What Does It Mean for a Man to Be Gentle?

Approach:

1. What does the Bible says about gentleness?
I have completed an exhaustive word study on gentleness in the OT and NT. (I plan to survey the results of that study here.)

2. How might we define gentleness?
My attempt: Gentleness is the virtue of humbly and wisely showing tender kindness to someone. (I unpack that definition in four statements.)

3. Why does gentleness require wisdom from God?
The short answer to this question is that I think there are times when we should not be gentle. We need God’s wisdom to know when to be gentle and to what degree. I think that some people have gutted the biblical virtue of gentleness to mean universal niceness like Mr. Rogers. The word universal tips you off to a controversy about gentleness: Is gentleness an all-encompassing virtue (i.e., we should always be gentle), or is it a situational virtue (i.e., we should usually be gentle but not in every situation without exception; in some situations it would be sinful to be gentle). I think gentleness is a situational virtue. I should treat a kitten with gentleness; if a pit bull were attacking my daughter, I would not be loving and protecting my daughter if I treated that pit bull with gentleness.

4. How might this apply to a husband, a father, and a pastor?
What does it mean to be pastoral?

3 thoughts on “What Does It Mean for a Man to Be Gentle?”

  1. Theological sources
    The proposal is intriguing and I think would appeal to an ETS audience. I did not rate it more highly because their is no indication of how virtue ethics is grounded or the literature that will be referenced.

    Reply

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