Emotional Intelligence and Our Best Known Bible Characters

Recently I had the privilege of introducing a well known Christian professor and author who generally works in the area of Organizational Development. The focus of his next book is emotional intelligence (EI), which should be published in the next few months. I dismissed his comment that I probably know more about EI than he does, however, I will say that the subject has been a significant part of my coaching practice this past year. I’m looking forward to his perspective on the subject but in the meantime, I decided to write a series of blogs from my perspective; and, I will be using biblical characters to illustrate the importance of emotional intelligence.

Some Of Your Questions

So what is emotional intelligence? How does self-awareness fit with EI? What are the components of EI? How do the various components of EI work together to form the impression others have of me and what can I do about it? What is the formal measure of emotional intelligence? What are the components or attributes that make up of emotional intelligence? How do I measure my emotional intelligence? What advantage do I have if I have a strong understanding of my EI? I will answer these questions in much more detail today and over the next several weeks. To begin, the most succinct definition of EI that I’ve found is:

“Emotional intelligence (EI) is the area of cognitive ability that facilitates interpersonal behavior.” see link for more information.

According to Multi-Health Systems, emotional intelligence is made up of six key composites with 3 elements in the first five as outlined below:

  1. Self-Perception – self-regard, self-actualization and emotional self-awareness.

  2. Self-Expression – emotional expression, assertiveness and independence

  3. Interpersonal – interpersonal relationship, empathy and social responsibility

  4. Decision Making – problem solving, reality testing and impulse control

  5. Stress Management – flexibility, stress tolerance and optimism

  6. General Well Being

CASE STUDY: King David


In First Samuel we find a very brave boy who counted on God in a way not credited to any other before or after this time. There is no person in the bible who loved God more than King David; at least no one who expressed his love of God more than David. We see this in his writing of the Psalms and how he was described as a man after God’s own heart. In the area of emotional intelligence it seems God honors a man who can emotionally express his love for Him.

David The Musician

David played a lyre (harp) in the wilderness while watching his fathers’ sheep. Later, he was given the responsibility to play this instrument when the king of Israel (Saul). David was skilled with a slingshot, became a great warrior and was a friend to many. The bible takes note of his ability to deceive others and perhaps least of which we see in First Samuel 21 when he was hungry. David danced when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Jerusalam and was dressed in nothing but his undergarments. David later would have little control over his own behavior when he saw Bathsheba taking a bath when he should have been in battle with his men. This would become David’s
derailleur and he would be remembered most for slaying Goliath and his infidelity.

Reginald Johnson in his book, Your Personality and the Spiritual Life, identifies David an energizer personality type and either an ESTP or ESFP.

In my opinion he would have been the latter. Judge for yourself by following this link and while you are on this site you can take a free personality test for yourself.

Where would you place David in the following fifteen elements of EQ? Think of his rating compared to the rest of the culture of the day. Like IQ (Cognitive Intelligence), EQ is measured against the culture and it can best be seen as a bell curve with 100 being the median and 50% of the population ranking between 90 -110. In other words, when comparing David to the rest of the world at that time was his self regard greater or lesser than those around him? Make this comparison with all fifteen elements that follow. This is where I placed David based on my understanding of scripture:

David’s Emotional Intelligence

Self Actualization – high

Self Regard – high                                                                                                                                                                                                           Emotional Self Awareness – low
Emotional Expression – high
Assertiveness – median
Independence – median
Social Responsibility – median
Empathy – median
Interpersonal Relationships – high
Impulse Control – low
Reality Testing – median
Problem Solving – high
Flexibility – median
Stress Tolerance – low
Optimism – median

David In Today’s Marketplace

What does this tell us about David? Do you have someone like this on your team? What value do they bring? How does someone with the following mix of emotional intelligence behave?

  • Below average emotional self awareness
  • Low empathy
  • Poor impulse control and
  • High self regard
  • High self actualization
  • Overused emotional expression

I think I can predict their behavior as well as you might! These people know what they want, they have their agenda and can express their agenda so when confronted with something contrary to their goals may be very explosive or even combative. Now, what would be different if they knew this about their self? How might David responded had he known this about himself? How might David responded if he had an accountability group?

Do you know yourself well enough to self assess your EQ? How about your team? Your boss? Would this information prove helpful? I have a client that recently told me he feels like he has an advantage over the rest of society because he took the assessment and can assess others very quickly. Do you want this same advantage? This assessments and coaching are available here

About the author: Creed is an accomplished leader and Professional Certified Coach motivated by a passionate drive to help individuals and organizations reclaim their clarity for personal achievement and organizational effectiveness.