Note: While I list only five doctrines of Christian manliness here, there are, of course, many more Biblical teachings that men need to be truly Christ-like men. Consider these to be merely the starting point of Christian manhood and by no means an exhaustive list. Manhood is more about character than about “machismo”, “bravado”, or “swagger”, so I hope these help. - Thomas
As a man, I must me temperate. Temperance is the foundation and application of self-control. Sometimes, I must tell myself “No” when I must not do something. Other times, I must tell myself “Yes” when I must do something. Temperance is a “fruit of the Spirit” according to Galatians 5:22-23. What this means, is that it is something the Holy Spirit produces in my Christian life. There’s nothing sappy, weird, or mystical about this. It just means, the Lord gets credit for changing me and I take none for myself. However, while the Spirit produces this quality, it can also be learned and practiced as the Lord produces this virtue in me. Temperance must then be a mutual cooperation between me and the Lord- I yield to the Lord’s revealed Word, and He helps me control myself. I then practice that self-control by forming good habits. Implementing other Christian virtues will require controlling myself and being under the Lord’s control, so temperance then is foundational to the other Five Doctrines of Christian Manhood. (See also Proverbs 25:28).
As a man, I desire honor. I want to be reverenced and remembered well. I believe God made this desire innate in men so that I might be productive. I find much satisfaction in knowing I’ve accomplished or produced things. However, the Bible teaches, “Before honor, is humility.” (Proverbs 18:12b). That means I must learn to be humble first before I can ever expect honor. Philippians chapter 2 tells about what a humble mind is like- It yields rights and positions by considering itself “of no reputation” and taking on “the form of a servant” and being “obedient unto death”. This humble mind is the mind of Christ. This produces the service-over-self attitude that is so important in my Christian life. And it is imperative to know that before I can ever be “highly exalted” I must humble myself. (See Philippians 2:3-9).
As a man, I must protect in several ways: 1) To be a diligent steward of my family, of my own body, and any under my care, 2) To have balanced and sensible faith in the Lord for protection, and 3) To be prudent enough to prepare in advance for as many possible outcomes in my world. Considering these three things, I am forced to conclude that the Bible does not teach that I am to be a pacifist and allow someone to inflict death or grievous bodily harm upon me or those under my care. Instead, I am 1) Not to permit someone to harm my physical well-being or that of those under my care. 2) I am to trust the Lord to protect me, and this may include trusting Him to use effectively the physical and/or tactical skills He has enabled me with. And, 3) I am not to succumb to normalcy bias and presume I will never be the target of physical threats but am to advance my physical and/or tactical skills as I am able and as I am led in order to mitigate such. I also acknowledge that certain scenarios may someday exist in which I may be called upon to instead lay down my life for the example of Christ, and that I should have the discernment to recognize such moments. (See Psalm 127:3, Proverbs 22:3. Genesis 14:14-16, Matthew 24:43).
As a man, I must provide material means. This does not mean ladies can never earn income, but rather, as a man, regardless of the primary source or amount of income, I must diligently look to and lead the wise use of resources in my home. Under mutual cooperation with my wife, I am to provide in such a way that I can 1) Provide for the Lord’s work to continue and prosper in and through my local church, 2) Provide sufficiently for my family’s material needs both present and future, 3) Provide, as best I can, for an inheritance to my children’s children, and 4) Provide an honorable testimony to my family and others that my use of material means honors the Lord in every way. (See 1 Timothy 5:8, Genesis 2:24, 1 Peter 3:7, Proverbs 21:5, Proverbs 12:27, Proverbs 22:29).
As a man, I must recognize that leadership is not the same thing as domination, patriarchy, tyranny, privilege, authoritarianism, or heavy-handedness. Instead, leadership 1) Does the hard thing first and thereby issues a call to “Follow”, not a demand to “Go!”, 2) Has reasoned answers for the example it gives instead of saying “Because I said so”, and is not capricious, and 3) Speaks from an authority higher than itself, specifically, the Word of God, and is thereby not the highest authority but simply a designee representing the Lord to others. (See John 13:12-15, 1 Timothy 4:12, Philippians 2:3, 2 Timothy 2:2, 1 Peter 5:3).