Famous Misprints

And the One who gets things right

Have you ever misspelled something? Years ago, I interviewed a popular band for a cover story that would go into 101 countries. As editor, I oversaw the cover design with a photo of the band, and their name in huge letters. Instead of “The Newsboys” it read, “The Newboys.” I sent it off to the print shop, and still haven’t heard the end of it.

Here’s a misprint from a Washington Post article: “All Utah Condemned To Face Firing Squad.” Yikes. How would you like that on your resume? This is from the Surrey News: “Arthur Kitchener was seriously burned Saturday afternoon when he came in contact with a high voltage wife.”

This from the Ely Standard: “We apologize for the error in last week’s paper in which we stated that Mr. Arnold was a defective in the police force. We meant of course that Mr. Arnold is a detective in the police farce. We are sorry for any embarrassment caused.”

One of the most famous misprints of all time is rather horrible. The authorized King James Version of the Bible was first printed in 1611. In a 1631 reprint by the King’s Printing House, this misprint appeared “Thou shalt commit adultery.” Once the mistake was found, 1000 Bibles from that print run were collected and burned. Eleven survived. One can be seen in The Living Word National Bible Museum in Branson, Missouri.

We mortals sometimes get things wrong. Thankfully God never does. He has made certain that the Bible has been preserved through the ages. Did you know there are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament alone? There are 8,000 Latin manuscripts, and another 1,000 in other languages. In contrast, the typical number of existing manuscript copies for works of Plato, Aristotle, and Caesar range from 1 to 20. And the unity between biblical manuscripts is startling, thanks in part to those who viewed translation of the Bible as the holiest of callings. This book has transformed the lives of millions. It is perennially fresher than the morning news.

Today I read words I badly needed from Psalm 16:11:

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

I hope you’re filled with joy today. Which makes me think of another headline from the Durham Herald-Sun. “Parking Lot Floods When Man Bursts.”

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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