The Wicked Bible
In 1631, English royal printers Barker and Lucas published a Bible that has since been called “The Wicked Bible.” After publication, a printing error was discovered in Exodus 20:14: the word “not” had mistakenly been omitted, so that it read, “Thou shalt commit adultery.” The printers were fined by the High Commission, and the entire edition was recalled and destroyed. Only a handful of copies are known to have survived.
We chuckle at the “Wicked Bible” because we know that many people would prefer it if Exodus 20:14 really did say that. But we also know that a lot of folks, many of whom call themselves Christians, don’t need an altered Bible to decide that God really doesn’t mind so much if they commit adultery, or lie, or steal, or gossip.
The challenge in every generation and every society is to believe and live out what the Scriptures say — not what we might wish them to say. That goes for sexual morality and for countless other matters in which our own inclinations might run up against the teaching of God’s word. “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).