Which personality test is best: The Enneagram

As a servant of Christ, I would reckon there is no greater thing I can do with my life than suffer and sacrifice for him. These things are not always (if ever) pleasant, but who wants to live for pleasure, anyway? Often, I find myself asking what I can do to sacrifice time, money, energy and so on for the sake of Jesus. After all, has he not sacrificed himself for me? It will undoubtedly sound odd to those who care little about their faith, but it is not always easy to locate the cross we are individually meant to bear.  

Personality tests may sound to some like merely a fun way to get to know yourself, but they could be a way to help determine what cross any Christian is meant to bear — what work we are to do for Christ. And the Enneagram is certainly the way to go in order to best learn about oneself and the convictions God has laid upon each person’s heart.  

The Enneagram is a personality test that uses nine basic personality types and 27 subtypes to determine how people interact with their emotions and the world around them. It is one of the most popular personality tests, along with the Myers-Briggs test. However, while the Myers-Briggs test focuses on the nature of an individual, the Enneagram relies on one’s daily actions and underlying feelings to determine their type.  

I have taken the Myers-Briggs test four times. The first and third time I was an ENTJ-A (Commander), the second time I was an INFJ-A (Advocate) and the fourth time I was an ENFJ-A (Protagonist). I have taken the Enneagram an equal amount of times, and each ended with relatively the same personality type. It seemed odd that even while trying to remain constant in my state of mind, I would end up with a wide array of personality types according to one measure, and basically a single type in another.

I did some research to find out if many others had the same odd experience with Myers-Briggs as I did, and it turns out the Enneagram has a reputation for being relatively consistent, while Myers-Briggs is known for its inconsistency when it comes to personality types. Many of the world’s leading psychologists even pointed this out, including Dr. Benjamin Hardy. In an article for Psychology Today, Hardy says the Myers-Briggs test is full of contradictions and lacks evidence of effectiveness.  

The Enneagram is also far more complex and varied in orientation than the Myers-Briggs personality test. To clarify, yes, there are more personalities listed by Myers-Briggs (16); however, the Enneagram takes into account the fact that people are not one-sided, but rather, complex. As a result, the Enneagram shows a scale of different traits and displays how everyone can drift into every type at one time or another. The Enneagram is far less a confining box for people to fall into; it is far less a categorizer.

Psychologists and psychiatrists alike have been effectively using the Enneagram for over 50 years. The American Journal of Psychiatry even notes that many findings made from the Enneagram were equivalent to previously collected information from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  

As we Christians search for the cross that we are meant to bear, we must be diligent in discerning the gifts and personalities that God has given to us and do our best to use them for his glory. Whether this is someone’s goal when he or she scours the internet for an intriguing personality test or not, it is clear that the Enneagram is far more reliable than the Myers-Briggs test for answers based in truth.  

No matter how clear or reliable any test is, we must be aware of the power of the Holy Spirit to intervene in our lives in such a powerful way that our new lifestyles are strangers to our pasts. Let the Lord of all point us to our cross and be the strength that allows us to bear it, no matter how heavy.  

Kilker is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion

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