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The Typo: Learn from a Royal Mistake

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12, NLT)

The Typo: a #devotional for #writers based on 1 Cor 10:12 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #Editing

A typo is a small mistake in published content.

One of the most well-known typos dates back to 1631. A single, 3-letter word was omitted from the second printing of the King James Bible – a word that should have been carefully placed smack in the middle of The Ten Commandments.

The correct version of the seventh commandment states, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).

But the typo left out the word “not,” causing the verse to read, “Thou shall commit adultery.”


The printing run became known as “The Wicked Bible” or in some quarters, “The Adulterous Bible.” All but 16 copies were soon recalled and destroyed. The remaining few somehow slipped through official fingers and are around today.

Royal printers Robert Barker and Martin Lucas were responsible for the faux pas. This was the second edition of the original King James Bible twenty years earlier, produced by their firm in 1611. Thanks to the typo, Barker and Lucas were fined and had their printing licenses revoked.

The Wicked Bible serves as a powerful reminder: be careful. A small typo can have big consequences. Even royal printers make mistakes.

Minimize yours. Proofread your work. Use spell check and Grammarly – and then review your content again before you press “publish.”

A Wise Word

A small typo can have big consequences. Proofread carefully.

A Word To Pray

Gracious Father,

It can be easy to become over-confident. Keep me humble. Help me check my work carefully before I publish so that my readers can have a clear reading experience.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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