I believe that Jesus understood life before living it and had His thoughts fully formed before He spoke.
Imagine that Jesus had the chance to take a modern personality inventory. What would the results look like? It’s a fascinating question.
The four Gospels show us a clear picture of how Jesus acted and reacted in a number of different situations. As a Myers-Briggs (MBTI) aficionado, I couldn’t help but wonder what would have been His type preferences.
Of course, it’s virtually impossible to know for sure since we can’t ask how He gets energy (E or I), how He processes information (S or N), how He makes decisions (F or T) or how He orients Himself to the outer world (P or J).
What we can do, though, is look at the Gospels and identify, from a number of situations, what His personality preferences might be.
1. Extroversion or Introversion
Let’s start with the first letter in MBTI. Extroversion (E) or Introversion (I). An extrovert is someone who gets energy from the outer world and is active, outgoing and focused on people and things. Consider extroverts as solar panels, constantly needing external source for recharge. Contrast that with introverts. Introverts get energy from his or her inner world and are reflective, focused on thoughts and concepts. These people process internally, thinking before they speak. Consider them as smart phones, recharged through being plugged in.
While Jesus can be seen as being outgoing, sociable and focused on people—which are all characteristics of a preference for extroversion—verses like Mark 1:35 demonstrate more introversion. It says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” This was after a busy day in which He shared the gospel in the synagogues and healed people. Again, in Mark 6:46 it says, “After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.”
I believe that Jesus needed this time alone, not only to communicate with God, but also to energize Himself, either to prepare for what was to come, as in Mark 1:35, or to immediately recharge Himself after time with others, as in Mark 6:46. I also believe He understood life before living it and had His thoughts fully formed before He spoke. These are all hallmarks of introversion.
In conclusion, I’d say Jesus is more of an Introvert (I).
2. Sensing or Intuition
The second letter is either Sensing (S) or Intuition (N), how people process information. Sensors make up 70% of the American population. They are realists who focus more on the present and past than the future and also focus on factual and concrete information. In other words, they tend to see the trees rather than the forest.
Contrast this with Intuitives. Intuitives focus on the why, the vision and future possibilities. They have a propensity to see patterns, associations and connections between facts. In other words, they tend to see the forest rather than the trees. Intuitives make up only 30% of the population.
Though Jesus definitely focused on the importance of each person and had a keen eye for details, what stands out to me more strongly is His focus on the big picture and the future. In Mark 1:17, for instance, we are told that, “’Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’” He saw not only who his disciples were, but who they could and would become.
His abstract teaching style is also indicative of an Intuitive. Jesus spoke mostly in parable. For example, in the Parable of the Sower, Jesus taught about farming, which was a regular and prominent aspect of people’s lives. However, would they naturally make the connection between a farmer sowing seeds and God sowing His word into people’s hearts? Mark 4:10 indicates that this parable wasn’t well understood, fitting with the presumption that most of His hearers had a preference for sensing.
In conclusion, I’d say Jesus is more of an Intuitive (N).
3. Feeler or Thinker
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Once we take in information, we use it to make decisions in life. Here, the letters are either Thinking (T) or Feeling (F). Thinkers have a preference for making decisions based on objective facts and impersonal criteria. They seek rational order, logic and value justice and fairness supremely. Feelers, on the other hand, make decisions based on personal values and motives. They value kindness and harmony supremely.
In John 8:3-11, Jesus had an encounter with a woman caught in adultery who, according to the Law of Moses, deserved to be stoned. Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). After the scribes and Pharisees walked away, Jesus told the woman that He did not condemn her, either.
To me, this is a clear indication of a preference for feeling. Justice, valued by thinking types, would have most likely leaned toward her being stoned. But kindness, valued by feeling types, liberated her from the sin that had ensnared her.
At the same time, Jesus often fought against tradition, complacency and the status quo. This is demonstrated in Mark 11:15-18 when He overturned the tables of the moneychangers in the temple and in Mark 12:38 when He warned people to be aware of the scribes.
In conclusion, I’d say Jesus is more of a Feeler (F).
4. Judger or Perceiver
Last but not least, the final letter is about your orientation to life and the world. This is Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). This is the perhaps the most debatable one. Judging types value structure, systems and control. They like to have a systematic plan. They enjoy setting goals, organizing, scheduling and deciding. In contrast, perceivers tend to let life happen and make last minute decisions. They enjoying know all the options possible.
Jesus shows the characteristics of a judging type in that He seemed to have a clear plan for life. He knew what His purpose was from the very beginning of His ministry, if not from the very beginning of His life. Yet, like a perceiving type, He also seemed to be flexible and able to shift gears quickly, not minding terribly when His plans were interrupted. In Mark 6:31, Jesus invited the apostles to join Him in escaping to a lonely place for some rest. But a crowd of people met them there and, having compassion on them, Jesus taught them instead of resting.
It might be anyone’s guess what the fourth letter in Jesus’ type code was. Perhaps He did not have a clear preference. But I once read that judgers focus on responsibility while perceivers focus on discovery, two very different life purposes. When looked at this way, I believe His preference, though perhaps only slight or moderate, was titled towards judging.
So, here’s my conclusion based on what I’ve read from the scriptures. Jesus had preferences for INFJ or perhaps INTJ, INFP or INTP. This might explain why He stood out like a sore thumb. INFJ is the rarest of the MBTI types, making up only 1-2% of the American population.
Again, let me remind you that we all flex between introversion and extraversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling and judging and perceiving as appropriate to the situation.