One of the popular defenses of the Enneagram is to refer to Paul’s discourse on Mars Hill in which he quotes pagan poets in Acts 17 or to Paul’s quotes of or reference to pagans in First Corinthians 15 and Titus 1. (Credit for the information on the pagan references goes to Calvin-Maria Bailey).
In Acts 17:28, Paul quotes the pagan poets Aratus (270 B.C.) and his poem “Phaenom” and Cleanthus’ hymn to Zeus (300B.C.). In both writings, these pagan poets ascribe to Zeus/Jupiter the qualities that Scripture reveals belong to God alone.
Paul quoted from them insofar as their statements agreed with biblical revelation and the gospel. Paul did not endorse their philosophy, nor did he attempt to twist those ideas in order to suit the gospel.
In fact, prior to these quotes and references, Paul makes it clear who God is — the Creator and the one who gave life to all humanity. Paul sets the true God apart from the false gods in those remarks and at the end by declaring that God is not found in the gold and silver idols so common in Athens.
In verses 32 and 33 of First Corinthians 15, Paul makes use of quotes from pagans to illustrate truth. The motto of Epicurean philosophy, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die, is refuted by Paul. Included in this refutation is a quote from Menander (300 B.C.), bad company corrupts good morals.
Paul is not endorsing pagan philosophy but using it to show truth and refutation of false beliefs in the context of Christ’s and the apostles’ teachings. Using quotes from pagans as a reprimand showed how deeply in sin the Corinthians were and made the rebuke even more pointed.
Paul is quoting in verse 12 a phrase made popular by Epimenides (600B.C.), Polybius (208B.C.), and Callimachus (310B.C.). Greek writers often referred to Cretans as liars and deceivers. Paul uses these pagan quotes to reference the character and nature of the false teachers and deceivers who infiltrated the Cretan church (v. 10).
To imply that truth can be found through the Enneagram distorts the biblical understanding of truth. The issue with the Enneagram is that it is not based on truth, but rather on false beliefs.
Back to Acts 17
Acts 17 is also the chapter where those in Berea are called more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica because they searched the Scriptures to test teachings (v. 11). This chapter is also where we read that Paul was provoked in his spirit by seeing Athens given over to idols.
These words from Paul are God-breathed. No credibility for the Enneagram or any pagan tool or teaching can be based on Paul’s words, and to do so is a misuse of the text. Christian speakers and writers quoting a pagan source may do it correctly but their usage should be critically scrutinized.
“For it is written, ‘I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.'” 1 Corinthians 1:19, NAS