Bill Gothard’s 49 Character Qualities: Part IV

Bill Gothard of IBLP is a man who has a great penchant for coming up with lists.  There are theSeven Basic Life Principles, the Ten Unchangeables (WARNING: Opens to a YouTube video), and a list of 49 Character Qualities.

The purpose of this blog post is to check out the verses attached to the Character Qualities to see if they match.  Please note that I am NOT questioning the value of the character traits themselves. I acknowledge that all the traits listed are worthy of developing. I also feel that there may be more virtues that are not listed, but Mr Gothard has stopped at 49 – probably because it is a ‘significant’ number (seven sevens).

The Character Quality, operational definition and accompanying Bible verse reference are straight from the IBLP website.  The Bible verse is not quoted, but the impression is that the Bible verse that is referenced supports the operational definition. I will provide the Bible verse and, verses before/after/around it (if necessary) to give context to see how well the verse matches the Character Quality and the definition.   I will use the KJV because that is the version that IBLP uses.

Part 1: Alertness to Contentment

Part 2: Creativity to Discernment

Part 3: Discretion to Generosity

Part 4: Gentleness to Justice

Part 5: Love to Persuasiveness

Part 6: Punctuality to Sensitivity

Part 7: Sincerity to Wisdom


Gentleness vs. Harshness

Showing personal care and concern in meeting the need of others (I Thessalonians 2:7)

1 Thessalonians 2:6-8

Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

This is a weird verse to reference, but passable.  If one wants to talk about showing personal care and concern in meeting the needs of others, one should mention the story of the Good Samaritan.


Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness

Making known to God and others in what ways they have benefited my life (I Corinthians 4:7)

1 Corinthians 4:6-8

And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.


The word grateful does not appear in the KJV anywhere.

Why not:

1 Thessalonians 5:18

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.


Hospitality vs. Loneliness

Cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with those whom God brings into my life (Hebrews 13:2)

Hebrews 13:1-3

13 Let brotherly love continue.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

I disagree that loneliness is the opposite of hospitality.

The verse is okay, but there are other verses that actually have the word hospitality in them!

1 Peter 4:9

Use hospitality one to another without grudging.


Humility vs. Pride

Recognizing that it is actually God and others who are responsible for the achievements in my life (James 4:6)

James 4:5-7

Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Not sure how the verse fits with the operational definition.


Initiative vs. Unresponsiveness

Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it (Romans 12:21)

Romans 12:20-21

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

This verse is not about taking the initiative and doing things without being asked!


Joyfulness vs. Self-pity

The spontaneous enthusiasm of my spirit when my soul is in fellowship with the Lord (Psalm 16:11)

Psalm 16:10-11

10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

There are many verses in the Bible where the writer expresses joy.  This is a good match.


Justice vs. Fairness

Personal responsibility to God’s unchanging laws (Micah 6:8)

Micah 6:7-8

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

While it could be argued that there is a difference between justice and fairness, it seems a bit unusual to juxtapose the two like this here.  Furthermore, I’m not sure how the operational definition fits; it looks like integrity would be a better word for that definition not justice.


To be continued…


About yewnique

I am a Malaysian-born woman who is married to an Australian and now live in Melbourne, Australia. I am a mother to four children. I home school. I like reading, writing, and cooking -- not necessarily in that order. I care about grammar and spelling, but am nonchalant about the Oxford Comma. I try to follow Christ's teachings.

Posted on Saturday, September 8th, 2012, in Bible and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The verse on gentleness: While I agree there are others that could have been used, I don’t think this is a ‘weird’ one. I would surmise it was placed here purposefully as it includes a beautiful visual of gentleness in action when speaking of a nurse – i.e. a lactating mother – interacting with her very young, initially helpless, baby.
    Also, thank you for including your thought on using the Good Samaritan account. Sometimes it is easier to only criticize the work of others, yet not offer alternatives or solutions…that isn’t ultimately helpful. Have you thrown out these definitions and verses, since many of them aren’t up to your standards? Or are you doing this series in hopes of replacing the concerns with options that make better sense to your mind, as you have done with some of the above. Do you plan at finish to provide a pdf of your efforts?


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