Transforming Your Temperament: A Study in Personalities

Part One - Overview and Basic Personalities

We hear a lot in today's society about therapy and trying to discover our "true" selves. But how does this figure into a Christian's life? How can we be individuals but all fit together as believers to do the work of the church? I strongly believe that God gave each one of us a unique and wonderful personality that allows us to serve Him in a special way. We are all different but it is the differences that compliment one another and help us to fit, not unlike puzzle pieces, to form the body of believers. This is what I would like to explore in a several part series: Temperaments & Personality. We will also explore examples in Scripture, find the roadblocks to our success and how to overcome them. I hope this will be insightful and helpful for you in your Christian walk. This study is based, in part, on a Bible study that a dear pastor friend of mine, Frank Hayward, wrote and taught. This study was called 20/20 Vision and I later adapted the study for my own use, with his permission. **Disclaimer** I know many Christians are uncomfortable with the personality/ temperament testing or psycho-analysis. Some believe it is an excuse for us to not follow God's commands/ will. (Ex.: "I can't do this or change that because it's just my personality.") I personally find temperament studies to be motivating. It helps me to understand where my strengths/weaknesses lie and, how, through God's great love and wisdom, I can change to better serve Him. 1

Are you quiet and slow to speak? 6. buoyant. Do you have a high emotional response? 5. and easy going. (Introvert) Simple Temperament Test There are many different personality/temperament tests. perfectionist. quick-talker? 3. If people don't see you as you see yourself then you must take careful consideration. Take into consideration your mood. Self-sufficient and very independent. lively and enjoys life. selfsacrificing. slow. practical. Has a good retentive mind. and very sensitive. He/she is analytical. Enjoys people. Making a Determination Way #1: You may try to determine your primary and secondary temperament by how you see yourself. Enjoys people and is never at a loss for words. (Extrovert) MELANCHOLIC: Richest of all the temperaments. By nature an introvert. I take my information primarily from the Tim LaHaye books. Are you an extrovert or introvert? 2. choleric. Often succeeds where others fail. I plan to focus on the primary temperament rather than all the blends. Is decisive and opinionated. active. There are variants and one person may have certain percentages or some or all of the temperaments. To do this it would be wise to ask several people in order to get an average idea of your temperament. (For example. (Extrovert) CHOLERIC: Hot. (Introvert) PHLEGMATIC: Calm. quick. remember that any test is only as good as the subject taking it. Doesn't get upset easily. and phlegmatic. Do you have to apologize frequently? 4. but shows a variety of moods. Makes friends easily. Be honest with yourself.) But for the purposes of this study. and strong-willed. 35% sanguine and 5% phlegmatic. Feelings dominate his decisions. He also goes further in the study to determine that we don't all have just one temperament. then you may be trying to make yourself something you aren't. someone may test at 60% choleric. He finds there are four basic temperaments: sanguine. Way #2: You may also make the determination by how others see you. has a very high boiling point. If your score is in marked contrast. Are you a good speller? 2 . you need to consider whether you see yourself as other do.Basic Overview of the Temperaments SANGUINE: Warm. A Simple Test 1. melancholic. Are you a spontaneous. As you begin. Taking a test like this may depend greatly on your feelings at that time. cool. Final determination: After doing the above. Tends to be a spectator watching others. gifted.

Transformed Temperaments. the Apostle of Love The choleric. Transforming Your Temperament: Biblical Example of a Choleric Paul. Not all cholerics lack balance. this tends toward the extreme. the Biblical Examples. (Keep in mind these are generalities.php. Do you get depressed easily? If your answer to question 1 was extrovert and you answered yes to 2-4 -SANGUINE If your answer to question 1 was extrovert and you answered yes to only one of 24 -CHOLERIC If your answer to 1 was introvert and answered yes to 5-8 -MELANCHOLIC If your answer to 1 was introvert and you said yes to 5 and you don't get depressed often (8) –PHLEGMATIC You may also want to take this test: http://www. Now that you've found your primary temperament. is vastly They want to straighten out the problem immediately. including the blends. Taylor Spirit-Controlled Temperament by Tim LaHaye Transformed Temperaments by Tim LaHaye Why You Act the Way You Do by Tim LaHaye Part Two -Transforming Your Temperament 1. Cholerics get right to the point. It gives a more specific temperament breakdown. let's move on to part two. though an extrovert temperament like the sanguine.oneishy. Do you do well at math and detail? 8. For further reading in the temperaments & other great resources: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman The Disciplined Life by Richard S.) Here are some other aspects of a choleric: 3 .7.

but fail to show love. too often and too much. but not usually brilliant. They have poor handwriting.. If pointed in the right direction. cholerics hate yard work but when they do it. On his way to Damascus. Shopping: They are not fond of shopping and will only do it when they have to. and have curious minds. Bill Paying: They like to pay bills on time. Acts 8:1 Every inch of Saul was driven. strong-willed and goal oriented. Driving: They are speed demons on the road. Study Habits: Cholerics are clever. A practical activist. They are poor spellers. He even breathed out threats of slaughter. he could be greatly used. If Saul's commitment hasn't changed he could well have become a real scourge to the church. Like things orderly. it is usually in a frenzy. but must really work at it. He was a Jewish leader who was quite well connected. Speaking: They speak freely but with more deliberation than sanguines. literature and psychology. They will usually over-buy. Everyone feared Saul of Tarsus. Acts 9:1-2 Every inch of Saul was hot. Hard to please. When he heard Stephen speaking. Let's see where that pride of station and standing got him. Everything is cut to the same level and a simple yard is best. the Apostle Paul was known as Saul before his conversion. he was sure to be hot-tempered. Don't care if the checkbook doesn't balance exactly. They like history. all the while talking.. Discipline: They want to run their home like a boot camp. He was well educated and probably a leader of the group that killed Stephen.) Not all Jews could boast citizenship in the Roman Empire. Constantly ask why and love charts. and cruel. Saul of Tarsus Committed. Yard Care: Generally. For those not as familiar with this character. He also had the distinction of being a Roman citizen. fast readers. assure and build up children. Capable. Can be good parents. Need to encourage. they like to make up for lost time. (This afforded him even more standing socially and politically in that day. Always tell children what they expect. Acts 7:54. Every inch of Saul was choleric. Acts 9:1. he was a crusader and a religious zealot. 4 . diagrams and graphs. Usually spank too hard. Now let's look at the example of Saul/Paul from the New Testament.Eating Habits: They seldom change what they eat and will bolt it down in big chunks. They love to give orders. Acts 9:1-2 Every inch of Saul had goals. harsh. geography.

his mind would be set and determined and his heart would be fixed. he had to speak out on Mars Hill. 9:1-3 He showed compassion and concern while feeling the needs of others. Acts 20:34. 5 . his guards became his captives. Paul couldn't tolerate quitters. Consistent. He was consistent in his humility and served the Lord humbly. He refused payment and made tents. Paul couldn't quit preaching. Paul of Damascus Control. his heart burned. Philippians 4:11-12 He had to rely on the Lord for strength. Paul couldn't quit being self-sufficient and being independent. I Corinthians 9:24-27. Temperament Transformation: Choleric The Choleric will need 7 fruits or strengths of the Holy Spirit. In Athens. Felix. his writing would be very practical as he was probably part melancholy. See Romans 10:1. When being examined by Tertullus. and Agrippa he took command. If pointed to faith. He kept his thinking right. Paul became a dynamic leader for good. not living in the past. If pointed to serve. the prisoner became the captain and saved the ship. When in prison. 15:39. People either loved Paul or hated him. He was consistent in his love and tenderness. He lived a surrendered life. He would be determined to live a life of faith. He would be highly motivated to honor the lord. his strong will would keep him going when things were hard. Acts 17. He felt peace even while in jail. Acts 27:21-25. On board the ship. Acts 13:13. Under God's control. It caused sharp contention. Choleric. II Corinthians 12:7.If pointed to the truth.

is there anything you can identify with Paul? 2. This is not only a wonderful peek into their lives but a hope for what our lives could be like when fully committed to God.that replaces activity.that replaces pride.compassion to replace insensitivity and a lack of showing love. but in God. Questions to Think About: 1. a great talker and charming but erratic and often spoke/acted without thinking. God gave us such rich examples and illustrations in Scripture.a great patriarch but who was. at times. is the character you equate yourself to. Joy. Whether you have a choleric temperament or not. the Man of Hope If you had to choose. what does this mean to you? 2. Peace. Goodness. indecisive and faithless? Or perhaps it is speech. Faith.Love.that comes even without a project. another great leader but prone to anger and moodiness. I believe that He gave us examples of believers who were just like us and were infused with His power to do great things. Is there anything that helps you understand and interact better with a choleric? 3. 6 .living for a good purpose. which Biblical character do you think you would have the most in common with? Would it be Abraham.not in self. Meekness. Transforming Your Temperament: Biblical Example of a Sanguine Peter. With your temperament in mind. Gentleness. a brilliant scholar and missionary but often unloving and controlling. Read Philippians 3:12-14. Maybe Paul. You may identify with Peter.

let's take a look at a great example of a sanguine who was transformed by God. Hate details. The TruthImpulsive. but restless. May not carry out threats. Bill Paying: Are usually terrible record-keepers. Children may not respond until they think they have to. Peter wasn't naturally spiritual. Sanguines are the first of the extroverted temperaments we will discuss. He was a fisherman. Peter's life was one of extremes including failures and successes. and usually undisciplined. restless and egotistical. He invited Jesus to his mother-in-law's house and she was sick. generous. Often he felt insecure and fearful. He had great difficulty following through on details. They are a unique blend of happy confidence. explosive. Should discipline immediately. otherwise they may change their mind and be too forgiving. Rarely look at a menu until the waitress arrives.Peter was an extrovert. They will talk about weather. As a Sanguine. Peter. When he didn't know what to do. Sanguines find it hard to diagnose their own personality because they are not given to self-examination or introspection. but immediately left all to follow Jesus. but rarely cut down. Overly expressive and use exaggeration freely. Yard Care: Have all the tools but before they can get started they get sidetracked and later end up putting the tools away.He was often weak-willed. Hard to stay focused for a long time. The Bad. He was the life of the party. Here are some more aspects of a sanguine: Eating Habits: They eat everything in sight. Bright. Study Habits: Are not usually good students but can be if motivated.Man of Hope The Good. Driving: Are erratic drivers. Discipline: Usually take time to comfort and love children after disciplining them. friends. 7 . loveable. and laughable. happy-go-lucky. May hate their overspending. Like to look people in the face while talking and driving. He also tended to jump from one thing to another. Usually have overloaded carts. he was warm. Can be screamers. Can be very loud and expressive. are drawn to color or display. friendly and the kind of person who was like a magnet to others. Short interest span and easily distracted. he talked. Be consistent. Shopping: Are not price conscious.For this lesson. May take several reminders. which may lead to permissiveness. The least picky of all the temperaments. Sometimes fast and sometimes slow. and a hundred other things before facing the real problem. Speaking: Are intuitive speakers. They have expressive and flamboyant handwriting. compassionate. He got out of the boat without really thinking. and responsive to his surroundings and those around him. Luke 9:33. emotionally unstable. He was also impetuous. a good talker.

Tends to brag that whatever he does or has is best.Lies under pressure rather than face shame or penalty. worship and church.Uninhibited.4.Matthew 19:27 Braggart. They are also prone to cry. Matthew 16:13-20. Matthew 16:17. Acts 10:28-29 Gentleness. Wisdom. The Transformation A Sanguine under God's influence doesn't promote self or talk about "I" so much. A Sanguine under God's influence will bear fruit. Prayerfulness. Acts 10:19. John 13:37 The Failure Peter stood by the fire and even used curse words to deny the Lord. Joy. God gives wisdom.Here is a positive example of when his heart was right. Acts 12:5-6 Patience. Simon by name and nature was the little rock. Matthew 26:31. He was eager to please.Luke 5:1-11. 8 . Acts 9:36-42. Humility.He couldn't stand success without letting it go to his head. Sound asleep. Acts 12:16 Leadership. 22-23. Just kept on knocking. Acts 11:2. Self-seeking. Under pressure. Acts 4:18-20. Peter didn't get angry. Acts 15:7 Summary: Though Peter had lapses (Galatians 2:14) because of the fear of man. Outspoken. He thought on the vision. Sanguines need Christian fellowship as they are many times no stronger than those they are with. Egotistical.18 Faith. Love. It took this great failure to realize the need for change and the Holy Spirit's power in Peter's life. A Sanguine under God's influence loves prayer. 33 Weak-willed. Peter knew what to say. Unusual for a Sanguine not to want a crowd and to seek glory for helping. We see good and bad all in one chapter. He receives a severe rebuke. They can be hot one moment and cold the next. Forgets past affirmations and intentions.

in conversation Meekness. With your temperament in overcome fear and insecurity Self-control. Read 2 Peter 1:3-8. self-pity.we still see the road to maturity. Melancholy is also known as the artistic temperament. In the book of 2 Peter. he even honors the Apostle place of ego Faith. Here are some other aspects of a melancholy: Eating Habits: They take forever to decided what to eat. but usually enjoy it once 9 . what does this mean to you? 3. the Servant with a Cure Melancholies are the first of the two introverted temperaments we're studying. The really wonderful thing is how much God used this sanguine. and unhappiness. Temperament Transformation: Sanguine The Sanguine will need 6 fruits or strengths of the Holy Spirit.instead of restlessness Long-suffering. Peace. Why do you suppose the Scripture records so many of Peter's failings? What can we learn from this? 3. Transforming Your Temperament: Biblical Example of a Melancholic Moses.endurance to finish things Gentleness. They also struggle with depression. Whether you have a sanguine temperament or overcome lack of self-control Questions to Think About: 1. what are some things you can identify with Peter? Anything? 2.

Self-sacrifice must be Goddirected. Elijah. Remember details and are good spellers. in Acts 7. Usually correct okay but may take out frustration on their children. May take time to decide. the Apostles John and Thomas. A Close View of Moses Self-sacrificing. Discipline: Have high to unreal standards for their children. Why did Moses make the decision he made to leave the comforts and ease of the palace? The Bible reveals 10 . and many others. Picky eaters. Jeremiah. Potential is another word to describe Moses. Last ones to learn that everyone needs praise. Shopping: Are deliberate and decisive shoppers. Talk to and baby plants." Acts 7:22. very sensitive. Elisha. John the Baptist. Don't like to interrupt others. No one should be motivated by a sense of guilt. Stephen. Balance the checkbook to the penny. A Broad View of Moses A brief summary Gifted is one word that describes a melancholy like Moses. Melancholies are prone to give themselves to some sacrificial cause. They have the most unpredictable handwriting of all the temperaments. Study Habits: Are usually good students who enjoy leaning. Solomon. Ezekiel. Love reading. Compare price and quality. This may even be directed by a sense of pride. Rarely speed. Able to concentrate. and was might6 in words and in deeds. Obadiah. The Bible has many famous names of the same temperament: Jacob. Jonah. Know where things are and use coupons. says that Moses "was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. A brief reminder Remember that the melancholy is prone to be pessimistic. Speaking: Never talk unless they have thought out precisely what to say. Isaiah. Driving: Always prepare well for a trip. Bill Paying: Are perfectionists. Melancholies have great potential if they do not give in to a negative thinking pattern. Yard Care: Usually have the best yards. critical. They study the map. Another thing to remember is that Moses lived during the time when the Holy Spirit did not indwell people as He does today.they decide. Daniel. and a perfectionist. Must pay bills on time or they get very irritated. Extremely complex and write that way. No one needs reminding about the intellect of Moses. moody.

Sometimes when a melancholy makes up their mind they can't. How does a melancholy get help? A study in the Bible of God's provision. Moses was suffering from deep resentment. They may tend to remember their mistakes instead of their accomplishments. God doesn't ask for eloquence. Exodus 18:17-18. His fear was selfish. and to trust God. God had answered every question and even demonstrated His power to Moses. Exodus 3:18. In 11 . D. I can't speak in public. the priest. get ten men to work. Moses didn't need ability. Instead of focusing on failures. He had had forty years in the wilderness to brood over his rejection and isolation. I don't want to go. James 1:20. Hebrews 11:24-27. Moses ended up being saddled with Aaron. L. Numbers 11:10-15. Depression. How did Moses react: I don't have any talent. See Numbers 20:3-5. God never asked Moses to carry all the burden and load. In writing the first five books of the Bible. Criticism to a small child with this thinking may discourage them for the future. 32:19. Failure to control his anger cost him. Exodus 32:19. 1 Corinthians 11:3032. This may also result in making excuses for not doing things. His thinking had been poisoned and it was hard to change. All this may lead a melancholy to live far below their ability level. All Moses could think about was his rejection 40 years earlier. Self-depreciating. Anger and unconfessed sin can bring about early death. "If this is how you are going to treat me. All of Moses' excuses seemed reasonable to him. "Instead of doing the work of ten men. Fear of rejection even though God had promised they would listen. Moses also demonstrated a problem melancholies have with delegating authority and responsibility. 9-12." We need to learn to trust God to use other people. Anger. The question isn't what you can do. They may also have a hard time accepting praise or commendation. Exodus 3:11. Moses shows his ability to carefully give all the details as laid out by God for the Tabernacle. Exodus 3:13. we need to see needs and possibilities. but anger as well." It's a good thing God doesn't grant all our requests. A melancholy personality should never trust their feelings alone to guide them. Exodus 4:10. Melancholies tend to hate criticism.the answer in the book of Hebrews. put me to death right now. Exodus 16:2. Perfectionism. Exodus 4:13. "What shall I say?". for sacrifice and worship. Anger usually causes problems. but He does ask for obedience. Moses was one of three in the Bible who became depressed enough to want to die. Moody said. Read Moses' words carefully. "Who am I?". Moses not only suffered from fear. but what God can do. No one will believe me! Exodus 4:1. but availability. but we are responsible to witness.What was God's response? Exodus 3:12.Many people offer the same excuse today. even good reasoning won't change them. The service and the cause of Christ are more important than our pride. but some is wrong. Some anger may be right. We are not responsible for the failure or success of our witness. Melancholies may feel inferior when in reality it isn't true. Moses chose to live by faith. I don't know theology.

Moses is a good example of what God can do with a fearful.for others in spite of imperfections. Temperament Transformation: Melancholy The Melancholy will need 5 fruits or strengths of the Holy Spirit. Questions to Think About: 1. but men & women of faith who trust Him. He is a perfect illustration of the fact God doesn't use perfect men & women. Is there anything that helps you understand and interact better with a melancholy? 3. Whether you have a melancholy temperament or not. what does the previous verse mean to you? 4. Isaiah was another man in the Bible who was a melancholy. Love. How was his response different to the call of God than Moses'? 4. doubtful. Peace. Loyalty.everything. He was a great instrument in the hands of God. With your temperament in mind. Joy. Transforming Your Temperament: Biblical Example of a Phlegmatic replace fluctuating thoughts. Summary: Instead of worrying over your weaknesses. His devotion grew over the years. is there anything you can identify with Moses? 2. give thanks. Read Isaiah 6:8. Goodness.towards others that gives fulfillment to self. He became a great leader. thank God for his power in your life. Faith. insecure. and depressed man. Because Moses remained loyal. replace moodiness. compulsive.the Man with Motivation 12 . also in a right way. the people of Israel remained do what they fear they can't.

comedians and writers. Least likely to spank.that phlegmatics make great diplomats and peacemakers. Seldom enter into debate. Love to balance the checkbook. but on the other hand don't be pushy. Here are some other aspects of a phlegmatic: Eating Habits: Are the most deliberate eaters and usually the last to finish.Phlegmatic is the second of the introverted temperaments. Many are teachers. Discipline: Need to learn to be more assertive when necessary. Remember. Slow. They have lots of patience with children and take time to play with them. Phelgmatics rarely get around to making a decision or talking about the problem. Works well with others. Have orderly minds. May seek to avoid getting involved in life. They usually are indecisive and can be slow. Are capable of analysis and deductions. Don't take no for an answer. Conservative. Like to pay bills early. Don't expect a quick decision.The least motivated of the temperaments. Driving: Are usually the slowest drivers of all. May allow children to sass them. They are easy going and clam. and indecisive. May even act like Christians before becoming one. They can make capable leaders. Winner of the "nice guy of the year" award. They usually don't create friction. doctors.that phlegmatics never volunteer to serve as leaders but have great ability. scientists. Their even temper and calmness differentiates them from the melancholic. A brief reminder: Remember. He can ignore work graciously and is prone to be stubborn. his good and bad points are less perceptible. Because he is quiet. Yard Care: Usually do the yard because their desire to rest is overcome by their drive to do the accepted thing and have a nice yard. Bill Paying: Systematize everything. Keep good records. Shopping: Enjoy shopping. comedians and writers. Hard time deciding. Expect to be refused the first time around. Good memories. A Broad View of Abraham A brief summary: Easy. doctors. Usually write small and neat. They take longer and are more fugal. but present your case and allow time for consideration. They can make capable leaders. They make great diplomats and peacemakers. Speaking: Are quiet about everything. scientists. Many are teachers. stingy. 13 . Work best under pressure.The easiest people in the world to get along with are phlegmatics. Study Habits: Can be good students if they don't procrastinate. Needs to agree with spouse about correction. dependable and with a practical turn of mind.

A phlegmatic's desire for peace is so great that Abraham would give up personal possession for it. They are consistent to refuse to take on more than they feel they can accomplish. If the Spirit is not allowed to lead and direct. Genesis 16:2. Without faith it is impossible to please God. The worst mistake Abraham made was to give into his wife. Abraham took matters into his own hands and conceived a child with his wife's handmaid. Genesis 13:5-7 Desire. Sometimes lessons must be repeated and relearned. This is actually a selfish response." Genesis 22:8.Abraham's source of strength was God's promise. Genesis 13:114-17. Cautious. Genesis 20:1-13. Final View of Abraham Strength. James 1:2-4. his calm response to victory and faithfulness to tithe. Stated in his words to his son. His bringing Lot along with him caused even more trouble. and doubt will lead to total failure.Illustrated in the sacrifice of his son. Genesis 14. They fear failing in the eyes of others and are reluctant to launch out into the deep. many years for Abraham to become the Father of Faith. Philippians 4:13. the more he learned to trust Him. Here is where the Holy Spirit must play an important part. Afraid to fully trust God's promises. he lied to another king. The more Abraham learned about God. Hebrews 14 .Afraid to completely obey. fear. he lied about his wife in Egypt. Abraham ceased to be cautious and seems not to have even prayed about going to Egypt. melancholies may go to pieces. He was reluctant to obey and when tested.A Close View of Abraham (Genesis 12-23) Consistent.Phlegmatics need a conscience that will not excuse sloth. Conscience. Neutral. It shows his love for family. Because he is not motivated.Once properly motivated the phlegmatics will be faithful in their duties. Abraham took his father and nephew with him. Sanguines may run off in the wrong direction. Taking God at His word spares the difficulties and headaches. Faith doesn't needs answers. It takes time for God to reveal Himself to us. Dependable. 1 Peter 3:1-6 Fearful. Don't miss the promise that follows his obedience. Genesis 21:8-11 Nothing is ever accomplished by compromise of one's principles.The most likely husband to be "henpecked" is the phlegmatic. Abraham is a good example the God uses yielded vessels. They may tend to say or think that someone else can do a better just identifies its true nature. little may be done in life. "God will provide himself a lamb. Phlegmatics can do it in a calm manner. things changed. he may never get around to doing what needs to be done. he failed. Resource. Later. Genesis 22. The first test in the promised land came as a famine. Remember that God increases our faith through testing. The only result will be that people think you are lazy or unable. It took many.Afraid to trust God. but cholerics and phlegmatics both rise to the occasion. He stopped in Haran until his father died. Faltering and forging ahead. Then later he listened again as he sent his son away.Pressure does not change our character. but only direction. his leadership. Lack of motivation. Genesis 13:8-9. Later. replace procrastination. is there anything you can identify with Abraham? 2. Temperament Transformation: Phlegmatic The phlegmatic will need three fruits or strengths of the Holy Spirit. Faith. Questions for Discussion 1. Love. Abraham was motivated to please God. God's word was able to declare about the man who had no motivation that he was motivated by faith in God. Summary: By the end of his life.that motivates serving overcome fear and worry. 17. Whether you have a phlegmatic temperament or not. Read Hebrews 11:1. 9. Is there anything that helps you understand and interact better with a phlegmatic? 3. 6. Hebrews 11:8. With your temperament in mind. what do these verses mean to you? 15 .

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