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Biblical Principles of Self-Management: Seven Attitudes and Characteristics Exemplified by the Life of Joseph

Updated on March 23, 2010

Joseph, Hero of Ancient Israel

In Genesis, the first book Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, God called a man named Abram to be bring a blessing to every ethnic tribe and civilization on earth and changed his name to Abraham (i.e. father of many nations). Three generations later Abraham's grandson Jacob had eleven sons from four wives including Joseph who became Jacob's favorite son. The story of Joseph is told in Genesis chapters 37-50. This hub shares attitudes and characteristics exemplified in the life of Joseph, hero of ancient Israel.

Obedience to Authority

The first principle of self-management exemplified by the life of Joseph was obedience to authority. In four different cases, Joseph was given increasing responsibility by men of authority including his father Jacob; Potipher - the captain of Pharoah's guard; the headmaster in the Egyptian prison; and Pharoah himself. Trust is a by-product of being trustworthy which is a by-product of being cooperative and obedient.

Perseverance through Hardship

The second principle of self-management exemplified by Joseph was perseverance in the face of hardship. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers; falsely accused and imprisoned for his integrity; and forgetten by those he helped. Even so, Joseph had a positive attitude and made the most of his poor circumstances.


Another attitude or characteristic exemplified by the life of Joseph was industriousness. Joseph is often thought of a tattletail who was nothing more than daddy's pet. After he was sold into slavery, Joseph proved that he was hardworking and gained the respect of his superiors in every job he had in Egypt to the point that they put him in charge of their respective enterprises.

Unyielding Moral and Ethical Standard

The fourth principle of self-management exemplified by Joseph was an unyielding moral and ethical standard. Joseph believed that God was with him everywhere he went and in everything he did. When Potipher's wife attempted to seduce him, Joseph was unwilling to comprise his moral and ethical standard's for a few fleeting moments of pleasure and instant gratification. Unfortunately, Potipher's wife lied about Joseph and had him thrown in prison.

Gave God Credit for His Success

A fifth biblical attitude or characteristic demonstrated in the life of this hero of ancient Israel was gratitude and a willingness to give God the credit for his success. When Potipher's wife attempted to seduce him, Joseph refused to play along because he did not want to sin against God who placed in such a high position. In essence, Joseph was giving God the credit for his success. Furthermore, when his brothers were afraid of retaliation by Joseph, Joseph attempted to reassure them by telling them that God had used their evil deed and made something good out of it.

Used His Talents and Abilities for the Good of Others

Another principle of self-management exemplified in the life of Joseph was a willingness to use his gifts and abilities for the good of others. In interpreting Pharoah's dream and then devising a solution to the coming drought, this hero of ancient Israel proved that he had unmatched wisdom and administrative abilities. Given all the ill-will he received in his life, Joseph could have become stubborn and coldhearted and chosen to use his talents and abilities for his own personal gain. However, despite all the bad things others did to him, Joseph choose to trust God and yielded his personal desires to help others in their time of need. Obviously, Joseph prospered greatly for his servant heart.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

The seventh biblical attitude and characteristic demonstrated by this hero of ancient Israel was forgiveness and reconciliation. Joseph was severely wronged by his brothers who sold him into slavery. As prime minister of Egypt he had the power to have them executed on the spot. But, Joseph who loved and feared God chose forgiveness and reconciliation over revenge and retaliation.


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    • ecoggins profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Corona, California

      Dear M. David Selvamani, Thank you for your question. I appreciate that you would honor me by thinking that I could be an expert on these matters. According to my personal notion of these terms, I would say that Joseph did exemplify these qualities. However, I am not sure your professor would regard my ideas as authoritative on the subject.

      Still, whether Joseph displayed these characteristics or not depends on how you define them. For instance, Barbuto and Wheeler (2006) included wisdom in their model of servant leadership. According to their research, wisdom is defined as demonstrating awareness and foresight. That means that those who display wisdom show a keen awareness of their surroundings and the foresight to understand the consequences of their present and future actions. In that sense Joseph did indeed demonstrate wisdom in that he showed awareness as to how a severe drought could impact Egypt and foresight to know which actions would help Egypt benefit from the seven years of abundance and avoid the harsh consequences of seven years of severe drought. Still, whether Joseph demonstrated wisdom depends on the definition of wisdom; likewise whether Joseph demonstrated the other qualities depends on the operationalized definitions of those qualities. If you have already found good defintions of these characteristics then I think you might be able to find examples in the text found in Genesis 37 and 39-50. I think you can find examples of most of your listed characteristics in Genesis Chapter 41.

    • profile image

      M.David selvamani 

      7 years ago

      Respected sir,

      Iam just writing a paper about Joseph character( Humbleness, courage,vision, availability, approachable,wisdom, discipline, Integrity) can you give thoughts on these point with biblical evidence but from Joseph life only

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Insightful, thank you.

    • ecoggins profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Corona, California

      RevLady and UlrikeGrace, Thank you both for your gracious words of encouragement. I appreciate them and are inspired by them.

    • UlrikeGrace profile image


      10 years ago from Canada

      What a powerful way to present the character and influence the Lord had on Joseph. It was very readable and really interesting. A very good resource for building character in the work place and at home.

      Thanks and blessings to you


    • RevLady profile image


      10 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      I appreciated this hub describing biblical principles and managing our lives according to these principle as exemplified by Joseph.

      Under-girding it all is the power of love. The love of Jesus living in us.

      Great message. Thanks my brother in Him.

      Forever His,


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