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Printing errors in the Bible

In a 1631 edition of the King James Bible – in Exodus 20 verse 14 – the word “not” was left out. This changed the 7th commandment to read – “Thou shalt commit adultery.” Most of the copies were recalled immediately and destroyed on the orders of Charles I. But there are 11 copies still remaining. They are known as the “Wicked Bible.” (The Bible museum in Branson – Missouri has one on display.) The printer was fined the equivalent of $400.

The word “not” was also left out in the 1653 edition. In 1 Corinthians 6 verse 9 it was printed: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God” – instead of “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Again it was recalled immediately (dashing the hopes of many!). It is known as the “Unrighteous Bible.”

The Murderer’s Bible – printed in 1801 – declared: “these are murderers” (instead of murmurers) and continued – “let the children first be killed” (instead of “filled.”)

Perhaps the error in Psalm 119 verse 161 in a 1702 version summed it all up: instead of “princes” it read – “printers have persecuted me.” It is known as the Printer’s Bible.

Books in the world

The first book that Johannes Gutenberg printed in 1454 was the Bible. It is thought that he printed about 180 copies – known as the 42-line Bible – of which significant parts of 48 copies still survive. Gutenberg did not make any printing errors.

Before Johannes Gutenberg invented his printing press in 1438 – there were only about 30,000 books throughout the whole of Europe – nearly all Bibles or biblical commentary. By 1500, there were more than 9 million books. Today there are more than a trillion books.

The world’s libraries store more than a 100 million original volumes – 24 million of those in the US Library of Congress. Amazon.com is the world’s biggest book store, holding some 3 million book titles (print and electronic, the latter which outsells the first mentioned). Sadly, almostĀ  a billion people around the world still cannot read.

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