Focus on Guys: Some New Books to Read, Plus a Fun Hobby

by | Apr 5, 2023 | Books | 32 comments

4 Quick Things

I’ve got some fun stuff for you today!

Several quick things I wanted to share, and I thought I’d do it in a post. First, two new books launched this week that are amazing, and that I wanted to direct your attention to.

The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood by Philip Payne

When Philip Payne started seminary, one of his professors said that there was nothing in Scripture that prohibited a woman from doing something that a man did. He didn’t believe the professor, and set out to prove him wrong.

He has since become one of the world’s foremost scholars on Greek, and has totally changed his mind!

Fifty years ago, I believed that only men could be pastors. I set out to prove an egalitarian wrong, and found that I was the one who had been wrong!

Philip B. Payne

The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood

This new book is wonderful. It takes you through each passage that is often used to limit women, and he shows what a proper interpretation, which includes the original language, the original history and culture, and the rest of Scripture, would look like. Then he answers common pushback that he gets on each passage. It’s really easy to read, and it will be a wonderful resource.

Interestingly, so many people have portrayed Mike Winger’s YouTube channel as the final word on the complementarian/egalitarian debate. But let’s compare Winger and Payne! Both Winger and Payne set out to definitively “prove” the gender debate, one way or the other. Winger was a comp who wanted to prove egalitarianism; Payne was a comp who wanted to prove comp. Winger says that complementarianism makes more sense; Payne vigorously disagrees.

The difference? Payne is a scholar who has been at this for 50 years. He is one of the world’s foremost expert on original Greek manuscripts (like the physical copies of the oldest Scriptures we have), as well as a Greek scholar. He has influenced translation committees based on his work on certain verses (including 1 Timothy 2:12). He has taught at some of the world’s foremost seminaries. He is an expert.

Winger does not have this kind of expertise, nor is he a scholar. He was raised in entirely comp circles; went to a very comp unaccredited college; and does make some errors in his Greek translations.

That’s not to say that Winger hasn’t said some important things. And Winger is very good at YouTube; Payne is not. But I think we need to start looking at those who are actually experts; who have really studied this. Who have spent years and years dissecting fragments of old manuscripts to look at the original Greek. I’m very grateful to Philip Payne!

Philip was on the podcast talking about his new book; you can listen in:

Non-Toxic Masculinity by Zachary Wagner

I often get asked for recommendations for books for men to read about healthy sexuality. Of course we have my Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex (perfect for engaged or newly married guys), but it’s specifically about how sex works.

Zachary Wagner has written an amazing book that’s about masculinity, with everything that entails. Perfect for single guys as well as married guys (and even late teen guys), it explores the toxic ideas that we’ve given men about lust, objectification, their need for sex, and more. It looks at how men actually can be intimate, and yearn to be intimate, and how we need to put the toxic stuff behind.

Non Toxic Masculinity by Zachary Wagner

I had the honor of reading an early copy and offering an endorsement:

Finally, a book that treats men like they can actually be full followers of Jesus! Zachary Wagner doesn’t berate men, blame men, or condescend to men. He just tells the truth. The church has told a story of manhood that is toxic and looks nothing like Jesus, and the fruit has been rotten―broken, shame-filled men. Ruined relationships. Shattered women. But it doesn’t need to be this way. By rediscovering what Christic manhood looks like, we can aim for emotional wholeness and health, especially in our sexuality. I’m excited to see men and women embrace this message!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Non-Toxic Masculinity

I certainly hope this becomes one our go-to books for guys, instead of Every Man’s Battle!

My husband’s on a podcast–not talking about sex!

I follow Courtney Ellis on Twitter, and a few months ago she was talking about a new podcast she was launching about the intersection of birding (like birdwatching) and faith–The Thing with Feathers. And someone commented to  her that my hsuband was a birdwatcher.

So all of a sudden Keith got a chance to be interviewed about something that he loves that isn’t sex!

It’s a fun conversation, and if  you want to see another side of my husband–or if you’re interested in birding–you’ll likely enjoy it!

Have you got our modesty hand-out yet?

One last thing: With all the posts about modesty on the blog and social media lately (I even did an Instagram Live on Monday!), I often get asked: “But how do I talk to my church about their horrendous dress code? Or my Christian school? Or the Christian camp?”

Because this is something that so many of you are dealing with, we created a downloadable handout that you can give to people who are creating dress codes or otherwise talking about modesty in a really unhealthy way. The handout combines our findings from our book She Deserves Better, and offers ways to talk about clothing that don’t shame girls’ bodies, and that don’t blame girls for boys’ thoughts, while still respecting both girls and boys.

That hand-out is part of our pre-order bonus when you order She Deserves Better before its launch date on April 18. Plus you’ll get our report on who is deconstructing from the church and why, AND you’ll get a free audio version of the book when it drops mid-May.

So pick it up, and send us your receipt! All the information is right here:

What do you think? Have you read any awesome books lately yo want to share with us? Or anything else fun that you want to talk about? Let me know in the comments!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Nathan

    Complementarianism of the traditional type is a bad idea. That is to say “Women should always do A, B and C while men should always do X, Y and Z. This is way God set it up, and if you try to cross the lines, you’re going against God”.

    A much healthier interpretation of this would be something like acknowledging that we each have different gifts, strengths, and weaknesses. While there may be some general trends between the sexes, it’s not an absolute. Within a marriage, we should support each other through those gifts, strengths and weaknesses. This will look different in each marriage. Maybe Donny handles the finances while Marcia mostly takes are of the kids, but next door, Wendy handles the finances while Adam does most of the child care.

    Now, for example, if no woman anywhere was good at math or science, and all men were good at these things, then complementarianism might make sense. But I’ve personally known too many people who break that mold to believe it.

    • Laura

      I’m sure that the majority of Christians who claim to be complementarians ( they probably don’t even know the word) don’t really practice it and their marriages are really egalitarian. They may say they hold to those comp beliefs to appear churchy and pious to other believers. However, if they were to be really honest about their true beliefs and what they practice in their marriages, they’re afraid others would think they are going against God. When I have given my testimony about going through an abusive marriage and how his sexist views that he claimed were biblical caused harm in or marriage, several Christian women came up to me and confessed that they believe marriage should be more equal.

      As I had posted before about the women in a Bible study who were trying to one up each other on who was the most submissive wife, I later realized they were just trying to put on a churchy image. It’s like teenagers trying to fit in. One of these women who claimed to be submissive was the opposite. When I travelled with her husband, she was the bossy one and he was like, “Yes, dear.”

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, most people who say they believe it don’t practice it, according to our surveys. They really are more egalitarian.

    • Jane Eyre

      Yes, this.

      Complementarianism also can’t really be squared with believing that fathers are important, let alone squaring with the belief that the decline of fatherhood is a crisis.

      If women are in charge of the babies and the home, if that’s her sphere, and the man is in charge of earning money and doing manly things, then why are active, loving fathers so important to kids? Why can’t they be replaced with a trust fund or a check from the government or surgeon mom’s income?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Well said!

  2. Nessie

    Cinema Therapy recently reviewed The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney version) and it had themes very relevant to topics that have been discussed here.

    I’ve tried reading Payne’s online stuff before and felt bogged down by its depth (which I’m thankful for, just can’t keep up with it!) I’m hoping his new book is a bit easier to read for those like me.

    Congrats to Keith for getting to speak on something fun and different! And great podcast name! 🙂

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I did find his new book easier than the podcast interview! If you’re looking for a really accessible read, On Purpose by Julie Coleman is good.

  3. Laura

    Recently, I read Things Your Mother Never Told You by Kim Gaines Eckert which gives a healthier, yet Christian view about sexuality and relationships. I found out about it through Dr. Camden’s email newsletter. She’s been on your podcast and shares great resources.

    I listened to Mike Winger’s podcast a few times until that episode about women pastors. Since he sounded like he was knowledgeable about the Bible, I thought he would realize those few verses on women speaking in the church were referring to a situation in the church Paul’s letter was directed toward. When I listened to that episode, I got mad and had to turn it off. Come to find out, I have seen clips of some of Winger’s videos on women through other YouTube channels such as Belief it or not and it sounds like his views are still complementarian. He’s not as bad as Driscoll or Eggerichs. Since Winger is younger than the well known biblical scholars and good looking that’s probably why he’s more popular even though he’s not a schooled Bible scholar like Philip Paynes, whose book I bought. I find that a lot of people are more hung up on charisma and entertainment than learning from those who are educated. Think about those mega church pastors who are charismatic and give entertaining sermons that are great for new believers but there’s not much depth to the message for those who’ve been Christians longer and want something new. I probably sound like a snob when I say that I want more than what I get from Sunday sermons.

    • Phil

      Books? She Deserves Better is all I have been reading at the moment. Its been a minute since I have read any others. I am in the middle of too many unfinished books. One of them is called The Finest Hours – a true story about the US Coast Gaurd’s most daring rescue.

      Payne? Love his work. It is super deep and admittedly the second podcast I watched was unfiltered and not sure if it was edited for the regular podcast but it at times was difficult to follow. Cool stuff for sure. Want to get his book but I have a stack of books that need my attention already…wish I had more time to read.

      FUN – OK EVERYBODY – WHY is there no FUN stuff posted here? Common folks! Sheila opened the floor for fun.

      All this seriousness and standing up to people who come here with an agenda to argue is tiring!

      FUN? YES. <— Period lol. I have been traveling all over the place for my job and that has been fun because I have gotten to see probably 50 people I have not seen in a long time.

      Fishing – always fun catch or not

      This month is Hike with Grace month. Grace is my wife. So far we have been on one short hike together. FUN.

      Watching the Lord work in me and my family. That is FUN! Jesus is FUN! 🤪

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Love it, Phil! It’s almost migration season up here so soon Keith and I will be having fun doing more birding!

        • Phil

          Sheila – We get all your birds in the winter – blue jays dominate here in the winter. Havent seen too many lately. Must be headed back your way. When I got home tonight there was an owl cooking for me in the woods. Sometimes we yell back and it talks to us. One night that owl roosted over my fish pond a few years ago. I walked out to him and got to within 10 foot of it. It just looked at me like yeah what do you want? I got some good pictures. It left when it felt like it. I am definitely going to listen to Keith talk about birds. I dont have the patience to watch the way a bird watcher watches but I do enjoy watching birds. We are part of the turkey tracking every year and we count for our county and last year we were reporting for other counties as well. This past year we had I think it was 8 poults just in our backyard. It was a good turkey year.

      • Boone

        Phil, is a bit off topic but it does deal with the attitude of entitlement. If you hike or fish in the GSMNP now you have to buy a parking pass and park only in designated spots. No more roadside parking and very few designated spots.
        See the Feds think that they are entitled to my money and to control access. Being one of the peons, I’m not smart enough to know what’s good for me. I can’t make decisions about hiking, fishing and parking on my own. It’s kind of the same thing that we’ve been discussing.

        • Phil

          Boone you know my answer? Go hiking and go fishing while you are there. Pay the fees for hiking and fishing cuz well thats what we need to do to help out. Parking? BUILD A SPOT! LOL.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      This exactly: “I find that a lot of people are more hung up on charisma and entertainment than learning from those who are educated. “

  4. Jim

    Isn’t the reason that we should listen to Payne over Winger a textbook Argument from Authority logical fallacy. There is no discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments of any kind.

    Considering that evidence based arguments is talked about a bunch here, this is gives the impression that the argument your position is not compelling.

    Are there any examples that show where Payne is right and Winger is wrong?

    • Sequoia

      Fair points. I’m not an expert, but wondering if we could understand the Payne vs Winger comparison matters when the issue at hand is the Greek texts? Although you’re right, Winger might be right OR Payne could be wrong regardless of authority, as the more experienced scholar on Biblical Greek maybe we should let that weigh in on who we look to help educate us on Greek?
      Just my two cents.

      If you still think that’s inconsistent, that’s okay. I think the effects of believing egalitarian/complementarian/gender hierarchy stuff was part of the 20,000-women survey Bare Marriage talks about so often. I’d love to see specifically correlated health points from that.

    • Phil

      Yes there is proof – Jesus would make this sort if statement to you Jim. Do you know how to use a cane? Only a person who needs a cane really knows how to use it. I think that alone is compelling.

      • Jim

        I asked for the proof and than you talk about people not knowing how important a cane is until you need it?

        As my grandpa would say, ‘What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?’

        If you have points, give them. Just saying ‘believe me because I studied this subject…’ is not compelling. If we should go with this logic, then those that listened to Jesus and his disciples should not have listened to them since none of them had credentials like the Pharisees did.

        I think of what happened to Peter and John as described in Acts 4 after healing a crippled man in the Temple. They were brought before the religious leaders and were threated with death if they continued to preach about Jesus.

        “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13 NIV

        The only reason that Peter and John were let go was because the religious leaders were afraid of a riot if they punished Peter and John.

        This is just one example of God using those that are uneducated to advance His kingdom. Credentials are important, but an argument should not be hung entirely on them.

        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          Jim, argument from authority is saying that SIMPLY BECAUSE this person is an authority they should be believed, even though their authority is not directly related to the argument, or their authority is used INSTEAD of an argument. “Well, the president said it, so it’s true.”

          Saying “there are two people here who both are making points, one is educated in the area and one is not, one is engaged in academia in the area and the other is not,” is not saying “You have to listen to Payne BECAUSE he is an authority, but rather actually applying logic to the two options and realizing that, odds are, educated people in THAT SPECIFIC REALM are, well, more educated in that realm than people who are NOT educated in that realm.

          It’s not an argument from authority for me to let a mechanic work on my car, and not my friends I met in my Classic Religions class who ride bikes instead of driving. It’s just being logical, not fallacious.

          Similarly, we have two people who both say they have arguments for a certain point, who came to wildly different conclusions. LOGICALLY, who should we go with? The person who is not educated in this? Or the one who is? The person who is not currently respected by the wider academic and professional world in this area, or the one who is? The one who has objective, practical acclaims in this area where the skills he used to come to his conclusions were used and found acceptable and competent, or the one who does not have any such proof?

          Logically, one cannot favour Winger over Payne. It’s not an argument from authority, it’s just plain old common sense. Something a lot of us need a lot more of, instead of loyalty to sexism even in the face of increasing evidence of a better, more Christ-like, way.

          • Phil

            Yeah that Becca lol. Jim – you know where I got that line from about the cane? My 12 year old son. I was sitting in my living room and he was talking to his grandparents. When he said it all I could do is bust out laughing. If you think about it it makes a lot of sense. I was driving a point as Becca pointed out – logic. The point was simplicity of scholar vrs no scholar. I have to admit Jim. Sometimes I read the stuff people write around here and it just confuses the hell out of me. Granted I am looking at this stuff on the fly while I am working but like seriously…I know part of your story you have shared here and I am truly sorry for that. However what you wrote wasn’t exactly straight forward in my opinion but rather it appeared written to confuse people so your question is skewed to get an answer you want. So you got what you got. The tone taken here may seem off-putting and maybe even offensive. But you have to ask yourself. Why are you here? What is your purpose. Are you for us? Against us? Just for you? For you and your wife? My interpretation of your presence here is that you are unsure but you lay on the side of ready to say see I told you so. Help us out here. Tell us why you are here and maybe we can help you out.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, there are many in-depth critiques by people who are scholars in this area here.

    • Jo R

      If one person’s “facts” are in actuality wrong, then the person’s argument cannot possibly hold up, unless another line of reasoning is used.

      If someone makes basic mistakes with koine Greek, I don’t feel a need to rebut the arguments that flow from those mistakes.

  5. Jim


    The reason that I am here is to listen to different perspectives and engage with them. Maybe not always in the nicest way but I do my best.

    I admit that I have blind spots since I only have my life experience. I try to keep an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out. I try to be discerning as to what I accept, so I am very skeptical. I honestly wrestled with atheism as a teen because of how unfair I saw the world as. I was often lonely and felt like no one tried to understand me. But, I prayed and reasoned my way out of that and found my faith again. I now strive to stay on the ‘straight and narrow’ and follow Jesus’ example as closely as I can.
    I fail often and I beat myself up for it on the regular. I often give people more grace than I give myself. I feel like Paul a lot.

    ‘Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.’ 1 Timothy 1:15

    I don’t know if that clears things up any but that’s the best I’ve got at the moment.

    • Phil

      Jim. Thank you for that. I really appreciate you being vulnerable and honest – especially about not always being so nice and also that you struggle with beating yourself up/shame. I can identify with all that. Admittedly I have struggled with the same issues. I hope that we can help you find growth in your faith by being with us here and learning. I can tell you that the growth I have experienced from coming around here has been quite large. I wish you the best as you search for answers in your faith journey. I will be here if you want to chat along the path.

  6. Nathan

    > > Credentials are important, but an argument should not be hung entirely

    This is very true. On the other hand, when an argument is based on false assumptions (in this case, mistranslations), it doesn’t matter what credentials you or the other person does or does not have. Note: this is exactly what JoR said just above.

  7. Estelle

    I listened to Keith’s interview on the birding site and loved hearing the enthusiasm in his voice when talking about birds. Then I had to go out and laughed because, as I went out the gate a hadeda flew overhead and honked loudly. Hadedas are large, grey, African ibises with a very distinctive braying call

    • Phil

      Estelle – I watched the video you posted. Thanks that was cool. I listened to the Feather Podcast with Keiths interview and found out I am birder. However, I am a lazy birder. Meaning I wait for the birds to come to me rather than intentionally seeking them out.

      • Karena

        Phil, I love reading your posts and replies! Always refreshing!!

  8. Healing

    Ok, craziest thing… so I googled something Iike “Christian male hypersexuality” and was reading articles why it seems CHRISTIAN men seem so obsessed with sex. Read numerous articles and then read one from Zachery Wagner which was AMAZING. That article lead me to his book and I read a 14-page preview. My first thought was, “HAS SHEILA READ THIS YET?” So before I emailed you, I did another Google search, “Zachery Wagner Sheila Gregoire” and THIS POST FROM A COUPLE DAYS AGO POPPED UP! I ordered his book and was THRILLED that you got to read an early copy and give and endorsement!!! So excited!!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I am very glad that he wrote it! I think the conversation is changing.

  9. Bill

    My wife read the sex rescue about two years ago. It encouraged her to confess to me how unsatisfied she had been our whole 10 years of marriage. It was devastating. I read the book. We did the classes and still she was just as unsatisfied if not more disappointed. She told me that she does not want to have sex with me any more because why continue being disappointed. This past year she told me that she hasnt found me attractive or has trusted me in the last 5 years. Through therapy she has discovered trauma that she has experienced due to the advice she received from our church. She is working through that. It has greatly effected our marriage. Now sex has never been very pleasurable for me either in our marriage I just excepted it because she never complained. I have struggled with porn in the past she knows this. I we are in marriage counseling. But I think she will never really want sex again don’t really know what to do

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Bill, that sounds really rough. But also really hopeful. Even though it feels worse now than it did a few years ago, you’re actually closer to wholeness now than you were then.

      It looks like you have a whole lot of issues: You’ve been using porn; she internalized really bad advice; you’ve lost her trust.

      So she’s now going to therapy (which is great). What are you doing? Have you read Jay Stringer’s book Unwanted, or Michael John Cusick’s Surfing for God? Are you seeing a licensed therapist to get at the root of your porn habit? If you want things to get better, it’s going to take some work. But if you put in that work and rebuild trust–you can get there!


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