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10 Ways the Bible Defines True Manliness

BRITT MOONEY

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

In the beginning, God created male and female. As such, God saw his creation as good, so both the masculine and feminine are meant to be a blessing with a redemptive purpose.

After the Fall, human nature was corrupted, and sin entered the world. Much of what God meant for good was also twisted, and this corruption colored our perspective of what was once good. For this discussion, the human understanding of males and females has been affected, too.

The Bible is the written expression of God’s word to us, all for reconciliation back to the Father and the restoration of what God desires. While we may struggle with the idea of masculinity and easily point to toxic versions of it, God has a redemptive plan and design for manliness. The Scripture can then be a standard of calling and inspiration for men.

Here are ten ways the Bible defines true manliness.

Photo Credit:©Unsplash/Gift Habeshaw 

A brave with his fists in the air.

1. Courage

The Bible exhorts men to demonstrate courage in various aspects of their lives, emphasizing the importance of trust in God. Throughout the Scripture, numerous passages encourage men to be strong and courageous, facing challenges with boldness and confidence in God’s provision and protection. In Joshua 1:9, God commands Joshua,

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

After the death of Moses, Joshua was about to lead Israel into the Promised Land, and here God’s presence and support empowered Joshua to overcome his fear of the giants in Canaan with faith. David displayed courage when he faced the Philistine giant, Goliath, relying on God’s strength to defeat his formidable opponent (1 Samuel 17). Similarly, Daniel demonstrated courage when he defied King Darius’s decree and continued to pray to God despite the threat of persecution (Daniel 6).

Courage isn’t merely a display of physical strength or prowess but also encompasses moral and spiritual fortitude. Proverbs 28:1 declares, “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Men are called to stand firm in their convictions and righteousness, even in the face of opposition or adversity.

Photo Credit: Japheth Mast/Unsplash

Man in deep happy thought outdoors

2. Integrity and Honesty

God’s design for men includes upholding integrity and honesty in all aspects of their lives, emphasizing sincerity and truthfulness in character and conduct. The Scripture underscores the value of integrity and honesty for men to develop. Proverbs 10:9 declares,

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”

God calls men to integrity as a safeguard against deception and wrongdoing, ensuring men walk securely in all their dealings and relationships. At the same time, people who are deceptive will be found out eventually.

The Bible warns against the consequences of dishonesty and deceitfulness, urging men to speak truthfully and act with integrity. Ephesians 4:25 admonishes, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” To love our neighbors, men should deal honestly with them, fostering trust and unity within the communities around them.

Scripture praises the character of men who demonstrate integrity and honesty in their lives. Psalm 15:2 describes such men as those who “speak the truth from their hearts” and “have no slander on their tongues.” Sincerity and truthfulness reflect the character of God, who is the epitome of truth and righteousness.

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Woman and man hugging in church

3. Responsibility and Leadership

Men are called to embody responsibility and leadership, emphasizing their role as stewards, protectors, and providers within their families and communities. Various passages highlight the importance of men taking on responsibility with diligence, integrity, and humility and exercising leadership with wisdom, compassion, and a servant’s heart. In Ephesians 5:25, husbands are instructed to love their wives sacrificially, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Men are meant to lead their families with selfless love, sacrificial service, and spiritual guidance, modeling their leadership after the example of Christ. 1 Timothy 5:8 instructs men to provide for their families, stating,

“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

This underscores the importance of men fulfilling their role as providers, ensuring the well-being and security of their loved ones through diligent work and provision. Moreover, the Bible teaches that leadership is a responsibility entrusted by God to be exercised with humility, wisdom, and servant-heartedness. In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus teaches his disciples about servant leadership, declaring, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” God’s idea of leadership isn’t power over others to rule them but humility and selflessness, the needs and interests of others above their own ambitions and desires.

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Man praying eyes closed.

4. Humility and Gentleness

Humility and gentleness are essential virtues for all believers to cultivate, and this includes men in the roles God gives them. The themes of humility and gentleness run through the Bible, and these qualities reflect the heart of God, essential for healthy relationships, leadership, and spiritual growth. A central teaching is found in Philippians 2:3-4, where believers are exhorted to

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

The apostle Paul encourages believers to be humble in every interaction. Men may feel pride in their own accomplishments or strength, yet they are called to humility, as Christ revealed in his time on earth. Similarly, Colossians 3:12 instructs believers to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” This verse uses a command form, implying people must choose to be humble and gentle. Men should be intentional in their conduct to include humility and gentleness.

Most men would love to be seen as wise, yet the Bible teaches how humility is a mark of true wisdom. James 3:13 declares, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” Men don’t reveal their understanding through winning arguments or getting fancy academic degrees but through acting in humility.

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man at laptop praying

5. Wisdom and Discernment

Wisdom and discernment are more valuable than gold and silver than any treasure, and these essential qualities guide decision-making, behavior, and relationships with godly insight and understanding. The Scripture exalts the value of wisdom and discernment as gifts from God to enable men to navigate life’s complexities with clarity, prudence, and righteousness.

Proverbs 4:7 declares, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Wisdom is worth any cost. Men should prioritize the pursuit of wisdom above all else, recognizing its intrinsic value in guiding paths and shaping character. Men seek wisdom through listening to the voice of God, the Bible, and godly elders in the church to share their experiences. Wisdom and discernment are gifts from God to be sought through consistent prayer. James 1:5 encourages believers,

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Men must recognize the source of all truth and wisdom: the Person of God. Men go to God for wisdom with the added understanding of the Lord’s love for them. The Father gives generously when men go to him.

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man speaking into video camera for online church

6. Compassion

Just as God has been compassionate to all people, men should embody this in their interactions with others, reflecting the heart of God and demonstrating mercy and empathy toward those in need. As protectors, men should see the pain of others and seek to alleviate that pain or empower others to overcome it when under oppression. Ephesians 4:32 instructs believers to

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

God is the standard, and this verse shows how compassion should be a mark of the Christian community, encouraging men to extend grace and mercy to others as they themselves have received from God. Men can have compassion in daily interactions and families, but they can also participate in community efforts of generosity and relief for those in need both locally and internationally.

God is a Father, and the Scripture shows how God is a loving parent to those who belong to him. Psalm 103:13 describes God as “a father who has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” This verse brings compassion into men as fathers, both for their own children but also for children in the church and the community around them. The world is desperate for God as Father, and men can reveal this character in real and tangible ways through their compassion.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes

a man in church

7. Perseverance

True manliness includes not giving up. Perseverance is a crucial virtue for men to build in their lives, enabling them to endure trials, overcome obstacles, and remain steadfast in their faith and commitment to God. Sometimes, change happens in a moment, but often, transformation is a process through time. One of the central teachings on perseverance is found in James 1:2-4, where believers are exhorted to

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Perseverance shapes character and faith, enabling men to grow in spiritual maturity and completeness through the trials they face. Similarly, Hebrews 12:1 encourages believers to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” This verse comes on the heels of the “hall of faith” Hebrews chapter 11, which includes a list of men and women who overcame and lived victoriously through faith. The writer of Hebrews continues to build on the hall of faith by urging men to press forward, keeping their focus on Christ as the ultimate source of strength and inspiration.

This perseverance is built on and expands the eternal and secure hope of men in God’s promises (Romans 5:3-4).

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Man holding a Bible

8. Submission to God

The Bible emphasizes the importance of submission to God as a foundational principle for men to live by, recognizing God’s sovereignty, authority, and lordship over their lives. Through various passages, Scripture underscores the value of submission as an expression of reverence, obedience, and humility towards God. One of the central teachings on submission to God is found in James 4:7, where believers are exhorted to

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

This verse highlights the essential role of submission in spiritual warfare, urging men to yield to God’s authority and resist the temptations and schemes of the enemy. Similarly, Romans 12:1 instructs believers to “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” This verse emphasizes the importance of total surrender and submission to God, offering oneself completely to His service and purposes as an act of worship and devotion.

Moreover, the Bible teaches that submission to God leads to blessings and spiritual growth. Proverbs 3:5-6 declares, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” This passage highlights the promise of divine guidance and direction for those who submit to God’s will, leading to a life of righteousness, peace, and fulfillment.

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Man pushing senior in wheelchair outdoors smiling

9. Love and Sacrifice

As followers of Christ, his love and self-sacrifice are the models for change, transformation, and a life of meaning. John 15:13 teaches love and self-sacrifice, where Jesus clearly declares,

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Jesus urges believers to emulate Christ’s example of selfless love and willingness to lay down his life for others. Through servant leadership, men are also called to sacrifice for the good of others. Specifically, Ephesians 5:25 instructs husbands to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” When a man decides to get married, God’s expectation is for the husband to demonstrate sacrificial love toward their wives, mirroring  Christ’s selfless devotion and care for His bride, the church.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes love, stating, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others; it is not self-seeking; it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” From this passage, love isn’t a feeling but a way to live, including patience and the absence of self-seeking.

God isn’t a sadist with talk of self-sacrifice, nor is he asking men to enjoy pain. Men give willingly, knowing there is an eternal reward that awaits them.

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A man standing before a cross.

10. Expect an Eternal Reward

Living a life of true manliness isn’t one of obligation or religious duty alone. God promises eternal reward for his disciples, and all things work together for good for any who love the Father and are called according to his redemptive purpose (Romans 8:28). The expectation of eternal reward undergirds the whole Bible, especially the New Testament. One such example is found in Matthew 5:12, where Jesus declares,

“Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven.”

In context, Christ speaks of when people will mock and abuse believers, and he declares that enduring hardships and persecution for the sake of righteousness will result in a heavenly reward. Additionally, the Bible often portrays heaven as a place of eternal joy, peace, and fulfillment. Revelations 21:4 describes it as a realm where God will wipe away every tear, and there will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain.

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Furthermore, the parables shared by Jesus frequently emphasize the importance of investing in eternal treasures rather than earthly ones. In Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus advises, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Heaven, the eternal home, is where those who follow Christ will live forever, so men should do all they can to live for and invest in that eternal Kingdom.

While we have plenty of bad examples of men in our culture, from weak to overbearing, our world needs men like the Scripture describes. Men of true manliness infuse the example of Christ through their roles and responsibilities, bringing hope to our communities and the future. Through grace and encouragement, let’s support godly men in their calling.

 

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Boonyachoat

Britt MooneyBritt Mooney lives and tells great stories. As an author of fiction and non -iction, he is passionate about teaching ministries and nonprofits the power of storytelling to inspire and spread truth. Mooney has a podcast called Kingdom Over Coffee and is a published author of We Were Reborn for This: The Jesus Model for Living Heaven on Earth as well as Say Yes: How God-Sized Dreams Take Flight.

Matthias David
Matthias David
Working in His vine, as He does even more at mine.
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