“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #199
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity” (1 Cor. 16:13–14).
Nearing the end of this epistle, Paul gives a small burst of ethical exhortations. This cluster presents an interesting juxtaposition. The first set in v. 13 is quite martial, and then in v. 14 the “battlefield” consists of doing everything in love. One of the things that armed forces do is post sentries. The first exhortation says to “stay awake, be alert, be watchful.” The second says that we are to defend our position, which we do by standing firmly in the faith. The third is an interesting stand-alone verb andrizomai, which literally means to “play the man,” The fourth says that we are to be strong, powerful. So then, what we are told to do here is to be alert, to stand courageously, to be masculine and strong.
Where then do we take this? Paul says that we are to do everything in love. We can learn something about the nature of love from this. To be loving, in the sense that Paul is describing here, is something that requires alertness, a steadfastness, masculine courage, and strength. Apparently love must mean something more than sappy emotionalism.
A brief word about whether this kind of exhortation includes the women. Of course it does, but not in the spirit of “equal time” sensitivities. Among God’s people the women are included covenantally. Just a few verses down, Paul says that Aquila and Priscilla send their salutation, along with the church that meets in their house. Women are clearly included in all of this, but this does not prevent Paul from using the terminology “brethren.” He beseeches the brethren (v. 15), and all the brethren with him send their regards to Corinth (v. 20). This should provide us with all the guidance necessary on our use of words like “man,” or the use of generic masculine pronouns. We shouldn’t feel a need to do something that Scripture doesn’t feel a need to do.
But many Christian men today think that we really ought to be more sensitive, and that we really ought to strive to be more inclusive. Why is this? It is actually because they are refusing to be inclusive in the way that Scripture requires. They are refusing to play the man—because whenever men play the man, they always include the women.