I was recently reminded of the fact that many people use the term “biblical math” to mean something very different than I do when I use it. So I thought it might be beneficial to take a look at some different ways the term has been used.
Many use the term “biblical math” to refer to using math to unlock some sort of hidden code within the Bible. In fact, there have been numerous books written on this topic. Each one claims to have unraveled a mystery within the Bible’s pages.
If you’ve ever been intrigued by any sort of “biblical numerical code,” I’d encourage you to read the article linked to below by James Nickel. I found this article incredibly helpful in understanding why I felt such a caution and uneasiness in my spirit every time I read anything about these hidden codes. Mr. Nickel explains how these “hidden” codes really have Gnostic roots and are a distortion of the gospel of Christ and the Word of God.
Although many people attempt to use these codes to defend the authority of the Bible or to proclaim some other truth, the whole idea of finding some sort of “hidden” revelation is not true and is actually very dangerous. God’s truth is available to all, not just those who can crack a special code. There’s a harmful elitism and mysticism in saying we need some sort of special knowledge to understand part of God’s message to us. God warns that He has hidden things from the wise and revealed them to babes (Luke 10:21). We’re to use the Bible to help us understand math, not use math to unlock the mysteries of the Bible. God has given us His Spirit, note a code, to help us understand His Word.
Other people use the term “biblical math” to refer to a curriculum that contains Bible verses and Christian morals. Yet although the student is being taught a biblical perspective on morality and learning biblical truth, he’s not necessarily being taught how to look at math itself from a biblical perspective.
I would define the term “biblical math” as an approach to math that leaves the student with an understanding of how math itself is viewed from a biblical worldview. The Bible gives us principles that impact the way we view and approach all aspects of life, including math. God is the creator and sustainer of all things and is a consistent, faithful God; hence, we can expect the universe to be consistent. Man is created in the image of God; hence, we’re able to observe the consistent way God governs all things and record that using math. Man is fallen; hence, we are prone to error and cannot place our faith in our own reason. God gave us the responsibility to work and “subdue” the earth; hence, God has given us math as a useful tool to help us with the tasks He has given us.
The above statements are just a few (and are simplified for the sake of space) of the ways the Bible’s principles should impact the way we approach math. When we take these and other principles and build our approach to math off of them, it completely transforms math from a meaningless exercise to something both meaningful and useful—and something that, above all, points us to the Creator (see Beyond Numbers).
I hope the above explorations of “biblical math” help clarify things a little for you. It’s amazing how differently a phrase can be applied, isn’t it? : )
After having her own view of math transformed, Katherine has been researching, writing, and speaking on a biblical worldview of math for more than a decade. Her books on math and a biblical worldview have been used by individuals, homeschool groups, and Christian schools and colleges, and she recently finished a junior high math curriculum. Receive her free Math from a Biblical Worldview e-mail course at mathisnotneutral.com