- "And he [Hiram on behalf of King Solomon] made the sea of cast metal ten cubits from brim to brim, circular in form, and its height was five cubits, and thirty cubits in circumference."
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.
Gleason Archer is a conservative Bible scholar who argues that approximate proportions are acceptable as used here. 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. 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
 James A. Montgomery, The Book of Kings, vol. 11 of The International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T&T Clark), 173.
 Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982), 199.
 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