Be Strong and Manly

July 1, 2011

Reading in Joshua 1 in the LXX today, I was reacquainted with a correlation in biblical Greek that I consider worth noting. Four times, Joshua is challenged with the same two imperatives (1:6a, 7a, 9b, 18d):

ἴσχυε καὶ ’ανδρίζου (“Be strong and quit thyself like a man”; 1:6a, 7a; “Be strong and courageous”; 1:9b, 18d; LXE)

In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul challenges believers with two imperatives (one is the same imperative used four times in Joshua 1, and the other expresses a similar idea to the other one in Joshua 1):

’ανδρίζεσθε, κραταιοῦσθε (“Quit you like men, be strong”; 16:13c, KJV)

Because Paul does not explain what he has in view with these commands, how should we understand what he intends? It would seem that the parallel nature of his statement with those in Joshua 1 indicates that we should understand 1 Corinthians 16:13c in terms of the explanation of the commands given in Joshua 1.

The Lord commanded Joshua to be strong and manly for the sake of his prospering in the vital calling of God for his life (1:6b, 7b). He also commanded him to be strong and manly because He would be with him wherever he would go (1:9d). Finally, the people of Israel whom Joshua would lead exhorted him as well to be strong and manly in view of their declaration that they would follow him as they had followed Moses (1:16-18c).

Based on the parallel between 1 Corinthians 16:13c and the statements in Joshua 1, we should understand that God commands His men to be strong and manly for the sake of our accomplishing His will for our lives, especially in our faithfully leading others (cf. Matt. 28:18-20a). Furthermore, we should be strong and manly because Jesus has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age (cf. Matt. 28:20b).

Let us be strong and manly, as God desires us to be.

Rajesh

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