What “is” masculinity

I think to mentor men we need to have a stronger hold on what “masculinity” actually is. To be honest, that’s one thing I’ve struggled with explaining to men in real life.

This is important because — aside from the choice to follow God — the choice whether or not to marry and thus pursue women is one of the most important choices that a man can make in his life. In this day and age if he chooses poorly many hardships may befall him such as risk of divorice shooting through the roof. Similarly, if he does decide to make this choice, he must learn what traits are innate to being a man and what traits are taught and to learn them.

However, the important thing to know is that masculinity should be developed irregardless of this choice to marry even though masculinity is inherently attractive to women. This is part of developing into a man of God that is able to be useful and profitable for God to use in the Church, family, and friends.

In other words, since God created men to be men, we need to learn how to operate fully into what He created us to be. The fact that becoming a masculine man is attractive to women is only a side effect.

Cultural masculinity

Obviously, there are indicators and tells. Planned parenthood, bastion of the left, describes typically masculine and typically feminine traits although they call them “culturally” ingrained and not biological in nature. (from: planned parenthood site, not linking cause they attempted to hijack my browser location).


  • dependent
  • emotional
  • passive
  • sensitive
  • quiet
  • graceful
  • innocent
  • weak
  • flirtatious
  • nurturing
  • self-critical
  • soft
  • sexually submissive
  • accepting


  • independent
  • non-emotional
  • aggressive
  • tough-skinned
  • competitive
  • clumsy
  • experienced
  • strong
  • active
  • self-confident
  • hard
  • sexually aggressive
  • rebellious

Obviously, some of these are what is traditionally masculine and some are just words they threw in there to polarize. “Clumsy” is not a traditionally masculine word nor is “weak” a traditionally feminine word. Clumsy puts men in a bad light, and weak is able to be polarized for women for non-privileged victim status.

The reason I bring this up is that it is important to know what the “culture” thinks about masculinity because that is how most people will think about masculinity. Indeed, even most Christians accept what is “culturally true” over what the Scriptures say. Thus, noting the context from which someone is discussion a certain point is important, especially when mentoring men.

Scripturally defining masculinity

Even the Scriptures aren’t exactly clear about what masculinity beyond a couple of passages. For example,

1 Kings 2:When David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, 2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong (DS: strength), and show yourself a man (DS: basically, TO BE a man), 3 and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; (DS: assertive and proactive about the ways of God) 4 that the Lord may establish his word which he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a man on the throne of Israel.’


1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [c]prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [d]became a man, I did away with childish things. (DS: maturity in love) 12 For now we see in a mirror [e]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love.


Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother (DS: become independent), and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.


1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own (DS: provider), and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

So we know the Bible talks whether explicitly or implicitly that masculinity does involve being:

  • Strong
  • BEING a man (or otherwise, be of your nature)
  • Assertive and proactive, especially for the laws of God
  • Maturing, especially in love
  • Independent — some men leave their father and mother and never marry.
  • Provider, if married to household, if not at least to himself

Aside from the commands of the husbands in the Scriptures which are:

  • Don’t withhold sex (1 Corinthians 7)
  • Be the head (Eph 5)
  • Love wife as Christ loved the Church and as his own body (Eph 5)
  • Live with in an understanding way with the weaker vessel and show her honor as a co-heir in Christ (1 Pet 3)

These are important to know because they will help men understand what becoming men is in the context of God. Hence, knowing these and developing these as a Christian man will be all important just as Jesus grew.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Note that the context of this is Jesus questioning the Scribes in the temple and then obeying His parents. Being in submission where submission is required is important. We do not just want to grow in favor with God but with God and men.

Other thoughts on masculinity as a whole and with women

As Vox was going through his “Gamma” series I had the distinct impression that being “gamma” basically personified men who hadn’t become “men” in one context or another.


Gammas are passive aggressive, care about “winning” more than “relationships”, have a very difficult time with self critique, have a very hard time with taking criticism, and similar things. Most of us can obviously say that these are simply hallmarks of an immature man. It should be no surprise that such a man will have little success with women.

Along these lines, Vox’s socio-sexual hierarchy has become one of the main posts of the manosphere for describing various tiers of men according to their sexual success:


Thus, it has become my increasing impression that the sociosexual hierarchy is simply a component of how men use their masculinity around women. Masculinity takes into account the heart and what comes out of it. The “heart” of a man being composed of his biological nature, thoughts, and feelings. And out of the nature, thoughts, and feelings become behavior. As Jesus said it is what comes out of the heart that makes things unclean, and by similar analogy it is out of the heart which makes a man masculine or not.In this context, “game” is simply aping masculine behaviors because masculinity was not passed on from father to son post destruction of the family from no-fault divorce and incentivizing divorce by awarding cash and prizes to women who followed through. Specifically, “game” is a specialized subset about aping masculine behavior in the context of masculined women.This is why I think “game” in particular as it exists is simply a caricature of masculinity. It is specifically aimed at women and not developing a man as a whole, and it is aimed at generating sexual attraction from masculined women. Masculinty, of course, can be learned outside of these contexts. You can see the reddit TRP men realizing over the past year that there is more to being a man than women even though they act immorally.Regardless of that tangent, it is important to realize that a man’s ability to attract women TENDS to be a decent indicator of his masculinity since very few men have been taught how to be masculine by their fathers. Hence, “gammas” now are “full gammas” in that was as far as they developed without masculine father figures or mentorship. Their masculinity it characterized by the same strength, maturity, independence, etc deficits as their ability with women.It is becoming increasingly rare for men growing up in their teens, 20s, and 30s to be successful as a man in life without being successful with women. It’s the same concept as Jesus states in the parable of the talents: Matthew 25:29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”However, there are rare exceptions, especially in the technology fields where business success simply may not correlate with success with women. In these instances, we have men who despite being succesful in business, either believe the lies of the culture about how women like nice men or simply think acting masculine around women is wrong for whatever reason. Hence, they fail in relationships because they withdraw their masculinity around women either due to fear or other factors.Hence, strength, maturity, and the like are two way streets both in your life and in interactions with women if you’re interested in getting married.

Some questions for readers

1. So, aside from these traits, are there any other Biblical traits that you can think of that should be fundamentally taught to men to be masculine? I think I pulled out most if not all of the verses that speak specifically to men. There’s lots of other verses but they apply to both men and women which isn’t as unique. Remember, the problem is men need to be more masculine.

2. Which are innate? Which are taught?

3. Also, we need to “define” what these traits are. For example, what does being “strong” even mean? For the most part, it seems like it’s pretty obvious. Strength in a man moves beyond just physical strength to mental strength. To be firm in what he believes (has boundaries) and is willing to enforce them in any situation. Boundaries should be aligned to the Word.

4. How do we begin to start to teach these to men?

5. How do you teach masculinity in terms of being a man for all things versus in the context of women? For most men from what I’ve experienced and talked to men about their experiences is that growing in masculinity seems to be natural with guidance, but that with women it seems to be a “special case” that is more difficult even with guidance.

I think that if we nail down masculinity as it is Biblically along with other non-Scriptural truth we will have a much easier time teaching and mentoring men.

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17 Responses to What “is” masculinity

  1. CHero says:

    1) I think emphasis on the fruits of the spirit in correspondence with masculinity should be taught. Every person, male or female, is different. Since we heavily rely/are influenced by society’s definition of masculinity, there are guys who aren’t physically inclined to feel less than a man because they don’t have a certain skill set. For example, meekness and temperance would are fruits that are sorely neglected. Guys who aren’t as extroverted or ‘tough’ need to realize that their innate strengths are to be valued and need to learn how to utilize them will working on NECESSARY weak points.
    (Example, a shy boy may not be the best at sports but is great with math and science. While intelligence is good, he still needs to understand the fundamentals of good health and playing outdoors. Maybe he sucks at basketball but he’s into running so track and field is good for him. Maybe he likes playing Frisbee. You don’t exactly wear jerseys and tailgate for it but it’s a physical activity and it’s good. Maybe that same boy backs down easily in social situations. While he doesn’t have to be a grade-A oralist, he still needs to learn the fundamentals of assertiveness so to avoid being a doormat in the future. Our society bolsters looks, fitness, and aggression for men and while elements/the godly version of these traits are good, we can’t try to make every man in the world carbon copies of each other).

    2) I think it varies from person to person and environment to environment.

    3) This question ties in strongly with my rant of an answer for No.1. Strength = assertiveness

    4) Should always begin in the home with fathers/father figures. But not everyone is lucky. For those in church, we need male figures of varying ages to create times/environments to encourage boys to ask and learn about masculinity. This is the kind of thing that’s usually swept under the rug. It’s important to have a strong, iron-clad sense of what God expects so that no matter what or who tells you otherwise and how convincing arbitrary arguments are, you’ll know the unadulterated, bonafide truth. There’s a verse that says “Whatever can be shaken will be shaken” and even though I think it’s talkin’ about The End Times, it applies to life in general. Your beliefs and character will be questioned/come into question so as men, we should be prepared.

  2. ChildofRa says:

    I agree with CHero, boys who are seen as ‘nerds’ are normally seen as the unattractive ones while boys who are considered ‘jocks’ are the one girls are suppose to pursue. Now both types are awesome but you can’t let yourself be put into a box. There is nothing wrong with having intelligence and playing a sport whether its football or track.

  3. Looking Glass says:

    I was chatting with someone about different idioms within different languages, and I made the point that we have these old phrases to harness complex interactions & thoughts into short, easy-to-remember phrases. I happened to be comparing “Slow & Steady Wins the Race”, but it applies across a brought segment of even the Bible.

    At the same time, without being careful about what God commands via the Bible, you can get yourself wrapped up in circles, while missing the important parts behind it. And that part that can easily get lost is there is something of a dual-nature to what you need to grow in the Spirit. (At least as any Modern would understand it. It’s all part of God, just the different aspects.)

    I can sum up what a Christian Man needs to be able to do: Comfort a small child in distress (James 1:27) and kill another human (Judges 3:28; I love Ehud’s story). You need Control & Love (agape); you need Strength & Might in God. These are not separate things. They are a part of the whole of the Spirit. (Judges 15:14 if you think I’m kidding about the martial aspects)

    Faith will always cost you something. This is why you need the Strength & Might. You have to be able to reject the World. Faith also requires you to Charity, which is why you need Control and Caring. A “Man” needs all. Plan and simple.

    As for teaching young Men, the first issue: don’t do this is mixed groups. It doesn’t work. Posing challenges to them as a method of teaching doesn’t work when girls are around. Girls respond horribly to the classic (and extremely effective) challenge-based teaching methods. This is part of the rise of the self-esteem movement within schooling.

    One sub-point: On Ephesians 5, we all miss Paul talking about “washing” in the context that I think it’s actually supposed to be taken. Paul is telling us what the Process is like, for Husbands. (And it pops back up in Revelation 3:19) A Man that chooses to be a Husband needs to know how to do that. It *is* how you become more Christ-like, in that context of a Husband.

  4. Robin Munn says:

    @Looking Glass –

    Could you talk more about “washing” in Ephesians 5? How would you say it’s supposed to be understood?

  5. Regular Guy says:

    @ DS

    As Jesus said it is what comes out of the heart that makes things unclean, and by similar analogy it is out of the heart which makes a man masculine or not.In this context, “game” is simply aping masculine behaviors because masculinity was not passed on from father to son post destruction of the family from no-fault divorce and incentivizing divorce by awarding cash and prizes to women who followed through. Specifically, “game” is a specialized subset about aping masculine behavior in the context of masculined women.This is why I think “game” in particular as it exists is simply a caricature of masculinity.”

    +1 Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding!

    Spot on. I’ve always felt “game” to be manipulative and a matter of putting a band-aid on a much more serious wound. Bravo sir.

  6. Looking Glass says:


    When I’m in better shape, maybe, but think of the context of the word in 1st Century AD. “Washing” meant a LOT of physical work into scrubbing out the problems in the clothes you had. Intensive but specific task. “Without spot or blemish” simply means working on the problem areas. So, it all comes down to: 1) being in charge and 2) working the areas your Wife has problems with following God on. Which gets to the root of the problem: Your Walk with God firstly. (Ephesians 5:1-3 is just above these passages. The latter parts of Ephesians 5 is part of an entire discussion in Eph 4 & 5)

    At some level, young boys need to learn functional leadership skills. It’s exactly what is needed for the “washing” bit.

  7. Cane Caldo says:

    Specifically, “game” is a specialized subset about aping masculine behavior in the context of masculined women.

    cough!There is no pooncough!

  8. Neguy says:

    I think there are two key Biblical sources of manhood you should add:

    1. The life of David. David was a manly man warrior, but also wrote beautiful music, etc. Many failures but also many successes. David knew how to rule with authority, but also how to be under authority. I haven’t done this myself.

    2. A big handbook of Christian masculinity is 2 Timothy. Podles’ Church Impotent did a good job of pointing this out. Paul mentions that Timothy learned to follow God’s ways from his mother and grandmother. Paul honors them for that, but also spends much of the rest of the book strengthening Timothy’s backbone, as if Timothy had been under and excessive feminine influence. Almost immediately after mentioning Lois and Eunice, he writes, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline”. Many other things: “Retain the standard of sound words.” “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus….Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.” “Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” “But realize this in the last days difficult times will come.” “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

    In the modern world and church in which we live, I think we need to be paying close attention to 2 Timothy and 1 Peter.

  9. @ Neguy

    Oh, that’s a very good point. The target audience of 1 and 2 Timothy were from a [mature] Christian to a man he was mentoring.

    Not sure about 1 and 2 Peter, but they do have some solid points there.

    I would also think about Titus as well.

    I will have to go back and read those epistles in that context.

  10. CHero says:


    That’s pretty interesting. It’s amazing how much content the Bible has—I really need to be more diligent w/ The Sword.

    That makes me think of a guy I know from my church who’s pretty masculine and he wasn’t even raised by his father. I suppose it’s a matter of having a woman who understands/acknowledges masculine traits? I have no idea what his entire life was like so I dunno…

  11. Looking Glass says:


    It’s about choosing and following through on those choices. It’s not really more than that.

  12. CHero says:

    @LookingGlass Being more decisive! Understood!

  13. Neguy says:

    1 Peter is less about masculinity than about a church undergoing persecution where Peter offers them nothing but eschatological hope – while giving them tough to swallow commands about submitting to authority, etc. People in the ‘sphere love to point to 1 Peter 3’s instructions to wives. But a lot of the rest of the book speaks to all Christians, including men, submitting to unjust authority and suffering patiently with it.

    2 Timothy is basically Paul’s parting letter to his protege. He’s expecting to be imminently executed. I see it as strengthening Timothy’s backbone to carry on solo, especially targeted at a young man who grew up with a lot of female influence. It’s a great book.

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  15. jeff says:

    Life of David as a leader. His mistakes and triumphs… God did both through him. food for your soul dot net has a good teaching on this. I teach my son he will be a leader of someone no matter what.

    I still want to spit when I get really high off the ground at the edge of cliff/well etc. Can’t help myself.

    I absolutely hate the man up crap, but at the same time you cannot let FI be an excuse to sit in your basement, play games and watch porn. MGTOW in my opinion is not necessarily forgoing finding a wife and pursuing a Godly righteous marriage. I am teaching my son to find someone who will be his helpmeet and support what He has planned for him (my son). To find someone who will encourage him, respect and be submissive through her behavior (not her words). I stress to my son to go his own way and lead his wife and family in that direction.

    It is hilarious that my old pastor said if my wife is not being submissive that I just need to lead in a different direction/way. I asked if I should lead the way my wife would follow. He said yes. I asked if at that point am I leading or being point in the direction my wife chooses to go. His answer? Blank stare. His idea of sacrifice is giving up your preference for your wife’s preference. I said yes when it’s Italian vs. Chinese food, but why am I here if my wife prefers sex 1 time per month and I want it 2-3 per week? Blank stare. What if my wife prefers 2 year old cars or newer and I think cars are liabilities and at best depreciating non performing assets? Blank stare.

    I do not believe the nerdy, non exercising, non physical, non active men are masculine. I’m sorry, but we need to define the line between effeminate and masculine as well and I believe it’s not a thin line. Soft of mind is soft of body and vise versa. PUA I’ve seen look like soft little girls and are getting what they want. I also know masculine looking men who are gammas. Taking the best of both of those is masculine, not trading one for the other or picking traits that you like or are easy for you from them and calling it masculine.

    My dad is Alpha with Beta and I learned nothing from him. He actually pinned me up against the wall when I was 17 and told me he could still kick my ass. No he wasn’t drinking. He was putting me in my place showing he was still head of the house. He is tough and worked with his hands all his life never taught me which side of the hammer to hold.

    These things which are masculine are inherent or instinctual and some are learned.

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