thing that they can do is to point their families to Jesus.

Below are some resources that further dive into this discussion, and these men have greatly ministered to my soul from a distance.  They have also greatly influenced my thinking and beliefs about biblical manhood and womanhood.

Piper, John, Wayne Grudem Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:  A Response to Evangelical Feminsm.  Crossway Publishing, November 20, 2012 (Redesign Edition),

Rainey, Dennis Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood.  FamilyLife Publishing, 2011, Little Rock, Arkansas

Post Written by: Aaron Hale

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The Reversal of Roles

Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden in Genesis 3, we have seen a cultural role reversal of male and female. I (Aaron) have heard Genesis 3 preached several times, each time seemingly with the same idea about Adam: Where was Adam while Eve was being tempted? The pastor or presenter will follow by saying, “Adam failed because he wasn’t with his wife”, or “if only Eve had kept by Adam’s side”. Where Adam was is a good question, but it is often missed. Let’s review Genesis 3, in case you are unfamiliar with the passage.

Genesis 3:1-6 (ESV) – 1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Did you catch it? Where was Adam? Adam was with his wife! Since the beginning of humanities sinfulness, the man (and woman) has neglected and abandoned his role as the leader of his family. Ephesians 5:23 says “for the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church.”

The purpose here is to point out that God created men and women with equal dignity, worth, and value, but with different roles. Most basically, this difference is seen in basic anatomy. Men and women are different, and it is good! In fact, God steps back after creating male and female (God’s last piece in His creation), and declares it VERY good! Men were created to be manly. Women were created to be womanly.

What I am not saying is that men are better, or that women are better. I hold to a complementarian view, which means I believe that men and women are created equally as God’s image (Genesis 1:27), but that God created men with a distinct purpose (Genesis 2:15) and women with a distinct purpose (Genesis 2:18). This does not mean that the role of men is more important than the role of women, or that the role of women is more important than the role of men. What it means is that the roles complement each other.

It is the nature of sin to fail to do what we were created to do. When men act like men and do things that God created men to do, it is actually an act of worship to God. When women act like women and do things that God created women to do, it is actually an act of worship to God. This is what Adam and Eve failed to do. Adam was with his wife! He failed to lead her away from the serpent. He knew God’s law which forbade them from eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17), but he stood by Eve, SILENTLY! And Eve, created to be a helper for Adam, which was a very good thing as declared by God, decided she would take the lead role and eat first (Genesis 3:6).

The culture we live in is a reflection of Genesis 3:1-6. Either men over-rule their wives (not lovingly, not serving them), or they completely give their responsibility over to women. Either women overly submit (not joyfully, but begrudgingly), or they completely give their responsibility over to men. Often, it is a case of both! And so, sinfully, the man gladly lets his wife lead while his wife gladly lets her husband submit! I (Aaron) will be writing a series over the next few weeks based on this, covering issues ranging from boys who refuse to become men, men who refuse to work, the role of men in the home, and the responsibility of spiritual leadership given to men.

I believe the church needs men to stand up and act like men. 1 Corinthians 16:13 says “be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” If men will begin to flourish in the role God gave them, I believe we will see more churches begin to flourish. When Matthew and I were beginning to talk about different purposes for this blog, one of the things we wanted to do was to give good resources that will further equip the saints in the church of God. A few timeless resources dealing with biblical manhood (and womanhood) are as follows:

  • A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson & Dan Dumas
  • The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (cmbw.org), found on the side tab under “blogs we follow”

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters!

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