He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. 1 Kings 7:23

If the diameter was 10 cubits then the circumference would be 31.4 cubits. Though the text isn’t clear whether they measured the inside or outside of the bowl.

When I was a teenager at school, a student claimed the Bible wasn’t accurate because of this mathematical discrepancy, which I found laughable. This passage was probably written about 800 BC and was never intended to be used as a mathematical formula. The Bible doesn’t claim to be a mathematical textbook.

The Bible is also not intended to be a science book, it’s a theological book. It isn’t a book about how things work, but why—the meaning behind it all. Why is there a world when there could just as easily have been nothing? Why are there people when there could just as easily have been none? Why do people have some sense of right and wrong when they could just as easily have not?

Christians run into danger when they expect the Bible to tell them how God created the world. God didn’t think it was important for us to know ‘the how.’ There’re only two chapters on creation and scant references elsewhere. Jesus didn’t seem to discuss the topic at all. However, the why is important. From Genesis to Revelation we see God desires to have people in right relationship with himself.

When reading the Bible we bear in mind the type of literature it is. It’s not a mathematical or science book but a book of stories, poetry and prophesies, written to enable us to know God.