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The masculine virtues of conviction, humility, wisdom, and all the others are incomplete without this final manly virtue: love.

You can’t be a biblically masculine man without possessing and displaying love. Endurance and fortitude are crucial, but love is the missing link that makes a man whole.

The transforming power of love is the glue that holds everything together and tempers the other virtues. 

Without it, even the best qualities can become corrosive. Paul understood that wisdom, fortitude, and conviction can quickly curdle into militancy, hardness, and arrogance if not tempered by love. Unchecked, these virtues can debilitate our humanity.

But love is the counterweight that prevents these strong traits from becoming divisive. It forces humility into strength, injects compassion into conviction, and radiates warmth into maturity.

With love, we grow strong, yet kind; steadfast, yet gracious. In its absence, correct doctrine can degenerate into obstinate certainty, while right living calcifies into self-righteousness. Love is the shield that guards against becoming cold and hard.

Unfortunately, many people would not put love on their list of manly virtues because they have a skewed worldly concept of love. In the modern world, love is soft and weak. It is the tolerance of all viewpoints, values, ideas, behaviors, and lifestyles except biblically true love and any ideas that challenge the world’s view of love. 

To the world, love is only ever acceptance and empathy. It is always gentle and never firm, always quiet and never assertive. It is an insincere sentimental kindness that seeks the temporal comfort of others rather than their genuine good. 

The ultimate goal of worldly love is to essentially validate and satisfy every desire of unrepentant sinners.

That is far from biblical love and far from the kind of love that God calls men of faith to embrace.

In fact, Jesus Christ, the epitome of love, demonstrated a very different kind of love. He displayed true masculine love. He graciously sought the good of man and the glory of God. He called out sin and hypocrisy, urged people to repent, and warned them of eternal hell. He always spoke the truth no matter who it offended. 

In doing so, Christ has received the strongest hatred from the world because He “testified that its deeds are evil” (John 7:7). That’s what love does.

For a long time, we’ve been told that love is all about feelings, softness, and going with the flow.  That kind of thinking neglects the fundamental truth of biblically masculine love.

In a world obsessed with surface-level emotions, exploring the depths of biblically masculine love offers us a lifeline of guidance. Particularly because love for God and your neighbors is the sum of all the commandments (Romans 13:8-10, Matthew 22:36–40).

Many guys I know confuse genuine love with something flimsy or sentimental. This misunderstanding can lead to relationships that feel off-kilter or leave them feeling unsure about how to express love authentically.

Biblical Masculinity and Love

The Bible, specifically in 1 Corinthians, challenges men to be strong, courageous, and steadfast in their faith – but always with love as the guiding principle.

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” 
-1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Now, this isn’t some mushy, passive concept of love. This is about active, engaged love. The kind of love demonstrated by Jesus – a love that’s fearless in its pursuit of truth, fiercely protective of those under its care, and deeply sacrificial.

Biblical Types of Love

In the Bible, “agape” love is a Greek word that is often translated as “love” and is described as the highest form of Christian love. It is characterized by being selfless, unconditional, and independent of circumstance or reciprocation. 

Agape love is also described as a choice to act in the best interest of others, regardless of their response. It is often demonstrated through acts of kindness, humility, and forgiveness. The Bible describes agape love in several places, including:

  • Ephesians 5:25: Spouses should share agape love with each other
  • John 13:34: Christians should have agape love for each other
  • John 3:16: God has agape love for humans
  • 1 Corinthians 13: Describes agape love
  • Matthew 5:44: Describes agape love

Agape love is contrasted with other types of love, such as:

  • Eros, or erotic love
  • Philia, or brotherly love

Agape love as modeled by Christ is not based on a feeling; rather, it is a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own. Something that does not come naturally to us.

What Masculine Love Looks Like in Action

Paul turns to Christ’s relationship with the church in Ephesians 5 as the embodiment of what love should look like in marriage. The message is clear: a husband’s love is meant to be a reflection of Christ’s – willing to lay down everything for his wife.

Single or married, every man should strive to embody the selfless love that Paul describes. It’s not just about being a good husband; it’s about being a good man. A godly man pursues love that puts others first, just as Christ did.

Paul writes in Ephesians 5:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself.” 
-Ephesians 5:25–33.

From this passage, we can pull out four facets of biblically masculine love for men to abide by.

A Love that Gives

Christ’s love is the kind that gives and gives. Paul drives this point home in Ephesians 5:25, where he writes that Jesus “loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” This willingness to sacrifice is what Jesus Himself deemed the greatest expression of love, saying “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). 

When love is genuine, it always puts others first.

Think about a time you’ve sacrificed for someone you care about deeply, maybe your wife or kids. That willingness to put their needs before your own comfort or desires – that’s a cornerstone of biblical masculine love.

Ephesians 5:25 calls husbands (and all Christians) to die to self, devoting their entire life to their wife’s good. This isn’t about occasional help with household chores, but a willingness to literally give one’s life and crucify the flesh. Genuine love, as described in 1 Corinthians 13:5, doesn’t seek its own. To love like Christ loved the church is to be consumed by what you can do for your wife, not the other way around.

This isn’t limited to married men either. Men who follow Christ are called to love in the same way. Don’t forget to love your neighbor whether they are a believer or not, and don’t forget your enemy either.

A Love that Protects

Masculine love doesn’t shy away from responsibility.  It recognizes that with strength comes a duty to safeguard and protect those we love.  This means creating a haven of spiritual, emotional, and physical security.

Think about the way a good father protects his family. He works hard to provide for them and keeps them safe. He shields them from harm and guides them with wisdom. That’s true masculine love – being a source of strength and safety.

A husband’s sacred duty is to protect his wife’s purity. Authentic love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). He’ll shield her from anything that could dishonor, degrade, or tempt her to sin, and model purity himself.

Just as Christ keeps the church pure through “the washing of water with the word” (Ephesians 5:26), a husband must expose his wife to the Bible’s purifying influence. He should lead his family in church participation, Bible study, and revering Scripture. 

By doing so, he’ll become the true spiritual head in the marriage and household. Doing this also requires that you know the Word of God and handle it appropriately (see also 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 and 2 Timothy 2:15).

A Love that Nurtures

Real strength knows when to be tender. It means cultivating a loving, supportive environment where your loved ones can flourish. Paul expresses the idea like this: “Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies” (Ephesians 5:28).

We spend a lot of focus and energy caring of our own bodies. We give them whatever food, clothing, comfort, enjoyment, relaxation, or rest they need.

In marriage, the biblical principle is clear: love your wife with the same care you give to yourself because you’re now one flesh. This union is deeply rooted in the design of marriage, as seen in Genesis 2:24. Mutual love and care are essential to a healthy, thriving relationship.

Applying this outside of marriage is covered in the other facets of biblical love. 

A Love that Endures

A man’s love for his wife should be a permanent, unwavering bond. As Christ’s love for the church, it must overcome every obstacle and trial. This was God’s original design for marriage, as seen in Genesis 2:24: “A man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Marriage is both a physical and spiritual union, joining the husband and wife in every aspect of life. God is the one who joins them together, making them one flesh (Matthew 19:6).

Scripture says, “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord” (Malachi 2:16). The Greek term for “be joined to” in Ephesians 5:31 describes a permanent, unbreakable bond – an apt description of God’s ideal for marriage. Men should strive to persevere in this love, refusing to let anything hinder or wane it.

Life will throw curveballs. Challenges and disagreements are inevitable. But masculine love, true love, persists through it all. It doesn’t back down at the first sign of trouble but faces difficulties head-on with commitment and resilience no matter how hard the struggles hit.

As men, we’re called to embody these four facets of love: giving, guarding, caring, and enduring. This is especially crucial in marriage, where we’re tasked with loving our wives in a way that emulates Christ’s love. By doing so, we’ll have a profound influence on the world around us.

Love the Sinner and Hate the Sin?: The Actual Love In This Cliché

Modern society promotes a “no-fault” approach to morality where sin is downplayed as an addiction and fault is shifted to external factors. At its core, this movement removes personal responsibility and accountability.

“Love the sinner, hate the sin” becomes a convenient excuse, dissociating the person from their actions. But, according to the Bible, we can’t separate the two so easily. The church often echoes this mindset, undermining the concept of sin and diminishing its significance. This watering down of morality shapes our perspective on who we are and what we do.

The cliché “love the sinner, hate the sin” confuses the concept of love. It demands willful ignorance, essentially ignoring a person’s affliction. While the words may sounds true, it devolves into excusal for sin rather than confronting it.

True love confronts the issue, not excuses it away. For a cancer patient, ignoring the disease won’t make it disappear. Similarly, ignoring sin doesn’t demonstrate love for the sinner. To truly love a sinner, you must also hate their sin and expose it.

Confronting Sin with Love and Holiness

When confronting sin, we must consider the nature of the sin and the spiritual condition of the sinner. Gentleness may be necessary with an unbeliever, while a fellow Christian could be held to a higher standard.

Church discipline is essential for maintaining the purity of the Body of Christ (Matthew 18:15-20). A Christian who doesn’t care about bringing a fellow Christian back from sin needs spiritual help themselves.

Love that refuses to do nothing to rescue a brother from unrepentant sin is the deepest kind of love. It’s not unloving to confront sin; rather, it’s a demonstration of God’s love.

To preach love without God’s holiness is to teach a false love. God’s love is not tolerant of sin, and His wrath is not invalidated by His love. Believing in a god who is all love and no wrath is not the God of the Bible. This then becomes idolatry, cascades into sin and leads to universalism.

We should love sinners and hate sin. Our hatred of sin should manifest in a love that warns sinners of the dire consequences of their sin. Short of that, we cannot claim to truly love them.


Look, finding genuine fulfillment as a man isn’t about chasing some idealized image of masculinity whether that be the worldly view of a macho man, a womanizer, or wealth and success. It’s about embracing the qualities that truly matter—strength, courage, integrity, and yes, love.

Embracing this love means being a protector, provider, and source of unshakeable support for those we care about. It also means to lead them to Christ and to foster their relationship with Christ by leading by example and walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16–18).

Agape love is an act of will. You choose to love. Embodying the truest love there is by confronting the sin of others you care about is also required of us. This is no easy task.

But remember what Christ said about following Him? It would most likely cause division (Matthew 10:32-39), it would not be easy and you should count the cost (Luke 14:25-33), and you would face persecution (John 15:18-21).

But thanks to the Lord’s ultimate display of love, our reward is great (Matthew 5:10-12)

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