To be clear, I do not mean gender in the same sense that the world does. I am referring to men and women in a biblical sense. The reason I am using the word is because of what the term “gender role” typically means today. Does the Bible teach that men have to do certain things and women have to do other things? I have assembled a collection of very clear passages on this topic below.
What God expects of Men
“But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:24-33 NASB
The passage above is very clear, men have a God given duty to Love their wives. It defines this with the manner in which Christ loves his Church. He died for us, so to we should love our wives beyond the point of death as well. This assumes other things, for example men are not allowed to abuse their wives, cheat on them, use porn, etc. Does Christ abuse or cheat on his bride the Church? No he doesn’t, men should love their wives in the same manner.
“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7 NASB
I see the above passage as very similar to the first one that I posted. Men must honor, love, and serve their wives. This isn’t rocket science and it shouldn’t be controversial. We live in a wicked age where virtues such as these are considered vices. Never the less we should be salt and light to this world and do them anyways.
“But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,” 1 Corinthians 7:32-33 NASB
Above we see that unmarried men have a directive as well. Your concern should be on the things of the Lord and how you may please him. Whether married or unmarried a mans focus is not himself. Your life is not for you or about you. Life is not some theme park where you move from one ride to the next. A mans mandate is to serve God and to serve his wife.
“Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1-2 NASB
“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2 NASB
Putting it simply, men are to treat each other with respect and teach each other as well in matters of the faith. That’s a good thing, let’s not leave that out.
“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8 NASB
Above we see that men have an obligation to provide for their families as well. When you’re unmarried and just getting started in life, it should be in a man’s mind that the reason he is pursuing a career is to provide for the family he doesn’t have yet. Somehow we have lost this idea in our culture altogether. Your single life is just the phase of life that you’re single and you live it for you. Then you get married and start concerning yourself with family.
I would submit that God’s vocation for men starts as a child obeying their parents, and continues into adulthood with the focus on either serving God or serving his wife and family. This is our responsibility that we answer to God for, a deliberate departure from this vocation is a sin.
What God expects of Women
The Bible has equally strong prescriptions for women as it does for men. Nobody gets off the hook.
“…The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:34 NASB
The command above is a mirror of the same verse the precedes it. An unmarried woman focuses herself on God, when she is married her focus is her husband. This is God’s command for her to do. I like this passage in 1 Corinthians as it demonstrates that there is a place for single people in the Church.
We often miss this because we think it is a failing on the part of the Church to provide a place for them. It is actually their place to serve God, and I guarantee you there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer your time in at any local Church. We just don’t think this way because in our fallen society narcissism is some kind of virtue, and our first focus is “what is the Church doing for me”?
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Titus 2:3-5 NASB
Just like how there are commands for how men are to teach and treat each other, the Bible also has mirroring commands for women. Notice there is a focus here for caring for children and tending to matters of the home. Are these teachings anti-feminist? Yes they are. Feminism and the Bible are not compatible, you can’t have both.
“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24 NASB
“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-6 NASB
The Church is the bride of Christ and is directed in scripture to submit to him. Notice that this same relationship is how submission between a man and wife is also defined. I know that it is tempting to twist this because this teaching is not popular today. But it says what it says.
This is as much a mandate on men as it is on women. Just as she is commanded to submit to her husband he is supposed to be leading her. Let’s put it this way, a man’s wife shouldn’t be the one dragging him to church.
The buck has to stop somewhere and God has placed that responsibility on men, we are held accountable to that just as a wife is called to submit to her husband. Not a popular thing to say these days. The secular world would actually consider what I am typing here to be immoral, which just goes to show how far apart a biblical and secular worldview are.
“”But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.” 1 Timothy 2:15
I’ve written an older post on just this passage above which you can find HERE. Basically the point I believe Paul is making is that bearing children is a good work and that it is something faithful women are commanded to do. It should be obvious that only women are physically capable of bearing children. If they don’t we are all gonna die.
The truth is we are all guilty in some fashion or another for failing to meet God’s standards. Men have failed and so have Women. The answer is to repent and be forgiven. Try harder next time, and when you fail know that there is forgiveness for you at the cross.
I would not recommend defining your gender roles by combining a worldly view with a biblical one as some have tried to do. It’s easier just to delete the worldly one from your brain and replace it with biblical teachings instead. As long as you try to carry both you will always be contradicting yourself.
Does God have a plan for your life? What are we supposed to do? The answer is to be a good father or mother. A good husband or wife. A good son or daughter. We are supposed to have and raise children, provide for our families, and love each other. These are biblical gender roles.