True Woman 101: Week 2: God’s Design in Manhood

Wow…we finished Week 2 of our Bible study on True Woman: Divine Design this past week and it has been fantastic and so refreshing to renew and challenge our view of biblical womanhood and what it means to live it out according to God’s design. We were able to record our week 2 discussion for you all…it took us awhile to figure out how to get it uploaded and all, but here it is at last.

Here’s the link to our live discussion from my home to yours: True Woman: Week 2 Audio Discussion. It is about an hour in length. With babies and lovely pauses, it is the real deal.

Here is the panel discussion on Week 2. These weekly panels are so fun to watch and add a great additional resource to the study! You can view all the panels at True Woman 101.

If you cannot view the video, click here.

REVIEW: In Week 2, the focus of our study turns briefly to the intentionality through which God created manhood. God created men to image the relationship of Christ to the church. At the core of manhood, we see that taking initiative, working to provide for others, being a protector and provider, as well as exercising godly leadership are at the core of what it means to be a man. Man’s role is not about exalting man. Authority is not about rights; it’s about responsibility.

Genesis 2:4-8: What does this passage imply about the creation of man? It reveals that God was very intentional in the way He made man as a potter shapes a piece of clay. It exemplifies the magnificence of our Creator in that he fashioned a complex human being out of dirt. Man was created with a unique connection to the ground. Man’s spirit came directly from the breath of God. We see that man’s complete existence came about independent of any contribution on his part. He was intentionally designed by another.

It is interesting to note that Adam was created outside the garden and then God created the Garden of Eden as a home for Adam (v. 8). It was his domain to rule and care for. A specific place of delight shielded from danger. Genesis 2:24 seems to imply that God intentionally set the man up in his own place to be the head of a new home. The man’s responsibility to “leave”, “hold fast”, and launch a  new family unit indicates that taking initiative is at the core of what it means to be a man.

In what way does the responsibility of man to take initiative mirror what Jesus does for the church?

Christ initiated the restoration in His relationship with His bride. He bore the weight and pain of sin and death for the good of His people. Christ left the comfort of His heavenly home and came down to earth to adopt, embrace, and cleave to us as His bride. He promised to never leave or forsake us but paid the greatest price to make us His own. God calls men to leave their former life and fully embrace the responsibility of loving and caring for his own family. 

Genesis 2:5-7, 15; 3:17-19, 23 – What do we see as man’s unique responsibility primarily? Man was created first and given the specific assignment to work the ground and tend to the management of the garden before the woman was even created. The consequence of sin for man was that work would become more difficult and he was sent out of the garden to work the field. This shows that male was created with a unique responsibility to work to provide for the family, and the female was created with a unique responsibility to nest and to nurture family relationships. Men were physically designed with greater muscle and manpower for hard labor which implies a specific purpose.

In Genesis 2:15, men was called to “keep” the garden, which means “to be in charge of”. It means to guard, protect, look after. It involves attending to and protecting the persons and property under one’s charge. God created man to be a protector.

Ephesians 5:28-29: What do you think it means for a man to provide for (nourish) his wife? To nourish is to feed and make grow. It suggests providing what is necessary for another to bloom and flourish. It’s not limited to bringing home the bacon, but also to support, sustain, and supply the spiritual needs of those under his care. He is the primary breadwinner, he is to wash his wife and children with the teaching of Scriptures.

What do you think it means for a man to protect (cherish) his wife?

To cherish is to keep or guard carefully, to hold dear, to treat with kindness and care. Literally means “to make warm”. It could include showing tender protection for, guarding emotionally and against lies or errors, showing tender love and compassion.

In what way does the responsibility of man to selflessly provide for others mirror what Jesus does for the church?

Jesus selflessly laid down his life to provide salvation for His bride. He thought not of himself, but humbled himself, and thought only of us.

In what ways does the responsibility of man to defend and protect mirror what Jesus does for the church?

Jesus is faithfully making intercession for us before the Father. He is our Advocate and defender against the attack of the enemy.

Genesis 2:18-20 – What happened after God gave instructions to the man? What purpose do you think this exercise of naming the animals served? The Lord wanted the male to learn how to exercise authority in a godly manner. It was a training exercise because to name something is to exercise authority over it. Exercising godly authority is at the core of what it means to be a man. It also awakened him to become aware of his need and lack of a suitable mate. Perhaps he wanted the man to feel the longing intensely – to love and want a soul mate with the same sort of passion that Christ felt for His future bride.

Genesis 2:20-22 – Read the passage and the quote below, what imagery did Augustine see in the creation of the woman from the side of man?

“Christ fulfilled what had been signified in Adam: for when Adam was asleep, a rib was drawn from him and Eve was created; so also while the Lord slept on the Cross, His side was transfixed with a spear…whence the Church was born. For the Church the Lord’s Bride was, created from His side, as Eve was created from the side of Adam. - Augustine

There has been much confusion in our day and age about the meaning of manhood and womanhood. As Pastor John Piper shares:

“Confusion over the meaning of sexual personhood today is epidemic. The consequence of this confusion is not free and happy harmony among gender free persons relating on the basis of abstract competencies. The consequences rather is more divorce, more homosexuality, more sexual abuse, more promiscuity, more social awkwardness, and more emotional distress and suicide that come with the loss of God-given identity.”

God created man with a unique responsibility to lead, provide, and protect. This does not mean that man gets to be king of the castle, or to assume a more favorable position than woman. But it does mean that leadership, provision, protection, and responsible initiative are central and indispensable to what God created man to be.

John Piper summarizes: “At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships.”

I would love to hear your thoughts…What are some of the ways in which we as women undermine manhood? How can we affirm and encourage men to be men?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

5 Responses to True Woman 101: Week 2: God’s Design in Manhood

  1. Hailey July 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    I think using the phrase “man up!” is undermining of men, no matter whose mouth it comes out of–or telling individual men how they are failing to live up to their role.

    One thing the panel discussion reminded me of was a quote by C.S. Lewis, who said that a woman’s version of hell is a kitchen where every pot is bubbling over, the sink is overflowing, dishes are falling—and not being able to do a thing about it. The man’s version of hell is the same scene–but *having* to do something–be the “fixer”.

    From my own experience it does seem like often the woman’s temptation is to feel the need to make sure all is okay, to do everything, commandeer the reigns, “fix” everything—and the fear common in men is fear of not knowing what to do, or not being enough when they are called on to do/be something.

    I thought the panelists comments about not jumping on others and squashing their ideas, etc. was wise, and applies very much to interaction with both men and women, boys and girls–it’s good character and leadership to allow space for others and be gentle instead of fierce. Reminding myself to wait, hold back, use my filter, give other room in a conversation or meeting is definitely one I run into frequently with friends and coworkers of both genders.

    A respected friend once shared with me an interesting take on the implications of the Fall, specifically the part where men are cursed to “toil over the ground,” and women, in addition to painful birthing, that their “desire shall be for her husband but he will rule over her”. In her marriage, she felt the temptation to rely on her husband to give her meaning, to meet all her emotional needs, to fulfill her. Once she learned to lean more on God, her dynamic with her husband greatly improved! Her husband believed his temptation (and that of all men) was to define himself and find all his fulfillment in labor. That he could prove his worth by how good a breadwinner he was, what he accomplished, etc. He saw a strong link here between men and work-a-holism. Desire for your spouse and work are both good things, but they can become idols too–in gender specific ways!

    I heartily agree that there are very real differences between males and females (more than the obvious biological ones), but I struggle with the implication that this means men should necessarily be the primary breadwinner. Who makes more money in the grand scheme (aka primary breadwinner) is not a biblical imperative. Throughout the Bible we see examples of women who have run businesses, traded their craft, etc. I feel comfortable with generalizations about the nature of men and women, but not rigidity in the specifics of household running. I was somewhat taken aback at the comment on the streaming audio from the woman whose husband was out of work. She replied that she would not have sought employment at that time because it wasn’t “her responsibility” to provide. What if our husbands refused to lend a hand cleaning the house or nurturing the kids when we are under the weather because it’s not “his responsibility”? If a husband becomes disabled and cannot work, has he lost his value as a male? No, he can still love and care and tend in myriad ways. Men provide things more valuable than income–their presence, attention, encouragement and much more. Earning money is not always in a man’s control (as we know too well in this economy) and I think it undermines men to say they aren’t being biblical men if they aren’t bringing home money–or more money than their wives particularly. I know people have different perspectives on this issue, this is just my take.

    I thought the first quote by John Piper was an interesting one, but reading it a few times I think he is talking about sexuality in general, “sexual personhood”– the human experience of sexual drives, need for intimacy, etc. and not gender *roles*. Distorted sexuality and misuse of desire/energies do lead to all the sad things he lists, but not adhering to conventional gender roles does not (well, maybe except for the social awkwardness :) ).

    I really appreciate the thoughts about husband as a servant-leader and the way he should care for his wife. Too often the emphasis has been on men being the “head” but not the actual, difficult comparison to Christ. Very refreshing.

    This study has really got me thinking and sparked some good conversations with my husband. Thanks!

    • Hailey July 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      To my surprise, my husband told me he does *not* find the phrase “man up!” undermining, because he sees it as being encouraged toward positive attributes. That’s good. I guess I was thinking that the use of that phrase (or telling a particular guy where he’s falling short) only played into that great male fear by suggesting that he isn’t good enough at his role or doesn’t have what it takes–crushing his spirit or willingness to try. Good to talk with men about this! :)

  2. Rebecca July 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Week 2 was a tough one for me. I got a lot out of the daily studies and I have a wonderful picture now of what a man’s role is in a marriage and in life in general. The tough part for me is that the men in my life don’t always want to fill the Godly role of manhood. On top of that I have a tendancy to take charge when others will not and this has created many negative discussions between my husband and I. I can think of a few instances when my husband has told me that I made him feel like a child in the way that I spoke to him and it especially hurts him when this is done in front of other people. The last thing I want to do is make him feel this way and I want, especially now, to build him up and honor him. This is something I am now actively working on and hopefully by the end of this study I will be better at building my husband up instead of bringing him down.

    • Rebecca July 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

      Following up to my original post this is something I just had to share. After writing my post I began praying to God for opportunities to build my husband up and help me to let him fulfill his “role” without stepping on his toes or harping on him about things. Wouldn’t you know God answered my prayers that very evening. My dear husband isn’t exactly a Mr. Fixit and I have been known to be the one to fix things around the house. Well, our bathroom door knob had been giving us problems and finally that evening the lock broke in the door jam and we could not get the door open for anything. I had all kinds of ideas on what we should do, all which would have been very destructive to the door, but I decided to stand back and let my husband take the lead. Did he ever! He was able to get the whole door knob out of the door with only minor damage, went to the hardware store, bought a new door knob, came home and installed it . . . and it is perfect!!! He is SO proud of himself and I am so proud of him too. I feel so good about letting him fulfill his role and we were both in such good moods afterwards, even after our whole night was thrown in an upheaval. This is not to say that I shouldn’t fix things when I can, but in this instance I could tell he WANTED to fix it and by letting him handle it all it made him feel respected and loved. I know this is just one small example, but I believe that it’s these little moments in life that can make such a big difference in someone’s life. This is just one way I have found that I can affirm and encourage my man to be a man.

      • Lindsay July 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

        Praise the Lord! Thanks for sharing!