Did Jesus have a particular personality?

I have often heard people say, “since Jesus was God, he could be whatever personality type was needed in a specific situation.” However, I question this statement.

First of all, it seems to me that the doctrine of the Incarnation requires particularity. To become a human being requires taking on particular characteristics, because particularity is part of what it means to be a human being. Jesus had, like we have, a particular hair color. A particular eye color. A particular height and weight. Particular talents, particular predilictions, particular favorite foods, particular sleeping habits, particular likes and dislikes, humanly speaking. And if so, why should we consider it incredible that he had a particular human personality?

In addition, if Jesus could be any personality type he wanted, he would have would been exempt from many of the struggles that you and I face, as particular and limited and constrained people. Would the writer of Hebrews really be correct, then, to say that Christ “had to be made like his brothers in every way” (Hebrews 2:17)? Would the WCF be right to assert that Christ did “take upon Him man’s nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof?” Our creeds and confessions say that Christ is fully human. But isn’t there something super-human about being able to turn into different personalities to fit different situations?

I don’t think we we can know with certainty which personality Jesus had, whether measuring by the Meyer’s Brigg personality test (as in the above picture) or another personality test. But we can know that he lived in that particularity without any sin, so he knows fully how to help us in our particular struggles and particular sins.

Thoughts?

5 Comments

  1. Dane Ortlund

    I agree Gav. Viewing Jesus as God-become-man but without the concrete particulars (and limitations!) of a specific personality would be, for us coffee drinkers, the equivalent of decaffeinating the incarnation.

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  2. Todd Gwennap

    Gavin,Good thoughts, man. I heard someone say that very thing recently, and I flinched big-time. There’s a monophysite tendency behind that statement, where Jesus’ divine nature makes him some kind of superhuman without any particular human limitations.I think you nailed it, though. The incarnation requires a fully human Jesus, one with a particular personality type (that Dr. Douglass could probably nail), particular appearance, particular accent, particular habits, etc. To think otherwise is to, as your brother so expertly put it, decaffeinating the incarnation.

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  3. ErinOrtlund

    A while back, I read a book on ministry and personality. The authors said they thought Jesus was likely an INFP or INFJ. Interesting anyway!I think personality is fascinating, although there are always limitations to tests like the Myers-Briggs. I wonder about whether our personality influences how we read certain Scriptures, what kind of sermons and books most inspire us, and what we think is most important to communicate to others.

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  4. Noah D.

    Great thoughts, my good man. I wholeheartedly agree with you that to be fully human, Jesus must have taken on a real, specific human personality. I don’t know if being a perfect person means that his personality was in some way more perfect than ours, but it seems that it certainly had to be fully human. Erin is certainly very insightful to point out that our personality types may influence us greatly in what moves us spiritually. I have often noticed that I, to my detriment, take strongly to scripture verses that seem to reinforce what I already like and think (taking joy in God, for example) and tend to skip over or ignore verses that are much harder for me to deal with (the importance of personal discipline, for example). Thanks to all of you for the insightful and challenging thoughts. May God be greatly glorified.

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  5. Anonymous

    Jesus could change anything at anytime, to fit the needs of others, as he has did
    so many times in the Holy Bible, the stories are endless, and proof is there for
    all to share.

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