Saturday, July 03, 2010

Act Like Men

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

13 Γρηγορεῖτε, στήκετε ἐν τῇ πίστει, ἀνδρίζεσθε, κραταιοῦσθε.

Paul is wrapping up his letter to the Corinthians here.  Most of chapter 16 contains personal information, which I used to find quite tedious and boring.  However, I now find that it bolsters my faith in the authenticity of the New Testament.  It shows that these were real letters written by a real person to real churches.  If I were writing a false letter after the fact I certainly wouldn't add all of these personal details.  What would be the point other than an elaborate ruse?

The phrase "act like men" comes from the word ἀνδρίζεσθε.  This is the only occurrence of this word in the New Testament, but it appears several times in the Septuagint.  Generally speaking, the English translation for this word is "be strong" as in Psalm 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! 

I find it fascinating to read this in our modern emasculated culture.  We have completely blurred the lines between men and women.  Traditional manliness is not considered as virtuous as it once was, though there are some who are working to get it back.  Paul is sometimes labeled as a misogynist because of his attitude toward women.

But if we agree that he wrote this under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit then we have to take note of this little verse.  He wants the men to act like men.  He wants them to be strong.  He doesn't want the men to act like women or the women like men.  He wants the men to be men.  I think that this exhortation is applicable today as it was 2000 years ago.

How do we apply this?  As men we take care of our families by dying to ourselves and serving them.  We put away childish things and take responsibility.  We steward our time and money well.  We serve and protect our families against predators.  These may be traditional predators or they may be emotional predators like extended family that create a toxic environment.  Whatever it is, we are strong for them and fight for them.  Technology may have changed and feminism may have tried to change things, but ultimately it is still our job to be strong for our families.

Paul tells us to "man up."  Are you ready?

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