February 23, 2009

A review of Ivan Panin's Biblical Numerics

Ivan Panin, 1855-1942

Ivan Panin, 1855-1942

A review of Ivan Panin’s Biblical Numerics (pdf)

by Peter W. Dunn

I originally wrote this essay in circa 1990 because my then pastor (PAOC) would often bring up the numeric scheme of Ivan Panin as numerical proof of divine inspiration of th Bible. After reading the paper, he at least didn’t talk about biblical numerics around me any more.

External Links:

The Inspiration of the Scriptures Scientifically Demonstrated,” by Ivan Panin

“A mathematical challenge” (pdf) by Winkie Pratney (rev. 1998).


  1. […] of the research himself. Moreover, he has a penchant for the more idiosyncratic scholars, such as Ivan Panin on Biblical Numerics (whom one could hardly call a scholar despite Jeffrey’s rave that Panin was “one of the […]

    Pingback by The Signature of God by Grant Jeffrey, a review « Palabre — February 23, 2009 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  2. Many want to do magic with the Bible as if this would heighten its truthfulness or authority. The reality is that God has wanted it to be a reflection of divine-human relationships, born in the tumultuous story of humanity’s encounter of God following the fall, so the Bible will not cease to be both human and divine. Not surprising then that a careful assessment of Panin’s method has proved it wrong, even detrimental.

    Comment by Elisée Ouoba — February 24, 2009 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  3. I had not yet considered that this was a “magical” view of the Bible, but you are quite right.

    Comment by P. W. Dunn — February 24, 2009 @ 9:07 pm | Reply

  4. I do believe that the sacred scripture is a mathematical and linguistic masterpiece however that is from the indigenous languages used to write the 66-books. The King James Verson though the best English translation is still a very poor translation and Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance demonstrates this fact quite easily.

    However, the mathematics and the mythology of the sacred scriptures have to tell a story that is totally opposite to the surface text. And it does. It explains how man came into the world to experience life and that the world is the only manner that he can experience it. As a Caholic I have learned about so-called venial sins and mortal sins. The only mortal sin a man can commit is not heing able to read the sacred scripture correctly otherwise his soul is damn to hell.

    Comment by William John Meegan — November 1, 2010 @ 10:21 pm | Reply

    • I’ve studied both the Hebrew and the Greek Bible in their original languages and I can assure you that there is nothing magical or esoteric about these languages. They are normal human language. God’s Scriptures are thus revealed to us not as some kind of puzzle, but that we might understand, because he loves us and wants all of us to come to a knowledge of the truth. If anyone is rejected, it is for refusing the simple, concrete message of the Gospel that Christ died for our sins to reconcile us to God, and that we must, by faith, accept his offer of salvation. I would suggest that you need to unlearn what you think that you know and return to the basic gospel of the catholic church: start with the Apostle’s Creed that all true Christians confess. What you are suggesting is a form of gnosticism, which was rightly rejected the church in all its forms already in the first and second centuries.

      Comment by P. W. Dunn — November 2, 2010 @ 6:42 am

  5. Hello, The many mathematical patterns discovered by Ivan Panin can not be denied, they do exist. Can anyone tell me how these numerical discoveries got into the Bible, if not by God’s design?
    I eagerly wait for your response. Sincerely,

    Comment by rich galli — March 31, 2011 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

  6. Petros,

    The plain text is what I read. The numerical paterns do not change the meaning of scripture one iota, but prove the scriptures can only be from God! Sincerely,

    Comment by richard galli — April 1, 2011 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

    • So did you read the paper? https://petrostelos.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/panin.pdf

      I don’t ascribe to a magical view of the Bible. What is important is understanding and obeying the text. The text itself is a witness to miracles: for example, the Exodus, Jesus birth, death, resurrection, ascension. It is not a magical book.

      Comment by Petros — April 1, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

  7. I agree that what really matters about the Bible is the Gospel message, and what it reveals about salvation. I would like to point out, however, that the mathematical implications of Panin’s work might be a turning point for mathematicians who demand some kind of proof, to cultivate an interest in the existence of God.

    Comment by Jon Gundel — July 15, 2011 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  8. The magicality of the Bible is that it has the keys to life. That is, a sincere student of the Bible will find his way. Knock and the the door will be opened. Who has asked for bread and received a rock? Or a snake?

    And when the keys to life are discovered, as an adventure of adventures, we STILL find truth keys all around. Just like an avator in a computer game? Reading, reading, pick up that energy pack. Reading reading. Wow, that was COOL.

    But finding obscure patterns which defy statistics is only modern man’s seeking of omens. Mentioned in Didache, chpt 3:

    3:4 My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leadeth to idolatry, nor a user of spells, nor an astrologer, nor a travelling purifier, nor wish to see these things, for from all these things idolatry ariseth.

    Panin’s thread of thought reminds me of the computer code book wherein you could read diagonally, backwards and upside down, and find statistically improbable sets of words, which can then be s t r e t c h e d to mean something. Huh, as a unmathematician, I can see right away what the problem is. Someone is looking at the whole thing bassackwerds! I mean, what is the probability that THAT rock in THAT place in the creek bed of THAT color, would even be there? I know! A ZILLION TO ONE. But what then could it mean? Er, God makes rocks different colors? So then apply this to pure Bible. “Kill rock her on?” Oh, that must be a hidden prophesy!

    Buhbuddabudda buudaa hey I just spoke in tongues. That PROVES it. No I’m not drunk. It is only 3pm in the afternoon!

    Comment by Sola Yeshua — September 11, 2011 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  9. Peter W. Dunn’s review as worse than worthless. He doesn’t deal AT ALL with Panin’s claims, but fabricates STRAW MEN and then destroys them. This is what pagans do with the Word of God all the time, e.g., “if God were real, He’d make everyone believe in Him,” presumptuously demanding his opinions have more weight and authority than God and His Word.

    Likewise, Dunn, after PLAINLY reading the claim is for Matthew’s genealogy, uses John’s writings to dismiss it! Yet, Panin never claimed this for John’s writings! Then, instead of examining the structures Panin mentions, he criticizes them! Once again, COMPLETELY IGNORING THE FACTS to fabricate a straw man that he then destroys.

    This is just wasting everyone’s time.

    Comment by Gary Sellars — March 9, 2013 @ 7:32 am | Reply

    • Mr. Sellars, Why in your opinion is it necessary for God to put intricate patterns of seven in the Bible? What are their purpose? To prove that the Bible is the inspired word of God? Who is going to be convinced by such arguments? Certainly not those who refuse to believe even if a man is comes back from the dead.

      Comment by Petros — April 12, 2013 @ 8:27 am

  10. Panin believed. He was an agnostic, he found in the bible what he needed, and became a christian. That’s not magic, it’s simple faith. All who seek, find what they need.

    Comment by Dale — July 27, 2014 @ 10:08 pm | Reply

  11. Panin’s numerics is a very poor substitute for real apologetics.

    Comment by Petros — July 28, 2014 @ 7:46 am | Reply

  12. I am looking for an objective and sincere evaluation of Ivan Panin’s work and to my dismay, this is the most enthusiastic effort I have found. I DO appreciate Peter Dunn taking the time and effort to at least experiment with Ivan Panin’s thesis, but I am left wondering to what degree this effort was sincere and/or fully explored. Instead of throwing out words like “Magicality” let’s take seriously, as I believe Panin did (dedicating 40 years of his life), that IF the scriptures are indeed inspired by God, His higher intelligence and Divine inspiration may have instilled more in the scriptures than we may know. This is NOT to take away from the plain understanding of what may be read and understood from scriptures which is of primary importance. However, Jesus said that not a jot or tittle would be removed from the law (scriptures). This impresses upon my mind that every speck of scripture is both precious and indelible. As Christians two thousand years later, equipped with tools and resources beyond our predecessors dreams yet further removed from the sources and origins of our cannon, it would remiss to not take seriously the possibility that there is a mechanism within the scriptures that might validate or identify flaws within the text itself. When comparing manuscripts and word selections to be used from incomplete or damaged scrolls, it would be of infinite worth to discover a mechanism within the scriptures that would provide litmus test or proof to identify which patterns or word choices to use. The repercussions of such a finding within Scripture cannot be overstated because it 1) proves the authorship of the scriptures as being from a SINGLE SOURCE of higher intelligence 2) it proofs and connects the old and new testaments with a common mathmatics / gematria unifying them despite differing language and culture AND 3) it potentially gives us a mechanism to select between between books, manuscripts and word choices based on a “divine pattern” NOT man’s preference or choice.

    I for one am not afraid to explore the idea that God has the final say in what IS and IS NOT part of his Word. The institutions and traditions of man have never been an adequate substitute for truth.

    Can we pursue this from a standpoint of seeking to understand rather than seeking to dismiss and disprove?

    Comment by Watchmen News — January 29, 2019 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

    • Panin’s numerics is a distraction that fails to edify and becomes only a point of division. Sorry. We can’t agree. Fortunately, my pastor who kept on going on and on about Panin stopped talking about it after I wrote this paper.

      Comment by Petros — January 29, 2019 @ 4:23 pm

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