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This is a light-reading, short post. Enjoy anyway!

Image credit: Striker24x7

Different things may come to your mind when you see or hear the word ‘Numbers’. There’s a TV series called Numb3rs, a book in the Bible called Numbers, a sub-section under Mathematics in Resources on called Number, an app called Numbers, even a record label. I probably could go on to give more examples but I suppose you get the point, or at least beginning to see that everywhere you go, there are Numbers. Heck, it’s/they’re one of the first things you have to learn growing up.

So, anyway, here I am currently reading the book of Numbers (as at the time of drafting this post), the one in the Bible that is, and as I am currently training as a Maths Teacher, I’d be 100% distractedly reading not to notice how the passages can easily be brought into many Maths lessons – ratios, percentages, time differences, proportions, fractions, decimals, addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, and so on.

If I could I would use it in my lessons but I can only suppose/assume that it will be frowned on because I will not change the text to make it friendlier to avoid being accused of proselytizing innocent minds. Or am I just making up excuses?

Examples of how I could use the book of Numbers in a Maths lesson:

  1. What proportion of Israelites over 20 years old made it into Canaan? Write your answer as a fraction, as a ratio, as a percentage.

  2. Write the ratio of good Canaan spies to bad Canaan spies in its simplest form.

  3. Calculate the compound depreciation rate if GOD killed off the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness at a constant rate.

  4. What was the number of years between feasts?

  5. Convert from 1 hin of oil to litres to cm³.

  6. Estimate the number of bulls that were killed for Whole Burnt Offerings in one year in the camp of Israel.

  7. Convert 1 shekel of the Sanctuary to US dollars and British pounds.

  8. Write the tithe as a percentage, fraction and decimal.

  9. What is the ratio of bulls to rams to lambs for the feast of trumpets?

Anyway, this is one of those things that come to my mind when I read a book like Numbers especially after spending the work day teaching Maths at a secondary school. To me, it makes things stick. It helps me remember those abstract details which I ordinarily may not recall. In addition to that, the book of Numbers to a large extent also reflects the general importance of numbers and why God takes it seriously. For the Bible scholars out there, you would recall that numbers have significance; for example, ‘7’ is a number of perfection, ‘5’ represents grace, ‘6’ the number of man, and so on. So if you haven’t given this beautiful book any time in your personal study, here’s some motivation for you. My favourite chapters are chapters 16, 22, 23, 31, 36 v 6 (on marriage boundaries…ha!).

To your peace and progress in using numbers! Ha!

Quiz of the day: Which generation (a.k.a (grand)^n-son) did Methuselah see? Which generation did Noah see?

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