An Inaccurate Value for “pi” in the Old Testament?

This article is the first in a series of examining Bible difficulties in defense of the “Inerrant Bible”

Critics have brought up 1 Kings 7: 23 as a “U-HUH!” moment whenever the subject of Biblical inerrancy comes up. But let’s look into the scripture and defend the Bible. First the scripture in question;

1 Kings 7: 23 (NASB)

23 “ Now he (Hiram) 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.”

Critics have suggested that this approximate value of three to one as the relationship between the diameter and circumference of a circle is a geometric inaccuracy, thus questioning the “inerrancy” of the scripture. The actual value of pi is;

3.14159 Instead of 3.0

The critics’ assessment lacks credit though. The actual value of pi is more used for manufacturing of intricate machines or highly precise parts such as factory machines etc. And in contrast as indicated in speech of today we also use approximations. Let’s look at population figures for example; we find ourselves saying that a certain city has a population of 5 Million, when the actual population may be 5,012,091 for instance. It likely is around that number due to births and deaths, so the actual figure could really never stay at 5 Million for long.

This may seem like a minor issue to some and a major issue to others. Remember the Bible is God’s breathed inspired word, not a book of Geometry.

God Bless

Brian Mason