What Makes a Man a Man?

3. It is a rejection of God's plan for a man to reject his identity as a man

The blurring of gender and role distinctions is but another place where modern culture has walked away from the Creator's design. If we as a culture have moved away from a street-level belief in the existence of God, is it really surprising that we would be less committed to his design for humanity? Whether he is aware of it or not, it is an act of worship for a man to cultivate and celebrate his manhood. In so doing, he is bowing his knee to the wise choice of his Creator.

4. Christian culture machoism is not the solution

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Google "Tattooed Jesus," and you'll see how some Christians have chosen to respond to a culture that appears to have manhood under siege. Giving young men a muscle-bound, tattoo-laden Jesus to worship distorts both the nature of Jesus and the nature of manhood. It takes a limited, physical definition of a "real" man and treats the Messiah as its finest embodiment. This tends to introduce another form of cultural confusion to the rising generation of Christian young men.

5. The Bible doesn't say much about what makes a man a man

Perhaps many of us wish we could open the Book of Man chapter 1, verse 1 and begin reading about what really makes a man a man. But the Bible doesn't say much about this. The Bible clearly distinguishes men from women. It has essential things to say about God's design for the roles of men and women. But when it comes to the fine-grained detail of masculinity and femininity, the Bible is largely silent. This silence is not some tragic omission. No, it is by divine intention. God's Word really does give us everything we need "for life and godliness." In this way the Bible is comprehensive, but it is not exhaustive. It is always dangerous to ask it to speak in places where it is silent.

6. Manly skills do not make a man

It's certainly useful to know how to keep a journal, survive in the wilderness, keep yourself fit, plan a date, cook a steak, and do home repairs. But mastering these arts doesn't make you a real man in the deepest sense. My father taught me how to polish my shoes, tie a tie, and match a shirt to a suit. He taught me how to shave and impressed upon me the importance of deodorant and cologne. He taught me how to look a person in the eye when you shake hands, how to safely handle and shoot a gun, how to look for a job, and how to keep the job you have. But ultimately, he lived a double life, and he left me unprepared for the weightier responsibilities of manhood.

7. Regarding the deepest issues of the heart, men and women are the same

As I read The Dude's Guide to Manhood, (a book that would be helpful for all men to read) it hit me that Patrick's advice applies across the board: The majority of what he rightly says makes a successful man would also make a successful woman. His advice to men is to "be determined, teachable, disciplined, hard working, content, devoted, connected, properly emotional, forgiven and forgiving." Isn't this equally good advice for women? Sin pushes all of us in the direction of being selfish, entitled, lazy, demanding, and lacking in perseverance, patience, and love. These things rob men of their manhood, but they weaken women as well.

8. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer

The quest for true manhood ultimately drives us to the cross of Jesus Christ. We run to Jesus not just as the ultimate example of what a man looks like, but more importantly as our Savior.

Here's the bottom line: As a man, I don't just need to be rescued from the pressures, deficiencies, prejudices, and imbalances of the surrounding culture. No, I need to be rescued from my sin—from myself.

It is humbling to note that the greatest danger to any man exist inside of him, not outside of him. Sin makes me willing to be less than the man God designed me to be, and for that, I need forgiveness and transforming grace.

The next generation of men need may need to be challenged to be real men. But more than anything, they need to be introduced to the Savior who alone can make that possible.


If you want to interact with me on this topic, send your question about manhood to

Paul David Tripp is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and works to connect the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life. This vision has led Paul to write 13 books on Christian living and travel around the world preaching and teaching. Paul's driving passion is to help people understand how the gospel of Jesus Christ speaks with practical hope into all the things people face in this broken world. For more resources, visit

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