'Motif' describes a literary device which is common through out the body of literature. The poor girl who is discovered to be a princess, is a motif in fairy tale literature.
Since the Bible is a collection of books making up a body of literature, motifs can be identified. However, in the Bible, a motif is more than a literary device. It is a signal or an indicator of recurring truth. Because all truth is unified, all the motifs of the Bible work together to reveal one truth.
Where do we find a definition of that one truth? The whole Bible is a communication of that truth, suggesting that we must understand the whole Bible. Paul says as much:
- 2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
We can get a head start on the primary message of the truth being communicated through the Bible by looking at what God says makes him angry. If he gets angry, then we must not be getting the message:
- Ro 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
- Ro 1:19 ¶ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.
- Ro 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
- Ro 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
- Ro 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
- Ro 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
- Ro 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
- Ro 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
The primary truth is that God is the creator. The primary truth is that God produces life from life, through separation. From the very first thought that God had for creation, there was something which was separate from God. That first thought was from God but was not God. In order for that thought to become alive, God spoke and breathed life into it.
The motif hierarchy is the structure for all revelation in the Bible. It is as simple as 1,2,3, however in Hebrew we would say א-ב-ג.
- א - God created the heavens and the earth.
- ב - He revealed himself to man by the Son.
- ג - He pursued man.
- Life from life through separation
- One - Original life of the Father
- Two - Separation of the Son
- Three - New life by the Spirit