Be a Man

Divine Design

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1 Corinthians 16:13–24

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.”

What does it mean to be a man, and why is this question so important?

Everyone is asking the question—what does it mean to be a man?

This question gets at the heart of our series and is foundational to every relationship, role and responsibility that every man will have in his life.

As we have seen, no matter how impacting and helpful the answers to a question like this that are given by a culture, the best answers and the truest answers will come from God’s Word—and specifically from His divine design.

The First Man

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7)

What a Man Is:

  1. Man is a Spiritual Being
  2. Man is a Physical Being
  3. Man is a Cultural Being

“Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him.” (1 Cor. 11:14)

  • Men and women are naturally different as evidenced in the natural creation order.
  • It is not right for men to act like women—men should act and dress like men and women should act and dress like women.
  • Society influences the norms of masculine and feminine expression within a particular culture or time period.
  1. Man is a Psychological Being

What a Man Does:

God gave him two primary responsibilities to fulfill this plan—The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Gen. 2:15)

  1. Man Was to Work—Be Productive
  2. Man Was to Keep—Be Protective

Paul instructed Christian men at Corinth to be strong and “act like men.” (1 Cor. 16:13). The word for “act like men” means to exhibit courage and bravery in the face of danger.

True manhood is man’s response to God’s calling for men to gladly assume sacrificial responsibility.

The Second Man

As the perfect man, Jesus Christ exemplified perfect masculinity. His example can be summed up in one main image—that of a loving shepherd.

What the Second Man Was: A Shepherd

  • As the great shepherd Jesus led appropriately.
  • As the good shepherd Jesus loved sacrificially.

This is how God intends for biblical men to embrace, exercise and fulfill their masculinity.

What the Second Man Did: He Served

How did Jesus exhibit perfect masculinity?

  • He perfectly submitted to His Father’s authority
  • He sacrificially served with joy
  • He cared for and protected the weak
  • He urgently, diligently, and passionately led the way
  • He practiced self-control
  • He treated women with the utmost respect and made them better


Christ is the ground and goal of all true masculinity. He displayed biblical masculinity as it was divinely designed and in so doing opened the way for all Christian men to follow in His steps.

But, this will not come naturally or easily. Remember I said at the beginning that these truths are “spiritually” understood—they will require the Spirit to teach us and enlighten us from His Word. Which means that as men we will need to work hard and strive after spiritual maturity—the kind of maturity Paul talks about to the men at Corinth—“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things(1 Cor. 13:11).

Biblical masculinity is not for immature children—it is for men!

Watch Dr. Pettit’s message on biblical manhood:

Join us for chapel every Monday through Thursday at 11:00 a.m.


Steve Pettit traveled for many years with the Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team before becoming president of Bob Jones University. His ultimate goal for BJU is to prepare students to serve and love others, no matter their vocation.