Manhood and Womanhood: A Biblical Teaching on Men and Women for Marriage

Tom Clark1

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Tom Clark1Tom ClarkMarriage is one of God’s primary focuses. He wants us to have “oneness” in marriage.
And Biblical ideas on Manhood and Womanhood are aspects of marriage.
The idea is that husbands and wives have different roles, and they are to use their roles for the oneness in marriage. 

Here is a list of arguments on “Manhood and Womanhood”: 

  1. An important understanding is that men and women are equal before God.
    In Genesis 1:26-28 Adam and Eve were equal before God. Galatians 3:28 also shows equality before God.
  2. Whereas men and women are equal before God, they are different in God’s creation, different in God’s design and His callings, and different in their roles. 1 Corinthians 11:3 & 9 is an illustration.
  3. #Men were designed by God as leaders, but being “leaders” does not mean they are to be in control. For example, leadership demonstrated by Jesus in Matthew 20:25-28 is a form of His sacrifice even as a “leader.” So men as leaders are to sacrifice themselves to a wife and to other people also.
  4. Women were designed by God as helpers to their husbands – Genesis 2:18. God did not give women the same roles as their husbands or men. 1 Timothy 2:9-12 illustrates the difference in roles, showing that women are not to be leaders over men.

These 4 arguments above have descriptions next:

  1. Men and women have equality before God. Genesis 1:26-28 is an illustration of it.
    The Genesis 1:27 verse says that God created both male and female before Him.
    The Genesis 1:28 says that God called each of them to be fruitful and to multiply and fill the earth.
         The idea was for them to raise children to extend God’s kingdom. So the idea is that husband
         and wife are equally important to God’s kingdom.
    Also in Galatians 3:28 it is clear that men and women are equal before God. It says that “they are all one in Christ.”

  2. Whereas men and women are equal before God, they are also different in God’s role/design.
    Genesis 2:18 says that God made a wife as a helper for her husband.
    1 Corinthians 11:3 says that a man is the head of a woman. And 1 Corinthians 11:9 says that a woman was created for man.
    Ephesians 5:22-24 calls women to submit to their husbands – as they are submissive to the Lord. It says that the husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the Head of the church. Some other verses also call wives to submit to husbands – Ephesians 5:33, Colossians 3:18, 1 Peter 3:1-6.
    1 Peter 3:1-2 calls a wife to be submissive to her husband, even if he is going wrong directions. Her submission to him and her love might help him to bow before God.
    So what we are seeing here is that men are leaders and women are obedient to their leadership. But in the next point we see that a husband’s leadership is a form of Christ’s sacrifice. So a husband is to give himself up to his wife, and he is not to be in control over her. That is next.

  3. Husbands are to lead – taking initiatives – but they are not to be in control.    
    In verses, Jesus is not being in control of people but responsive to God:  John 5:19 & 30, 6:38, and 1 Corinthians 11:3. In these verses Jesus is serving God and serving people, leading us to God.
    So a husband – as a leader and a displayer of Christ – is not to be in control, but to serve his wife (and children) and to help point them toward God.
    But – “not being in control” – He is called by God to be a leader, taking initiative to his wife and contributing relationships toward God.
    In Matthew 20:25-28 Jesus described how secular rulers seek to be in control as “lords.” But He says that we as believers in Christ are not to be that way. Instead, we as leaders are to serve as Christ has served. And our service to others may cause them to bow before us as leaders.
    So in Ephesians 5:25, husbands as leaders are to love their wives as Christ has loved the church.

  4. We said that wives are to be submissive to their husbands. The women might do a variety of jobs, and the Bible is a not against that. But there are differences in marriage, and also in the church.
    In Ephesians 5:22 & 24 wives have two basic callings:  (1) They are to submit to their husbands; and (2) as churches are to submit to Christ, so a wife should submit to her husband.
    The illustration of Ephesians 5:24 can lead us to the verse of 1 Timothy 2:9-12. In that passage it says that a woman is not supposed to exercise authority over a man.
    The reference in 1 Corinthians 11:3 & 9 is another describing God’s role-differences between men and women. And Genesis 2:18 describes the woman’s design as a helper to her husband.              

Overall final focuses:

We have above some helpful verses showing us that men and women are different in roles.

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In fact, 1 Peter 3:1 refers to the wives “in the same way” – which is a reference to 2:13-25. The idea is that wives are to be subject to husbands as described in 2:13-25. So, in 2:13-17 there is a reference to believers being subject to authorities in the nations. And in 2:18-20, servants are to be subject to masters. Then in 2:21-25, there is a reference to Jesus suffering Himself to us and not taking threats. So in 3:1, the women are called to be “in the same way,” being submissive to husbands. The “same way” has them submissive as fellow believers are submissive, and as Christ was being submissive.

Men & Women Are Going Different Directions in Our Culture

The Biblical idea is that men and women are “equal” to each other – which means equal before God. But the continued Biblical idea is that men and women have different callings. Whereas men and women are equal before God, God designed them to have different roles. That is what we will see here.

One idea for a wife is her difference in roles. Whereas she can, in fact, work on a job; nonetheless, the biblical idea has two pursuits for her:

  1. She is to be a servant to her husband (Genesis 2:18). She is to obey him and love him even if he is going a wrong direction (1 Peter 3:1-2).
  2. She is to focus on raising her children. Her husband is also important toward the children, but she is important to the children, helping them to bow before God and to believe in the salvation of Christ. So she also contributes both issues of “love” and “discipline” to her children. And she teaches them on all kinds of things, especially about God and His teachings in the Bible.

A final result

The human ideas are different than the biblical teachings. The Bible is calling us to bow before God as both men and women. As we bow before God we are to respond to God’s instructions. And so we are to see that God has described different roles of men and women.

So the idea is for us to pursue God’s design and callings versus submission to culture or submission to our own thoughts and feelings.

Your thoughts on this article:

You might agree with this, but you might disagree. I am OK with whatever opinion you have – your opinion is between you and God, not between you and me. In other words, I am not supposed to be in control!!  SO – See what you think. And read the biblical verses that are listed above and see if the Bible is teaching the messages in this article.

Helpful Verses:


Genesis 1:27-28 – (NAS)

27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, ” Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2:18 – (NAS) – God saying a man should not be alone, but to have a woman with him.

And the woman is to be a “helper suitable for him.”

2:18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

Galatians 3:28 – (NAS) – “All are one in Christ” – 3 different forms of people: 

(1) Jews and Greeks; (2) slaves and free men; plus (3) males and females.

3.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Differences between men and women:

1 Corinthians 11:3 and 8-9 are descriptions of differences between men and women. As men and women are different in roles, so Christ was different before God the Father.

11:3 (ESV) – But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.


11:8-9 (ESV) – For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

Ephesians 5:22-24 – (NAS) – Wives and husbands having role-descriptions

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

In Ephesians 5:25, husbands as leaders are to love their wives as Christ has loved the church.

5.25  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

Next, 3 additional passages of wives submitting to husbands and husbands loving their wives:

Ephesians 5:33 – (NAS)

. . . each individual among you (a husband) also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Colossians 3:18-19 – (NAS)

18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 

1 Peter 3:1-7 – (NAS) – 3:1-6 speaks to wives, and verse 3:7 and husband’s love of his wife

1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external — braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. 

In 1 Peter 3:1, wives are to be “the same way” as the ones in verses 2:13-17.

1 Peter 2:13-17 (NAS) – Believers are to be subject to authorities in nations.

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17  Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

Next, in 2:18-20 (NAS) – Servants are to be subject to masters.

18  Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds  favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds  favor with God.

Then, in 2:21-25 (NAS) – Jesus suffered Himself to humans and did not take threats.

21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,


23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Finally, in 3:1 (NAS) – Women are to go “the same way” as in 2:13-15, and her submission to her husband is even if he is disobedient. He love and submission might lead him toward God.

3:1  In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 

In 1 Timothy 2:1-8 (NAS) there are descriptions of men.

And then in 2:9-15 (NAS) there are descriptions of women,

and that they are not to be in control of men.

1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2  for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and  one mediator also between God and men, the  man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. 11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

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