“Where Does Scripture Say That Men Should be Strong and Women Should be Soft?”

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Re: God’s order for the “strong, leader” capabilities of men, and the “soft, nurturing” capabilities of women.

Chapter and verse, please, where is this laid out in scripture?

In the Bible we seem to have a wide mix of all characteristics in both genders, and no specific statement that “strong” characteristics belong only to men, and “soft” only to women.

Hi ________,

Thanks for your letter.

Re: God’s order for the “strong, leader” capabilities of men, and the “soft, nurturing” capabilities of women. Chapter and verse, please, where is this laid out in scripture?

Well, I was thinking of Joshua 1:6-9, where Joshua is exhorted three times to be strong. And I was thinking of the role of the helpmate in Genesis 2, where Eve was created to respond and complement Adam, and a wife’s responsibility is further spelled out in the New Testament to submit to and respect her husband. Are there “chapter and verse” delineations where the observations about men and women are laid out? No, I don’t think so. We can’t point to specific chapters and verses for many of the things we believe (there is no specific verse, for instance, that says “abortion is sin” or “do not go into pornographic chat rooms”), but I do think we can draw conclusions based on our observations of life that correspond with what we DO know in scripture.

In the Bible we seem to have a wide mix of all characteristics in both genders, and no specific statement that “strong” characteristics belong only to men, and “soft” only to women.

I agree, we do have a wide mix of all characteristics in both genders, and I see problems that arise when men and women go against the way we were created to be. For instance, when men become passive, weak responders (Adam, Ahab) and when women become harsh controllers (Jezebel, Michal, Rebekah).

I would agree with you that strength is not a male-only characteristic, for we see many examples of strong, godly women in scripture. But that doesn’t cancel out God’s call for men to be strong. (For instance, the qualifications of elder and deacon in the pastoral epistles.)

However, the concept of a “soft man” seems to call up unfortunate, unflattering images of milque-toast characters. Who wants a man to be spineless and too-easily influenced or intimidated? I don’t see any place in scripture where wimps are held up as role models. **BUT**–there is a huge difference between a “soft man,” and a “gentle man,” or a “sensitive man.” The Lord Jesus was hardly a soft man, but He was certainly gentle and sensitive, while at the same time charismatically attractive to the most masculine types of men.

I hope this has communicated my heart better than my article apparently did.

In His grip,

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries

Sue Bohlin

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 40 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Engage Blog. In addition to being a professional calligrapher, she is the wife of Probe's Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.

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