“It’s Just Numbers! (James 3:17 )

It was my junior year and I was immersed in my preparation to take the MCAT a.k.a. the medical college admission test. While I was comfortable with most of the subjects, one area always caused me consternation. As I was struggling with solving some of the problems, I didn’t realize that my college classmate was hovering over my desk in the library. 


“Oh…studying for your MCAT’s?” as he surveyed the numerous review books piled around me. 


“Yup. Got one more month.” He was a senior and had taken the MCATs the previous year, doing very well. He was now applying to medical schools. 


“Don’t worry, it’s all stuff you know.”


I weakly smiled. “Yes, I know, but it’s math and physics. It has always been my weakest area.”


My friend chuckled at me and shook his head, “It’s just numbers! Nothing to be afraid of!”


“Nope. Just numbers.” I sighed. 


My friend was attempting to encourage me. Numbers can be the most objective science and if the issue were only solving equations, it would be simple, just numbers. The difficulty, as most students know, is applying the principles of math in world problems. The issue is two-fold: properly interpreting the question and then applying the proper math equations to solve the problem. My problem was always reading too deeply into the problem. My mind would race through numerous permutations, bogging me down and often leading to the wrong answer. 


This is why I take some comfort over my unease with math after I learned of the posting of a particular math problem on a social media site, that, oddly enough, has become a viral sensation on the internet.

Source Twitter

Depending upon how one will group the numbers with the parenthesis, the answer is either 1 or 16. It has ignited a firestorm of debates over the true answer. Mike Breen, the Public Awareness Officer for the American Mathematical Society wrote, “The way it’s written, it’s ambiguous. In math, a lot of times there are ambiguities. Mathematicians try to make rules as precise as possible.”


With a field of study as precise as math, we would expect much less confusion. After all, it’s just numbers. Nonetheless, the way many things are written, including mathematical equations, are ambiguous. If God were writing it, would we expect any ambiguity? Would we expect confusion?


But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

James 3:17 (ESV)


God’s Word is pure and complete wisdom. It is living and active and is able to change the life of anyone who takes the time to read and understand it. Why? God’s Word solely points to His Son, Jesus Christ. All who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior by confessing and repenting of their sins to Him will have salvation and eternal life.


There is no ambiguity, just pure love, grace, and mercy given to all by the God of all creation. 


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


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