5. bold and brave image-bearers

Men are designed to be IMAGE-BEARERS.

The final aspect of masculinity is seen in the fact that men are the glory of God.  “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26)  Here we come full circle.  To be made in God’s image is to be a dominioneer or lord like him over the earth.

As an image-bearer we are representative of God, responsible to God, and reflect God to the world around us, namely our closes relationships.  “For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.” (1 Cor. 11:7; cf. v.3; Eph. 5:23-24)

What is the significance of a man leaving his head uncovered before God represent?  Just as the woman covers her head to respect man, the man uncovers his head to show there is nothing between him and God.  Man uncovered respects God position and authority.  An uncovered head is a symbolic gesture that takes the hat or crown from man’s head and honoring the hat or crown upon the King of kings.

It is the image of God that man bears and no other.

Us men are prone to bear many images.  We sport jersey with our favorite team, we wear polo’s with our company name, we represent our roles as parents or grandparents with special t-shirts.  Yet the most important image we bear is God’s.  It’s an image you can’t wear.  It’s what you are.  You are a walking, talking billboard of God’s glory.

Putting this all together, we should have a good idea of where we are going or where we are to go.  Throughout the remainder of Genesis we see Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph struggling to adhere and apply these aspects.  Men are lords—lovingly conquering and subduing, husbandmen—patient and hardworking, saviors—hating and fighting evil, sages—learning from the wise, and image-bearers—worship with our heads uncovered.  Together those aspects show us what biblical masculinity looks like.  I want to look like that.  You too must want to look like that.  With God’s power we can.


  • How does man reflect the image of God and woman the image of man? 
  • What does it mean for a man to worship God with his head uncovered, but for a woman to worship God with her head covered? 

REVIEW: 5 Aspects of Biblical Masculinity

  1. lords of the earth
  2. tillers tending the earth
  3. saviors delivering from evil
  4. sages seeking wisdom
  5. bold and brave image-bearers

2. tillers tending to the earth

Men are fitted as HUSBANDMEN, tilling the earth.

Where does the term husbandmen come from?  It is a farming term.  It is one who tills the land.  A husbandman gets his hands dirty and works the earth to make something of it. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15)

Man was created, not only to conquer new worlds, but to make those worlds grow and flourish.  If being a man stopped at being lords and dominioneers we would simply be pirates or marauders.  But God called us also to settle the earth—to settle gardens, families, and towns—to tend and keep it.

One of my favorite things to do is to putter in the yard.  It’s almost therapeutic.  I love to make my yard look beautiful.  I like to make my plants grow strong and healthy.  I haven’t been so successful yet in the southern Sahara desert, but give me a few years and I will.

Some of the best gardeners are men.  It’s in a mans blood to till and cultivate; to work hard.

Cain is identified as the first farmer (Genesis 4:2). A tiller or farmers is closely associated with God in Scripture, since it is God who works closely with him in producing the crops.  So it is with domain God gives you.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mk. 4:26-29) And, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  (Mt. 9:37-38)

Jesus teaches us that God produces the success. Us men are simply called to work the field–to keep it and to tend it.


  • How is a farmer or tiller a fitting example of biblical masculinity?  
  • What are characteristics of a good husbandman, farmer or gardener? (patient, careful, hard-working; trust God for results) 
  • What terrains or domains does God place men to till? 
  • What does that tilling look like from day to day or season to season?

REVIEW: 5 Aspects of Biblical Masculinity

  1. lords of the earth
  2. tillers tending the earth
  3. saviors delivering from evil
  4. sages seeking wisdom
  5. bold and brave image-bearers


1. lords of the earth

Before taking a road trip it is a good idea to know where you are going.  Have you ever just got in a car and thought, “I don’t need to plan, I think I know the way”?  That is not a good idea in Chad.

I have a friend who drove a bus or semi through the Sahara desert from Sudan to Libya.  He worked with a team of chauffeurs who knew the sand covered road well.  They’d pack double the amount of food, fuel, and spare parts they thought they’d need.  They knew the route well.  They even buried barrels of water every 50 kilometers along the route in case of future emergencies.  One trip he saw an abandoned bus that had broken down.  It wasn’t broken down long, but in the desert you may not see another vehicle on the road for weeks.  What he saw shocked him.  There were 80 people dead.  The little food they had was scattered about, but they got so thirsty they drank the diesel fuel.  They were desperate.  What they thought would prolong their life only shortened it.

I have been lost in the bush once at night.  It was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life.  My trust was in a bush taxi driver and his knowledge of the bush roads, which are almost like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.  Thankfully I am here to tell you about the adventure!

Sometimes life as a man can feel a lot like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.  Yet it is a good idea to know where we are going.  It’s not wise to think,  “I don’t need a plan. I think I know the way.”   What men end up doing is drinking the diesel fuel of their cultures definition of a man and dying a quick death.  God doesn’t want you to be dead, but alive.  Let’s be sure we know God’s idea of manhood and masculinity.

We will look at Five Aspects of Biblical Masculinity from the beginning chapters of Genesis.  While this isn’t an exhaustive list it is a basis for understanding God’s idea where a man should be going.  When these are neglected or resisted the consequences for you, your marriage, and you family are very harmful. Today we will explore the one aspect and the next 2-weeks we’ll discover the other four.

Men are created to exercise LORDSHIP over the earth.

Man was created to exercise dominion in the earth (Gen. 1:26-28).

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth

These verses describe WHO created us, WHY we were created, HOW we were created, and WHAT we were created for.  God created the world but He mandated that men be the dominioneers over the world that God created.  That doesn’t mean we are the lords and everyone or everything else is the serf or peasant.  That is domineering, God’s idea is dominioneering.

Did you have a fort or tree fort as a boy?  My first fort was in a willow tree.  It was low to the ground but well hidden.  There is something within every boy and man to want to conquer and subdue.  As a boy the terrain might begin in the backyard, but as a man that terrain expands to endless places.

In Genesis, the domain starts in the garden with man.  Adam is set there to take care of the garden, name the animals and walk with God.  The domains gradually expand to a woman, children, family, field (work), nation, and heart. The amount of domains to care for can be complicated for most men. For many Western men the Lazy-Boy and office are their easiest domains, while they struggle to have lordship over the other domains.

I see the abuse and neglect of the lordship mandate at its extremes everyday in Africa.  Many African men can be passive, distant, self-righteous, abusers, and womanizers.  Women in Africa have a very hard life.  They carry the wood, cut the wood, carry the water miles from the well to their home, till the hard earth, care for their children while their husbands are gone for weeks and months at a time.  All the while the majority of the men do as little work as possible.  The same man will complain to me that their life is very hard and they have no money.

Men were made for more than this.  God-hardwired within men is a desire to conquer and subdue.  Yet countless men abuse it or neglect that desire.  Some will say that man’s responsibility to exercise dominion ended with the Fall, but that is not true since God repeats the mandate again after the flood (Gen. 9:1-3).  While sin seriously affects our ability to fulfill this command, it doesn’t remove the responsibility placed on you by the command.

Jesus repeats the mandate himself when he said in Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth (his domains) has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (your domain), baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Men, your mandate is to conquer and subdue the world, the office, the home, your marriage for Jesus name.  You are lords of the earth following the Lord of the earth.  As you let him be Lord of your life, you will be a better lord over your domains.


  • How do see men abusing or neglecting the mandate to be lords over the earth? 
  • Where are the most difficult terrains for men to gain lordship and why? 
  • What do you learn from God about the right way to exercise lordship or dominion?  
  • How is a Christian man even more responsible to be a lord of the earth? 
  • What would you share with the African man I meet?