13 Christian personality types


I’ve recently posted on 8 biblical personality types, which describe all people. Narrowing the focus to Christian believers, I believe that 1st Peter provides four categories which define 13 Christian personality types. The four categories are:

  1. Faith in Christ (1 Peter 1:7 the tested genuineness of your faith)
  2. Affection for Christ (1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him)
  3. Knowledge of Christ (1 Peter 1:10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully)
  4. Obedience to Christ (1 Peter 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth)

These four categories, or aspects of Christian life, are distinct yet inter-relate:

The 13 sections of the above diagram can be named and described. The first 8 are simple, the last 5 need some description:

  1. The dependent (faith) “I trust in Christ”
  2. The romantic (affection) “I love Christ”
  3. The academic (knowledge and study) “I know Christ”
  4. The worker (obedience) “I serve Christ”
  5. The Christ-centred dreamer (faith + affection)
    “I love and trust Christ”
  6. The hard-working lover (affection + obedience)
    “I love and serve Christ”
  7. The moral student (knowledge + obedience)
    “I know and serve Christ”
  8. The clever closet Christian (knowledge + faith)
    “I know and trust Christ”
  9. The tender-hearted soldier (faith + affection + obedience)
    “I love, trust and serve Christ but lack deep knowledge of him”
    This person exudes a warmth and unshakable confidence in Christ, they serve him at church and in the world but lack a depth of knowledge which appears naive others. This person needs to spend more time reading, thinking, studying to expand their knowledge of Christ. Many charismatics come across this way.
  10. The unsure servant (affection + obedience + knowledge)
    “I love, serve and know Christ but lack confidence in him”
    This person comes across as sincere about Christ and yet is timid and unsure of him. People will ask, “why are you not more confident in Christ?” This lack of confidence undermines both the pastoral work and evangelism of this person as promises which are not applied personally are unlikely to be applied to others.
  11. The cold crusader (obedience + knowledge + faith)
    “I serve, know deeply and trust Christ but lack tenderness and love.”
    This person is strong, moral, trusting but lacks affection and is therefore emotionally blunt. Many conservative evangelical men are like this.
  12. The keen but lawless (knowledge + faith + affection)
    “I know Christ deeply, trust him completely and love him passionately but my sinful desires overpower me”
    This person needs self-control but lacks the desire to be obedient because their passions and desires are more pleasing to them than their desire to please God. This sort of person is not necessarily a liberal, but many liberals would fit this box.
  13. The complete Christian (knowledge + faith + obedience + affection)
    “I know Christ deeply, trust him completely, love him dearly and overcome my sinful desires.”
    This is where all Christians should aim for. As John Piper says “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him” by satisfaction I take it he means “fully trusting in Christ with complete knowledge of Christ which results in total obedience to Christ and deep, deep love for Christ and others.”

The startling thing about 1st Peter is the call to be the complete Christian in a hostile world. The question that arises from this for ministers like me is, “in which areas and in what ways am I lacking?” and then we must ask the same question for our congregations.

For more posts like this see Transforming Grace Venn diagram posts

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23 Responses to 13 Christian personality types

  1. M says:

    Thank you so much. I googled about how to be pure in heart, and one of the sites that helped me significantly was yours. I was in desperation to learn how to be pure, and I now have some direction, thanks to the Lord, and your website, as well as two others. I also surfed your pages, and sadly found where I am lacking on the 13 personality types page. God bless you and thank you for putting up your site for the world.
    M.

  2. Myrrh says:

    This is fascinating. I need to chew on it and come back…

  3. Anderson says:

    Dear Neil,
    I enjoyed reading 8 Biblical personality types, and now the 13 Christian personality types. I was wondering if you are ok with me adapting them in a sermon format, so that I can preach to our congregation.
    Thanks!

  4. Nicky says:

    Hi Neil, never thought about it quite like that. Brilliant!

  5. neilrobbie says:

    Hi Nicky, I hope things are going well for you in Stafford and I’m glad you found this helpful.

    With love

    Neil

  6. robin ho says:

    found this very helpful. thanks

  7. Rhonda says:

    Fascinating. This might have application to Christian life coaches also.

    • neilrobbie says:

      Hi Rhonda. Welcome to TG. Feel free to pinch it, there’s no copyright on God’s word or wisdom. How do Christian Life Coaches differ from plain old pastors like me?

  8. Danger with this is you miss two types – 2+3 & 1+4 which also correspond to people in the real world.

  9. neilrobbie says:

    Hi John, thank you and welcome to TG. I hadn’t spotted the missing types, which would be something like:

    2+3 The devoted learner
    affection + knowledge of Christ

    1+4 The determined activist
    Obedience + faith in Christ

  10. DeMorrieaux says:

    This is great… beautiful.
    Will definitely pass this on for/to others to read.
    Great! Many thanks :)

  11. neilrobbie says:

    hi DeMorrieaux, thank you for your encouraging comments. God bless and keep blogging. Neil

  12. Great post! I am into personality types so I appreciate how you drew from that to demonstrate common ways that Christians are incomplete.
    I think the types to which I can relate the most are the “devoted learner” and the “clever closet Christian”. While I nurture a passion to teach Christians, I feel anxious about sharing that knowledge with people who aren’t. I would love it if you could write a blurb for the closet Christian – not because I NEED it in order to figure out how to become more complete or anything, but just out of interest… ;)

  13. Zach Luschen says:

    This post is very interesting and helpful. I have an interest into personality psychology and personality types. Though this got me to question in curiosity: Is this to assess to understand only myself, to assess and understand others, or is it both?

  14. Paul Prudhomme says:

    Hey Neil, I got Unsure Servant. I used to have more confidence, but lost it. What could I do to get back my confidence in Christ?

  15. bernicium says:

    Reblogged this on bernicium and commented:
    I’m in love, obedient, and my faith and knowledge have really been growing :)

  16. I like this a lot, and will continue to think about it.

    The best demonstration I can conceive of the 15 types thing (earlier comment from John and Robyn) is a 3D representation. Imagine a triangular pyramid formed from four identical equilateral triangles. The four corners (three at the base and one peak) are types one to four. At the midpoint of the six edges are the combinations of two basic types at each of their ends, 1+4, 1+3, 1+2, 2+4, 2+3, 3+4. The four faces (middle of them) are the four possible combinations of the three basic types at their corners, 1+2+3, 1+2+4, 2+3+4, 1+3+4. The centre of the pyramid is the only point in the whole of space from which the four corners are equidistant, demonstrating the balance of types in the finished article.

    The only small problem is that on a 2D screen/page that model is totally rubbish because you’d need to draw it in perspective and at least twice to show all the faces. Unless you did it as a cut out and make project for the artistically minded.

    The considerably larger issue is the invisibility of the centre point, which is after all the most important.

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