Transforming Your Temperament: Biblical Example of a Choleric

The choleric, though an extrovert temperament like the sanguine, is vastly different. Cholerics get right to the point. They want to straighten out the problem immediately. (Keep in mind these are generalities. Not all cholerics lack balance; this tends toward the extreme.) Here are some other aspects of a choleric:

Eating Habits: They seldom change what they eat and will bolt it down in big chunks, all the while talking.

Driving: They are speed demons on the road; they like to make up for lost time.

Shopping: They are not fond of shopping and will only do it when they have to. They will usually over-buy.

Yard Care: Generally, cholerics hate yard work but when they do it, it is usually in a frenzy. Everything is cut to the same level and a simple yard is best.

Study Habits: Cholerics are clever, but not usually brilliant. They like history, geography, literature and psychology. They are poor spellers, fast readers, and have curious minds. Constantly ask why and love charts, diagrams and graphs. They have poor handwriting.

Speaking: They speak freely but with more deliberation than sanguines.

Bill Paying: They like to pay bills on time. Like things orderly. Don’t care if the checkbook doesn’t balance exactly.

Discipline: They want to run their home like a boot camp. Always tell children what they expect, but fail to show love. They love to give orders. Usually spank too hard, too often and too much. Can be good parents, but must really work at it. Hard to please. Need to encourage, assure and build up children.

Now let’s look at the example of Saul/Paul from the New Testament. For those not as familiar with this character, the Apostle Paul was known as Saul before his conversion. He was a Jewish leader who was quite well connected. He also had the distinction of being a Roman citizen. (This afforded him even more standing socially and politically in that day.) Not all Jews could boast citizenship in the Roman Empire. Let’s see where that pride of station and standing got him…

Saul of Tarsus

Every inch of Saul was choleric. A practical activist, strong-willed and goal oriented. Acts 9:1-2

Every inch of Saul was hot. When he heard Stephen speaking, he was sure to be hot-tempered, harsh, and cruel. Acts 7:54, Acts 8:1

Every inch of Saul was driven. On his way to Damascus, he was a crusader and a religious zealot. Acts 9:1-2

Every inch of Saul had goals. He was well educated and probably a leader of the group that killed Stephen. If Saul’s commitment hasn’t changed he could well have become a real scourge to the church. He even breathed out threats of slaughter. Acts 9:1. Everyone feared Saul of Tarsus.


If pointed in the right direction, he could be greatly used.

If pointed to the truth, his writing would be very practical as he was probably part melancholy.

If pointed to serve, his strong will would keep him going when things were hard. I Corinthians 9:24-27.

If pointed to faith, his mind would be set and determined and his heart would be fixed. He would be highly motivated to honor the lord. He would be determined to live a life of faith.


Paul couldn’t tolerate quitters. Acts 13:13, 15:39. It caused sharp contention.

Paul couldn’t quit being self-sufficient and being independent. Acts 20:34. He refused payment and made tents.

Paul couldn’t quit preaching. In Athens, he had to speak out on Mars Hill. Acts 17, his heart burned.

Paul of Damascus


Under God’s control, Paul became a dynamic leader for good.

On board the ship, the prisoner became the captain and saved the ship. Acts 27:21-25.

When being examined by Tertullus, Felix, and Agrippa he took command.

When in prison, his guards became his captives. People either loved Paul or hated him.


He kept his thinking right, not living in the past.

He was consistent in his humility and served the Lord humbly.

He was consistent in his love and tenderness. See Romans 10:1, 9:1-3

He showed compassion and concern while feeling the needs of others.

He felt peace even while in jail. Philippians 4:11-12

He had to rely on the Lord for strength. II Corinthians 12:7.

He lived a surrendered life.

Temperament Transformation: Choleric

The Choleric will need 7 fruits or strengths of the Holy Spirit.

Love– compassion to replace insensitivity and a lack of showing love.

Joy– that comes even without a project.

Peace– that replaces activity.

Gentleness– in speech.

Goodness– living for a good purpose.

Faith– not in self, but in God.

Meekness– that replaces pride.

Questions to Think About:

1. Whether you have a choleric temperament or not, is there anything you can identify with Paul?
2. Is there anything that helps you understand and interact better with a choleric?
3. Read Philippians 3:12-14. With your temperament in mind, what does this mean to you?

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