Church,  Culture

A Biblical View of Gender and Why it Matters

LGBT and gender issues continue to be on the cultural forefront. Each day the headlines bring us arguments for gender-neutral bathrooms, news about transgender athletes, or a doctor who loses his job because he holds to a biblical view of gender. The biblical view of gender is antiquated according to some, labeled as outdated, non-essential, and a relic of a bygone patriarchal era.

Photo of gender gap to remind reader of biblical view of gender

In a secular worldview, gender has no value and the differences must be minimized. Despite obvious physical differences between men and women, these distinctions are minimized or ignored. According to the secular worldview, if someone wants to behave with masculine or feminine gender characteristics that is their choice. For many today, gender is a social construct and not related to anything inherent in either sex.

Sadly, many churches are embracing a secular worldview and rejecting the biblical view of gender. It is rather common for Christians to argue that a biblical view of gender includes celebrating God creating a diversity of gender non-conforming individuals.

Clearly, this issue is pressing and will continue to confront every church and every Christian. I would like to suggest that this issue is quite important then, and there are many reasons we would do well to think through it carefully.

With that in mind, here are three reasons having a biblical view of gender is important.

1. A Biblical View of Gender Facilitates a Correct View of the Triune God

All of humanity (both male and female) is created in God’s image (Gen 1:27). As such, the interrelationship of man and woman working together in the distinct roles of male and female is an important display of the Triune God. Without a proper understanding of the roles of men and women, one is limited in his understanding of the complexity of God’s character (cf. 1 Cor 11:3).

2. A Biblical View of Gender Leads to Correct Family Functionality

A biblical view of gender recognizes God created men and women with specific roles within the family (e.g., Eph 5:22-33; Titus 2:4-5). Unless these roles are biblically discerned, the family will not function in its best capacity. The family is important to society and the church. If the family does not function the way God designed it, there are inescapable (and disastrous!) consequences. Many of these consequences are apparent all around us today with the prisons being filled with young boys who grew up without a father.

3. A Biblical View of Gender Leads to Correct Church Functionality

Like the family, the way the church functions is important to God. If there is a biblical view of gender, then the church is also affected by the presence or absence of these defined roles. The presence of strong male leadership (1 Tim 3:1ff) and the quiet submission of women (1 Tim 2:12) are all important to God. The church is the special object of God’s love (cf. Eph 5:25), and since the way the church runs is important to God and described in adequate detail in the Scripture, it must be important to His people. One of the consequences of gender confusion in churches is a high amount of immature and stagnant churches. Only when churches operate as God designed them can they function optimally. A church that follows the biblical view of gender helps facilitate the growth of believers and functions as a light to the watching world, showing God’s masterful design in creation.

photo credit: bug_g_membracid via photopin cc

Peter serves at Shepherd's Theological Seminary in Cary, NC as the professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages. He loves studying the Bible and helping others understand it. He also runs the Bible Sojourner podcast.

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