The Bible and Personality Differences

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Introduction

Different individuals respond to emotional stimuli in different ways even when they are exposed to the same environment. The concept of personality means the individual differences in the patterns of behaving, feeling, and thinking, and it attempts to explain how people respond differently to emotional stimuli. Studies have shown that the different backgrounds such as how, where, and when a person was brought up play an important role in personality differences. In addition, studies have shown the people’s experiences, economic, social, cultural, and geographical backgrounds, values, and beliefs contribute to personality differences (Roux & Härtel, 2018). Consequently, when different individuals come together in such settings as school or workplace, they tend to bring diverse personality differences. As a result, there are different expectations based on individual differences in such a setting, which can lead to such challenges as conflicts between the different members of that group. Human resource professionals apply the basic understanding of personality differences in managing employees and their behaviours (Roux & Härtel, 2018). In this view, the human resource professionals are aware that the best way to understand the different employees is to become more self-aware. According to Feize and Faver (2019), self-awareness starts with a curiosity around the understanding of others as a means of developing insights into a person’s own behaviour. The deeper the insight that one has about himself or herself, the more effective will be the interactions with others in a given setting. Nevertheless, becoming high self-aware takes a long time as it is a lifelong process. It is worth noting that the ability to interact understand the differences in other people’s ways of responding to emotional stimuli has a major impact on one’s career (Attig, Wessel, & Franke, 2017). Understanding other people’s differences in response to emotional stimuli must start with a healthy self-concept, which in turn determines a person’s behavior. When people have a high degree of self-awareness, they are likely to be at peace with themselves and have great patience and understanding of others.

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The Bible is perhaps one of the oldest books that address personality differences and personality theory in various ways. Although scholars agree that Hippocrates is the original creator of personality theory, Prophet Isaiah of the Old Testament had addressed the same theory more than 200 years before even though he did not mention the word personality (Wiederwax, 2018). In his address to the people of Israel, Prophet Isaiah states that for them a child is to be born and he will be called “Wonderful Counsellor, Everlasting Father, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace”. Even though this writing does not refer to personality differences, it clearly shows that Isaiah was aware of the personality of imperfect humans and the four-fold personality of God or Jesus (Wiederwax, 2018). Apart from this passage, many other instances in the Bible address the personality differences of the imperfect man, albeit indirectly as there is no mention of the term ‘personality differences’. Consequently, the aim of this paper is to examine how the scriptures address the concept of personality differences or personality problems.

Description of How Bible Addresses Personality Differences

Personality encompasses a person’s relatively stable thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns and it is what differentiates a person from others. Understanding the personality of a person gives clues about how that particular individual is likely to act and feel in a certain situation (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016). However, it is worth noting that personality changes or evolves with time as a person grows from childhood to adulthood as a result of exposure to different environments, style of parenting, society, school, successes and failures, and other life events (Banaei, et al., 2020). For example, various studies reveal that people generally become emotionally stable between the ages of 20 and 40 but their openness to new experiences declines during the same period (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016). Furthermore, studies show that career successes and job satisfaction achieved later in life result from a person’s childhood personality.

One of the major topics of debate and research in personality theory is whether the personality of a person has an impact on the behavior and behavior patterns of that particular individual. Some researchers have shown that the behavior of a person depends on his or her personality, especially at the workplace, school, or other social settings (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016). On the contrary, there is a wide volume of literature from research that disputes the view that people’s behavior depends on their personalities (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016). For example, having an outgoing and sociable personality can encourage one to seek friends and feel comfortable in social situations. Nevertheless, this does not imply that such a person’s personality will have an immediate behavior such as in a workplace. Consequently, there is evidence that people’s behavior depends on what is expected of them as opposed to how an individual wants to behave. At the same time, it is important to note that a high level of freedom allows personality to become a strong influencer of an individuals’ behavior.

A popular method of understanding how personality may influence or impact a person’s behavior is to focus on personality traits and the behaviors associated with each trait. By definition, personality traits are relatively enduring characteristics that influence the behavior of people across different situations (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016). For instance, such personality traits as friendliness, helpfulness, honesty, introversion, and conscientiousness can explain consistencies in a person’s behavior.

Authoritarianism is a behavior trait that encompasses a cluster of traits such as toughness, conventionalism, superstition, and exaggerated concerns with sexuality. People with these traits are likely to exhibit such behaviors as prejudice, conformation in leadership, and rigidity in approach to various matters (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016). In the Bible, there are various verses that deal with authoritarianism personality traits in different ways. One of the most cited personality traits associated with authoritarianism behavior is obedience to God and leaders. In Hebrews 13:17, Paul tells the people to obey and submit to their leaders because a leader keeps watching over the followers’ souls. Paul also states that people should be subject to the governing authorities, arguing that all authority comes from God who institutes the leaders (Romans 13:1) (King James Bible, 1769/2017). In Luke 22:26, Paul tells the people to be humble even if they are great or leaders stating, “Let the greatest among you become the smallest and the leader become the person who serves” (King James Bible, 1769/2017). This means that the scriptures want both the leaders and their followers to assume the behaviors of servants such that each group obeys and serves the other. Also, the Bible expresses the need for authoritarianism at the family and society levels as it emphasizes the need for young people to obey and conform to the leadership of the elders. In 1 Peter 5:5, Paul states that the young people should be subject to the elders and avoid pride (King James Bible, 1769/2017). Paul says, “Clothe yourselves with humility because God hates the proud but graces those who are humble”. Furthermore, the Bible emphasizes the need for people in power or with authority over others to avoid such authoritarian behaviors as oppressing and domineering over the subjects. For instance, in 1 Peter 5:3, Paul says that leaders should not domineer over those in their charge but be good examples to the flock (King James Bible, 1769/2017). Consequently, it is clear that the scriptures expect leaders to assume such behaviors as leading by good examples and in turn, the people to obey and be subjected to those in authority.

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Individualism-collectivism is another personality trait that affects how people behave in a given situation. By definition, individualism is the tendency to focus on personal goals and welfare while collectivism is the focus on the relationship with others (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016). People with individualistic personality traits assume behaviors that make them stand out from others (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016). On the contrary, people with collectivist personality traits assume behaviors that focus on their similarity with others. In the Bible, there is evidence that God opposes individualistic people who only think about themselves. For example, all believers everywhere are called “one body” and are inseparably linked to each other (Romans 12:3-8; Corinthians 12:12-13) (King James Bible, 1769/2017). Similarly, the scriptures undermine a truly collective society or worldview. Indeed, the society in the Roman era was very collectivist, which probably prompted Jesus to call individuals to follow him, even though it was likely to cause outrage in their families. For example, in Mathew 10:34-39, Jesus tells his disciples that they should not assume that he has come to the earth to bring peace (King James Bible, 1769/2017). Rather, he has come to the world to bring a sword because he will turn men against their fathers and women against their mothers and a person’s enemies will be members of his family. He argues that any person who loves his parents more than God is not his follower.

Another example of a personality trait that affects human behavior is self-esteem, which means having a positive attitude towards the self and personal capabilities. People with this personality trait are likely to have a variety of behaviors that demonstrate self-awareness and self-respect (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016). They are likely to have high regard for the self and positive health and psychological outcomes. Such people express such behaviors as pride in what they do, self-confidence, believing in themselves, and feel liked and accepted in their societies (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016). The scriptures generally emphasize the need for behaviors associated with self-esteem personalities such as courageousness and braveness. For example, when leading the Israelites in capturing the land of Canaan, Joshua told his soldiers to remain strong and courageous. He states, “I have commanded you. You must be courageous and strong. Do not be afraid and discouraged because the Lord will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9) (King James Bible, 1769/2017). In essence, the scriptures assure people to have high self-esteem because they are under the guidance and protection of God.

Having different personalities in a team, especially in a workplace, has both advantages and disadvantages to the team itself and the organization in general. Nevertheless, the advantages of such a situation outdo the disadvantages, implying that having different personalities and temperaments is good for the workplace. First, different personalities and temperaments lead to better quality decisions in the workplace because the individuals in the team working together have different perspectives on situations and problems (Ayub, et al., 2017). If all members of a team see a problem, in the same way, the likelihood of generating new ideas to solve the issue is minimal. In contrast, people with different views of the problem are likely to have different approaches and generate new ideas to solve the issue.

Secondly, different personalities and temperaments in a team ensure effective team roles. If all the members of the team have similar personalities, they are likely to encounter many challenges such as difficulties in sharing ideas in a situation where all members have dominant personalities (Ayub, et al., 2017). On the contrary, a group with different personalities is likely to have members who can play different roles within the work process.

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Moreover, different personalities and temperaments lead to greater work production in a team because each personality type has distinct strengths. When people with different personalities are familiar with each other, it is possible to build a cohesive and capable team and delegate tasks based on individual strengths (Mone & London, 2018). Creative behaviors are likely to contribute to innovative thoughts and ideas, practical approaches to issues, and good time schedules.

The major problem associated with the presence of different personalities and temperaments in a team is conflict. Because each member of the team has distinct views of the issues or problems at hand, it is likely that many ideas and thoughts will emerge (Mone & London, 2018). In such a situation, each person will prefer his or her ideas be applied in solving the problem and is less likely to accept the ideas or thoughts that other members provide. Therefore, it is likely that a conflict of ideas and thoughts will dominate, which can lead to conflicts between the individuals and a reduction in productivity.

Research on communication in the workplace provides evidence that different personalities and temperaments improve communication. Such personality traits as extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and assertiveness tend to increase the chance of the members communicating with each other in the group in the workplace (Mone & London, 2018). Similarly, research has shown that individual members with high self-esteem are highly likely to communicate with the other members of the team (Russell & Woods, 2020). However, it is also worth noting that emotions affect communication in that people with anger are more likely to communicate while those with fear are less likely to express their thoughts, which can decrease communication.

Research also reveals that different personalities and temperaments in a team affect team management and effectiveness. In a team where there are no relationship builders, the bond between the members is likely to be very weak (Mone & London, 2018). Building strong bonds and relationships between the members of a team is the most effective way of managing a team. Since different personalities and temperaments improve communication, it is likely that managing a team with these aspects will be easy (Mone & London, 2018). Indeed, members who communicate with each other are likely to develop strong relationships between them, which make it easy to manage the entire team.

A team that has effective communication because of differences in personalities and temperaments is also likely to improve its performance. According to studies, performance management highly depends on the character traits of the individuals in a team (John Bernardin, et al., 2016). By definition, performance management is the process of ensuring that a set of tasks and outputs are in line with the goals of an organization in an efficient and effective manner (Mone & London, 2018). A team that has members with different personalities and temperaments is likely to have strong bonds and relationships between the individuals. In addition, they are likely to have diverse approaches to problems and issues, implying that the number of new ideas and thoughts is likely to be high (Mone & London, 2018). Therefore, they are also likely to have a good understanding of the organizational goals. If the members understand the organizational goals, then they are in a position to develop ideas and solutions that are able to meet those goals.

The rationale for creating differing personality types in the workplace is based on the fact that no personality type is the best or better than the other. The creation of differing personality types is based on Carl Jung’s theory that ego represents the conscious mind because it comprises the memories, emotions, and thoughts of an individual. According to this view, the ego is responsible for the feelings of continuity and identity. In addition, every person has a primary function and a dominant attitude and none is better than the rest. When life attitudes and functions are combined, eight personality types are developed as seen in the Jung Topology Test. When developing the theory, Carl Jung argued that evil is not eternal or co-equal with good and personality traits are not always equal with each other but can compete. This can be seen in Psalm 92:15 and John 1:4-5 which state that when God is there, then there is no evil.

From the Jung Typology Test, I realized that I am an INTJ because my personality traits are introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging. This finding is true because I am a tactician who likes perfecting things, applying creativity and rationalizing everything I do. These traits are highly effective in healthcare because doctors, nurses, and other professions in the field should be analytical, perfectionists, intuitive, thoughtful, and judgmental in their work. Because healthcare professionals work to improve the wellbeing of the human body, it is important that they use evidence from practice and apply their knowledge at work. They should be thoughtful and intuitive as they seek solutions to health problems such as diseases affecting the human body. In addition, they should be tacticians with the ability to employ knowledge and data to design and implement strategies for improving human health.

Conclusion

The Bible supports the existence of different personalities and temperaments in society. Various verses and chapters in the Bible consider different personalities as part of God’s creation. However, the scriptures emphasize the need for the positive behaviors that result from personalities, including respect to leadership, respect to followers, respect to the self, and respect to the creator. The Jung Topology Test results show that I am an INTJ, which reflects the reality because I demonstrate most of the traits in the results. In the healthcare sector, this personality is important as it shows the ability to improve performance, apply data and knowledge, and use skills to improve healthcare outcomes.

References

Attig, C., Wessel, D., & Franke, T. (2017, July). Assessing personality differences in human-technology interaction: An overview of key self-report scales to predict successful interaction. In International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (pp. 19-29). Springer, Cham.

Ayub, N., AlQurashi, S. M., Al-Yafi, W. A., & Jehn, K. (2017). Personality traits and conflict management styles in predicting job performance and conflict. International Journal of Conflict Management, 28(5), 671-694. Web.

Banaei, M., Ahmadi, A., Gramann, K., & Hatami, J. (2020). Emotional evaluation of architectural interior forms based on personality differences using virtual reality. Frontiers of Architectural Research, 9(1), 138-147. Web.

Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2016). Personality and individual differences. John Wiley & Sons.

Feize, L., & Faver, C. (2019). Teaching self-awareness: Social work educators’ endeavors and struggles. Social Work Education, 38(2), 159-176. Web.

John Bernardin, H., Thomason, S., Ronald Buckley, M., & Kane, J. S. (2016). Rater rating‐level bias and accuracy in performance appraisals: The impact of rater personality, performance management competence, and rater accountability. Human Resource Management, 55(2), 321-340. Web.

King James Bible. (2017). Cambridge University Press. (Original work published 1769).

Mone, E. M., & London, M. (2018). Employee engagement through effective performance management: A practical guide for managers. Routledge.

Roux, M., & Härtel, C. E. (2018). The cognitive, emotional, and behavioral qualities required for leadership assessment and development in the new world of work. In Individual, Relational, and Contextual Dynamics of Emotions. Emerald Publishing Limited.

Russell, E., & Woods, S. A. (2020). Personality differences as predictors of action-goal relationships in work-email activity. Computers in Human Behavior, 103, 67-79. Web.

Wiederwax, S. (2018). Basic training for spiritual warfare: The personality of God. Christian Faith Publishing, Inc.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "The Bible and Personality Differences." October 31, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/the-bible-and-personality-differences/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "The Bible and Personality Differences." October 31, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/the-bible-and-personality-differences/.


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PsychologyWriting. "The Bible and Personality Differences." October 31, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/the-bible-and-personality-differences/.