On this the month that celebrate "National Pi Day" I thought it would be neat to share with you a what the Bible has to say about pi. In 1 Kings 7:23 there is an interesting statement made:
Throughout history skeptics of the Bible have used this verse to ridicule the accuracy of the Bible. They claim that if you use the figures stated in this verse the circumference of the vessel divided by its diameter gives the number 3.0, instead of the actual value of pi (3.14159...). Critics of the Bible rejoice when they see what they believe to be a major mathematical mistake in the Bible. James A. Montgomery is one such critic who argues that Pi as given in I Kings 7:23 is wrong. According to Montgomery, in the formula for circumference to diameter the number for Pi is given as 3.0. Montgomery also states that the Greek text gives a number much farther from actual Pi (3.1416) when it changes these figures to 33/10=3.3.[1] Gleason Archer is a conservative Bible scholar who argues that approximate proportions are acceptable as used here.[2] Archer's claims are interesting to note but there is actually a better explanation for the value of pi in this chapter. Dr. John D. Morris son of well known young earth creationist Henry M. Morris disagrees with Archer in his argument against the critics. He points out that the basin “was an hand breadth thick” (v. 26) or about four inches.[3] He surmises that we should include the hand breadth into the equation. The diameter of the object in this passage is 10 cubits from outer rim to outer rim. The circumference was 30 and was of the inner circle. Then subtract the thickness of the brass (two handbreadths  one for each side). Calculation of Pi then = (30 x 18) / [(10 x 18)  (2 x 4.05)] = 540 / (180  8.10) = 3.1413613 = 3.1414 Including the “hand breadth” measurement into the equation gives us the closest approximation of Pi in the ancient world. 1 Kings 17 might be used by the critics of the Bible to try and say that the Bible is filled with inaccuracies but a careful study of the mathematical formula presented actually supports the opposite claim. The Bible makes no mistakes, mathematical or otherwise. What makes this even cooler is that Solomon built his temple in 1000 B.C., long before the Greeks discovered the value of pi.
[1] James A. Montgomery, The Book of Kings, vol. 11 of The International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T&T Clark), 173. [2] Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982), 199. [3] Morris, John D. "Does the Bible Contain a Mathematically Incorrect Value for "Pi"?" Institute for Creation Research. 2003. http://www.icr.org/article/524/ (accessed October 19, 2013). Posted by Caleb
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AuthorsCaleb Phelps Archives
May 2018
