Bill Gothard’s 49 Character Qualities: Part VII

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


Sincerity vs. Hypocrisy

Eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives (I Peter 1:22)

1 Peter 1:21-23

21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Sincerity simply means without hypocrisy.  People can be sincerely evil. The operational definition provided by Mr Gothard about ‘eagerness to do what is right’ is adding to the dictionary definition – I get the impression he’s trying to put a Christian spin on it – and could be seen as an example of hypocrisy.

Titus 2:7-8

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.


Thoroughness vs. Incompleteness

Knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected (Proverbs 18:15)

Proverbs 18:14-16

14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.

16 A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

Thoroughness is not merely knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of one’s work if neglected, but actually carrying out a task to its completion.  Not a good definition.

The Bible verse does not address thoroughness.


Thriftiness vs. Extravagance

Not letting myself or others spend that which is not necessary (Luke 16:11)

Luke 16:10-12

10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

‘Not letting myself spend that which is not necessary’ is thrift.  ‘Not letting others spend that which is not necessary’ is something else.

The Bible verse is not talking about being thrifty.  The word thrift does not appear anywhere in the KJV.


Tolerance vs. Prejudice

Acceptance of others as unique expressions of specific character qualities in varying degrees of maturity (Philippians 2:2)

Philippians 2:1-3

1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Tolerance is a good virtue, but for me it implies ‘putting up with’ rather than ‘accepting’.  I prefer the word respect. If acceptance is the virtue that Gothard was aiming for (as mentioned in the operational definition), then he should have called it Acceptance rather than Tolerance.

The Bible verse is talking about being united in love, not tolerance. Not a match.


Truthfulness vs. Deception

Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts (Ephesians 4:25)

Ephesians 4:24-26

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

The operational definition is too bizarre!  Truthfulness means accurately depicting what is true.  It should not be done with the hope of earning future trust.

The Bible verse addresses speaking the truth (good) but does not match the operational definition (bad).


Virtue vs. Impurity

The moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiate from my life as I obey God’s Word (II Peter 1:3)

2 Peter 1:2-4

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.



Wisdom vs. Natural Inclinations

Seeing and responding to life’s situations from God’s frame of reference (Proverbs 9:10)

Proverbs 9:9-11

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.




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 Sunday, September 9th, 2012, in Bible and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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