Gender and the Bible: How to Be ‘Fully Alive’ as a Man or Woman

By   •   July 7, 2014

Cove deck

In a culture that seems increasingly confused about what it means to be a man or a woman, Dr. Larry Crabb is offering a biblical perspective on the true meaning of masculinity and femininity. And it’s not about outward beauty, career choice or any other superficial benchmarks.

On Aug. 1-3, Crabb will teach a seminar at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove aimed at explaining how we can live fully—and freely—not just as human beings, but men and women created in the image of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

“What it means to be relationally masculine is to reveal something about how God relates that a woman cannot as fully reveal,” Crabb said. “And a woman reveals something about how God relates that a man cannot as fully reveal.”

The weekend event Fully Alive: The Bible’s Vision of Gender Uniqueness will take place on the peaceful, wooded grounds of The Cove in Asheville, N.C. Crabb will lead the teaching, with Shannon Wexelberg leading worship music.

“I don’t want people to get the impression this is an academic, classroom-style conference,” Crabb said. “It really isn’t. I think there’s something very transcendent about the topic. It has to do with getting a glimpse of who God is as a trinity.”

Larry Crabb
Dr. Larry Crabb

Crabb, a psychologist, husband and founder of NewWay Ministries in Denver, Colo., sees a lot of confusion in our culture when it comes to gender. Partly in response to that confusion, he wrote the book Fully Alive: A Biblical Vision of Gender That Frees Men and Women to Live Beyond Stereotypes, published last year.

According to Crabb, a biblical view of masculinity and femininity reveals that gender isn’t moldable and plastic, but something hard-wired into each of us—something that goes beyond our bodies to our very souls.

As Crabb studied passages like Genesis 1:26-27 (Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.” … So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them), he came to believe God made men and women different from one another in order to reflect the different parts of the trinity.

“I really want to say the obvious, that there’s no distinction in value, but there are great differences between males and females,” Crabb said. “A lot of reaction against the notion that men and women are different is understandable because a lot of the Christian teaching puts women in a somewhat inferior place, and I don’t think that has any basis.

“We all bear the image of God, and we equally bear His image as male and female.”

In studying the Hebrew words for male and female, Crabb believes husbands and wives are meant to bring out the best in one another in a way that is complementary, not competitive.

“I have a very different take on submission than I think a lot of people have,” said Crabb, who is celebrating his 48th wedding anniversary with his wife, Rachael, this year.

“It’s got nothing to do with shutting your mouth and doing what you’re told. There’s a relationally masculine way to relate that pours into a woman’s heart. And there’s a relationally feminine way to relate that invites a man to enjoy the beauty of a woman’s soul.”

While the seminar is open to all adults, Crabb says it will be particularly beneficial for married couples.

“I wouldn’t bill it as a marriage seminar, but it has a whole lot to do with how the two genders can get along.”

Spaces are still available for the event. The program fee includes seminar materials and onsite gourmet meals. There is also an opportunity to book overnight accommodations at one of The Cove’s two inns (with limited availability).

Crabb is hoping as many people as possible will come to worship and learn about God’s unique plan for both men and women.

“You don’t need to be a scholar,” Crabb said. “You’re looking to see what it means to become fully alive as a woman or a man in a way that brings you great joy and brings glory to God.”

Click here to register for the Aug. 1-3 seminar at The Cove.

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