Bill Gothard’s 49 Character Qualities: Part V

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


Love vs. Selfishness

Giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward (I Corinthians 13:3)

1 Corinthians 13:2-4

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

I agree that love is a good character quality.  Some might even say that it is the most virtuous of all the character traits.  I find the operational definition somewhat limited, though.  Love  is not (just) ‘giving to others’ basic  needs’ [emphasis added].

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrongsuffereddoes not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; [a]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [b]prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.


Loyalty vs. Unfaithfulness

Using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to God and to those whom He has called me to serve (John 15:13)

John 15:12-14

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

I disagree with the operational definition provided by Bill Gothard.  Yes, there are times when our loyalty will be tested, but that should not be the norm.

I agree that love and loyalty are related and perhaps that is why John 15:13 was chosen as the reference verse.

The word loyalty does not appear at all in the KJV, although the words stedfast and faithful do.

1 Corinthians 15:58

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.


Meekness vs. Anger

Yielding my personal rights and expectations to God (Psalm 62:5)

Psalm 62:4-6

They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.



Obedience vs. Willfulness

Freedom to be creative under the protection of divinely appointed authority (II Corinthians 10:5)

2 Corinthians 10:4-6

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

The operational definition is too bizarre!  And the accompanying verse is weird as well.  Not a match!


Orderliness vs. Disorganization

Preparing myself and my surroundings so I will achieve the greatest efficiency (I Corinthians 14:40)

1 Corinthians 14:39-40

39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

The verse in context is about the speaking of tongues in church gatherings, and not about orderliness in general.


Patience vs. Restlessness

Accepting a difficult situation from God without giving Him a deadline to remove it (Romans 5:3–4)

Romans 5:2-5

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Not bad, but this verse seems to be saying why we should be patient rather than exhorting us to be patient for patient’s sake.

Romans 12:9-15

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.


Persuasiveness vs. Contentiousness

Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks (II Timothy 2:24)

2 Timothy 2:23-25

23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Sorry, but I when I see persuasiveness being defined as ‘guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks’, all I can think is, ‘that is called “brainwashing”.’


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, Fundamentalism, Religion and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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