Man’s duty to protect woman: a catechism Q and A

We’ve addressed the issue of man’s duty to protect woman before at greater length, but let’s boil it down still further into the form of a catechism question and answer, to make it easier to commit to memory.

Q: How do we know that man has a duty to protect woman?

A: We know that man has a duty to protect woman because…

  1. God, the archetypal Father1, protects and defends the weak2, and man’s fatherhood is and should be a reflection of God’s fatherhood.
  2. Jesus Christ our Lord fought for His bride, laying down His life for her, purchasing her freedom, and husbands should lay down their lives for their wives as He did.
  3. Jesus called exclusively men as apostles to be undershepherds caring for His flock and watchmen over His bride.
  4. God approached Adam, not Adam and Eve, regarding the Fall3.
  5. Scripture explicitly teaches man’s duty to defend woman4 in her weakness as woman, giving numerous commands and examples5.
  6. Woman as mother is particularly among the weak God calls man to defend.
  7. When God made man male and female, this sexual differentiation was God’s good gift to man, and we should rejoice in its implications, not be stingy with them.

God the Father; Jesus Christ; the apostles; Adam; Scripture; Woman as mother; God’s good gift.

For an expansion of each of these points, see this post.

Someday questions and answers like these will need to go in an updated catechism that addresses particularly the sins and heresies of our generation.


  1. Cf. Ephesians 3:14
  2. Concerning those in spiritual bondage: “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him” (Psalm 103:13); concerning foreigners: “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:18); concerning the poor: “He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor; for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and He set the world on them” (1 Samuel 2:8); concerning the fatherless and widows: “A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation” (Psalm 68:5).
  3. Genesis 3:9. Also note that it was Adam to whom God had earlier given commands and responsibilities in the garden (Genesis 2:15-17).
  4. Regarding vows: Numbers 30:1-16. In war: Numbers 31:3-4; Joshua 1:14; 6:3; 8:3; Judges 7:1-8; 20:8-11; 1 Samuel 8:11-12 (contrast verse 13); 11:8; 13:2; 14:52; 24:2; 2 Samuel 24:2; 1 Chronicles 21:5; 27:1-15, 23-24; 2 Chronicles 17:12-19; 25:5-6; 26:11-14; 2 Kings 24:14-16; and Nehemiah 4:14 (“fight for…your wives and your homes”). When Jacob went to meet Esau, he sent his servants ahead with the gifts, then he himself went in front of his wives and children (Genesis 32, 33). God called Joseph to stand with Mary in her time of need, Matthew 1:20-24; and to protect the Child and His mother from Herod, Matthew 2:13. Jesus from the cross put His mother in the care of a man, John 19:26.
  5. 1 Peter 3:7
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