Biblical value of pi

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In 1 Kings 7:23, the Bible says:

  • "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about."

Counter-Apologetics

Atheists often use this passage to demonstrate a mathematical error in the Bible, despite that fact that it is supposedly divinely inspired. Since the diameter of a circle is pi*diameter, a round sea could only be ten cubits across and thirty cubits around if Pi=3, rather than 3.1415 etc.

Apologetic response

If you make a molten sea with a circumference of thirty cubits, you'll find that the diameter is 30/pi or 9.55 cubits. Or ten cubits, to round to the nearest integer.

In short, the Bible does not say that pi must be three, unless you are going to assume that the numbers given are accurate to more than two significant figures, which is unjustifiable given the wording.

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