Biblical Manhood (Summary): The Man as Leader, Provider, Protector

As we look throughout the New Testament about what the Bible says a family is supposed to be, it gives us clear definitions on defined gender roles for the husband and the wife.  The most obvious reference to the husband and wife in the New Testament is Ephesians 5.  Ephesians 5 reads,

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

Leader:  Loving & Serving

There are two crucial facts to state concerning this passage of Scripture:  First of all, Husbands are to love and serve their wives as Christ served the church.  Paul discusses the authority/headship/leadership of the man as nothing less than Christo-centrically.  Leadership must be servant leadership.  Paul draws out the fact that Christ served his church and gave himself up for her.  The husband must lead his wife this way.  He must lead her to the point of giving himself up for her, even to the point of death.  Often in the evangelical community, servant leadership is called mature masculinity.  John Piper gives this definition of mature masculinity: “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.”[1]

Concerning leadership in our sub-culture of Evangelicalism, this is often taken to the extreme and can be very sinful, not to mention idiotic, for the man.  The call to lead the woman is not a hyper-leadership form of egotistical consumption, though it is a call to serve the woman. Questions to ask are, “What is best for her?  What can she handle at one time?  What would she like to do?”  Yes, the man should assume his responsibility in undertaking the final say in disagreements, but he should not use this like a wild card.  Leadership is humble, repentant, risk-taking, and sacrificial.

Provider:  Working Hard & Giving

Concerning provision for the woman, this is often backwards thinking in our feminist and suede-intellectual society.  The man should feel a great responsibility to provide for the woman, not that the woman should not assist in maintaining support for the family, but the man should feel a benevolent responsibility to always provide for his woman.  Genesis 3:9, “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”[2]   The man is not only to provide financially for his wife and family, but he is also called to provide emotionally and physically as well.

Protector:  Champion & Preserver

Concerning protection for the woman, mature masculinity senses a natural urge to always protect the woman (any woman for that matter) from the context of danger by putting himself between the adversary and the woman.  This is simply an understanding of mature masculinity learning to be bold and courageous (Joshua 1).  Who goes into the lifeboats first when the ship is sinking?[3]

[1]Piper, John and Wayne Grudem. Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, 35-45.




  1. I must agree with all the word of God says about this subject. But problem is that we should not be contaminated with the world and even “christian counselors” take this out of proportion as in an idealistic manner. Life is always changing and sometimes woman makes more money than men. Or she is competing with men in the same job market. It is not like I have the need to go to the wilderness to risk my life to catch something and provide food formy wife anymore. Today my employer may prefer to employ my wife instead. “At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women…” Yes I believe in all that, but this is between man and God, because more than 80% of working woman are not and will not be sensitive to their men relationship with God. Except when some of them want to legalistically pull out their rights with the mere purpose of justify their lack of commitment and disrespect. Yes they behave very pride and little fragile and not humble at all. This been said, I think it is unfair to pull out the scriptures to push and put down a man just because he can not make enough money to give his wife the great life she think she deserves. God is not ignorant and the scriptures are very updated. The real subject here and now is not men been good providers, it is not. This most be about a world of subliminal corruption that causes people to race against the ideals os the satanic media. Men would give their lives for their wives but they are feeling frustrated and impotent to compete against things beyond basic needs. While the average woman is uncociously obsessed with the media vanity, wanting and dreaming to have more, to have brands, to a more “succesful husband. That is biblically unfair and moraly sinful. It is moraly sinful for a pastor or a christian councelor to put a burden on a man that lives in the getto or in the barrio, who has the right to live happily married, loved and repected for what he is as a human being and as a child of God. Because no councelor is going to help every poor man in the neighborhood to find a better job without education, or to get a raise on salary, or to work overtime. This is a fallacy, God is wise and never refered to anything more than the very basic needs and that can’t be changed by the country we live or the culture. HE did refered to emotional, and spiritual needs since every man is the priest of his household and should be headed by God himself. Next time you are prompt to say he or so and so is or is not a good provider, think; is he what God wants him to be? or is he what the society, the getto, the media or may be his wife is pushing and forcing him to be?…

    • Greg Gibson says:

      Hello Davinci, I appreciate your comments. I think Scripture is clear on this when Paul exhorts us, saying, “If a man shall not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess 3:10). The cultural implications here are beyond the mere “a wife making more money than her husband” concept. The concept of men working finds its placement all the way back in the Garden of Eden when God gave Adam the mandate to work (Gen 1:28). It is a theme that finds itself woven throughout Scripture. Mature masculinity will find itself running to this scriptural mandate to work hard and provide for one’s family. I’m not saying that you should provide a glamorous lifestyle. All I’m saying is what Scripture is saying – men should work hard, provide, and make dang sure his family has food on the table.

  2. Does this mean working on Sunday if neccessary? i tend to say yes, or should we trust God to provide work that doesn’t require us to do so? While there is a biblical order of working six days and resting one, believers should not bind their consciences to the Mosaic law.

  3. But yet if the man works inside the home, wahing clothes,cleaning dishes,cookin? should he not be entitle to eat, must her work outside of the home for it to be considered quote on quote work!

  4. Gentlemen, what we women want is for men to take charge. Even if I earn more money than you do, it does not take away your responsibility. It is how you conduct yourself (in regard to the scriptures) that will make me give you all I make to ensure your maintain your responsibility in the home. I cannot imagine me not submitting to a man who loves, cares and respects me – to the extent of not relinquishing all I make for him to do what he is supposed to do. Even if he is a stay home Dad!

    • Well said, Carol. One reply to your comment though:

      I know of some churches that hold the view of a man working so highly that being a “stay at home dad” would be a case for church discipline.

      Although maybe a little extreme (maybe not though), don’t you think our roles in the home, if at all possible, should be characterized by the roles God has given specifically and uniquely to men and women? Although equal in dignity, value, and worthy, different in role and function. Women tend to be more nurturing, care-giving, etc., while men tend to be quite opposite. God, the Father, has defined masculinity and femininity intrinsically and uniquely.

      I think we are treading shallow water here trying to define “stay at home dad” as it is defined in the the roles of leading, providing, protecting. For instance, can he still accomplish those roles while being a stay at home dad? Although I’m not going legalistic on this one, it’s hard to for me to say “yes” with a ton of confidence to that question.

      Just want to pick your brain a bit…

    • All woman and most Christian woman are deceived by satans liberation movement and his daughter Gloria Steinam, they are rebelious, controling and disrespectfully, and completely disregard their laws and covenant and don’t know the meaning of love and men have been subdued, emasculated and have become a bunch of Ahabs to this Jezebel possessed womanity matriarchy

  5. I have been financially supporting a man for two years now who is able to work. He basically makes just enough money to buy his own cigarettes and pocket change while I provide all the rest. I feel used and unloved. He claims to be a Christian but how can a man claim to love you and yet expect you to carry 99% of the financial load?

    • Shut off the utility’s and stay with your parents till he gets a job and turns them back on.

  6. The Scripture says “And we urge, brothers, admonish the idle” (1 Thess 5:14). Rhonda, if he is a Christian one of the men at his Church (someone his age or older) needs to rebuke him and challenge him about the way he is living. This is part of discipleship; we are called to make disciples and he needs to be being discipled, as indeed we all do.

    • What do you say to the person who would buy cigarettes before providing for his or her family? This is one that bothers me to no end. I think this also needs to be addressed. Many people claim to be Christians – its like a label they use to manipulate others. When I first dedicated my life to God (June 2012) I hesitated to even use the word Christian because of the negative meaning it has with so many people because of its misuse.

      I enjoyed reading this article and especially the first comment. I was just talking about this in my history class after reading an article about the Women’s Christian Temperance Union that refereed to the decline in masculinity of man. I believe much of today’s social issues are a direct result of not only the continuing decline in masculinity but also the decline in femininity. The discussion of who started declining first is as debatable as which came first, the chicken or the egg. The reality is it doesn’t matter who declined first – what matters is the resulting consequences and that nothing will get better until we all turn to God and get back on track with His plan.

  7. What if a wife leaves you with more bills than you can handle, I’m not bound in servitude by God but my government binds me to provide for her unbelieving, unforgiving, unfaithful and adulterous life. They don’t care if I maintain a home and provision for my children, as long as I keep serving her I’ll be allowed to stay out of jail. If a spouse leaves they should leave the family, not take the family, and bill the abandoned spouse. I’m hoping my wife will reconcile our family. I love her and I don’t want her to die an adulteress. I will not be an adulterer and I will not provide for her life of adultery. If she can’t afford to take my babies from me then she can give them back anytime.

  8. jean flores says:

    I have been married to my husband for 2 1/2 years. I have 4 step kids-adults now. One in prison, one married and the other 2 living with girlfriends. The 2 living with girlfriends are not working. When I met my husband I didn’t know of the baggage. My husband lived with me before he asked me to marry him. I still didn’t know of all that was going on with his kids. Things are so out of control. My husband thinks that he needs to provide for all my step kids and girlfriend. He is living with past guilt of not being there for them when they were young. He is constantly giving them all money on a regular basis behind my back. The times I have brought up the issue of him constantly giving them money he blows up. His priorities are his kids. I’ve brought this up as well. He told me he was going to keep on doing it. My husband is a baby Christian but this is not an excuse. I feel I’m being neglected as a wife. He feels since I get my pension I can take care of myself. I have my home he feels I don’t need anything. This is his mentality. He knows the word but ignores it. I do not trust my husband at times I’m verbally abused. Right now we are going through some financial struggles and he makes his own decisions. I don’t feel we are one. Well I think I’ve said enough. I feel that theirs no marriage.

  9. Jean, I am sorry to hear about what is going on in your marriage. I would encourage you to take this issue to your pastors/elders. If you belong to a local church and are active members, then this should be brought to their attention and they can prayerfully consider how to counsel you and your husband. Thanks for your comment. Praying for your family.


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