Quirky Bibles

The 1562 folio edition of the Geneva Bible, at Matthew 5.9, read “Blessed are the place makers.” The same edition had an erroneous subject title at Luke 21: “Christ condemneth the poore widowe.”

Several Robert Barker editions of the Geneva Bible read “Judas” for “Jesus” in John 6.67.

The first octavo edition of the King James Bible, 1612, read at Psalm 119.161: “Printers have persecuted me without cause.”

Another Robert Barker edition, of the King James Bible in 1631, is the most notorious. At Exodus 20.14, it reads “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

A 1653 edition of the King James Bible by John Fields of London included, among numerous other errors, the following at Romans 6.13: “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of righteousness.” And at 1 Corinthians 6.9: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?”

A 1682 edition of the King James Bible printed in Amsterdam includes numerous errors, one of which is “if the latter husband ate her” at Deuteronomy 24.3.

An Edinburgh edition of 1689 likewise contained many mistakes, including “ye were not servants of sin” at Romans 6.17.

Thomas Bensley of London issued a 1795 edition of the King James Bible which reads at Mark 7.27 “Let the children first be killed.”

An 1801 Bible became known as The Murderer’s Bible, for having “murderers” instead of “murmurers” in Jude 10.

In 1806 an edition appeared which at Ezekiel 47.10 reads “It shall come to pass that the fishes shall stand upon it.”

The Wife-Hater Bible of 1810 was named for its text of Luke 14.26: “If any . . . hate not . . . his own wife also.”

A Douay-Rheims Bible issued in Dublin in 1816 includes “the weakness of God” in 1 Corinthians 1.25.

In 1950, volume 1 of the Old Testament published by the Episcopal Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine included “skunk” in Leviticus 11.30. The typesetter “corrected” the intended skink, a kind of lizard.

The 1966 Jerusalem Bible, at Psalm 122.6, instructed readers to “Pay for peace.”

The year 2008 saw the publication of The Slop Bible. The Orthodox Study Bible reads at the beginning of Luke 10.2: “Then He said to slop”.

Most of the above amusing typographical errors are culled from Bruce Metzger’s delightful 1995 Presidential Address to the Society for Textual Scholarship, which is available in two places: 1.) Text: An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Studies. 9 (1996): 1-10. 2.) Reformed Review 48.3 (September 1995): 230-238. I used the latter, pp 231-232.

5 Replies to “Quirky Bibles”

  1. Enjoy your slop, Chris! I’m off to slop soon, myself!

    Esteban, it really looks intentional, doesn’t it? The word “slop” (delightful as it is!) doesn’t exist in the NKJV, so it couldn’t be a slip of someone copyediting the text. I really wonder whether some disgruntled editor might not have taken it in hand to add this as a bit of commentary on the OSB or, at the very least, the use of the (wretched, apalling) NKJV for its New Testament.

    Slop, indeed!

  2. Thanks for this post! Thumbing through some of the pre-19th-century English Bibles, casual readers may be aghast when they encounter a few verses where the old style used the letter shaped like “f” for “s” when it was the first letter of the word, particularly in Job 39:30 (“Her young ones also suck up…”) & Isaiah 66:11 (“That ye may suck, and be satisfied…”). This quirk is most noticeable in museums that display a copy of “The Vinegar Bible”, which you can see a photo of at this page for The Bridwell Library I’m linking to. Down in the bottom right corner of the opposite page is Luke 21:23, which contains the same now-troublesome quirk.

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