What Does Virtue Mean? A Biblical Definition Of Virtue Or Virtuous

What Does Virtue Mean? A Biblical Definition Of Virtue Or Virtuous August 19, 2015

What does virtue mean according to the way in which it is used in the Bible? What is the biblical definition of virtue?

Virtue is…

The word virtue has a lot of meaning and means many different things but can be a trait or disposition of character that leads to good behavior. One example is that someone with virtue displays wisdom, courage, kindness, good manners, courtesy, modesty, generosity, and self-control in their life. They treat others fairly and esteem others highly and value the sanctity of life. They treat others better than they are treated. Someone who has virtue has good, moral ethics and makes biblical choices in life.

A List of Godly Virtues

Paul gives us a good list of what virtues are in Philippians 4:8 where he wrote “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” so apparently a biblical definition of virtue are things that are true (the truth), noble, just (fair), pure (holy living), lovely (as Christ is), and things of good report where there are reports of people doing good things for God. Virtues like these are sorely lacking in this world today where behaviors are anything but virtuous.


Called to a Virtuous Life

Christians are to be salt and light in an unsalted, sin-stained, darkened world. The Apostle Peter gives us a very good look at the source of all virtue as he writes that it is through “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2nd Pet 1:3-4). Only His divine power can enable us to escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust.” This type of living takes a lot more than human effort; it takes divine power but He has given all who have trusted in Him this power to enable them to live lives of holiness and godliness.

Fruits of Virtue

We have read some of the fruits of virtue like things that are true, noble, just, pure, and lovely and we have also read that the source of power to live a virtuous life is from God Himself but without faith, we cannot possibly produce any virtuous fruits. The Apostle Peter writes about a cause and effect of living a life of virtue where he wrote, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love” (1st Pet 1:5-7). Notice that we should add virtue to our faith and virtue to our knowledge for knowledge without virtue only makes someone a walking textbook. Virtue helps add to our faith, to our knowledge, to our self-control, to our perseverance, to our godliness, to our brotherly kindness and to our brotherly love. It all hinges on godly virtues being added to our faith.

Virtuous Byproducts

If you look at the list of the fruits of the Spirit you can see that they are all virtuous attributes and these include “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Gal 5:22-23a). There is zero virtue in the fruits of the flesh like “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like” (Gal 5:20-21a) and Paul warns us all that “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:21b).


You are not your own source of virtue. You don’t have that kind of power within you. It is only the divine power of God that can produce virtue but we should have an occasional fruit inspection and see if we are living lives of virtue and producing the fruits that are associated with living a life of virtue. If you are, then you know that you must be a child of God for the fruits of the flesh are what the world bears but the godly, which have the Spirit of God within them, bear all sorts of fruit that are virtuous.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    I am a virtuous man Jack and I had no deity impart me with virtue. There are virtuous muslims and virtuous hindus yet they don’t acknowledge your deity. Virtue is therefore not deity dependent. There were virtuous men in ancient Greece and virtuous Neanderthals as evidenced by the fact that they cared for their sick and elderly. None of them required jesus to be virtuous.

    Tell me Jack..are you a virtuous man? If it was found out tomorrow with 100% certainty that no jesus or god existed would you suddenly become non virtuous? Would you murder your neighbor and steal his things?

    Why are you so opposed to critical thinking before you babble endless nonsense?

    • Facebook User

      It’s easy to consider oneself virtuous when one set one’s own standards. I still wonder where virtue came from. Did rocks suddenly develop empathy? Do amoebas love one another? Those who believe we evolved must believe that, at some point, purely material substance began to think and feel. I find that this takes more faith than to believe that a sentient being, separate from the created universe, is the source of intelligence. This Creator would also be the One who sets the standards for virtue, justice, holiness, etc.

      • pud

        Virtue is a “concept” “Concepts” are not things they are relationships between things…justice and love are examples of other “concepts” that do not exist as material objects but rather products of the human mind relating objects to each other.

        That we “evolved” is not a “belief” it is a demonstrable fact. “Belief” is what people hold when they have no evidence or legitimate reason to think something is true. The religious “believe” things, the rational “know” things.

        No, It takes more “belief” to posit that another invisible being exists that created everything out of nothing via magic. Using one mystery to explain another mystery is infinitely more ridiculous

    • earstwohear

      Pud, tell me, If it was found out tomorrow with 100% certainty that Jesus or God existed, would you believe? That day is coming, either when you die, or when Jesus returns, whichever comes 1st. And your decision to believe or not believe becomes permanent and determines where your soul spends eternity. Pud if you’re right, no harm no foul. If I’m right, eternal lake of fire, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Risk worth taking? Perhaps worth checking out.

      • pud

        1st of all NOTHING is ever 100% but if it could be shown with a high degree of certainty that any “god” existed I would accept that ..of course.

        2nd ..The day is coming when we all die and it’s only in your juvenile delusional mind that any “jesus” is coming back. You may have noticed that he’s been MIA for some time now.

        3d…Demonstrate the existence of a “soul”…or an “eternal lake of fire”….by the way this is called Pascals Wager and it among the most stupid reasons your cult has ever come up with…What if you’re not worshiping the right celestial dictator? What if Allah is the one and only “god”? Do you want to take the chance of going to Muslim Hell? Who do you think you’re fooling anyway?

        Grow the hell up….your comment is simple minded nonsense

        • billy bob joe

          To be honest, despite arguments between Muslims and Christians, Allah and God are one and the same. In fact, Allah means God in Arabic.

    • Mars

      Sorry, but you are a hypocrite. Jesus nor God will ever allow a Muslim that murdered his followers to enter the kingdom of Heaven. They both will close their eyes, and mind after their death. How dare you to dis my maker, and his son. You are so wrong, and will not know it until your death. When Jesus does not take your hand. I believe all Muslims better see the true way before it is too late.

      • Mars

        and do not ask who I think I am because you do not want to know.

        • pud

          Who do you think you are?

      • pud

        Judging by your grammatically disturbing nearly incoherent ramble I’d guess you were once messed up on drugs and now you’re messed up on the lord?

        “gods” have minds and eyes? You know this how?

        Why is death such a great time for all this revelation? Why not now?

        The muslims say the exact same things to you…what makes them wrong and you right? Tell me exactly how you KNOW not what you BELIEVE.

        • Mars

          You can just go on believing what you want to. It is no skin off my butt in the least. There is no such thing as Gods as their is only one God he is the maker of all. You are the crazy one rambling on. I have never been on drugs. Until you straighten the crap up, you are nothing to God nor Jesus. Take it as you please, but the truth hurts. Why put the word not in that last sentence? You are a bigget, and I am an author of 12 books you moron. I think you better grow the frig up, and take life as it really is.

          • pud

            I don’t “believe” anything.

            You don’t KNOW a stitch of this nonsense you babble. Demonstrate it! If you can’t show it, you don’t know it.

            An “author” should know how to spell “bigot” don’t you think?

          • Mars

            I can show it for I was born by the hand of Jesus. I asked, and I received as he did. I have never used the word BIGOT in my writings. You do not believe anything? Sure you do because the belief is in all. You just have blocked it out.

          • Mars

            Jesus was made to be able to make people like myself return if wanted. He was made to also take those who enter Heaven. God made another before him, but this man did not work out. Jesus did, and I need not argue that fact. There is no argument.

          • pud

            You’re right…there is no argument…You’re a lunatic. bye!

          • Mars

            Jesus will get you, I need not worry. We shall see who the lunatic is. Talk about sentence structure. There is such a thing as commas for a reason. Have a good day, and go find someone else to argue with.

          • Mikoas

            Kindly pray to God who you believe that created you to reveal Himself to you. Show you the truth and the way you should follow because our journey in this earth is temporary while our journey in eternity is permanent. Kindly think twice and accept the truth before it is too late. Thanks.

          • pud

            Prove it. Demonstrate it. Define truth and how you KNOW something is true or not…

            Take your time…lol

          • pud

            Go ahead then…SHOW IT! Demonstrate that any of this babble you spew is true. Try. You will fail.

          • Mars

            I can prove it because I died before, and I returned as I am here as a different being. I have died many times in this life time also, and yet I prayed. I am here. You have no belief so would find it hard to understand any of this.

          • pud

            Sorry…”lunatic” was the wrong choice of word…Mental Case would be better

        • Mars

          Muslims murder Christians, the very people who put God, and Jesus first. Look up the 10 golden rules, and then tell me I am wring. This Antichrist Muhammad they believe in was a child molester, and a pagan. This faith they have is satanic. They dress up like it is Halloween. They are brain washed in all the wrong ways.

          • pud

            Study your own foul history…”christians” killed everyone including their own kind for centuries.

            Your ridiculous rituals are just as stupid and delusional

            Your spelling and grammar are horrific.


          • Mars

            go away

          • pud

            What’s the “right” way to be brainwashed? LOL Do you even read the crap you write?

  • Laura Faircloth

    Wow…this was incredible. I have been growing in faith, and teaching others how to have faith, so I started praying…Lord, I have this faith thing down pretty good. I love helping others with this Lord, but what next. I want to grow in something else. And He led me to the verse, “add to your faith virtue and to virtue knowledge.” I looked up virtue in the Strong’s concordance and dictionary.com, but your teaching just really explained it well. I am going to have to meditate on this. Thank you and God bless you. We praise You Jesus.

  • pud

    Your particular “god” right?

    Airplanes are not biological entities that evolve via the rules and laws of physics and chemistry

    What created your “god”? duh

    • Kay

      To be someone who dosesn’t believe you sure are giving this a whole lot of attention. First off have you seen with your own eyes evolution takes place? Secondly, where have you seen it because I want to see it too. Long before scientist said that snakes lost their legs the Bible already proclaimed it in Genisis

  • Mars

    We cannot be anything with out the maker of all. pud is very wrong. I wonder who made him if not God. God made all the universe, and everything that exists. Anyone to disbelieve that is a hypocrite in the making. I know Jesus well, and all you need to do is close your eyes. Ask Jesus do you know Marlene, and you will get your answer. I feel for those with out the knowledge of God, and Jesus. I pray you see the light, and go with it.

  • James Muecke

    TO: Jack Wellman. Friend, please do a study on the origin of the concept of virtue. I am convinced that virtue was the ancient Hellenic ethical ideal, but not Hebrew or Christian.

    For example, the word “virtue” does not appear in the Hebrew Old Testament or the Greek New Testament. It appears in the Authorized Version (KJV) because of the Hellenization of the translators (You will also see this Hellenization in the work of Strong).

    Virtue is the pagan ethical concept, which stands in contrast to the pagan un-ethical concept of vice. We modern Christians often have a paganized world view and don’t even know it. Yet, for the first five centuries of Christendom, any professor in the Greek Academy who was converted to Christ, had to leave the Academy before he could be baptized. So, can you figure out why it is that we now name one Christian school after another, “The Christian Academy”?

    Here is another example of our Hellenization: Is the world you see around you the world of nature, or is it the world of creation? There is a “world of difference” whether you realize it or not. If the world around us is nature, then the God of the Bible cannot exist. If it is creation, then the God of the Bible does exist.

    Ultimately, these things mean there is no such thing as Godly virtue. There is holiness, and holiness is Godly — but virtue has been at war with holiness since the time of Alexander the Great. In turn, if a concept is at war with holiness, it is at war with the Christian God.

    Your antagonist, pud, considers himself a virtuous man, but I have a strong hunch he loathes the idea of Biblical holiness. Although he is wrong about so much, he is right about virtue not having anything to do with Christian godliness. We Christians need to realize that too.