Monday, November 28, 2011

Well, Are You Jesus the Nazarene or Aren't You?


A 1631 edition of the King James Bible printed in London contained a typographical error that earned it the nickname “The Wicked Bible.” Exodus 20:14 should have read “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Instead, it said “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

The printer was heavily fined. Today, copies of the Wicked Bible are rare and valuable.

Last week I stumbled upon a similar error in an electronic version of the recently published Common English Bible. I point this out mostly because I find it amusing. I very much like both the Common English Bible and You Version, an app that makes many versions of the Bible available for no charge. I use and recommend both the CEB and You Version.

So here’s the typo:

Jesus knew everything that was to happen to him, so he went out and asked, "Who are you looking for?" They answered, "Jesus the Nazarene." He said to them, "I Am." (Judas, his betrayer, was standing with them.) When he said, "I Am," they shrank back and fell to the ground. He asked them again, "Who are you looking for?" They said, "Jesus the Nazarene." "I’m not," he replied.      (John 18:4-7)

How did this happen? It seems that somehow, the words “‘I’m not,’ he replied” were misplaced from the end of John 18:17 and are actually Peter’s answer to the question “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples?”

I have contacted You Version and have been assured that the mistake will be corrected soon.

Print copies of the CEB do not contain this typo. As part of the Common English Bible “Thank You-Come Again-I Promise” Blog Tour I can give away another free Bible. First person to reply to this post wins it.

I found the image of the infamous misprint at Wikipedia, of course. If you win the Bible, I will ask you to send me your address in a reply which I will not publish. The Bible will be sent directly from the publisher.


  1. Wow! That was quick! Okay, Sarah, send me your address in another reply. I won't publish it. The publisher will send you a fresh new CEB Bible.

  2. The publisher identified the cause of the typo noted above in youversion. In the hidden database (actually the hidden xml code) to display the text on your screen, verse 17 was mistyped as verse 7. It should be fixed soon.

  3. Mistakes like this are easily made. Fortunately this one is also easily remedied. As I said, it does not affect my positive opinion of the CEB.