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What's the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible Paperback – June 29, 2001

4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JOHN PIPER is pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. His many books include When I Don't Desire God, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, God Is the Gospel, and Don't Waste Your Life and their DVDs and study guides.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway Books; Revised edition (June 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581342918
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581342918
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,597,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the author of more than 50 books, and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available free of charge at desiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noël, have four sons, one daughter, and twelve grandchildren.

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John Piper delivers a carefully studied Biblical portrait of what it means to be a man or a woman. The principles are based on sound Biblical exegesis, but without a lot of technicality and detail. The chapters dealing with "The Meaning of Masculinity" and "The Meaning of Femininity" are dealt with by the use of carefully constructed definitions that are unfolded word-by-word. Extensive space is given to describing the masculine role of leadership. Piper's approach is Scriptural, and therefore relevant; and he labors hard to bridge any apparant gaps between the Biblical model and its contemporary relevance. He avoids hard and fast rules for specific circumstances, and sticks to sold principles which should govern male-female relationships of differing levels. This would be an excellent book for pastoral premarital counselling.
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I was very impressed by this small booklet. Piper goes through this controversial issue and lays down a solid framework for understanding Biblical manhood and womenhood.
He avoids some of the extremes that we find in our society (ie. outright feminism or outright male domination and abuse) and gives some great practical advise on the fundamental differences between the two sexes.
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Piper manages to minimally flesh out the roles described in the Bible for man and woman, while remaining sensitive to the common "modern feminist" views without tiptoeing around the faults in that line of thought. Overall, a great summary of insightful redaction of scripture. Now I want to get the more complete book that Piper edited on this same subject.
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I bought this book to read on a nine hour none stop flight to Hawaii. After being seated I started reading it and could not put it down. My wife seated next to me joined in and we had a good time reading parts of it together. Upon my finishing the book on the flight, we later came to the same conclusion. There was good stuff in there for the both of us.

Many in parts of the U.S.A. have attempted to make a truth of the great myth of super moms, girls and women. Also buffoon like characters are being betrayed by many of our boys/men/dads and husbands in the media to aid this myth of the super women. This book comes to our rescue. Also with all the confusion made in parts of the world today due to an effort to take away the differences between men and women, we need a lesson on those differences and why. In comes this book. The book walks us through the created intent of the roles of the man and the woman. It helps the man to see his role and the women to see hers. All in all recognizing that both have the "same essence, therefore same value", just different roles for both to see and to live out. Within the bonds of marriage it's an aid to the male and the female on how to restore those roles and check invasive thinking patterns that come from the popular culture to work against that intent. Within this intent singles also learn how to conduct themselves as men and women, therefore diminishing unwise competition between the two sexes. He tells the man how he can be strong, yet inclusive, and loving towards his wife (girlfriend). He tells the wife how be assertive within the bounds of being lady-like, yet not undermining the role of her husband (boyfriend) in he assertion. A good work for all to read, I highly recommend it, so much so that I have bought this book and given it to others. This book is a great prelude into the greater works that deal with "the roles of men and women", and that to help us to counter today's "popular culture". HDS
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While we were on a ministry trip going as far south as Oklahoma City, a good friend gave me What's the Difference? and asked me to comment on it. After reading it, I felt that the content begged for more than a cursory response. What follows, then, is my attempt to biblically reflect upon some of many issues raised in this book. The whole review article is 6700 words long. Here are some excerpts.

What About 1 Corinthians 7:1-5?

It is interesting that in Piper's major publication, Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (1991), there are separate articles devoted to Eph.5:21-33, 1 Cor.11:3-16. Col.3:18-19, 1 Pet.3:1-7, etc., but 1 Cor.7:1-5 is suspiciously absent. Likewise, in What's the Difference? there are two lists of verses provided that deal with marriage, but once again 1 Cor.7:1-5 is not included (pp.21,66).

This omission is unfortunate for the following reasons. First, 1 Cor.7:1-5 is the only place in the NT where the word "authority" (Greek, exousia) is used with reference to marriage. But it is not the authority of the husband over the wife, or vice versa, that is in view, but rather a mutual authority over each other's body. 1 Cor.7:4 states that the wife has authority over her husband's body. One would think that this would be a hard pill to swallow for those who see "authority" as resting only in the husband's headship.

Secondly, Paul states that a couple cannot separate from one another physically unless there is mutual consent (Greek, symphonou). Both parties must agree to the separation or it shouldn't happen. There is in this text, then, nothing supporting the contention that the husband's "authority" should override his wife's differing viewpoint.
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