CLAIM: Solomon’s worker, Hiram, made a sea of bronze for the Temple. 1 Kings 7:23 states, “[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.” This would make pi as a 3 to 1 ratio, when we know that pi is actually 3.14. Isn’t this an example of a clear error in the Bible?
RESPONSE: The text never says that Hiram’s sea of bronze was a perfect circle. Instead, it states that it was “circular.” Moreover, we do not consider approximations to be errors. For instance, imagine if someone was giving directions, and said, “Turn left on Main Street, and the grocery store is a mile north of there…” Now, what if you found out that the grocery store was actually 1.1 miles north of the intersection? Would you call the person a liar? Of course not.
Errors are only committed if we would expect more specificity. Consider, for example, the figure stated above. Pi is not technically speaking 3.14. In fact, more specifically, it is 3.14159265359. Was this an error? Of course not, it is only an error if we are expecting more specificity.