Inside Out: Knowing Ourselves – Type 5 The Investigator

Weekly Bible Devotional

“Inside Out: Knowing Ourselves -Type 5 The Investigator”

John 3:1-10


Enneagram Type 5 Overview:


Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.

Basic Fear: Being useless, helpless, or incapable

Basic Desire: To be capable and competent

Key Motivations: Want to possess knowledge, to understand the environment, to have everything figured out as a way of defending the self from threats from the environment.


Scripture for Sunday: John 3:1-10

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

Notes on The Text:

Our biblical character for this week shows the transformation that could happen for Enneagram Fives when they integrate other parts of themselves and dig deeper into their essence/souls.  Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin (rabbinical court/city tribunal). He was a highly educated man who dedicated his life’s work to study and knowledge. Yet, in the Gospel of John, Nicodemus is presented as coming to Jesus at night because he represented the group which did not understand Jesus; the religious leaders of Israel who felt threatened by his message of reform, justice and love. Nicodemus was part of “the world” which the Gospel of John had previously described as “darkness.” He was a part of the dominating hierarchy of Israel that had made itself powerful at the expense of the peasants. Nicodemus had witnessed Jesus’ prophetic act of the cleansing of the temple and wanted to learn more about him. He went to talk to him at night. Night/darkness in the Gospel of John is an important theme because Jesus is seen as the light that is opposed to the darkness of the world and its systems of domination, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5 Surely Nicodemus was “in the dark” when it came to understanding Jesus. This incredibly educated man lacked knowledge and understanding because he only listened to his mind. He came looking for illumination about what Jesus was teaching, but what Jesus shared seemed to only add to the confusion.


Jesus did not give Nicodemus a straightforward explanation of the faith. Instead he gave him a mystery and invited him to enter it more fully. A mystery was exactly what Nicodemus needed because as a Five he needed to be reminded that faith, life, and God were beyond our mind’s abilities to comprehend. They have to be approached with our whole beings. So Jesus invited Nicodemus to be birthed in and through this mystery. He did not tell him what the Holy Spirit was all about or how it worked. Instead he called him to an experience of the Spirit. Jesus knew that what Nicodemus needed was not another piece of information about the faith. He already knew all the scriptures. What was missing for him is a deep personal experience of God. He needed a new set of eyes. Nicodemus was already schooled in the ways of religion, violence, and oppression in the world. What was going to set him free was not more talk about God and justice.


Additional Information about the Gospel of John:

According to biblical scholars the Gospel of John was written around the year 90 CE. We don’t know the author because the title was added later. The Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire took place around the year 70 CE. The Empire crushed the revolt and destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. In addition, the Jewish people were forced to pay a temple tax to the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill in Rome. It was tough to decide who was supposed to pay this tax. Who was considered a Jew according to the Romans? The followers of Jesus were becoming a sect of their own. Even though they practiced the Jewish ways, many of them were not considered Jewish legally because they were not circumcised. Also, after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, there were some major differences developing between the Jews and the Jews who followed Jesus. Another issue related to the context is the allegiance of the Christians to Jesus. One of the things that distinguished the Christians from some of the other religions at that time was their insistence of their allegiance to Jesus and refusing to bow down before the emperor as their lord. The Roman emperor was seen as Lord, Savior of the World, and the Son of God. Interestingly enough these were the titles which Christians gave to Jesus. These were very politically charged titles at the time indicating that the allegiance of the followers of Jesus was given only to Jesus and not to the emperor. As a result, many Christians were put on trial and persecuted for their faith.


For Reflection:

Only deep experiences of the Spirit of God can truly have the power to heal, transform and renew people and that is what Jesus invited Nicodemus to embrace. Nicodemus had to let to go of the certainties of the teachings he knew. He had to let go of the norms of his society and of his usual patterns of thinking and behaving in order to learn a different way. Jesus did not give him an intellectual answer. Instead he offered him a different way to see the world and to live by the power of the Spirit. I love the image of the wind blowing where it wills. Jesus was showing Nicodemus that we can’t control faith and our relationship with God. The Spirit and our growth are things that happen when we let go of control, especially the kind of control that comes from the ego/personality.


Nicodemus struggled for a while to accept what Jesus presented him. He loved Jesus and wanted to learn from him. He even defended him later when there was a debate about Jesus in the temple (John 7:50). We know that transformation happened for Nicodemus at the end because he helped Joseph of Arimathea to take down Jesus’ body from the cross to help bury him. He carried a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds to prepare Jesus for burial (John 19:39). This is an interesting detail if we look at it from the perspective of a Five. As a Five, Nicodemus’ preferred role would not have been so physical or related to the senses. But because he was redeemed and transformed, Nicodemus was willing to risk ritualistic impurity by touching and anointing a dead body. He finally made the journey from loving God only with his mind to loving God with his heart and body. He was willing to get his hands dirty for the sake of love.


I invite you this week to ponder two lessons from this story. These are important for us because we live in a part of the world that values intellectual knowledge so much that we tend to forget about the wisdom of the heart and of the body.

  1. Relationships: The transformation of Nicodemus was only possible through his relationship with Jesus. Relationships are essential for our transformation. It is not enough to learn about love in books, we have to practice it in real life. It is not enough to think about faith, we have to have relationships that create soul spaces for our lives so that our views and our commitments are grounded in human experience.
  2. Mind, Body & Soul: In our Western culture we tend to compartmentalize our human experiences and knowledge. We differentiate between intellectual and experiential knowledge. We see the soul as separate from the mind and the physical being. But a holistic approach to life is how we can have all our being attuned to God and to life and working in harmony.


If you are a Five or has the tendencies of a Five, I invite you to step out of your intellectual comfort zones and let your body and your soul guide you into greater ways of love and freedom.


Body Prayer by John Philip Newell:


Begin at the Center

(Hands by your side, feet flat on the ground. In between each movement there is a return to the center.) 

1.  Being Grounded: 

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your hands to chest height, palms facing up, arms straight out in front of you, and then turn your palms face-down and bring arms down.  As you raise your hands also lift your heels. Then, as you lower your arms just past your hips, raise your toes in a rocking movement. Let the rhythm be smooth and slow.


Prayer:    Being grounded

As you raise your arms, breathe in, breathing in the goodness of creation and life immediately around you. As you breathe out, breathe out any anxiety or negativity. Feel grounded and centered. Do the movement 5 times


Return to the Center

2.  Shower of Light

Always let the movements with left foot forward be about the immediate and the personal. Then let the movements with the right foot forward be about the vast and collective.


With left foot forward, raise your hands, palms-up, shoulder-width apart, above your head in an arc and bring them down over your body. Do this movement 5 times and then return to the center [as above]. Repeat the same movement with right foot forward 5 times.


Prayer:    Shower of light

With left foot forward, breathe in as you in raise your hands, seeking the light of wisdom and strength, courage and patience. Know its power to fill and cleanse you.

With right foot forward seek the blessing of light for the whole world especially those in dark and broken places.

Return to the Center

3. Circle of Oneness

Let the movements with left foot forward be about the immediate and the personal. Then let the movements with the right foot forward be about the vast and collective.


Left foot forward, palms down, move your hands in a horizontal circle at waist height in a clockwise direction. Do this 5 times. Return to the center and smoothly change to right foot forward, moving hands in a circle at waist height, this time in an opposite [counterclockwise] direction.


Prayer:    Circle of Oneness

With left foot forward feel the connection and oneness with creation and those around you. Return to the center.


With right foot forward feel the connection with those you love far from us, the interconnection of all life here on earth, and to the planets and stars in space.


Return to the Center 

4. Letting go

Let the movements with left foot forward be about the immediate and the personal. Then let the movements with the right foot forward be about the vast and collective.


With left foot forward, in a pushing away movement, push both hands outward and away from the chest, then draw hands back, palms up. Do the movement 5 times.  Return to the center. Repeat on the right side with right foot forward 5 times.


Prayer:    Letting go

With left foot forward breathe out and say no to all that is negative and destructive within you. Breathe in and say yes to all that gives life and  makes for peace. Return to the center


With right foot forward confront the wrong in our world, rejecting violence and injustice. Breathe in the strength that makes for wellbeing and peace.


Return to the Center 

5. Circle of blessing

Let the movements with left foot forward be about the immediate and the personal. Then let the movements with the right foot forward be about the vast and collective.


With left foot forward, move hands palms-up horizontally in a circle, clockwise  and at waist height. Do the movement 5 times. Return to the center Repeat the movement 5 times with right foot forward, moving hands in a circle at waist height, this time in an opposite [counterclockwise] direction.


Prayer:  Circle of Blessing

With left foot forward offer a blessing on those who are around you for health in body mind and soul. Return to the center.


With right foot forward offer and be part of a blessing on the wider world for healing and peace in places of pain and suffering.

Return to the Center 


6. Centering ourselves and offering ourselves

Let the movements with left foot forward be about the immediate and the personal. Then let the movements with the right foot forward be about the vast and collective.


Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, bring the arms out to the side and up above the head, then bring them down in front of your chest, hands parallel and in line. Then with left foot forward move your arms and hands outward in an offering gesture. Do this movement 5 times.


Prayer:    Being Centered and Offering Ourselves

As the arms are raised, breathe in the vitality of life, as the arms are lowered, be aware of centering oneself in the grace and goodness of life. As you open your  hands  out in front  of you, offer yourself and your gifts  to the world.

Return to the Center


Weekly Bible Devotionals

Written by Pastor Roula Alkhouri


Close to Home: Seeking Sanctuary


Close to Home: A Home for All


Close to Home: Laying the Foundation