The Bible and Emotional Intelligence

What does the Bible have to say about emotional intelligence? Offhand, I don’t know. But somebody asked this, and so this is an off-the-top-of-my-head response. I do want to research this further because I think it’s an interesting question.

Two scriptures come to mind. I want to apply these scriptures to the idea of emotional intelligence. I don’t want to apply the idea of emotional intelligence to scripture. When we read scripture, we should be trying to pull meaning out of it, not put meaning onto it.

We want to be careful not to filter scripture through 20th and 21st-century ideas. We want to try to understand what the people at the time were saying to the people at the time that read it. Then how we can relate to that today.

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The first is the Fruit of the Spirit. The Fruit of the Spirit is, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. You can’t have self-control without having self-awareness. Having self-awareness is one of the core ideas of emotional intelligence.

The other scripture that I think we can apply is “Be angry and do not sin.” You could substitute just about any other emotion. (Except that, in context, Jesus was talking about anger). But hold this emotion of anger, or any other emotion. Hold this emotion of sadness, of grief, of fear, of joy, of happiness, of excitement, or whatever. Hold that emotion and do not sin.

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So, the Bible does give us a lot of parameters of what is Godly behavior, what is upright behavior, and what is not. Sin is anything that causes a rift in the relationship between us and God or between us and other people.

That sounds a lot to me like this idea of emotional intelligence. It sounds like watching our own emotions, other people’s emotions, and then responding well.

One way to understand sin in 20th and 21st-century terms call it a lack of emotional intelligence. I don’t know. Just an idea. I do want to research it further, and I do want to be a bit more careful in the way that I apply scripture to that. That’s just off the top of my head.

By Dan

Founder, Executive Director, Mental Health Counselor at Restored Life Counseling