A study on the time honored topic of virtue
by Debi Hopkins
Reputation is what men and women think of us;
character is what God and angels know of us.
This Book on the Study of Virtues Belongs to:
© My Home, My Haven 2006
From Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary
Virtue “…. that substance or quality of physical bodies, by which they act and produce effects on other bodies…..Moral goodness; the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from vice, or a conformity of life and conversation to the moral law.…. The practice of moral duties from sincere love to God and his laws …..”
“Virtue is nothing but voluntary obedience to truth.”
From Strong's Concordance:
from root word 1410
1. Strength power, ability
a) Inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.
b) Power for performing miracles
c) Moral power and excellence of soul
d) The power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
e) Power and resources arising from numbers
f) Power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts
“If ignorance and passion are the foes of popular morality, it must be confessed that moral indifference is the malady of the cultivated classes. The modern separation of enlightenment and virtue, of thought and conscience, of the intellectual aristocracy from the honest and common crowd is the greatest danger that can threaten liberty.”
Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2
“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” 1 Timothy 6:11
Abstinence: The refraining from self indulgence of appetite; forbearance; temperance
vs-- Indulgence, dissipation, drunkenness or gluttony; extravagance; revelry
"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication..."
1 Thes. 4:3
"Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1 Thes. 5:22
"Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul..." 1 Pet. 2:11
Attentive: Heedful; intent; observant; regarding with care
vs-- Disregard; neglectful; inattentive; unobservant; rude
"Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned." Neh. 1:6
"Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications."
"After that, he taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill him. But they could think of nothing, because all the people were attentive to every word he said."
Benevolence: The disposition to do good; good will; kindness; charitableness; the love, of mankind, accompanied with a desire to promote their happiness; charity
vs--Cold heartedness; ill will; malevolence; meanness; unkindness
"Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband." 1 Cor. 7:3
"Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband." NKJV 1 Cor. 7:3
Cautious: Wary; watchful; careful to avoid evils; attentive to examine probable effects and consequences of measures, with a view to avoid danger or misfortune; prudent; circumspect.
vs--Careless; rashness; recklessness; thoughtless
Charitable: Benevolent and kind; as a charitable disposition; charity: In a general sense, love, benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men.
vs--Cheap; malevolent; mean; selfish; stingy; tightfisted
“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Col. 3:14
“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned…” 1 Tim 1:5
Chastity: Purity of the body; freedom from all unlawful commerce of sexes. Before marriage, purity from all commerce of sexes; after marriage, fidelity to the marriage bed.
vs-- Adultery; lust; promiscuity
Cleanliness: Neatness of person or dress; purity; faultless; neat; orderly; spic-and-span; tidy; well-kept.
vs--Cluttered; dirty; filthy; grubby; slovenliness
Commitment: The act of delivering in charge or entrusting, faithfulness; allegiance, devotedness, devotion, faith, loyalty, single-mindedness, wholeheartedness
vs--Disloyalty; indifference; unfaithfulness
Compassion: A suffering with another; painful sympathy; a sensation of sorrow excited by the distress or misfortunes of another; pity; commiseration. Compassion is a mixed passion, compounded of love and sorrow; at least some portion of love generally attends the pain or regret, or is excited by it. Extreme distress of an enemy even changes enmity into at least temporary affection.
vs-- Disregard; indifference; unconcern
"He being full of compassion forgave their iniquity." Psalm 78:38
"But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth." Psalm 86:15
"The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy." Psalm 145:8
"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous" 1 Peter 3:8
Conscientious: Influenced by conscience; governed by a strict regard to the dictates of conscience, or by the known or supposed rules of right and wrong; as a conscientious judge.
Considerate: Sober reflection; thoughtful; hence, serious; circumspect; careful; discreet; prudent; not hasty or rash; not negligent.
vs--Absentmindedness; negligence; unconcerned
“Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being.” 1 Cor. 10:24 NKJV
Contentment: A resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet; acquiescence.
vs-- Displeasure; dissatisfaction; unhappiness
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11
Courage: That quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness; resolution. It is a constituent part of fortitude; but fortitude implies patience to bear continued suffering.
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Deut. 31:6
Courtesy: Politeness of manners; especially, politeness connected with kindness and civility.
Determination: Firm resolution; settled in purpose.
Diligence: Perseverance; steady application in business of any kind; constant effort to accomplish what is undertaken; exertion of body or mind without unnecessary delay or sloth
vs-- Absent-mindedness, carelessness, unconcern
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
“….giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;” 2 Peter 1:5
Devotion: A great love or loyalty, enthusiastic zeal. The state of being dedicated, consecrated, or solemnly set apart for a particular purpose.
vs--apathy, disloyalty, indifference, negligence
Dutifulness: A respect for the natural order-- socially, politically, and religiously. Includes the ideas of patriotism and devotion to others; reverence and respect.
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.” Ecc. 12:13
Endurance: A bearing or suffering; a continuing under pain or distress without resistance, or without sinking or yielding to the pressure; sufferance; patience; stamina.
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13
Faithfulness: Fidelity; loyalty; firm adherence to allegiance and duty; as the faithfulness of a subject.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lam. 3:21-23
Focus: Concentrated awareness and effort; apply, attend to, concentrate, devote.
vs--Avoid, ignore, overlook
Forgiveness: To cease to feel angry or bitter towards a person or about an offense
vs-- Holding a grudge
Fortitude: That strength or firmness of mind or soul which enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage, or to bear pain or adversity without murmuring, depression or despondency.
Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.
vs--Cowardice, indecision, self-doubt
Frugalness: Economy and simplicity of style, without being miserly
Generosity: Giving or ready to give freely, free from meanness or prejudice
Gentleness: Moderate; mild, quite; not rough or severe
Gratitude: Being thankful and appreciative. Gratitude is a virtue of the highest excellence, as it implies a feeling and generous heart, and a proper sense of duty.
Gravity: A sense of the importance of the matter at hand; responsibility and earnestness
Happiness: Satisfaction and contentment not determined by circumstances.
vs--Melancholy, discontent, dissatisfaction
Helpfulness: To offer assistance; usefulness to another.
Honesty: In principle, an upright disposition; moral rectitude of heart; a disposition to conform to justice and correct moral principles, in all social transactions. Truthful; sincere.
vs-- Lying, cheating, deceit
Hope: A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.
“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.” Romans 5:5
Humility: Not arrogant or boastful; freedom from pride and arrogance; humbleness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth. Humility consists in lowliness of mind; a deep sense of one's own unworthiness in the sight of God.
“The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.” Prov.15:33
Industry: Habitual diligence in any employment, either bodily or mental; steady attention to business; assiduity; opposed to sloth and idleness.
vs--Absent-mindedness, indolence, laziness
“Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.” Ben Franklin
Integrity: The entire, unimpaired state of any thing, particularly of the mind; moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty. Integrity comprehends the whole moral character, but has a special reference to uprightness in mutual dealings, transfers of property, and agencies for others.
Joy: “The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits.”
“Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross….” Hebrews 12:2
Justice: “The virtue which consists in giving to every one what is his due; practical conformity to the laws and to principles of rectitude in the dealings of men with each other; honesty; integrity in commerce or mutual intercourse.”
“Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”
“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?” Micah 6:8
“You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe…” NKJV 1 Thes. 2:10
Kindness: “Good will; benevolence; that temper or disposition which delights in contributing to the happiness of others, which is exercised cheerfully in gratifying their wishes, supplying their wants or alleviating their distresses; benignity of nature. Kindness ever accompanies love.” Compassion.
“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness.”
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering…” Col. 3:12
Love: “In short, we love whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether animal or intellectual; and if our hearts are right, we love God above all things, as the sum of all excellence and all the attributes which can communicate happiness to intelligent beings. In other words, the Christian loves God with the love of complacency in his attributes, the love of benevolence towards the interest of his kingdom, and the love of gratitude for favors received.”
“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Deut. 6:5
“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations…” Deut. 7:9
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24
“Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another…” Romans 12:10
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Loyalty: Faithfulness to someone or something. Fidelity.
Meekness: Softness of temper; mildness; gentleness; forbearance under injuries and provocations.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1
“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:21
Mercy: Mildness and Gentleness. “That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.”
vs--Cruelty, ill-will, indifference, vindictiveness
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7
Moderation: “Restraint of violent passions or indulgence of appetite. Frugality in expenses.”
vs--Excess, indulgence, self-indulgence
“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand.” Philippians 4:5
“Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”
Modesty: Moderation; decency. “Modesty, as an act or series of acts, consists in humble, unobtrusive deportment, as opposed to extreme boldness, forwardness, arrogance, presumption, audacity or impudence. Modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy (shame) fortified by education and principle. Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor.”
vs-- Promiscuity, indecency, over confidence
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array…”
1 Timothy 2:9
Neatness: “Very clean; free from foul or extraneous matter. Pure; free from impure words and phrases; as a neat style.”
Obedience: Willingness to obey, to be controlled when necessary, to carry out orders
“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…” 2 Cor. 12:5
Orderliness: a state of being methodical.
Patience: The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness. A calm temper which bears evils without murmuring or discontent. The act or quality of waiting long for justice or expected good without discontent.
Peace: Freedom from mental agitation; serenity
Perseverance: Persistence in any thing undertaken; continued pursuit or prosecution of any business or enterprise begun; applied alike to good or evil.
Patience and perseverance overcome the greatest difficulties.
Practical: Capable of practice or active use; opposed to speculative; as a practical understanding.
Prudence: Foresight, wisdom, and personal discretion; Wise and careful in conduct; Shrewd and thrifty in planning ahead
Punctual: Exact; observant of nice points; punctilious, particularly in observing time, appointments or promises. It is honorable in a man to be punctual to appointments, or to appointed hours; it is just to be punctual in paying debts.
Purity: Cleanness; freedom from foulness or dirt; as the purity of a garment.
Vs--tainted, unclean, defiled
Quiet: Peaceable; not turbulent; not giving offense; not exciting controversy, disorder or trouble; mild; meek; contented.
“The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit…” 1Peter 3:4; 1 Thes. 4:11
Respect: To view or consider with some degree of reverence; to esteem as possessed of real worth.
Reliability: Can be trusted to do something
Reverence: Fear mingled with respect and esteem; veneration.
Resolute: Having a fixed purpose; determined; hence, bold; firm; steady; constant in pursuing a purpose.
vs—wavering, given to doubt
Responsibility: Having control over and accountability for appropriate events.
Self-control: to exercise restraint; to govern oneself in such a way as to keep ones passions or urges in check and under constraint.
Self-discipline: To advance oneself and prepare by instruction. To teach oneself rules and then practice them, and accustom oneself to order and subordination.
vs—lazy and undisciplined
Sensitivity: Heightened awareness of oneself and others within the context of social and personal relationships
vs—insensitive, callous, hard hearted
Sharing: Partaking; having a part with another; enjoying or suffering with others.
Sincerity: To think innocently and justly, free from pretense or deceit in manner or actions. Freedom from hypocrisy, disguise or false pretense.
Sobriety: Serious, solemn and calm. Free from intoxication
Steadfastness: Firm, resolute; determinedly unwavering
vs--easily moved or shaken
Tact: Perception or discernment in regards to feelings of others.
Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. Patience; calmness; sedateness; moderation of passion.
Tenacity: Strength of mind, the ability to stick to one's purpose. That quality of bodies which keeps them from parting without considerable force.
vs--brittleness or fragility
Thankful: Grateful; impressed with a sense of kindness received, and ready to acknowledge it.
“Be thankful to him, and bless his name.” Ps.100:4
Tranquility: Serenely quite and peaceful; undisturbed
Trustworthiness: Able to be trusted or depended on; reliable
Useful: Producing or having power to produce good; beneficial; profitable; helpful towards advancing any purpose.
Veracity: Habitual observance of truth, or habitual truth.
Wholesomeness: The quality of contributing to health; salubrith; as the wholesomeness of air or diet.
vs--anything that does not promote wholesomeness
Zealous: Warmly engaged or ardent in the pursuit of an object.
Character flaws to work on: