Hippocrates’ New Twist


There are four basic personality types:

  • Purposeful – your basic I-play-by-the-rules person
  • Powerful – your basic I-want-to-be-in-control person
  • Playful – your basic life-of-the-party person
  • Peaceful – your basic I-like-everything-to-be-on-an-even-keel person

You may be familiar with these personality types by other names. Hippocrates called the purposeful person a melancholy, the powerful person a choleric, the playful person a sanguine, and the peaceful person a phlegmatic based on an interpretation of body fluids. Others have given them animal names such as beaver, otter, lion, and golden retriever. Still others have used letters such as DISC. There are many ways to classify our personalities. But in every method of assessment there is a purposeful personality, a powerful personality, a playful personality, and a peaceful personality. No matter what you call them, each of the four corresponds with one of those descriptions.

How do you know what your personality type is? It is very likely that you have traits of more than one personality type. But most people have one personality classification that is dominant and surfaces in their lives much more frequently than the secondary personality type.

PERSONALity Perspectives may help you understand that our personalities also color the way we look at Scripture and enter into a relationship with God and to help us understand ourselves and our families better. God made us different and He understands that we don’t all relate to each other and to Him in the same way. But we sometimes tend to be too hard on ourselves because we don’t understand what makes us feel and act the way we do.

This is not to excuse the way you feel and act. Rather, we hope to give you a better understanding of yourself and others so that you can grow relationships, develop a closer walk with God, and, to the best of your ability “live at peace with everyone.”


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