The Gold Standard for Biblical Manhood: Striving for the Standard of Godliness and Holiness by God’s Grace
If you would like to listen to me preach this passage you can listen above. I preached this sermon May 6th, 2017 at the Men’s Retreat at Camp Pinewood in McCall, Idaho to the men of my local church. The theme of the Retreat was Becoming A Man of God in the local church.
As Christian men, we should all desire to grow in spiritual maturity and Christlikeness. We should all want to become what we are in Christ, putting aside patterns of sin and unrighteousness and replace them with patterns of holiness. Ultimately, we should want to become like Christ, to think how He thought and behave how he behaved. We should aspire to the highest standards of holiness and godliness by God’s grace. The Bible holds out one group of people who are to serve as models of Christian maturity, elders and also pastors and overseers.
Elders are qualified to the office primarily by their character. While the Bible provides only one skill, the ability to teach and one related to the amount of time a man has been a Christian, not a recent convert, all of the other qualifications are related to character. In this article, we are not emphasizing these character qualities to see if your life matches the qualifications for eldership. We are examining them for the purpose to see if our lives meet that high standard of godliness and holiness and where we need to grow in them.
Biblical scholar and theologian D.A. Carson once said that the list of qualifications for elders is “remarkable for being unremarkable.” Why is that? Because these traits are repeated elsewhere as qualities that ought to be present among all believers. Carson says, “The criteria mentioned are demanded of all Christians everywhere. Which is another way of saying, elders are first of all to be exemplars of the Christian graces that are presupposed as mandated on all Christians.” Every church is meant to be full of men and women who display these traits. This means that if you want to grow in holiness, one great place to begin is by knowing and imitating the character qualifications of elders. We start by considering the meaning of above reproach.
We start now with the qualification of “above reproach.” This is given in 1 Timothy 3:2, “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach”) and repeated twice in Titus 1:6-7, “If anyone is above reproach … For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach”. Whatever it means to be above reproach, it is not only for elders or church leaders. Colossians 1:22 teaches that the great hope and comfort of every Christian is that God himself will one day “present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Colossians 1:22). Every Christian is to be and to live above reproach.
What does it mean to be above reproach? What the ESV translates as “above reproach” is first a legal word that indicates a kind of innocence in the eyes of the law. It means that no one can legitimately rebuke you or make any charges against you that will stick. They may accuse, but your conduct will eventually acquit you by proving you blameless (“blameless” being a far more common translation than “above reproach”).
Your life is so consistent that your reputation is credible, you are an example worth following, and you do not make the gospel look fake by teaching one thing while doing another. Naturally, we want to know the law before which we must be found blameless and the standard we must uphold. Thus, being “above reproach” is expressed through those other qualities in 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1, and, by extension, 1 Peter 5. Being above reproach in your marriage means you are “the husband of one wife.” What we see is that this is a kind of summary attribute and that the blameless Christian is the one who upholds all of God’s revealed will. Being above reproach does not mean being perfect. But it does mean that, when we sin, we confess it and turn from it because our standard is perfection. The primary means through which you gain this characteristic is taking advantage of God’s means of grace—reading the Bible and deliberately applying it, praying privately and with your family, faithfully attending worship services on Sunday, participating in the sacraments, and so on. These are the very means through which God extends his sanctifying grace. You cannot expect to be or remain above reproach if you neglect them. Next, let’s consider the qualification of the husband of one wife.
Husband of One Wife
The issue here is a man who is solely and only and totally devoted to the woman who is his wife. This is a qualification Paul repeats in both 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6. The ESV translates it as “the husband of one wife,” a common rendering of the Greek which says, literally, “a one-woman man.” The first and foremost area in which an elder must be above reproach is in his marital and sexual life. … The phrase ‘the husband of one wife’ is meant to be a positive statement that expresses faithful, monogamous marriage. In English, we would say, ‘faithful and true to one woman’ or ‘a one-woman man.’”
Just as an elder is to be an example of sexual integrity, so the call goes out to all Christians to “abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). This is true whether the Christian is married or single, male or female. Paul commands the whole congregation in Corinth to “flee from sexual immorality” and warns “every other in a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Writing to the gathered church in Ephesus, Paul sets the standard so high as to demand, “Sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Ephesians 5:3). If you are “sexually immoral or impure,” he says, you have “no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:5). Writing again to an entire congregation, Paul calls such sexual immorality one of “the works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19).
The call to sexual purity is among the most prominent and repeated commands in the New Testament. As with all of these qualifications, we will not exemplify them perfectly so must always return to the good news of salvation. Paul also says that even though some in the congregation had been “sexually immoral” and therefore had no inheritance in the kingdom of God, he goes on to rejoice, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). He reminds them that their sexual sin is related to the old man and its evil ways, not the new man and its righteous ways.
Thus this qualification is a call to devotion—devotion first to God and then to a God-given spouse. It is a call away from adultery, but also from a wandering heart, wandering eyes, or wandering hands. It is a call on each one of us to be pure and chaste, to be exemplary in character and conduct whether in marriage or singleness. It is an appeal to the married to pursue and enjoy the sexual relationship with their spouse and a call for the unmarried to willingly submit their sexuality to the will and the care of their loving God.
Sober-Minded, Self-Controlled and Respectable
First Timothy 3:2 (which is paralleled in Titus 1:8) says that elders must be “sober-minded, self-controlled, [and] respectable.” Sober-minded is a word that relates primarily to the mind. The sober-minded man is clear-headed and watchful, free from excesses and wild fluctuations in thinking and ideas. This trait allows him to keep alert so he can protect himself and others from any kind of spiritual danger. He is not rash, but thoughtful.
Where “sober-minded” relates to the mind, self-controlled relates to decisions that lead to action. The self-controlled Christian elder is free from excesses and wild fluctuations in actions and behavior. He willingly submits his emotions and passions to the control of the Holy Spirit and, with his wisdom, makes wise, thoughtful judgments. He shows restraint and moderation in all areas of life. Those who are sober-minded and self-controlled are also respectable. They live orderly lives and are wise and prudent in their dealings so that others have respect for them, both of their character and their behavior. They know how to make wise decisions and live out the kind of practical wisdom described in the book of Proverbs. They are people for whom others have high esteem. When we put these traits together, we see an individual who has mastered his thinking and behavior, so he is now capable of making wise judgments. His own life is a showcase of such wisdom. Of course, God does not call only elders or prospective elders to be “sober-minded, self-controlled, and respectable”—He calls every Christian to pursue these traits.
Let’s start with sober-minded. In Romans 12:3, Paul writes, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Later, in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, he says, “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.”
When it comes to self-control, Solomon warns, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). Paul lists self-control as part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23) and warns that those without self-control fall prey to Satan’s temptations (1 Corinthians 7:5). He explicitly commands it of all believers in Titus 2:2-6. Every Christian must be characterized by self-control and self-discipline in every aspect of life, particularly in his physical desires (Acts 24:25; 1 Cor. 7:9; 9:25).
An undisciplined man has little resistance to sexual lust, anger, slothfulness, a critical spirit, or other base desires. He is easy prey for the devil. As for respectability, Peter says, “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Peter 3:15–16). Paul writes, “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7). The Bible is clear that while these traits must be exemplified in elders, they are to be present in all believers. The character of the elder describes the character we should all pursue and exhibit. Next, let’s consider hospitality.
Paul tells Timothy, “an overseer must be…hospitable” (1 Timothy 3:2) and echoes this in his letter to Titus in Titus 1:8. The Greek word for “hospitable” (philoxenon) indicates a love for strangers. In the day before the Holiday Inn, Christians were expected to extend hospitality to other traveling believers or itinerant preachers. They were to feed them and to provide them a place to sleep apart from dirty, dangerous, and unsavory inns. The word is naturally expanded to include other forms of hospitality. But at heart, it indicates a willingness to invite others into your home for a short or extended stay.
Why is there such emphasis on this trait? Hospitality is a tangible, outward display of godly character. An open home displays Christian love, but it also enables it. Hospitality creates opportunities for a relationship, for discipleship, and for evangelism. It creates a natural context for modeling marriage, parenting, and a host of Christian virtues. While we are to teach others what the Bible says, we are also to demonstrate what it says, and we do that by inviting people into our homes and our lives.
This applies to all Christians. While the Old Testament law places great emphasis on caring for and protecting the sojourner, this care for strangers is made even more explicit in the New Testament. Peter writes to all Christians when he says “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9) and Paul tells the whole congregation in Rome that they must “Seek to show hospitality” (Romans 12:13). The author of Hebrews says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). Paul instructed Timothy to extend the church’s benevolence to a widow if she “has shown hospitality” (1 Timothy 5:9–10). Jesus taught that we would be judged by our hospitality, for when we love and welcome others we, in fact, love and welcome him (Matthew 25:35–40). Hardly anything is more characteristic of Christian love than hospitality.
Sober, Gentle, and Peacemaking
Paul writes to Timothy, “Therefore an overseer must [be] not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome” (1 Timothy 3:2–3). Similarly, he tells Titus that an overseer “must not be arrogant or quick-tempered … or violent” (Titus 1:7). The positive characteristic here is gentleness, and it is opposed by the two negative aspects of violence and quarreling. Every mature Christian man should pursue gentleness and flee from violence and bickering.
To be gentle is to be tender, humble, and fair, to know what posture and response are fitting for any occasion. It indicates a graciousness, a desire to extend mercy to others, and a desire to yield to both the will of God and the preferences of other people. Such gentleness will be expressed first in the home and only subsequently in the church. It is a rare trait, but one we know and love when we see and experience it.
To pursue gentleness is to imitate Jesus. John Piper writes, “This [gentleness] is the opposite of pugnacious or belligerent. He should not be harsh or mean-spirited. He should be inclined to tenderness and resort to toughness only when the circumstances commend this form of love. His words should not be acid or divisive but helpful and encouraging.” Christian men, then, must be gentle, able to control his temper and his response to others when he is attacked, maligned, and finds himself in tense or stressful situations. He is marked at all times by patience, tenderness, and a sweet spirit. Negatively, he must not lose control either physically or verbally. He must not respond to others with physical force or threats of violence.
When it comes to his words, he must not quarrel or bicker or be one who loves to argue. Even when pushed and exasperated he will not lash out with his words, he will not crush a bruised reed or snuff out a faintly burning wick. I am sure you realize that God calls all Christians—not just elders—to be gentle. Elders must serve as examples of gentleness, but each one of us as Christian men must display this trait if we are to imitate our Savior.
There are many texts we can turn to, including this one which tells us that gentleness is a necessary fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Shortly thereafter Paul says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1).
He urges the Christians in Ephesus to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” and says that this involves living “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). When speaking of the congregation under Titus’ care he says, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1–2). The evidence is clear: We are to be gentle so we can serve as a display of the one who deals so gently with us.
Paul tells Timothy, “An overseer must…not [be] a drunkard (1 Timothy 3:2–3). Again, he tells Titus, elders must “not [be] open to the charge of debauchery,” and they must not be “a drunkard” (Titus 1:5–7). As we have seen for each one of these qualifiers, God requires all Christians—not just elders—to pursue the same standards. Paul tells the church at Corinth that they must not associate or eat with “anyone who bears the name of brother” and who is a “drunkard” (1 Corinthians 5:11). Why? Because drunkards (among others) “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10). Again, Paul says, “those who do such things (like getting drunk) will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21).
Elsewhere, he commands, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Peter agrees: “The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do (which includes getting drunk)” (1 Peter 4:3). The Proverbs also warn against drunkenness numerous times and in various ways. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat” (Proverbs 23:20).
Consider also this passage in Proverbs 23:29-35, “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end, it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.” Deacons are held to the following standard: “Deacons likewise must…not [be] addicted to much wine” (1 Timothy 3:8). The Bible makes it crystal clear—God’s people are to be enslaved only to Jesus Christ. They are to resist any competitors, chief among them alcohol.
Lovers of Money
Paul tells Timothy, “An overseer must … not [be] a lover of money” (1 Timothy 3:3). Likewise, he tells Titus, “an overseer … must not be … greedy for gain” (Titus 1:7). Finally, Peter writes exiled elders, “Shepherd the flock of God … not for shameful gain, but eagerly” (1 Peter 5:2). Clearly, the biblical authors understand that the way we use our money displays something very important about our relationship with God. They understand as well that there will always be people who pursue ministry for the purpose of personal enrichment. The man should be free from both the love of money and the love of the lavish lifestyle that money can buy. He displays his freedom from the love of money through his generosity. It is crucial to the well-being of the church that its leaders are joyfully controlled by the Word of God rather than the desire for wealth. And, indeed, we regularly see men fall into scandal for that very reason. Jesus warned “You cannot serve both God and [money]” for every person can have only one master (Matthew 6:24). It is crucial to the well-being of the church that its leaders are joyfully controlled by the Word of God rather than the desire for wealth.
How about Christians that are not elders? Not surprisingly, God requires the very same standard. Jesus warned, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).
Later in his letter to Timothy, Paul warns about the power of money: “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:7–10). One of the major themes of the Bible’s wisdom literature is the danger of idolizing money and wealth.
It would be a great mistake, however, to think that God only has negative things to say about money. Rather, he tells us that money is a great gift that we can faithfully steward for the most significant purposes. “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce,” says Solomon (Proverbs 3:9). “The people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD” (1 Chronicles 29:9).
Paul taught the enduring value of generosity when he wrote the church in Corinth: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Any problem with money is not the fault of the money itself but with the sneaky, sinful human heart. It is the Christian’s duty and delight to hold loosely to wealth and to give generously to the Lord’s work.
Leaders in the Home
We read in 1 Timothy 3:4–5, “[An elder] must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” Paul likewise tells Titus that elders should have “children [who] are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination” (Titus 1:5–6).
So, what does that mean and why is it so important? Quite simply, it means that a man’s leadership within the home proves his ability to lead within the church. Conversely, an inability to lead within the home proves an inability to lead within the church. In this way, the home rather than the office or classroom is the testing and proving ground of a man’s leadership ability. But what, then, does it mean for a man to manage his household well?
John Piper offers an illuminating alternate translation of the Greek: “leader of a well-ordered household.” He explains, “He should have submissive children. This does not mean perfect, but it does mean well-disciplined so that they do not blatantly and regularly disregard the instructions of their parents. The children should revere the father. He should be a loving and responsible spiritual leader in the home.”
Again, if a man cannot tenderly lead and sacrificially love his own family, he must not be given the privilege and responsibility of leadership in the church. If he cannot excel at the one, he will not excel at the other.
And what about the big question of what it means for children to be believers? This is a tricky text that has been the subject of much discussion, but I find myself in substantial agreement with Justin Taylor’s skillful handling of the passage. He points out that the word translated as “believers,” as in “children [who] are believers,” can also be translated as “faithful.” This translation allows the text to nicely complement 1 Timothy 3:4 with its emphasis on control, obedience, and submission. He concludes, “What must not characterize the children of an elder is immorality and undisciplined rebelliousness if the children are still at home and under his authority.”
Now, what about Christian parents who are not elders? How do we honor the text even as we widen its application? Well, these people, too, must exhibit skill and godliness in their family relationships. They, too, must seek to be exemplary. Fathers must lovingly lead and teach their children, exercising patient, kind authority over them. Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4; also Genesis 18:19; Psalm 78:4; 2 Timothy 3:15).
In the Shema, God through Moses tells the Israelites, both men, and women, “these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:6–7; see also Deuteronomy 4:9; 11:19). Similarly, the Proverbs repeatedly portray the importance of disciplining your children. “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” (Proverbs 13:24; see also Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13–14; 29:15, 17). A host of narrative passages displays the danger of neglecting such care and discipline. The author of Hebrews likewise emphasizes the importance of disciplining your children as an expression of your love for them. He asks, “What son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Hebrews 10:7). Indeed, God “disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (verse 10; Hebrews 10:3–11 for the context). From beginning to end the Bible places upon every parent the responsibility to teach and train children and in that way to exercise kind, caring, loving oversight of them.
Mature and Humble
Paul tells Timothy, “[An elder] must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6). This is a call to spiritual maturity, and we learn that elders must be mature for at least two reasons: Because maturity is accompanied by humility and because immaturity is accompanied with the vices of pride and condemnation. Thus we must give positions of responsibility only to those who are spiritually mature. If the elders are humble, the people will be humble, avoiding much contention. All Christians begin life in Christ as babies and grow to maturity.
This call to maturity is given throughout God’s Word, not only for leaders but for all Christians. What elders are to model, all Christians are to possess. The author of the letter to the Hebrews says, “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14) and calls on this congregation to “leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity…” (Hebrews 6:1). Paul says that God gives the church pastors and teachers “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:12-13).
He commends Epaphras for “always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:2). God expects that his children will grow in maturity and that this will, in turn, lead to humility.
Therefore, in a sense, this topic of maturity and humility gets to the heart of this entire message. Christian leaders—and all Christians—are to strive to become more like Christ—they are to grow in spiritual maturity. As they grow in maturity, they will necessarily grow in humility. Augustine said that the Christian life is humility, humility, and humility. Next, we consider what it means for elders and all Christians to be respected by outsiders.
Respected By Outsiders
Yes, even a man’s standing before the world counts as we evaluate his suitability for leadership. Paul instructs Timothy, “Moreover, [an elder] must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:7). Paul has already said that an elder “must be above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2), so being respected by outsiders zeroes in on one specific group: those who are outside the church.
Every Christian man is to pursue the respect of outsiders. For instance, Paul writes, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5–6). Again, he states, “We urge you, brothers … to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:10–12).
Christians will “shine as lights in the world” when they live “without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation” (Philippians 2:15). Similarly, Peter commands, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. … For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:12, 15; see also 1 Peter 3:13–17). What is to be modeled by the church’s leaders is to be obvious in every life. You, too, bear the responsibility to live an unblemished life before the world.
The standard for an elder are one’s that every Christian are to strive for. If you are an elder or a pastor here, you have a high standard for your life and conduct. Your doctrine, life, and testimony set an example for Christians. With that said if you are a Christian and not a church or ministry leader, you have high standards.
The qualifications for an elder that I’ve laid out in this message are for every Christian man. You might be feeling very inadequate right about now, and that’s the point. We cannot do this on our own in our own power. This is why we daily need to be growing in our understanding of the gospel. This is why we daily need to be feasting in the Word of God. You and I have a great need of Christ and a great Christ for our need.
On our own power and strength, we will never meet the gold standard for the Christian life. With God’s help and a heap of His grace, we can meet these standards. Wherever you are at today, I urge you to grow. Don’t just sit by idly and say well I don’t care. That’s not the point. We need quality and godly men of God to step up and lead themselves, lead their families, lead in this church, and in our community. So wherever you are at today begin your pursuit of these traits. And recognize even if you are a church or ministry leader today there is grace to begin again. Every day is a new day.
These standard are high, and the stakes are great but the grace of God rises to meet these standards. If you are struggling in one of these areas, repent and begin again. Seek help and be in accountable relationships. What we have considered in this article is the gold standard for biblical manhood, the calling that we should all aspire to.
I know in my own life I’m working on being gentler and on my finances. For you, you might be working on another area. We all have a great need of God’s grace and power. Look to Jesus wherever you are at today—He is all you need. He is yours, and you are His if you are indeed His child. Now let’s commit you and me to this gold standard we’ve looked at today, to the standard of biblical manhood and strive by God’s grace towards it.