Biblical Enneagram Types: NINES

The Peacemaker

Enneagram Type Nines are typically known as the Peacemakers. Nines have the uncanny ability to see everyone’s point of view at once and can join in either side of a debate. However, they usually choose to withdraw from the debate altogether because they want to avoid conflict and anything that might upset their calm.

Nines sit atop the Enneagram for a reason. It’s not unusual for a Nine to have difficulty finding their type since they can relate to so many other numbers. They can understand the drive of the Three, the desire to be helpful of a Two, the skepticism of a Six, and the protectiveness of an Eight all at once.

This can be a good thing or a very bad thing. Healthy Nines make excellent mediators, able to bring two conflicting sides to the table and find common ground between them. Unhealthy Nines, however, can be crippled by the conflicting viewpoints and simply shut down, withdrawing into themselves and their own little world. If a Nine doesn’t want to be moved, then they can become the most stubborn Type on the Enneagram. But if a Nine truly doesn’t have strong opinions, then they are usually happy to go with the flow.

They can be peacemakers or conflict-avoiders. They can be laid back and easy-going, or they can be an immovable stick in the mud. They can be assertive and fight for a just cause, or they can be masters of sarcasm and passive aggressiveness. They can be aloof or welcoming.

Nines often defer decisions to the group or to the one in authority. As kids, Nines picked up on the message that their presence doesn’t matter very much, so they learned to fade into the background and keep their anger in check lest they rock the boat. Nines come into their own when they learn to pair their ability to see all points of view with an assertiveness to act on what they know to be right.

Healthy Nines can be a blessing to everyone around them.


Funny how we never talk about Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah (Genesis 26:1). But whatever.

I believe that the “Father of the Faith” was a Nine: Abraham.

God called Abraham (then known as Abram) to leave the place of his fathers and travel to a distant land. God promised that he would bless Abram with offspring too numerable to count. It’s a beautiful promise, really.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
(Genesis 12:1-3)

I don’t know how well any other Enneagram type would handle a promise like this. A Three would let that go directly to his head as his ego inflated to the size of a hot air balloon. A Four would probably try to hide from the responsibility – You’ve got the wrong guy, God. A Seven would be almost TOO eager for the task. A One would likely get caught up in all the details of exactly how and when God’s plan would come about. But Abram simply trusted and went.

The very next story in Genesis 12 is about Abram traveling to Egypt. While there, he fears that Pharaoh would have him killed in order to take his wife, Sarai. So in order to avoid that conflict Abram told the Egyptians that Sarai was his sister. They still took her, but they let him live. God had to step in and punish Pharaoh and his court because of Abram’s lie. A very similar thing happened in Genesis 20. Nines often think they are doing what’s best if they avoid conflict, but that often only makes the situation worse.

Then there’s the time when Abram’s and Lot’s (his nephew) herds and flocks were getting too big. They knew they couldn’t stay together, so they decided to part ways. Abram would go one direction, Lot the other. Abram let Lot have the first pick. Nines share some commonalities with Twos, for instance putting other people’s needs and desires above their own.

When Sarai grew tired of waiting for God to act on his promise of a son, she urged Abram to take her handmaid, Hagar, and use her as a surrogate. This is yet another instance when Abram avoided a potential conflict and everyone was worse off because of it. Hagar bore a son named Ishmael, and Sarai grew jealous and eventually sent them both away to make it on their own in the wilderness. Abram just let it happen.

God changed Abram and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah. Soon after that God sent his angels to investigate the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah – where Lot and his family settled down. The report was NOT good, to say the least. God sent word to Abraham that he planned to destroy the cities and the inhabitants. But Abraham took on the role of mediator and began to bargain and negotiate with God on behalf of the cities. The cities were full of evil, but Abraham still saw something worth saving in them.

Finally, Abraham and Sarah were blessed with a son of their own – Isaac. God fulfilled the promise he made to them so long ago. I think only a Nine could have been as patient as Abraham. But then…God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac upon an altar. Some theologians and rabbis over the years have insisted that Abraham should have argued with God on behalf of Isaac like he did on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah. I’m not sure. Maybe this is another instance of Abraham simply going along in order to avoid one more conflict. Or maybe Abraham had learned by this point to fully trust that God was in control of the situation. He sounds confident when he tells his men, “We will go up and worship, and then we will come back down.”

Abraham ended up outliving Sarah. One of the most amazing little lines jumps out to me every time I read about Abraham’s death.

Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah.
(Genesis 26:8-10)

Nines have a way of bringing people together. Even in his death Abraham was able to bring Isaac and Ishmael together again. I don’t know that they ever settled their differences, but they were together for a time because of their father. I think that’s a very touching detail that we often overlook.

Abraham was compliant and stubborn. Abraham was a pushover and he stood up for his beliefs. Abraham shied away from conflicts and he got into arguments with God Almighty. Abraham acted in his own self-interest and he became the one through whom all nations would be blessed. Abraham was self-absorbed and concerned about making everyone else happy.

Nines often live in the tension between action and inaction. When pressed with a choice, they choose not to choose – which is still a choice! Nines must learn to move, to act, to decide, to fight. Deciding not to choose is almost never the right decision.

Nines, we see you, we love you, we need you. God created you with a gift to see everyone’s perspective. But don’t lose your own perspective while looking at everyone else’s. God created you to live your life. God has blessed you so that you can be a blessing to all people.

Messiah Is Coming, pt. 1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. We know that story. We know its power, its beauty, its wonder. God simply spoke into being all the we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell. At God’s word, galaxies were formed and our planet burst to life with vegetation and wildlife. The crowning jewel of God creation in this opening song of Scripture is man and woman who were created in God’s own image and likeness.

And God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
God planted a garden in Eden in which the man and woman could live out their calling to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.” God placed man in the garden to tend it and protect it. God gave the man a woman as a helper equal to and suitable for him.
And all was right and good and pure and innocent. For a while at least.
Because somehow, God’s good creation was yet susceptible to the influence of evil. The deceiver slithered into the scene, hissing lies and injecting doubts like venom in the bloodstream. The serpent fooled the humans into breaking God’s one rule by making them believe that God was holding out on them.

The woman ate the fruit and then gave it to her husband, and he ate, too. Their eyes were open to the realities of their sin, their nakedness, their shame. They hid from God. For the first time ever they felt unsafe in God’s presence.

Maybe you remember what that was like? The first time you felt like you hadn’t just done something bad but that you were bad? That’s shame.
Every sin has a consequence. From that point on we would be subject to broken relationships – with each other, with the earth, and with God. But God would not leave his children in this helpless state. He would not let that evil serpent win. He would set it all right one day through the woman’s own offspring.

God (to the serpent):
What you have done carries great consequences.
Now you are cursed more than cattle or wild beasts.
You will writhe on your belly forever,
consuming the dust out of which man was made.
I will make you and your brood enemies
of the woman and all her children;
The woman’s child will stomp your head,
and you will strike his heel. 
(Genesis 3:14-15 | The Voice)

God had a plan from the beginning. That last sentence is commonly known as the protoevangelion, “the first gospel.” God would not leave his children in the grasp of the serpent.
The Deliverer is coming.

Fast forward in the story, past the flood, past the tower of Babel, and we’re introduced to a man named Abram (later known as Abraham) who lived in the Mesopotamian city of Ur. Abram was married, childless, and very wealthy. God chose Abram to be an integral part of his great plan to rescue his children from the schemes of the serpent.

Abram, get up and go! Leave your country. Leave your relatives and your father’s home, and travel to the land I will show you. Don’t worry—I will guide you there. I have plans to make a great people from your descendants. And I am going to put a special blessing on you and cause your reputation to grow so that you will become a blessing and example to others. I will also bless those who bless you and further you in your journey, and I’ll trip up those who try to trip you along the way. Through your descendants, all of the families of the earth will find their blessing in you. (Genesis 12:1-3 | The Voice)

Abram would become the father of Isaac. Isaac would become the father of Jacob, who would later be named Israel. Jacob would become the father of Judah, from whose line would come the kings and the Messiah. From one family, all nations would be blessed, all peoples would be rescued from the power of evil. From one family God would work to create one new family, one new humanity.
The Messiah is coming.

Salt, part 3

They stood at a crossroads. Abraham and Lot decided to part ways in order to prevent more violence and bloodshed between their respective families and hired hands. As they looked out over the land of Canaan, Lot chose the lush, wealthier region to the south near the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot goes south, Abraham goes north.

Flash forward several years and Lot had really made a home for himself. He and his family had moved into town, made a living, and remained faithful to God. Then one day, God sends some messengers to do some undercover investigation. Lot invites, or urges rather, the travelers to stay at his place for the night. You know the rest of the story. The men of the city threaten to gang rape the newcomers, and God decides at that point to destroy the cities completely.

God gave Lot enough warning to get his family out, telling them to never look back. As fire rains down from the sky, Lot, his wife, and two daughters make a run for it, never looking back.

Well, except for Lot’s wife.

For centuries, salt has been mined, gathered, and traded as currency. There is evidence that ancient civilizations actually used molded salt as coins. Entire cities and highways were built along salt mining and trading routes. Slaves were often bought with salt, hence the term “worth his salt.” Roman soldiers were largely payed in salt – which is where we get the English word for salary. There was even a time when salt was traded ounce for ounce with gold.

Salt was a sign of wealth and prosperity. It was something special to be brought out for guests at a meal. It was something precious, something of worth.

Salt was valuable.

So Lot’s wife looked back at the ruin and destruction. She wasn’t rubber-necking like we do on the highway as we pass by the overturned trailer. She looked back with longing, with sorrow, with a desire to have it all back. She looked back like a college student leaving home for the first time, or like a lover who has just been dumped. She would have rather gone down with the ship.

“Lot’s Wife” on Mt. Sodom

Why couldn’t she let go? Well, we know they were a wealthy, well-respected family. They had herds, land, a large house, friends, family…and they had to leave it all behind. They had called this place home for many years, and she couldn’t help but look back with longing as her whole life went up in flames.

So God turned into a pillar of salt. Her longing for wealth consumed her entire being at that moment, and she literally became that which she longed for the most.

What in your life is worth turning back for?

Holy Land Saga, pt. 2.1

Day 3: Tue 11/18/08


When thinking about historically/biblically important cities and/or archaeological sites, the ancient city of Dan might not make the top of your list. However, as I found out today, it is actually very important for several reasons.

First, from the archaeological evidence in the layers of the city, we can tell that there were three distinct times when the city was completely destroyed and then rebuilt. The first dates back to the time of the Exodus/ Conquest of Canaan (ca. 13th Cent. BC). The second dates back to the 11th Cent. BC, which lines up perfectly with the biblical account of the tribe of Dan’s moving from southern Israel to the northernmost territory and destroying the city of Lashish. The third destruction layer dates to the approximate time of the Assyrian invasion of Israel.

Secondly, it confirms the account in the Old Testament of King Jeroboam’s construction of two cult centers for Israel, one of which was right here in Dan. The remains of the foundation for a large altar have been discovered, along with the foundation of what could have been a replica of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. This is where the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom would come and make sacrifices to an image of a golden calf, similar to the one built by Aaron at Mt. Sinai.

Thirdly, this city gives insight into the strategy involved in developing an ancient city. Three key ingredients to insuring the life of a city are water, fertile land surrounding the city, and a major trade/ travel route nearby. The location of Tel-Dan has all three. The city was built along the larger of the two tributaries which make up the Jordan River, flowing down from Mt. Hermon. The land surrounding the city is some of the most fertile land in Galilee. Also, there is a major trade route which was used to carry goods from the Mediterranean Sea all the way in to Damascus in order to avoid the mountainous region to the north.

The Nature Reserve around the city is one of the more beautiful places in all of Israel. There are trees and shrubs, vines and wildflowers, all flourishing around the rushing waters which flow into the Jordan.

Another amazing discovery near Tel-Dan is part of a wall from the time of Abraham. In fact, Abraham most likely saw and walked through the gate in the wall which has been preserved for nearly 4000 years. This section of the wall/ gate also contains one of the oldest arches in the world.

Tel-Dan has been one of my favorite historical sites thus far simply because it has shed so much light on some stories of the Bible. It has really brought life to the Old Testament.