Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. - 1 Corinthians 16:13
I write this article expressly for Christian men. I write to you men in the words of the Apostle Paul cited above… 1 Corinthians 16:13: “Act like men.” That is how the New American Standard Bible translates the Greek word which lies behind the phrase. The Greek word has as its root the word for “male” or “husband”, and is clearly directed toward men, concerning how they should act. The KJV renders it “Quit you like men” (“Quit you” meaning “Acquit yourselves” or “Carry yourselves”). The NIV-84 has “Be men of courage.” On the other hand, the gender-inclusive NRSV completely removes the clear male-centered command here and gives us a dishonest translation: “Be courageous.” A clear concept in the Greek should be brought over into the English, and the NASB does it very well: “Act like men.”
Be what does this mean? Perhaps never before in the history of the church have we had less of an idea of what a man is, and what he is supposed to be. Throughout the history of the pagan world, the concept that men should lead courageously has been a clear principle, reflected in history. What was wrong was that pagan men used their power and strength to crush and dominate, rather than to serve. Christ forever changed that for Christians by His teaching and example:
Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:25-28).
Positions of authority must always be wielded with a servant heart, for the blessing of those entrusted to the leader’s care. Therefore, the modern attack on male leadership as an example of “knuckle-dragging Neanderthalism” does have a tragic root in human history. However, just because Satan has pushed God’s norm to an excess does not make it any less God’s norm and standard. On the other side of the pagan ledger is the wreckage of masculinity left by feminism. The modern feminist movement has left men wondering what it means to be a man. Nowadays, popular culture is talking about the “metrosexual,” a man of ambivalent gender certainty, who is willing to spend over $100 on a hairstylist, uses new forms of male make-up, is “in touch with his feminine side,” and wears the latest fashion trends. Fashion trends themselves are constantly blurring the distinction between male and female. This “modern male” is essentially a narcissist and hedonist, and the concept of male as accountable leader, protector, provider, and servant in the pattern of Christ is utterly alien. All of this is part of a Satanic attack on gender, making the command to “Act like men” ever-more difficult to decipher.
"What was wrong was that pagan men used their power and strength to crush and dominate, rather than to serve."
God is calling on men to act like men, and that means men are to carry out the roles God has uniquely assigned to men with courage and Christ-like servanthood. Get together with men at your church and discuss what a man’s role is in the home and in the local church. Pray that God would work on the men of your church to understand the command “Act like men” and to carry it out by the power of the Holy Spirit.