1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Paul instructs us: "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity" (I Corinthians 16:13-14; King James Version). Several generations ago, "quit you like men" was a frequently heard phrase in English-speaking countries. To modern ears, quit means "to stop" or "to give up,' but it can also mean "to conduct oneself in a specified way."
The phrase the King James Version translates as "quit you like men," James Moffatt renders as "play the man"; the Revised Standard Version, "be courageous"; and The Amplified Bible, "act like men." Phillips, however, separates verses 13-14 into a paragraph of their own, giving it a sub-heading that says, "A little sermon in a nutshell!" He translates the verse as follows: "Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, live like men, be strong! Let everything that you do be done in love."
The Greek word translated as "quit you like men" is andrizomai, which is used just this one time in the Bible. It is an imperative, a word of command, and it literally means "be men."
Now, the women and teens reading this should not bail out at this point because Paul is giving instructions here to Christians in general, not just men, as we see in I Corinthians 1:1-2:
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother. To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. [Emphasis ours]
Is he talking to just the men here? I think not.
At the end of I Corinthians 16, Paul is closing out his rather long letter and giving his final exhortation. Right after this "little sermon in a nutshell," he mentions Aquila and Priscilla in verse 19. This husband-and-wife team are mentioned six times in Paul's letters, always fondly and always together. They are as one. Thus, right after Paul tells us to "be men," he writes warmly of his good friend, Priscilla.
Lastly, Paul teaches in Galatians 3:28 that there is neither male nor female, but we are all one in Christ Jesus. So if men must "get in touch with their feminine side," as we are so often told in today's feminized society, then the ladies in the church should pay attention, along with the men, to how being a man is necessary to our Christian life!
As many know, the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and it was later translated into other languages. The translation into Greek, called the Septuagint, is one of the oldest of these, the earliest parts dating from around 300 BC. The Greek word andrizomai, used only once in the Greek New Testament, appears 25 times in the Septuagint. A few verses from the book of Joshua will show how andrizomai was translated from the Hebrew into Greek and then again into English, giving us a better understanding of what Paul was saying in I Corinthians 16:13:
Be strong and of good courage. . . . Only be strong and very courageous. . . . Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage . . . be strong and of good courage." (Joshua 1:6-7, 9, 18)
Here, andrizomai is translated "be . . . of good courage." A literal interpretation of andrizomai would be, as we saw above, "play the man," "live like men," "act like men," or simply "be men"—and that is what Paul is saying: Be men. He is writing to a church living at the same time as he, speaking the same Greek language, and having the same cultural influences, and he could expect his audience to know what he meant. They certainly did.
But we are nearly two millennia removed from those days, which is why the Septuagint is helpful. Paul is telling us to have courage. When Paul says, "Quit ye like men," it is the same as telling us to be courageous. Commentator Albert Barnes says in his Notes that Paul means a man is not "a coward, or timid, or alarmed at enemies, but [is] to be bold and brave." This applies to all Christians, no matter the age or gender. The idea is summed up in the word "courage."
Courage and the Dog Soldier