The Purpose of a Man

An acrostic on the purpose of a man, based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

By Mark D. Harris

It is Easter weekend, 2017, a time to celebrate the most important event in human history; the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We also consider how the work of Jesus impacts our daily lives. Many of the “powerful” in America in 2017 dislike much of what the Lord taught, and detest who He claimed to be. American Christians, therefore find the Bible at odds with prevailing attitudes in the media, business, government, and entertainment. It can be hard to know what to do, and harder to find strength in tough times. One friend has been unemployed for over a year; another for four months. One is strongly considering leaving his wife. A teenager struggles with what it actually means to be a man, and a recent college graduate faces a wonderful but fearsome task, becoming a husband.  Directly using the word of God, I have described part of what it means to be a man.

The Purpose of a Maninformed by Scripture and themed by the Westminster Shorter Catechism  

Grow in wisdom and favor with God, and with men who know and love Him (Luke 2:52).

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Matthew 22:37-40).

Obey the Word of God, meditating on it day and night, and being careful to do according to all that is written in it, for then you will be prosperous and have success (Joshua 1:8).

Regard one another as more important than yourself (Philippians 2:3).

Imitate Christ, and imitate those Christians who are themselves imitating Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Forsake not the assembling of yourselves with the Church, and with smaller groups of accountable male friends (Hebrews 10:25).

Yield to the Lord, and to those people that He has put in authority over you (Romans 13:1-4, Hebrews 13:17).


Give generously and cheerfully to those who ask of you (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Offer your body as a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God, and do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-2).

Determine to live a quiet life, mind your business, and work with your hands (1 Thessalonians 4:11).


Always keep the Sabbath Day holy (Exodus 20:8-11).

Never allow your heart to be troubled (John 14:1).

Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).


Examine the Scriptures daily to see whether what others say is correct, that you may be approved by God for rightly dividing the word of truth (Acts 17:11, 2 Timothy 2:15).

Never lose faith, and never give up (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

Join with the great cloud of witnesses, past and present, in encouraging and supporting all Christians who are running the race of life. Then eliminating every weight and sin which so easily entangles you, and run with endurance the race that is set before you, fixing your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Overcome yourself, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. Lose your life for His sake, and then find it in Him (Mark 8:34-35).

Yearn for His kingdom and His righteousness, and everything else will be added to you (Matthew 6:33). Delight yourself in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).


Honor your father and your mother (Exodus 20:12).

Incline your heart towards your wife, your children, and the rest of your family, teaching them the ways of the Lord (Malachi 4:6, Deuteronomy 6:6-9). Children are a blessing from the Lord, like arrows in an archer’s quiver (Psalms 127:3-5).

Meet the material needs of your family and those that God has entrusted to you (1 Timothy 5:8).


Flee the evil desires and the lusts of youth (2 Timothy 2:22).

Order your life to love, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things, and rejoicing in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6-7)

Rejoice in the wife of your youth, let her breasts satisfy you at all times, and be exhilarated always with her love (Proverbs 5:18-19). Love your wife as Christ loves the Church, and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).

Exhibit the fruits of the Spirit, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Vex yourself about nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6-7).

Exert yourself to make disciples in all nations, teaching them to observe all that Jesus has commanded (Matthew 28:19).

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophetic utterances, examine everything carefully, hold fast to what is good, and abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22).

As we glorify God and enjoy Him forever, Christian men will know how to live, and discover the power to do so.


Tens of thousands of men who rarely attend church will be in the seats of the sanctuary at Eastertime. They will be performing a duty, seeking truth, or trying to appease a nagging parent or spouse. Whether they realize it or not, they will also be seeking answers for the tough questions of life, and strength to sustain them day by day. The Bible tells us what it means to be a man, and the Holy Spirit of God gives us the power to do it.


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