5-Minute Bible Studies


Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by David and Christine Palmer
Ph.D candidates at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio

July 8, 2001


The life of Joseph as recorded in the book of Genesis chapters 37-50 provides a clear example of responsibility in action. His life reflects the conviction that good character is important at all times, both good and bad. Joseph acted responsibly to his father, to his employer, to his co-workers, to his brothers, and above all to his God. Each of these moments supplies us with an example of proven character worth following.

1) In Genesis 37:14, Jacob trusted Joseph to find out about the welfare of the family flocks. Joseph was considered responsible above all his brothers to report accurately to his father.

2) In Genesis 39:6, Potiphar trusted Joseph to supervise all the affairs of his large estate. He had found Joseph faithful and therefore entrusted him with a high level of responsibility.

3) In Genesis 39, two of the chief officials turned to Joseph in order to seek an explanation for their strange dreams. Again, Joseph fulfilled this responsibility with faithfulness even while he was wrongfully accused.

4) In Genesis 41, the Egyptian Pharaoh found Joseph a faithful and trustworthy man. He elevated him to the position of second in command over all of Egypt. In effect, he turned an accused prisoner into the Vice President in a single.

5) In Genesis 42-50, Joseph’s entire family was preserved from a severe famine because Joseph took responsibility for them. He provided food, safety, and land for all them in the land of Egypt.

Even though he was one of the youngest members of his family, Joseph lived out the quality of responsibility throughout his life. He was marked by this trait knowing that ultimately he was responsible to God for all his actions. With this conviction firmly in place, Joseph was trustworthy and responsible in all circumstances and to all people.


Some practical evidences of responsibility in our lives can be seen in the following “I will” statements:

I will keep my promises.
I will not make excuses.
I will do all my work to the best of my ability.
I will make things right when I do wrong.
I will know my duty and do my duty.

Divide into pairs and discuss:

What are some of the areas in our lives where we are not being responsible?

(Some possible answers: our relationship with God, our families, our marriages, our work, school, sports teams, club involvements, other relationships)

What are some of the benefits of being responsible?

(Some possible answers: brings the blessing of God, pleases God, opens doors of opportunity for promotion, places one in positions of influence, enhances the quality of our relationships)


Spend 2 minutes in personal reflection with God:

In what situations in my past has my failure to be responsible hurt me or others? Ask forgiveness of God now, and commit to seeking to take responsibility for my thoughts and actions this week.

What are the situations and relationships in my life in which I need to take greater responsibility? Make an action list of specific ways in which I can take greater responsibility this week. Commit to taking one step on your list this week.

Ask God to:

– impress on your heart the need for faithful responsibility in your life.
– give you confidence of his overall responsibility and care for you in all things.
– forgive you for times when you have not taken responsibility.
– help you develop the character quality of responsibility in your life.




This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.