The Rule of Thirds

ImageThe rule of thirds is a term that should be familiar to artists of all sorts: painters, photographers, designers and others. This rule suggests that any visual composition should be divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Anything in the composition that requires more attention should be placed along the dividing lines, or more importantly, at the intersection of two lines. Whether a person is aware of this “rule” or not, most will agree that a composition applying it is more visually interesting.

This rule applies elsewhere. The idea appears throughout the scriptures. In fact, it is one of the first things mentioned in the Bible. In Genesis, when it speaks of God creating the Earth, it is not just God that is being referenced, but the Godhead. The Godhead consists of, you guessed it, three parts: the Father, the Spirit and the Son – who is Jesus Christ. In Genesis 1:26, God says, “Let us make man in Our image.”  So if God is of three parts and we, man, are created in His image, we must also be of three parts. And indeed we are. Humans consist of three parts: spirit, soul and body.

Let’s say that God, as three parts, makes up the three vertical sections when using the rule of thirds and man makes up the horizontal thirds. We can only accomplish so much on our own going in our own direction, but with the help of God we are able to go far beyond where our own strength can carry us.

Here is the key, the most interesting places, where people look, are those places are where the lines meet up. Where we meet God is where people want to be. It is where we are naturally drawn whether we recognize it or not.

The rule of thirds was first mentioned in 1797 by John Thomas Smith in his book Remarks on Rural Scenery. He thought he was on to something and indeed he was, but the idea was not an original one. God had it all planned out from the beginning. What amazes me is how long it took us to catch on.


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