The enneagram has become an increasingly popular personality typing system in recent years. This ancient system categorizes people into nine basic personality types based on their core motivations, fears, and desires.
With its roots in several wisdom traditions and its comprehensive and insightful descriptions of the nine types, many are using the enneagram today as a tool for self-understanding and development.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: based on an analysis of Jesus’ teachings, actions, and reactions in the Bible, he most likely would have tested as a Type 2 on the enneagram, which is known as “The Helper”.
In this comprehensive article, we will provide background on the origins and purpose of the enneagram, summarize the core traits of each of the nine enneagram types, explore what we can surmise about Jesus’ personality and motivations based on biblical accounts, and analyze which enneagram type Jesus aligns with most closely.
Background on the Enneagram System
Brief history and origins
The Enneagram system of personality types has uncertain and disputed origins. Most accounts date its beginnings to the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff and Oscar Ichazo in the mid-20th century. Gurdjieff was an influential spiritual teacher who taught sacred dances as a means to achieve higher states of consciousness.
Ichazo built on Gurdjieff’s teachings and pioneered the Enneagram system as we know it today, with the nine personality types organized symbolically around a circle diagram. Some evidence suggests that the Enneagram has roots in ancient wisdom, with possible origins in mystical Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
However, most modern Enneagram experts trace its beginnings to Gurdjieff and Ichazo’s schools of thought. While the exact origins are debated, the Enneagram has evolved over the last several decades into a popular framework for understanding personality, motivations, and patterns of behavior.
Purpose and benefits of the enneagram
The main purpose of the Enneagram is to serve as a tool for self-understanding and development. When properly understood, the Enneagram helps people recognize their core motivations, fears, and patterns of behavior.
It provides a framework to understand how people of different personality types process emotions, relate to others, and experience personal growth. Key benefits of the Enneagram include:
- Increased self-awareness: understanding your personality type helps you recognize subconscious motivations and blind spots.
- Empathy for others: learning about other types allows you to appreciate differences and communicate more effectively.
- Personal growth: your Enneagram type reveals areas for development and provides a “road map” for transformation.
- Relationships: understanding yourself and others improves relationships at home and work.
- Emotional intelligence: discovering your feelings and motivations builds self-understanding and maturity.
In short, the Enneagram is a powerful tool for cultivating self-knowledge, wisdom, and compassion on one’s journey toward wholeness.
How the nine types are determined
The nine Enneagram types are determined based on an individual’s core motivations, fears, and patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Each type has a distinct worldview and way of relating to others and the world around them. The determining factors for each type include:
|Type 1: The Reformer
|Living correctly, improving the world
|Being wrong, corrupt, evil
|Type 2: The Helper
|Being loved and needed
|Being unloved and unwanted
|Type 3: The Achiever
|Success, status, admiration
|Type 4: The Individualist
|Identity, feeling unique
|Having no identity, being ordinary
|Type 5: The Investigator
|Knowledge, understanding the world
|Being helpless, incompetent
|Type 6: The Loyalist
|Security, support, trust
|Being without support, guidance
|Type 7: The Enthusiast
|Joy, variety, spontaneity
|Being deprived, trapped in pain
|Type 8: The Challenger
|Influence, control, self-sufficiency
|Being violated, controlled by others
|Type 9: The Peacemaker
|Peace, harmony, stability
|Conflict, tension, loss of connection
Determining one’s dominant type involves self-observation and objective analysis by a trained Enneagram teacher. Looking at childhood patterns, core values, recurring thoughts, defense mechanisms, and instincts around fears and desires can help uncover one’s type.
The Enneagram points the way toward growth when one’s type is properly recognized.
Summaries of the Nine Enneagram Types
Type 1: The Reformer
Ones have a strong sense of right and wrong and feel compelled to improve the world. They are principled, purposeful, self-controlled perfectionists who desire to live righteous, ethical lives. Ones can be wise counselors known for their integrity, but their Black and White thinking can also make them rigid, impatient, and self-critical.
Their drive to improve can result in resentment of flaws they perceive in themselves and others. As the potential Enneagram type for Jesus, the principled, moral nature of the One would fit Christ’s perfectionism and desire for righteousness.
Type 2: The Helper
Twos are generous, caring people who aim to meet the needs of others. Compassionate and possessive in the healthiest sense, they are gifted in discerning and meeting people’s sometimes unspoken needs. Because they desire to be needed, imbalanced Twos can become overly intrusive in people’s lives in their attempts to “help,” resulting in enabling behaviors.
As a helper who cared deeply for people, Christ embodied some Type Two traits, but the extent to which Twos intrude likely goes beyond Jesus’ ministry approach.
Type 3: The Achiever
Goal oriented, image conscious Threes have high standards and work hard to succeed by gaining admiration from others. They conceal perceived flaws to maintain their image. Healthy Threes are extremely effective, while average Threes seek validation through status and recognition.
Unhealthy Threes can become hostile and vain if their efforts don’t result in the success they expect. As Christ often confronted the Pharisees’ boastful spirit, He would not relate to the more unhealthy traits of this type.
Type 4: The Individualist
Introspective, emotionally honest Fours feel they are different than others and desire to form a unique, personal identity. More than any other type, healthy Fours are in touch with their feelings and unashamed to express them.
This makes Fours insightful about the human condition, but also emotionally intense. Unhealthy Fours can become irrationally moody and dramatize or romanticize their problems. While Jesus was a great spiritual leader who courageously challenged religious hypocrisy, He avoided moodiness or excessive emotions.
Type 5: The Investigator
Analytical, detached Fives value knowledge and competency above all else. They prefer to observe the world from a distance without getting embroiled in social connections and drama. This self-reliance grants Fives exceptional objectivity and insight into technical complexities, but also makes average Fives overly private, pedantic, and secretive.
Fives’ heady approach prevents intimacy with God and others. As the most feeling-adverse type, Fives contradict Jesus’ compassionate, people-oriented ministry.
Type 6: The Loyalist
Questioning Sixes crave the security and support of trusting bonds, but also approach commitments with caution. They are reliable troubleshooters who thrive when given affirmation and reassurance. Without these anchors, average Sixes become overly defensive, reactive and self-doubting, while unhealthy Sixes catastrophize about worst-case scenarios.
While Jesus exemplified qualities like mentoring and responsibility valued by Sixes, His confident leadership overrides tendencies like risk aversion and indecisiveness associated with Sixes’ anxiety.
Type 7: The Enthusiast
Joyful Sevens have a contagious zest for life. They prefer to focus on the pleasurable possibilities rather than life’s painful aspects. Healthy Sevens generate multiple exciting options and follow whimsical inspiration.
Less grounded Sevens become overextended, uncommitted, and avoid pain to the point of denial. They also avoid spiritual depth and intimacy. Jesus carried an inspirational quality similar to Sevens, but His spiritual steadfastness contradicts the scatteredness that plagues imbalanced Sevens.
Type 8: The Challenger
Confident, action-oriented Eights have tremendous inner strength and a drive to impact their world. Self-assured and decisive, Eights are natural leaders who oppose anything they perceive as unjust. However, average Eights’ blunt style conveys unconscious hostility, while unhealthy Eights ruthlessly advance their agendas.
While Jesus demonstrated leadership and strength facing threats against His ministry, He avoided domineering, confrontational behaviors attributed to unhealthy Eights.
Type 9: The Peacemaker
Pleasant, laidback Nines go with the flow and cooperate to keep peace. They subtly influence others through steadiness, support, and diplomatic ability to see all sides. Nines’ avoidance of conflict helps maintain harmony, but also makes average Nines stubbornly disengaged and complacent about progress or personal growth.
Less healthy Nines can be apathetic or checked-out altogether. While Jesus pursued spiritual wholeness for all, His initiative and drive to spur character growth counters the resigned inertia displayed even in healthy Nines.
Exploring Jesus’ Personality and Motivations
Jesus’ teachings and message
Jesus’ teachings and messages focused on concepts like love, forgiveness, and faith. He emphasized loving one another, extending grace, and taking care of those in need. Many of his parables illustrated these themes through relatable stories that resonated with his followers.
At the core, Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God and living according to its values during one’s time on earth. His messages conveyed profound wisdom in simple and accessible ways for the common people of that era.
Jesus’ interactions with others
Throughout the scriptural accounts, Jesus is depicted as engaging people from all walks of life with compassion. His manner was kind yet bold in presenting hard spiritual truths. Jesus rebuked certain religious hypocrites yet had empathy and patience for struggling sinners with open hearts.
He had no issue interacting, even dining, with those rejected by the religious establishment like tax collectors and prostitutes. Jesus possessed the profound ability to see the brokenness in people but still recognize their dignity as human beings made in God’s image.
His interactions embodied servant leadership focused on humbly meeting the needs of others.
Statistics from a 2022 religious survey found that 67% of U.S. Christians say Jesus’ interactions with society’s outcasts, even more than his miracles or healings, reveal lessons for how to live.
Jesus’ values and sense of purpose
Jesus’ teachings centered on the value of things like faith, righteousness, justice, love for God and others. He conveyed an unwavering sense of purpose focused on fulfilling his Father’s redemptive plan for humanity.
Jesus modeled certain character virtues like courage under pressure and incredible resilience. His temperament reveals that Jesus walked in supernatural peace and certitude regarding his identity and mission on earth.
Eye-witness accounts describe how he consistently put others first with great humility and self-sacrificial love aimed at furthering God’s Kingdom purposes in people’s lives.
According to a 2018 study, 69% of Christians say Jesus died on the cross for the sins of all people. His sacrificial death for the salvation of humanity was the culmination of a God-ordained mission Jesus pursued with steadfast obedience unto death.
Determining Jesus’ Most Likely Enneagram Type
Analyzing type 1 (The Reformer)
Jesus exhibited some tendencies of the Enneagram type 1 personality, which is principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic. He had high ideals and standards, spoke out against hypocrisy and injustice, and wanted to reform society.
However, Jesus was not overly critical of others like some Ones can be. He showed grace and forgiveness readily. So while Jesus shared some traits with Ones, this was likely not his core Enneagram type.
Analyzing type 2 (The Helper)
The caring, generous, and people-pleasing traits of the Enneagram type 2 personality certainly align with Jesus’ compassionate ministry. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and welcomed outcasts. His profound love and sacrifice for others is very Two-like.
However, Twos can become manipulative or intrusive in their “helping,” and Jesus avoided those pitfalls. He maintained healthy boundaries. So while Jesus exemplified the virtues of Twos, it wasn’t a perfect match.
Analyzing type 3 (The Achiever)
While Jesus was a powerful teacher and leader who attracted crowds, he does not embody the image-conscious, status-seeking tendencies of the Enneagram type 3 personality. He often withdrew to quiet places and did not seem motivated by applause or fame.
Jesus taught humility and acted with authenticity, not the pretense and deception some Threes fall into. He also lacked the competitiveness of many Threes. So this Enneagram type seems inconsistent with Jesus’ character.
Analyzing other types
Looking at some other types briefly: Jesus did not exhibit the playfulness of Sevens, the confrontation of Eights, the withdrawal of Nines, or the eccentricity of Fours. He was self-sacrificing like healthy Twos, righteous like healthy Ones, and wise like healthy Fives, though no single type captures him fully.
Many conclude Jesus transcended Enneagram types, embodying the best virtues of all nine. He is the archetype the Enneagram system points to but cannot completely contain.
In conclusion, although there is no definitive way to ascertain Jesus’ personality type from the historical accounts, analyzing what we know about his motivations, behaviors, and sense of purpose strongly suggests Jesus aligned most closely with Type 2 on the Enneagram framework.
As one of the most well-known figures in history, exploring Jesus’ likely enneagram type offers insight into the intentions and qualities underlying his profound spiritual message that has endured for millennia.