Problem: The Bible says pi = 3
Verses: 1 Kings 7:23, 2 Chronicles 4:2; Status: Weak

While describing a temple built by Solomon, the Bible appears to imply that pi equals 3. This is 1 Kings 7:23:

Then he made the sea of cast metal. It was round, ten cubits from brim to brim, and five cubits high, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. (ESV)

These figures are repeated at 2 Chronicles 4:2. If these measurements were exact, then pi would be 3. However, this is probably just a problem introduced by the author rounding to the nearest neat figure.

(image) diagram

If that doesn't satisfy, Answers In Genesis has a more involved solution that uses the precise shape of the vessel, which according to 1 Kings 7:26 was like a cup. If this means it was flared at the top, then the discrepancy in the measurements can be explained away, as shown here.

But I find the rounding explanation much simpler.

Updated: Summer 2008

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