A Psychological study of Jesus

         The Big Five Theory The Big Five trait theory says that one's personality may be well described by five core traits, each one being completely independent of the others. These five traits are openness, conscientious, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Openness is one's general ability to be imaginative, original, and artistic. Conscientiousness is a measure of one's dependableness, organization skills, and degree of responsibility. Extraversion is the degree of a person's ability to relate to, and enjoy the presence of other people. Agreeableness is based upon whether the subject is friendly, cooperative, and trusting. Neuroticism is the degree to which one is high strung, intense, and emotionally unstable. These five traits are orthogonal, according to the Big Five theory, which means that each trait is totally independent, and neither affects, nor is affected by any of the other traits. A high degree of openness is not supposed to affect the degree of extraversion. According to the Big Five theory, these five traits are the simplest way to describe a personality accurately.

         As a subject for study, I would like to examine Jesus Christ of the New Testament Bible with the Big Five theory. It would be quite difficult to understand such a complex character without extensive study of Him. Jesus was very open, I believe. Time and time again He came up with original parables that are difficult to understand, and have frustrated scholars over the centuries. As far as being imaginative, Jesus should be the definition. He not only was creative, He made what no one else thought possible a reality. He overcame every obstacle He ever encountered with ease, baffling His enemies. As far as being artistic, well, I never heard of Him painting. He was not a painter, but He probably did some good work as a carpenter, if that counts for anything. I'd say He scores very high here in openness, a perfect ten out of ten. As far as being conscientious, Jesus scores again. Jesus was completely dependable, and never broke a promise that He made. Jesus had basically nothing to organize, but if you study His routes across Israel you would find the logistics of traveling that far on foot without any provision for money, food, or shelter amazing. That would have to require incredible organization and train of thought. Jesus was responsible with whatever He had- He never lost anything. I would give Jesus another ten out of ten for His conscientiousness. Jesus was probably the most extraverted person ever to walk the face of the earth. He would go out and heal anyone who asked. He would preach to thousands upon thousands of people His message. He never turned away from a single soul, and was loving and acceptant of all. He professed to love even those that crucified Him! He was the most incredible example of one who treated all with respect that I have ever heard of. I would rate Jesus completely off the scale in the category of extroversion. It is very difficult to rate Jesus under the category of agreeableness. Jesus was possibly the friendliest person ever to live, yet He had little tolerance for religious leaders that made a mockery of His Father's commands. He was always in trouble with the religious leaders, but upon close examination of the Bible, it seems that this was not His fault, and that the leaders were just jealous of His power, and angry with Him for His accusations toward them. He was not always cooperative, because without exception He stood for what was right, no matter what anyone else believed or thought, or even what the law was. He cooperated with all on every occasion other than where it would have been wrong to do so. He did not put Himself in a position to trust people while He lived on earth. He really had no need for anyone to do anything for Himself. He rarely asked for anything Himself, it was all given to Him. He placed an infinite amount of trust in His disciples after He was raised from the dead. He told them to spread His word, and then He left, leaving all His work, all His sayings in their hands to repeat and write down. I would have to give Jesus another perfect score, because He was friendly always, was cooperative at all times except when it was a sin to cooperate, and He left His disciples with the responsibility to build His church after He left, trusting them to get the job done. Concerning neuroticism, Jesus is completely void of that characteristic. He never once doubted Himself, He was strong at all times, and never changed His train of thought. There was one situation where before He was crucified where He asked God to spare Him His awful death, yet He did what He said He'd do despite knowing in advance how painful that would be. He never wavered in His determination to love others or do His Father's will. Never once did He change His word, or apologize for what He did. He didn't have to, because He knew that He was always right. Never once was Jesus off-balance or high-strung. Jesus was usually calm, collected and thoughtful, yet during His death, He was intense. This is totally understandable, but considering no one who has ever lived, or ever will live can identify with the pain He suffered that day, it is not comprehendible to us how much pain He had to suffer before He broke His composure. Yet even in the most intense period of His life, He refused to take comfort in intoxicants, or revoke what He believed in. He stood firm until the finish, never wavering from His message, never doubting Himself or His message, all despite the fact He could have avoided it all by pronouncing that He was not the King of the Jews, or the Son of God. That is the most powerful conviction I have ever heard of- conviction beyond words or comprehension. According to the Big Five theory, Jesus was an extremist in every category, being open, conscientious, an extrovert, agreeable, and the exact opposite of a neurotic. These statements, while helpful in studying Jesus, cannot but barely begin to describe Him. It is difficult to develop an accurate picture of anyone without meeting them or studying them extensively. Personality is more complex than words, and can therefore never be summed up with them.

This is an actual paper I wrote for my psychology class