The Biblical Origins of 3.14

The Biblical Origins of 3.14

Credit:Wikicommons/Israel Truths

Today, March 4, has come to be known as “Pi Day” because of the first three digits of the mathematical value of π (3.14…). While this observance is a modern one, the good folks at the Biblical Archaeology Society just taught us that the concept actually dates back to the construction of The First Temple:

How do you find the holy grail of mathematics?

You start with a circle, which is the easiest geometric shape to draw (just fix one end of a string in place and swing the other end around it, inscribing a circle). Then measure the circle’s perimeter (also known as the circumference) and the distance across its widest point (the diameter). Divide the circumference by the diameter—and you have that well-known but eternally daunting number, π, or pi, which has a value of 3.14159265…

That is part of the mystique of pi: Whatever the size of the circle, the value remains the same (what mathematicians call a “constant”). Unfortunately, pi is also “irrational,” meaning that it is impossible to calculate its value completely; the decimals go on forever without regular repetition.

Calculating the value of pi has been a puzzle for millennia. One of the earliest implied values is given in a Biblical passage describing the construction of a huge basin for Solomon’s Temple: “Then [Hiram of Tyre] made the molten sea; it was round, ten cubits from brim to brim, and five cubits high. A line of thirty cubits would encircle it completely” (1 Kings 7:23). In other words, pi = 30÷10 or 3.

The Temple craftsmen obviously obtained these numbers through direct measurement—perhaps using a rope—and they came up with a simple approximation of pi

Tags: Facts and Findings

More From Fellowship Blog

Fellowship Blog

Fighting and Acting for Peace

Juliano Mer-Khamis was an Israeli Palestinian (his parents were Jewish and Christian) who was an IDF veteran, an actor, and an activist.

Fellowship Blog

Pastor Post and His Righteous Wife and Brothers

Righteous Gentiles Pastor Hendrik "Henk" Post and his wife Harmina worked to save Jewish people and stop the Nazis intent on murdering God's children.

Fellowship Blog

Project Spotlight: Empowering Jews to Make Aliyah

“One thing is clear throughout this pandemic, and that is the fact that Jewish people around the world are flocking to Israel for the safety, security, and stability they know they can find here,” said Yael Eckstein.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.