Mention the words “biblical gender roles” will quickly get you into one of the most controversial topics in the Church today. God created men and women in His image—equal in dignity and value but complementary in their respective God-given roles. These roles aren’t for ages gone by but integral to God’s timeless, good design for humanity. Designed For Joy: How the Gospel Impacts Men and Women, Identity and Practice was written by fourteen young leaders in order to cast a vision for biblical manhood and womanhood for the 21st century. The vision set forth here in this book touches on what it means to be and act like a man, biblical masculinity, holistic provision, femininity, a woman’s nurture, submission, being Godward, discipline, training kids, singleness, purity, feminism, and the relationship between the gospel and manhood.
I lead one of the men’s Bible study every Wed at my local church, monthly write a column in my local church’s monthly newsletter, and have spoken several times to the men at my church. In all this speaking and writing, one thing I like to focus on is what this book does so well—namely that the gospel provides the foundation for biblical manhood and womanhood. Men are to lead in the home because God has established such leadership in His Word. While men and women are equal in dignity and value, they have distinct roles that God has established for each of them. This is what Designed For Joy does so well with a variety of men and women writing on issues that affect the totality of both sexes as they live before the face of God.
I especially appreciated chapters one, two, eleven, and thirteen. In these chapters, the authors help men to understand their God-given role to lead their families according to the standard that God has given to us in His Word. Fighting for purity is not a passive battle it’s an active battle fought by His grace with the tools prescribed in His Word. Christians can be victorious in matters related to purity because they have received a new nature, and been given new affections, and desires for King Jesus. Immature manhood exists because rather than confessing their sin, many men excuse, marginalize, or justify their sin.
The gospel as the authors rightly note addresses men’s and women’s issues. God has not been silent on this issue. He has spoken clearly, and loudly to His image bearers through His Word. This is what this book does so well, the writers write plainly, succinctly but powerfully on what the Bible teaches about biblical gender roles.
Designed for Joy is an excellent book that will help readers to understand that men and women are equal in dignity and value, and how they have different God-given roles that are designed for their good and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I highly recommend this helpful introduction to this issue and believe it will serve to strengthen the Church, help raise up new voices on this issue, all for the spread of the fame of God among the nations, and the joy of all people’s.