Biblical literalism is defined as the theological view that the Bible should be seen as literally true. Biblical inerrancy is the doctrine that the Bible is without error in all its teachings. The kicker here is that the “bible” means the original manuscripts. We are Lord knows how many years past the original manuscripts. There have been legions of Bibles printed – by hand or by machine – over the last thousand years… not all so perfect.
A Bible printed in 1562 contains the following mistake in Mark 5:9 – “Blessed are the placemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Monte Python wasn’t the first to mishear that one!
A Bible printed in 1653 reads: “Do ye not know that the unrighteous shall inherit the Kingdom of God?” The passage, I Corinthians 6:9, should read “shall not inherit.”
A Bible from 1927 warns: “A man may not marry his grandmother’s wife.”
A Bible from 1944, replaces owl for own, making 1 Peter 3:5 read, “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their owl husbands.”
A Bible from 1611, in Matthew 26:36, has Judas, not Jesus, saying, “Sit ye here while I go yonder and pray.”
In 1612, in some Bibles, Psalm 119:161 reads “Printers have persecuted me without a cause” rather than “Princes have persecuted me…”
Edmund Becke’s Bible of 1549 and 1551 has this as verse 7 of chapter 3 of the 1st letter of Peter: “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” Becke, however inserted a footnote to that verse which reads, “And if she be not obediente and healpeful unto hym, endevoureth to beate the fere of God into her heade, that thereby she may be compelled to learne her dutye and do it.”
A Bible from 1716 renders Jeremiah 31:34 as “sin on more” rather than “sin no more.”
Clarendon Press in 1717 gave the chapter heading for Luke 20 as “The Parable of the Vinegar” instead of “The Parable of the Vineyard.”
In a Bible from 1763, Psalm 14:1 reads “the fool hath said in his heart there is a God”, rather than “…there is no God,” thus earning the name The Fool’s Bible.
In 1792, a Bible substituted the name Philip for Peter as the apostle who would deny Jesus in Luke 22:34.
A Bible from 1801 rendered murmurers as murderers, making Jude 16 read: “These are murderers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”
In an 1804 Bible, 1 Kings 8:19 reads “thy son that shall come forth out of thy lions”, rather than loins. This edition had another error in Numbers 25:18 which read: “The murderer shall surely be put together” rather than “…put to death.”
From 1805: In Galatians 4:29, a proof-reader had written in ‘to remain’ in the margin, as an answer to whether a comma should be deleted. The note inadvertently became part of the text, making the edition read “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit to remain, even so it is now.”
An 1806 Bible replaced fishers with fishes, making Ezekiel 47:10 read “And it shall come to pass, that the fishes shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim…”
A Bible from 1810 makes Matthew 13:43 read “…Who has ears to ear, let him hear.” The correct phrase, of course, was “ears to hear”. In the same edition, Hebrews 9:14 comes out as “How much more shall the blood of Christ … purge your conscience from good works to serve the living God.” That would be dead works…
Perhaps the most notorious ‘ooops, my bad’ Bible moment was a Bible printed in 1631. Omitting the little word ‘not’ from the 7th commandment, it became the most famous typo of all: “Thou shalt commit adultery.” Coined The Wicked Bible, the blunder was so severe, the publishers were punished with a £300 fine and their printer’s license was revoked. Only 11 copies of the Wicked Bible are extant, one having recently sold for over $89,000.
Soooo… literalists and inerrantists beware… Choose your Bible carefully!!