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 actually be 31.4 cubits. Though the text isn’t clear whether they measured the inside or outside of the bowl.

Nevertheless when I was a teenager at school another student claimed the Bible isn’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 book.

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

Christians run into danger when they expect the Bible to tell them how God created the world. God did not think ‘the how’ was important. There are only two chapters on creation and scant references elsewhere. Jesus did not seem to discuss the topic at all. Nevertheless the why is important. From Genesis to Revelation we see God’s desire to have a people in relationship with himself.

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