Personality Theory and the Bible
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality assessment that is based off Carl Jung’s personality theory.
In his research and study of human behavior, he came to the conclusion that, while all humans are unique, there is a certain order and consistency to how we judge, perceive, and interact with the world around us.
He found that we can fall in to 4 overall categories that he separated in to dichotomies: extraversion (e)/introversion (I), sensing (s)/intuition (I), thinking (t)/feeling (f), and judging (j)/perceiving (p). In essence, we all fit in to these 4 different dichotomies in certain ways and that can inform us to how we judge, perceive, make decisions, and interact with others-that can inform us of our distinct personality traits.
Carl Jung did not originate the MBTI, rather his personality theory informed the creation of the MBTI test. It is named the Myer’s Briggs after the creators of the original assessment. You can find versions of the MBTI all over the internet, like 16personalities.com or truity.com.
Like most (if not all) personality assessments, it is a subjective test, which means that its accuracy is only based on how honest the answers are. With this in mind, if you are interested in your MBTI test results, take one of the assessments and then go to The Myer’s Briggs website to read through your type.
If it seems to resonate with you, then you were probably honest on the test, if it doesn’t resonate with what you know of yourself, look through some of the other types to see what matches best.
While we can make educational judgments based on our experience and observations of human behaviors, these assessments can only be used as tools to help us in areas of life where we seek improvement and development.
We should not let these tests be our overarching guide to how we live our lives.
Using the MBTI: The Mindful Soul Podcast
In The Mindful Soul Podcast, we used this theory of personality to discuss and study characters from the Old Testament. Personality typing Bible characters has been helpful in learning lessons from these people who lived long ago; they were real people.
A Discussion about the Dichotomies
There are 4 dichotomies. Each person falls on the spectrum between the two dichotomies. Neither side of the dichotomy is considered right vs wrong or good vs bad. Let’s look at each:
- The dichotomy people are most familiar with, thus being the most misunderstood
- Does refer to a person’s focus preference-inward? outward?
- Extraverts tend to talk through their problems and plans out loud with others
- Introverts quietly contemplate and analyze their problems and plans inside their minds
- Does not refer to socially awkward versus social butterfly
- Extraverts get their energy from being around others
- Introverts need to retreat from being around others to recharge
- Does not refer to shy versus talkative
- Refers to how we prefer to take in information from the outside world
- Sensing people prefers to focus on the basic 5 senses and the current or present situation
- Intuitive people prefer to focus on overall patterns and the big picture
- Intuitive people tend to use instincts to process and take in information
- Sensing people tend to use facts about the here and now: think- I prefer to understand what I see, hear, touch, taste, smell in this moment
- Intuitive people tend to use their gut: think-I know what is happening right now, but I am more interested in the patterns over time
- Refers to how we prefer to make decisions
- Thinking people focus on facts, logic and cold-hard truths
- Feeling people focus on the individual circumstances of each situation
- Just because a thinking person focuses on facts and logic does not necessarily mean they are not empathetic or loving
- Just because a feeling person focuses on empathy and unique circumstances of each situation does not mean they cannot make objective decisions.
- Refers to how we structure our outside world
- Judging people like to follow rules, have to-do list, sees things more “black and white.”
- Judging people like to have plans and expectations clearly outlined.
- Perceiving people like to keep their options open
- Perceiving people are open to the “grey areas”
The 16 types
Just because you may resonate with one type over the other does not mean you have to fit that mold perfectly. Lots of things influence how we interact, judge, and perceive the world around us: our upbringing, our parental influences, any trauma, the area of the world we live, culture, friends, religion, the list goes on an on. But, if we know how our tendencies in these areas, we can be better equipped to grow, learn, develop, mature. We can be more aware of our strengths and weaknesses, and we can know where to focus more attention. When we are more aware of our tendencies, we can make better decisions regarding marriage, friendships, family conflict, career, etc.
A downloadable version of the 16 Types-
Here are 3 websites to consider:
disclaimer: I am NOT a certified MBTI practitioner by the MBTI training institute or the Myers & Briggs Foundation. Start by checking them out if here you’d like to talk with a certified MBTI consultant.