Similar to femininity, masculinity has been understood in different ways in different cultures. Masculinity ranges from dominating authoritarianism to repression of any forceful, active trait. One caricature seeks to create a dependent non-gendered identity, eschewing any traditionally male trait. The other caricature swings to the other extreme, where it accentuates one male trait at the expense of another, ranging from vain metrosexuals and musky lumbersexuals to assertive, alpha, testosterone-fueled meatheads and shiny, ostentatious ubersexuals. Once again, God, in the Bible, uses the motif of the male and its permutations of father, son, brother, and husband to portray Himself in relation to His people.
It is emphatically clear in Scripture that males are not to dominate over and abuse females in any way (and vice versa). There are many who twist the tenets of Scripture to support a misogynistic chauvinism and an exaggerated sense of machismo, or masculine pride. A subsection in Ephesians 5 starts with verse 21, where husbands and wives are to submit to each other. This is one of the foundations for romantic relationships: mutual submission. In verse 22, wives are instructed to submit to their husbands. The connotation for submission here is mutual respect, deference, and a yielding. It is clear that husbands are to be the heads of households, just as Christ is the head of the church (v. 23). Husbands are instructed to lead their families through love, and not just any love, but to model love the way that Christ loves the church (v. 25) and as men love themselves, for their spouses are in fact a part of themselves (v. 28). So, clearly the love of Christ is the masculine model that should be followed.
Psalm 103:8–14 portrays the tenderness of God the Father. Verses 8–10 mention both His anger and His mercy. The psalmist then uses the vertical distance between heaven and earth and the horizontal distance between east and west to describe the role of God’s mercy in removing our sins. It climaxes with the imagery of a father having pity upon his children in knowing their weaknesses and their origins (vv. 13, 14). More than merely strength of body, there is also strength of character and love are embodied in biblical manliness.
The providence and tender care of God the Father is highlighted in both the Old and New Testaments. This is done by Moses (Deut. 32:6), David (1 Chron. 29:10), Isaiah (Isa. 63:16; 64:8), Malachi (Mal. 2:10), and even God Himself (2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 89:26; Jer. 3:19). Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, uses the title “heavenly Father” or “Father in heaven” multiple times (Matt. 5:16, 45, 48; 6:1, 7–11, 26, 32; 7:21), and on many other occasions. In fact, Jesus always addresses God as “Father (see, for example, John 17). The only “exception” is His quotation of Psalm 22:1 while on the cross. Paul also describes God as “Father” in Hebrews 12:7–10 where God deals with His children through discipline and correction that they might partake of His holiness. Isaiah 40:11 points to God’s gentleness and tenderness with providence and strength. Paul uses the motif of masculinity in 1 Corinthians 16:13, where he writes, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (16:13). The Greek root of the phrase “be brave” is andrizomai, which means to be brave like a man. The character traits of bravery, faithfulness, strength, and steadfastness are intertwined with the male gender.