Anyone who has done any reading
concerning Bible translations knows that there is an ongoing debate between
some who use the King James Version and some who use modern versions of
the Bible. There are some who advocate a "King James Only" position. That is,
they believe the only faithful translation of God's word is the King James
Version of 1611. Thus, they reject every other translation. There especially seems to be objection by the "King James Only"
folks to the New King James Bible. The King James Only folks leave the impression in their
writings that if you use a version other than the King James Version (including the New King James
Version), you are a heretic and a modernist and not worthy of the fellowship of
As I write this article I want to
assure the reader that I respect the King James Version. I used it in my
preaching and teaching for 20 plus years. However, we must face
the fact that the King James Version is not perfect just as all other
English translations available to us today are not perfect.
For the past ten years
or so I have done most of my preaching and teaching from the New King James
Bible, but I still teach and preach the same gospel that I have for the
past thirty plus years. I will admit that the New King James Bible is not
perfect. There are areas where it is not as accurate as the KJV and that will be
pointed out in this article. However, there are many places where
improvement has been made over the KJV in accuracy and understandability. I also want to make clear that I am not defending those
renderings in the NKJV that are not in harmony with the original Hebrew/Greek,
just as I do not defend the KJV or any other English translation in the places
where they are not in harmony with the original Hebrew/Greek. As I said
before, every translation in the English language is imperfect in some way
because they are produced by imperfect people. The fact is, we must learn where
these translations differ from the original language and deal with them as best
we can. But we must guard against binding where God has not bound in trying to
bind one English translation upon everyone.
We all realize that the
English language has changed since the last revision of the King James Bible in
1769. In order for God's word to be understandable to people in their own language,
translations and revisions of translations
[updating of the language and changes made because of a better understanding of
the original languages and new discoveries in other fields such as archeology] may be needed from time to time. Not only is there
a need for accurate revisions of present translations, but in this writer's
opinion an accurate translation
directly from the Hebrew and Greek would be of great help to the world today.
I have been using the New King
James Version for study and purposes of comparison with the King James and the
American Standard Version since it first came out. I originally purchased the
New Testament because I was in the process of preparing sermons on the version
issue. When the New King James Version came out I thought that it would probably
have some of the same problems that all of the other new versions that I had
been studying had. Thus, my original intention was to review it and point out
the errors in it. However, the more I reviewed it the more I found that it was a
good translation. It corrected some of the problems the King James Version has
and updated the language and sentence structure so it is easier to understand. It is certainly not a perfect
translation, but no translation is perfect, including the King James Version of
They are imperfect because they are translated by imperfect men.
One thing I would like to point
out is that I have found that some of the objections to the New King James
Version are not objections concerning mistranslation, but objections due to
tradition. "It just doesn't sound right, so I'm going to stick with
the King James," some say. If one desires to "stick with the King James" I certainly have
no objection to that. The King James Version has certainly proved itself to be
reliable concerning the plan of salvation and how to live the Christian life.
But to say "I'm going to stick to the King James Version" and then to say "YOU
must stick to the King James Version or I'm not going to fellowship you" are two
different things. I would simply ask, does the Bible teach that we can
bind one translation on everyone and choose not to fellowship a person if he
doesn't use that translation? There is a difference between using a reliable,
yet imperfect translation (which all folks who use the King James Version do)
and using an unreliable translation that teaches false doctrine [for example, compare the
New International Version's Calvinist renderings, e.g. "sinful nature" etc...].
There have been objections
presented concerning the New King James Version. Some of them are legitimate and
need to be considered in future revisions. However, many of the objections are
invalid and based on tradition, on what a person likes, a misunderstanding of
what the original words really mean, or a misunderstanding that words have
changed meaning. So, I
have undertaken the task of reviewing these objections and considering whether
they are valid.
That copyright. Once again men with good
intentions have done a very bad thing. To place a "copyright" upon God's word is
unacceptable in our opinion...This is a sad arrangement made between the translators
and publishers. The translators needed money for the work and instead of doing
things God's way and allowing for free will offerings from God's people to cover
their needs, they solicited money from a publishing house who, in turn, required
copyright control over the use and sale of the translation.
Answer: What does this have to do with the accuracy of the NKJV or
whether one should use it? This is personal opinion (as the objector admits) and
in my personal opinion not worthy of consideration as an objection to the NKJV.
Objection 2: There are some
very bad changes made to the text. For example, the King James reading of
Genesis 2:7 says, "Man became a living soul." The New King James changes this to
"Man became a living being." Hebrew scholarship gives sufficient reason for
leaving the word "soul" in the text. But more importantly it is definitely
better doctrine to teach that man became a living soul since that is what
differentiates man from beast. Fish are living beings. Monkeys are living
beings. But man is a living soul.
Answer: The Hebrew word translated
"soul" in the KJV and "being" in the NKJV is nephesh.
According to Strong it means, "a breathing creature, i.e. animal or (abstract) vitality;
used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental):--any,
appetite, beast, body, breath, creature. . . ." The KJV translates this word as
"creature" (Gen. 1:21, 24; 2:19 and other passages where it is actually speaking
of animals), "life" (Gen. 9:4,5 and other passages), persons (Gen. 14:21), mind
(Gen. 23:8) etc... It is used of the whole person in many places." According to
the above definitions, the rendering in the NKJV is not a mistranslation. The
Bible points out the differences in men and animals in many other passages (cf.
etc....) In an article entitled
The Origin of
the Soul, Bert Thompson and Eric Lyons state:
"Biblical teaching regarding
man acknowledges that he is composed of two distinct parts--the physical and the
spiritual. We get an introduction to the origin of the physical portion as early
as Genesis 2:7 when the text states: 'Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the
ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a
living soul (nephesh chayyah).' It is important to recognize both what this
passage is discussing and what it is not. Genesis 2:7 is teaching that man was
given physical life; it is not teaching that man was instilled with an immortal
nature. The variety of terms employed in our English translations has caused
some confusion as to the exact meaning of the phrase 'living soul' or 'living
being.' Some have suggested, for example, that Genesis 2:7 is speaking
specifically of man's receiving his immortal soul or spirit. This is not the
case, however, as a closer examination of the immediate and remote contexts
clearly indicates. For example, the apostle Paul quoted Genesis 2:7 in 1
Corinthians 15:44-45 when he wrote: 'If there is a natural body, there is also a
spiritual body. So also it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living
soul.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.' The comparison/contrast
offered by the apostle between the first Adam's 'natural body' and the last Adam
(Christ) as a 'life-giving spirit' is absolutely critical to an understanding of
Paul's central message (and the theme of the great 'resurrection chapter' of the
Bible, 1 Corinthians 15), and must not be overlooked in any examination of
Moses' statement in Genesis 2:7."
In light of the teaching in 1 Corinthians 15
and the context of Genesis 2, there is no doubt in my mind that the NKJV is
correct in its rendering. I would ask the objector what evidence he has that
"Hebrew scholarship gives sufficient reason for leaving the word 'soul' in the
text." I would be glad to consider any evidence he may have.
Objection 3: Footnotes like that
of Daniel 3:25 provide some terrible information that can leave the undiscerning
Bible student with great doubts. In this text, Nebuchadnezzar admits to seeing
four men in the fiery furnace, though only three had been thrown in. The King
James records his statement that the fourth looked like, "the Son of God." But
the New King James footnote says that he actually might have said that the
fourth looked like, "a son of the gods." This is terrible.
Answer: Nebuchadnezzar, being a
pagan and a worshiper of many false gods and not knowing the One true God may
have said "a son of the gods." Notice the following statement:
believed in families of gods: Bel, the supreme god, accompanied by the
goddess Mylitta, being the father of the gods; thus the expression he
meant: one sprung from and sent by the gods" (Commentary on Genesis,
Jamieson, Fausset, Brown).
Knowing something of the background of the religious
beliefs of the Chaldeans, one can see how Nebuchadnezzar may have come to the
conclusion that the NKJV footnote records. But be that as it may, the alternate
reading is not in the text of the NKJV.
Objection 4: One such little error
is found in the
John 4:24 reading of the New King James Bible. The King James
correctly says, "God is a Spirit." The
New King James makes the little change of
dropping the article "a" and reads, "God is Spirit." This, again, is terribly
wrong. God is A Spirit. To say "God is Spirit" is to lend oneself to pantheistic
theology that "God is all and all is God".
Answer: The Greek simply says,
"spirit the God." The word could be rendered "a spirit" or simply "spirit." I
don't understand how the NKJV translation of this phrase "lends oneself to
pantheistic theology." The verse is simply stating the nature of God - He is
spirit rather than flesh.
Objection 5: We refer the reader
to other bad changes such as removing the commandment to "study" from
2:15. How many millions of Christians were reared on "Study to shew thyself
approved unto God.."? The New King James dilutes this to, "Be diligent to
present yourself approved to God." Why? Why change such a precious Bible verse
and water it down like that? We are truly at a loss for words when we see such
careless disregard for precious and meaningful verses like this.
Answer: The NKJV is correct in its
rendering of this word. The Greek word is "spoude" and means: "to use
speed, i.e. to make effort, be prompt or earnest:--do (give) diligence, be
diligent (forward), endeavor, labor... (Strong)." Vine says it means,
"earnestness, zeal," or sometimes "the haste accompanying this,"
Mark 6:25; Luke 1:39, is translated "diligence" in Rom 12:8; in
Rom 12:11, AV, "business"
(RV, "diligence"); in
2 Cor 8:7, AV, "diligence," RV, "earnestness;" both have
Heb 6:11; 2 Pet 1:5; Jude 1:3; in
2 Cor 7:11,12, RV, "earnest
care," AV, "carefulness," and "care." This translation does not "water down" but
rather corrects the KJV rendering. In 1611 the word "study" may have meant "be
diligent" but it no longer carries this idea today. The need to study the
Scriptures can be gleaned from other passages as well as the fact that we are
charged in this verse to "rightly divide the Scriptures" showing the need to
study the Scriptures. One can hardly "rightly divide the Scriptures" if he does
not know them. And one cannot know the Scriptures if he does not study them.
The NKJV does not use the solemn forms of "thee," "thou," "thy," and "thine" in
reference to God. The use of "you" and "your" brings God down to man's level.
The conclusion stated in the last sentence simply is not valid. If not using
"thee," "thou," etc... in reference to God brings God down to man's level, then
why doesn't using "thee," "thou," etc... in reference to man and even to Satan
bring man and Satan up to God's level? The so-called solemn forms of pronouns
are used in the King James Version in reference not only to God but to man and
Satan. Read Luke 4:8 for example. Here the King James Version has Jesus using
the word "thee" in reference to Satan. Surely
if not using these so-called solemn forms of pronouns in
reference to God brings God down to man's level, then using them in reference to
Satan puts Satan up on God's level. The fact is, that the Greek makes no
difference and uses the common pronoun in reference to God, Satan and man.
It is binding where God has not bound to insist that a translation use the
so-called solemn forms of pronouns to indicate respect and reverence for God.
While the words "thee," "thou," "thy,"
and "thine," do not show reverence, they do clarify some
passages as to who is
being spoken about or who is being spoken to. The
words "thee" and "thou" are second person singular pronouns and
the words "ye" and "you" are second person plural
pronouns. I read somewhere (I don't have the exact source before me) that the King James translators did not use these words
because they were in common use in their day, but because it allowed
them to be more accurate and exact in their translation of God's word.
While it is apparent in the Hebrew and Greek language when second person
singular/plural pronouns are used, it is not apparent in modern
English. Let me give one example: In John 3 we have the record of
Nicodemus coming to Jesus and Jesus teaching him about the necessity of
the new birth. In verse three Jesus told him, "...unless one is born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (NKJV). Nicodemus did not
understand the new birth, so Jesus explains it further in verse 5.
Now notice what Jesus said in verse seven: "Do not marvel that I said to
you. 'You must be born again'" (NKJV). Since modern English does not
make a distinction in the second person singular/plural pronoun using the
word "you" for both, there is something that can be easily missed in this
passage. The first "you" in verse seven is singular,
indicating that Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus. The second "you" is
plural, indicating that Jesus is not just saying that only Nicodemus must be
born again but that all people must be born again in order to enter into
the kingdom. The KJV, in using thee and ye makes it clear who is
being spoken to and who is being spoken about. It says, "Marvel not
that I said unto thee (singular), Ye (plural) must be born again." The
rule in old English is this: when a pronoun begins with "t" it is singular. When it
begins with "y" it is plural. Thus, the distinction in the Greek
language is carried over into the rendering of the KJV and there is no
doubt who is being spoken to and who is being spoken about. I have not
checked every passage where the second person plural/singular are used to
see if the KJV is consistent in it's renderings, but I suspect it is consistent.
The way people determine the difference
between the second person singular and the second person plural in modern
English is by context. When one studies his Bible he is usually able
to tell by the context or by the general teaching of the Bible concerning the same
subject whether the singular or plural is being used. For example, when
one reads the context of John three in the NKJV, it is not hard to determine that
Jesus is teaching that all people must be born again.
Look at verses 3 and 5 and the phrase, "one must be born again." He
did not say, "YOU must be born again" only talking about Nicodemus,
"ONE must be born again." So, we know from the context that in order
to enter the kingdom one (anyone) must be born again. However, it is not
always this easy to determine from the context when the singular/plural
personal pronoun is being used. Look at Exodus 16:28: "And the LORD said
to Moses, how long do you refuse to keep My commandments
and My laws." The word "you" is plural. If one did not know this, he
may conclude that God is speaking only to Moses. The plural shows that God was addressing the people of
Israel rather than Moses alone. However, even in Exodus 16
when one reads the context, he may be able to determine that God is
addressing the people of Israel (see verse 29 where it is clear that God
is addressing the people of Israel. Did God just give the Sabbath to Moses
or to all the Israelites?).
You will have to determine for
yourself if making the distinction between second person plural/singular
pronouns is good reason to reject the NKJV and use the KJV. I will
say that in all my years of preaching (30+) I don't remember this coming
up in a Bible class or being ask about those passages that are usually
pointed out by the KJV only people to be impossible to understand without
the ye and thee of the KJV. I also do not know how many people who
use the KJV realize the significance of "thee" and "ye." Yet, through all
these years, people have studied their KJV Bibles and have become and
continue to be faithful Christians despite this lack of knowledge.
If it is true that one can become a Christian and live the Christian life
without understanding the significance of "thee" and "ye" in the KJV, then
it is also true that one can become a Christian and live a faithful
Christian life using a translation that does not make the distinction
between second person singular/plural pronouns.
If you decide to
use only the KJV because it may be more accurate in it's renderings of
personal pronouns, you need to study your Bible and see if it authorizes
you to withdraw fellowship from everyone who does not make that same
Since all translations are imperfect,
one often has to weigh accuracy in one area against accuracy in another
area. As can be seen in this study, the NKJV is more accurate in
some areas and the KJV is more accurate in others. Is it better to use a
translation that shows the difference between second person plural and
second person singular pronouns, or is it better to use a translation that
corrects mistranslation and updates sentence structure and language so
that passages are rendered correctly and made more understandable?
Each person will have to answer this question for themselves.
Whatever your answer, please consider seriously whether or not the Bible
gives you authority to withdraw fellowship from everyone who does not make
the same decision you do.
The Greek word porneia is translated "sexual
immorality" instead of "fornication" in some places and is translated
"fornication" in other places. This is inconsistent. The term "sexual
immorality" is not specific enough.
Answer: I agree with this point.
Certainly there should be consistency in translating the word porneia. However, when I think of sexual immorality I do think of all
kinds of unlawful sexual intercourse which is what the word porneia
means. However, those less familiar with the Bible might not come to that
conclusion. I do not believe this is such a terrible translation that one should
reject the translation as a whole but one would hope that the word would be
translated as "fornication" or perhaps "unlawful sexual intercourse" in a future
Objection 8: Why change mansions
in John 14:2 of the KJV to dwelling places in the
Answer: The Greek word means "a
place of dwelling or abiding (Strong)." All three copies of the NKJV that I
have retain "mansions" with "dwelling places" in the footnote.
Objection 9: Why the change from
active of "save yourselves" in the KJV in
Acts 2:40 to the passive of "be saved"
in the NKJV? The ASV has the active. Is not Peter telling them they are to be
active -- not passive -- in this stirring exhortation? Indeed he is!
Answer: The word translated "save
yourselves" in the KJV is aorist passive imperative. It is rendered
correctly in the New King James Version. It is in the passive voice in the Greek
and thus should be rendered by the passive voice in English. The command to "be
saved" places responsibility upon a person to submit to what is necessary to be saved
Why the change from "unto death" in the KJV of Revelation
2:10 to "until death" in the
NKJV? Is not the Lord stressing faithfulness among
the suffering saints at Smyrna even up to the point of death and not just till
Answer: The Greek word is
achri. Bagster says the word means: "used as a prep., with respect to
place, as far as; to time, until, during;..." Berry defines it as: "even to,
until, as far as, whether of place, time, or degree..." Thayer says it means:
"until a certain time, for a season, until the day that." He then makes a
comment under "c. of Manner and Degree:" and says Rev. 2:10 means "to the
enduring of death itself." Robertson in his Word Pictures in the New
Testament states: "Keep on becoming faithful (present middle imperative of
ginomai), 'keep on proving faithful unto death' (Heb.12:24) as the
martyrs have done (Jesus most of all)." Vincent in his Word Studies of the
New Testament states: "Not faithful until the time of death, but
faithful up to a measure which will endure death for Christ's sake. 'It is an
intensive, not an extensive term.'" I like "unto death"
better, but just because I like that translation better does not mean that
"until" is wrong. As one can see when he reads the definitions of the lexicons,
"until" is one of the ways this word can be translated.
Objection 11: The NKJV uses
paraphrase in some passages.
Answer: This may be true, but so
does the KJV (see the phrase "God forbid" in several passages as an example. The
literal rendering of this phrase is "may it not be." The NKJV translates it
"certainly not." The word for God is not in this phrase in the Greek. It is a
paraphrase in the KJV). If we are going to reject the NKJV because it uses
paraphrase in some places, then to be consistent, we must reject the KJV too.
(Another example of paraphrase in the KJV is "God save the king" (1 Samuel
10:24). The literal translation is "may live the king." The KJV translators
paraphrased it because "God save the king" was a phrase used in their day.
However, the word "God" is not in that phrase in the Hebrew. The KJV rendering
is not a literal translation. To be consistent if we reject the NKJV because it
uses paraphrase we must reject the KJV. [Note: for another example of a
paraphrase in the KJV see objection 19 in this article].
Objection 12: In Titus 3:10
KJV reads, "A man that is an heretick ... reject." The NKJV changes "heretick"
to "divisive man." The one who holds to heresy is to be rejected, not the one
who exposes false doctrine. The new versions confuse who is in mind here.
Answer: Vine says the word
translated "heretick" in the KJV: "primarily denotes capable of choosing; hence,
causing division by a party spirit, factious..." Hence, according to the
definition this person would be a "divisive man" and the NKJV is correct. Note:
Although division might result from someone exposing false doctrine, the person
who exposes the false doctrine is not responsible for the division. The division
is caused by the one who teaches false doctrine. Thus, he would be the
"divisive man" rather than the one who exposes the false doctrine.
Objection 13: In
Acts 4:27 the KJV reads, "Thy holy child, Jesus." The NKJV
changes "holy child" to "holy servant."
Answer: Concerning the word
translated "child" in the KJV and "servant" in the NKJV, Vine states it
"signifies (a) a child in relation to descent, (b) a boy or girl in relation to
age, (c) a servant, attendant, maid, in relation to condition." This is not a
mistranslation. The context must determine the rendering. The NKJV translators
evidently considered the context to be indicating Jesus' condition rather than
descent or age.
Objection 14: In
the KJV reads, "bewitched the people." The NKJV
changes "bewitched" to
Answer: Of the word translated
"bewitched" in the KJV, Vine says, "it does not mean to bewitch, as in the case
of the preceding verb, but to confuse, amaze." He further states: "Like the
noun, this is used with two distinct meanings: (a) in the sense of amazement,
the word should be invariably rendered 'amazed,' as in the R.V., e.g., in the
case of Simon Magus (for A.V. 'Bewitched'), Acts 8:9 and 11. It is used, in the
Passive Voice, of Simon himself in the 13th ver., R.V., 'he was
amazed,' for A.V. 'wondered.' Amaze is preferable to 'astonish' throughout."
According to what Vine says the KJV is wrong and there is another translation
that is preferable to the NKJV rendering. However, when one looks up the word
amaze in a thesaurus the first synonym given is "astonish." Thus, the NKJV is
correct in its rendering here.
Objection 15: In
1:25 the KJV reads, "changed the truth of God into a lie." The NKJV
"exchanged the truth of God for the lie."
Answer: There are two differences
in this verse, the word "changed" in the KJV is rendered "exchanged" in the NKJV,
and the phrase "a lie" in the KJV becomes "the lie" in the NKJV. In regard to
the first Vine defines the word translated "changed" in the KJV as: "to change
one thing for another, or into another.... denotes (a) to exchange, meta,
with, implying change, and allaso, Rom. 1:25, of exchanging the truth
for a lie." The NKJV is correct in it's rendering of this word. In regard to "a
lie" versus "the lie," the Greek has the definite article before the word lie,
so the NKJV is correct here also.
Objection 16: In
the KJV reads, "Who was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for
our justification." The NKJV
changes "for" to "because of."
Answer: I too had questions
concerning the NKJV's rendering of the word "for" as "because of" in this
passage. However, when one examines the Greek one will find that the NKJV is
correct in it's rendering of this word. The Greek word is "dia" and
Thayer says this word in the accusative case can be rendered: "on account of,
because of." Whatever the problems may be in understanding what the Holy Spirit
means by "delivered because of our offenses and raised because of
our justification" the NKJV is more literal than the KJV in this passage
and renders the word correctly.
Objection 17: In 2
Corinthians 10:5 the KJV reads, "Casting down imaginations." The NKJV
"imaginations" to "arguments."
Answer: Vine says concerning the
word translated "imaginations" in the KJV, "a reasoning, a thought, is
translated 'thoughts' in
Romans 2:15, suggestive of evil intent, not mere reasonings; 'imaginations' in 2 Cor. 10:5 (R.V. marg., 'reasonings,' in each
place). The word suggests the contemplation of actions as a result of the
verdict of conscience." Thayer defines the word as: "a reckoning, computation.
2. A reasoning; such as is hostile to the Christian faith, 2 Cor 10:5." After
reading these definitions you be the judge as to which rendering is best.
Objection 18: In
the KJV reads, "Set your affection on things above." The NKJV
Answer: The Greek word translated
"affection" in the KJV and "mind" in the NKJV is phroneo. Thayer
defines this word as: "to direct one's mind to a thing, to seek or strive
for..." Vines says it means, "to think, to be minded in a certain way: (b) to
think of, be mindful of." The NKJV is correct in its rendering of this word.
Objection 17: In
5:22 the KJV reads, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." The NKJV changes
"appearance" to "form."
Answer: Vine defines the word
translated "appearance" in the KJV as: "properly that which strikes the eye,
that which is exposed to view, signifies the external appearance, form,
or shape...." He further states: "It has a somewhat different significance in 1
Thess. 5:22, in the exhortation 'Abstain from every form of evil,' i.e., every
sort or kind of evil (not 'appearance,' A.V.)..." Again the NKJV is correct in
Objection 18: In
Psalm 79:1 the
word "heathen" in the KJV is changed to "nations" in the NKJV.
Answer: This is not a valid
objection. Strong defines this word like this: "goy, go'-ee; appar. from the
same root as H1465 (in the sense of massing); a foreign nation; hence a Gentile;
also (fig.) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts:--Gentile, heathen,
nation, people." Hence the word could be translated Gentile, heathen, nation or
people depending on the context.
Objection 19: In
Isaiah 11:3 the
entire phrase, "And shall make Him of quick understanding" in the KJV is
eliminated in the NKJV
Answer: This is not true. The
phrase is there, it is just translated differently. For, "and shall make Him of
quick understanding" the NKJV has "his delight." The Hebrew word (yes one word
in Hebrew) is paraphrased by the KJV translators as "and shall make Him of quick
understanding." The Hebrew word is "ruwach," which according to Strong
means "a prim. root; prop. to blow, i.e. breathe; only (lit.) to smell or (by
impl. perceive; fig. to anticipate, to enjoy.)..." The ASV renders this verse,
"And his delight shall be in the fear of Jehovah..." The "Literal
Translation of the Bible, by Jay P. Green Sr. one of the most literal
translations one can find, renders the word ruwach as breathe. "And he
is made to breathe in the fear of Jehovah." The KJV is a paraphrase, the ASV and
NKJV are better, but not literal translations, translating it figuratively as
Objection 20: In
Isaiah 66:5 the
wonderful phrase, "But He shall appear to your joy" in the KJV disappears
without explanation from NKJV.
Answer: This again is not true.
The phrase is translated like this: 'That we may see your joy.' The word
translated "appear" means "to see" according to Strong.
Objection 21: A striking word
change involves changing "corrupt" to "peddling" in
2 Corinthians 2:17. The KJV
correctly says, "For we are not as many, which corrupt the Word of God .... "But
changes "corrupt" to "peddling." Is there any great difference between
peddling (selling, or making a gain of) the Word of God and corrupting
(adulterating) it? Of course there is, and one does not have to be a Greek
scholar to decide which word is correct. When this warning was given in the 1st
Century, was there any way for people to peddle (make a gain of) God's Word? Of
course not -- they were suffering for it. The warning clearly refers to
corrupting God's Word, something that was common then as it is now. Only in our
day has it ever been possible to peddle (make a gain of) the Bible. With its
huge profits from the sale of many different Bible versions, the Thomas Nelson
Publishers is both corrupting and peddling God's Word.
Answer: Vine defines the word
translated "corrupt" in the KJV as: "primarily signifies to be a retailer, to
peddle, to hucksterize (from kapelos, an inn-keeper, a petty retailer,
especially of wine, a huckster, peddler, in contrast to emporos, a merchant);
hence, to get base gain by dealing in anything, and so, more generally, to do
anything sordid for personal advantage." Whatever the person who made this
objection may think concerning whether or not 1st century people
could peddle (make a gain of) God's word, the NKJV is correct in its rendering
of this passage.
Objection 22. In Matthew 7:14 the
KJV says, "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto
life..." The NKJV says, "Because narrow is the gate and DIFFICULT is the way
which leads to life," Is the way unto eternal life difficult? No, that is false
teaching. The way unto eternal life is "strait," as the KJV says, meaning
"constricted, restricted, distressed, narrow, restrained."
Answer: The objector seems to be
mixing up the words translated "narrow" and "strait." They are two different
words in the Greek. The word translated "strait" in the KJV is translated by the
word "narrow" in the NKJV. The word the NKJV translates as "difficult" and the
KJV translates as "narrow" is the Greek word thlibo. Strong says the
word means: "to crowd (lit. or fig.):--afflict, narrow, throng, suffer
tribulation, trouble." Vine says of the word, "to press, ...hemmed in, like a
mountain gorge..." Thayer says it means, "to press, press hard upon; prop a
compressed way, i.e. narrow, straightened, contracted, ; metaph, to trouble,
afflict distress;..." The way that leads to life certainly has it's trouble,
affliction, tribulation and distress. The way to eternal life is
difficult (Matthew 13:21; John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12). How could someone think
that is false teaching? The NKJV translates the word "strait" correctly as
Objection 23. In Matthew 20:20 the
KJV says, "Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons,
worshiping him..." The NKJV says, "Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Him
with her sons, KNEELING DOWN..." This is a wicked change. To kneel is obviously
not the same as worship. "Worship" was in Tyndale's translation of 1526. It was
in the Matthew's Bible of 1537. It was the Geneva of 1537. It was in the
Authorized Version of 1611. Even the English Revised version of 1881 and the
American Standard Version of 1901 retained the word "worship." It was the
modernistic Revised Standard Version of 1952 which changed to "kneeling." Now
the NKJV editors follow this same wicked error.
Answer: Strong says this word
means, "(to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to,
i.e. (lit. or fig.) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to,
adore):--worship." Thayer says it means, "by kneeling or prostration to do
homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to
make supplication." In the New Testament the word carries the meaning of
prostrating or kneeling down to worship, offer homage or respect or to make
request of someone. The context has to determine how the word is translated. I
do not believe the NKJV is a mistranslation. I also do not believe that the
rendering somehow detracts from the Deity of Jesus. They knelt down with great
respect before Jesus to make supplication or request of Him. It doesn't seem to
me that they were there to worship Him in the sense of holding a worship service, but
to ask for something in a respectful way.
Objection 24. In 1 Corinthians
1:18 the KJV says, "... but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." The
NKJV has, "... but to us who are BEING SAVED it is the power of God..." This
unnecessary change corrupts the doctrine of salvation and conforms to the
heretics who teach that salvation is a process.
Answer: The Greek word translated
"are saved" in the KJV and "are being saved" in the NKJV is a verb, present,
passive, participle, dative, plural, masculine. The present participle indicates
an action in progress. Despite the belief of the objector the NKJV is correct in
Objection 25. PHILIPPlANS 2:6 KJV
- "Who, being in the form of God, thouught it not robbery to be equal with God."
NKJV - "Who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped." This unnecessary change conforms to the doctrine of
heretics who teach that Christ was not God.
Answer: Thayer says the word
translated "robbery" in the KJV means, "the act of seizing, robbery; a thing
seized or to be seized, booty; to deem anything a prize, -- a thing to be seized
upon or to be held fast, retained Phil. 2:6; ..." Vine says the word means, "to
seize, carry off by force,..." Vine further says, "it may have two meanings, (a)
in the Active sense, the act of seizing, robbery, a meaning in accordance with a
rule connected with its formation; (b) in the Passive sense, a thing held as a
prize." According to these two authorities the meaning could be either what the
KJV says or what the NKJV says, depending on whether the translators viewed it
in the active sense or the passive sense. I admit I don't have the answer to
this and I don't think we can be dogmatic about it either way. However, the
objection to the NKJV seems to be that the rendering somehow teaches that Christ
is not God. I don't see it. The NKJV affirms that Jesus was in the "form of God"
and that He was on an "equality with God." That surely teaches that He is God.
Objection 26. In John 5:24, the
Old King James reads "and shall not come into condemnation." The New King James
reads "and shall not come into judgement. The careful Bible student
will notice that "condemnation" and "judgement" are not the same words.
To use the word "judgement" is to change the meaning of the verse, and
it is a change for the worse. The Bible teaches that every person, whether saved
or lost, is going to be judged. The lost man will appear at the White Throne
Judgement to be judged for his sins and for his rejection of Jesus Christ, Rev.
20:11-15. The saved man will appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ to be
judged for his works, I Cor. 3:11-15; II Cor. 5:10. The Christian is not
condemned, but is judged. The rendering in the New King James is false and
heretical. One wonders why they did not change condemnation to judgment over in
Jude 4? They are not very consistent, are they?
Answer: The Greek word translated
"condemnation" in the KJV and "judgment" in the NKJV is krisis. Vine's
Word Studies defines this word as "(a) denotes "the process of investigation,
the act of distinguishing and separating" (as distinct from krima, see krima
above); hence "a judging, a passing of judgment upon a person or thing;" it
has a variety of meanings, such as judicial authority,
John 5:22,27; justice,
Acts 8:33; James 2:13; a tribunal,
Matt 5:21,22; a trial,
John 5:24; 2 Pet 2:4;
2 Pet 2:11; Jude 1:9; by metonymy, the standard of judgment, just
Matt 12:18,20; Matt 23:23; Luke 11:42; Divine judgment executed,
2 Thess 1:5; Rev 16:7; (b) sometimes it has the meaning "condemnation," and is
virtually equivalent to krima B3(a); see Matt 23:33; John 3:19; James 5:12, hupo
krisin, "under judgment." Notice that Vine says the word "sometimes ... has the
meaning 'condemnation,'" but he does not give John 5:24 as an example
of that. Again, I think it is important to point out that the objector compares
the NKJV with the KJV rather than comparing it with the Greek. The KJV is a translation of
the Greek into English. Thus, it is not the standard to judge other
translations. The Greek is the standard since the New Testament was originally
written in Greek. The reason the NKJV translators didn't change the word in Jude
4 is because it is a different Greek word. It is krima rather then
krisis. Vine defines krima as "the sentence pronounced, a verdict,
a condemnation, the decision resulting from an investigation..." Again, the NKJV
Objection 27. Five verses down
from John 5:24, the Revisors changed the word "damnation" to
"condemnation". Does it give a better understanding of
the verse? No! It is merely an attempt to tone down the harsh, straight forward
language of the Old King James.
Answer: The objector is referring
to John 5:29. The word translated "condemnation" in the NKJV
is the same word
that is used in John 5:24. It is krisis. In my opinion, it would have
been better to translate it as "judgment" as the American Standard Version does.
However, Vine points out that the word can also mean "condemnation" and
evidently the NKJV translators thought that fit the context better. But what is
the difference between "damnation" and "condemnation?" Webster defines "damn"
as, "to condemn as guilty; to condemn to an unhappy fate; doom..." "Damnation"
is "condemnation!" In my
opinion, one of the improvements of the NKJV over the KJV is that it does not
use words that are considered today to be profanity. The KJV uses words that may
not have been considered to be curse words when it was translated, but have come
to be considered to be curse words today. The same objector that objected to the
word condemnation also objected to the use of the word "illegitimate" in the
place of "bastard" in Hebrews 12:8. When you look up the word "bastard" in the
dictionary you will find it defined as, "a person born of parents not married to
each other, illegitimate child." What is a bastard? It is an illegitimate
child. This is not a valid objection. When I was growing up, my mother and
father taught me that I was not supposed to say certain words, because they were
"cuss" words. Among those words were "damn" and "bastard." Both of those words
are still considered to be profanity today and I have always had trouble using
those words when reading from the KJV. Why hold on to words like that when the
original Greek words can be rendered in such a way as to not use what is
considered profanity today
and be just as accurate?
Objection 28. Also check
3:8, where the revisors changed the word "dung" to
"rubbish" Again, these words are not the same.
Answer: The Greek word is
skubalon which Strong defines as, "what is thrown to the dogs, i.e.
refuse..." Vine defines it as follows: denotes "refuse," whether
(a) "excrement," that which is cast out from the body, or (b) "the leavings
of a feast," that which is thrown away from the table. Some have derived it from
kusibalon (with metathesis of k and s), "thrown to dogs;" others connect it with
a root meaning "shred." Judaizers counted Gentile Christians as dogs, while they
themselves were seated at God's banquet. The Apostle, reversing the image,
counts the Judaistic ordinances as refuse upon which their advocates feed, Phil.
3:8." "Refuse" which is the word that the ASV uses and "rubbish" are almost
identical in meaning. They both carry the meaning of that which is to be thrown
away or rejected as trash. That is certainly in harmony with the definition
given by Strong and Vine. Again, the NKJV is correct in its rendering.
Objection 29. I Tim. 6:10 in the
Old King James reads, "for the love of money is the
root of all evil." The New King James reads,
"For the love of money is a root
of all kinds of evil."
Again, one should observe that "root of all evil" and,
"a root of all kinds of evil" are not the same. Quite
definitely, here is a direct attack on God's Holy Word. There is no reason,
outside of devilment, to change one word in this verse. This is strictly a
private interpretation done to change the truth which is found in the Old King
James, namely, "THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL
Answer: There are two changes in
the NKJV. First, the KJV has the definite article "the" in front of the word
"root." However, the Greek does not have the definite article. Thus, the NKJV is
correct in its rendering. Second, the NKJV added in italics the phrase "kinds
of." The fact that this phrase is in italics shows that the translators
understood those words were not in the Greek. However, they were added because
the translators thought it would make the sense of the passage more
understandable. The NKJV rendering agrees with something we all know. All evil
is not motivated by the love of money. It is "a root" not "the root' as the KJV
rendering indicates. Murder is evil. However, murder can be motivated by passion
or jealousy both of which may have nothing to do with money. Thus, the NKJV
rendering agrees with what we all know about evil and money. Not all evil is
motivated by the love of money. The KJV rendering indicates that "the love of
money is the root of all evil." Something we all know not to be true. The NKJV
rendering is again correct.
Objection 30. In 1 Timothy 6:20
the KJV reads, "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding
profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called." The
NKJV says, "O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the
profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called
Answer: The difficulty here would
seem to be between the words "science" and "knowledge." The fact is, there would
be no way to differentiate the words for "science" and "knowledge" in Greek.
Even the King James Version translates this word, gnosis, as
"knowledge" 28 times. The literal meaning of the word is "knowledge." Strong
defines this word as "knowing [the act] i.e. knowledge." The NKJV
translation is correct.
31. In Hebrews 3:16 the KJV reads: "For some, when they had heard, did
provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses." The NKJV changes the
whole meaning by rendering the verse like this: "For who, having heard,
rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by
Moses?" The NKJV teaches that all of the Israelites who came out of Egypt
rebelled. We know that this is not true, Joshua and Caleb and probably some of
the Levites did not rebel.
Answer: The ASV
renders the verse like this: "For who, when they heard, did provoke? nay, did
not all they that came out of Egypt by Moses?" agreeing with the rendering of
the NKJV. It is true that Joshua and Caleb did not rebel. Some have
expressed an objection to the KJV's use of the word "some" because it seems to
go to the other extreme by implying that it wasn't all that many who rebelled.
Whether that's true or not, the answer to the difference between the KJV and the
NKJV/ASV lies in the Greek language and where the accent mark should be on the
word that is translated "some" in the KJV and "who" in the NKJV/ASV. If
the accent mark is placed on the first syllable of the word, the word is
interrogative and should be rendered "who." If it is placed on the second
syllable of the word, then it is an indefinite pronoun and can be rendered
"some" or "certain" as in "certain ones." But the fact of the matter is, since
there were no Greek accents in the original writings, no one knows for sure
where the accent mark should be placed. It therefore must be rendered in the
best way that fits the context. Robert Milligan, in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews explains
it like this:
"The original manuscripts of the New
Testament were written without any accents and also without any marks of
punctuation. . . . but accents were not generally used by Christian writers till
after the middle of the fifth century; and it was not until about the beginning
of the tenth century that the custom of using them became universal. And so also
of the system of Greek punctuation. It too was gradually introduced with
sundry changes and modifications. About the middle of the fifth century,
Euthalius, a Deacon of Alexandria, divided the New Testament into lines (stichoi),
each line containing as many words as were to be read without any pause or
interruption of the voice. In the eighth century, the comma (,) was
invented; and the Greek note of interrogation (;) in the ninth. But it was
not till after the invention of the art of printing, about the middle of the
fifteenth century, that the present system of Greek punctuation was universally
adopted by Greek scholars.
It is obvious, therefore, that no
authority is to be attached to these marks of accent and punctuation, except so
far as they are supported by the conditions of the context and the well-known
laws and principles of the Greek language. And it may therefore be still a
question whether the word tines in our text should be accented on the
first or on the second syllable.
What, then, is the proper meaning of
this word? Is it an interrogative or an indefinite pronoun? Is it equivalent to
who or to some? That it should be rendered who in the
seventeenth and eighteenth verses, is conceded by all: for here, indeed, the
context will admit of nothing else. But is it not almost, if not quite, as
obvious, from the scope of the author's argument, that it must have the same
meaning in the sixteenth verse? Having, in the verses immediately preceding,
solemnly warned his brethren against the dangers of apostasy from Christ, and
having illustrated the whole matter by a general reference to the fortunes of
their fathers in the wilderness, and also by God's subsequent warnings and
admonitions through David, our author now makes a more sweeping and definite
application of Old Testament history. Lest any should attempt to avoid the force
of his general argument, on the ground of its seeming indefiniteness; and should
be disposed to take refuge in the vain hope that through some of the less
enlightened of their brethren might fail, they themselves would nevertheless
escape -- fearing this, the Apostle makes another more definite and
heart-searching appeal to the well known facts of the Old Testament history.
He reminds his readers by an appeal to their own knowledge of the facts, that it
was not merely a few of the most ignorant and superstitious of their fathers
that fell in the wilderness on account of their disobedience; but that it was in
fact the whole redeemed nation who came out of Egypt under Moses. The few
exceptions, consisting of Joshua, Caleb, Eliezer, and perhaps a few more of the
Levites, are purposely and with strict rhetorical propriety kept in the
background; and the great mass of the people who had been once enlightened and
consecrated to God, are brought forward as persons doomed to destruction, in
order to make a more vivid and lasting impression on the minds and hearts of the
Hebrew brethren. For who, says the author, were they that having heard did
provoke? Were they the children and servants of your fathers? Or were they a few
of the most ignorant and depraved of that generation? Nay indeed, were they not
all of the six hundred thousand who came out of Egypt by Moses? The force of
this appeal could not be avoided: and it must have made a very deep impression
on the mind and heart of every Hebrew Christian who read this Epistle."
Clark, Barnes, Robertson,
Vincent, Coffman, etc... agree with Milligan's conclusions. The fact is, the
translation of this verse hinges on whether the translators understood the word
to be an indefinite (KJV) or an interrogative (NKJV/ASV). It seems to me
that the interrogative is more in harmony with the context and the way the word
is used in verses 17 and 18 where both the NKJV and the KJV renders it as an interrogative.
As far as the fact that Caleb
and Joshua did
not rebel, Coffman comments:
"The statement that 'all they' rebelled is
hyperbole, exaggeration for the sake of emphasis; and, while it is true that
Caleb and Joshua refused to be with the majority and survived to enter Canaan,
'the exception was so small that the apostle had no scruple in saying that they
all provoked God in their disobedience,' as Barnes put it. The exception was so
small that the names of only two have come down through history as repudiating
the majority" (Commentary on Hebrews, Coffman. page 84).
Thus, apart from the context of the passage, there is no way to know whether the KJV or the NKJV is right. We cannot be dogmatic either way because there
is no way to tell. The verse has to be rendered in whatever way best harmonizes
with the context. It is my conviction that the NKJV does that.
We have examined 31 objections
in regard to the NKJV made by those who believe the KJV is the only version one
should use (King James Only folks) or those who question the NKJV although they
may not take the radicial position of King James Only. In my opinion, only three were valid (See
objections 2, 7 and 10) but not one of them if believed would lead to one losing
his soul. There are probably other objections that I have not seen. However,
these seem to be some of the main ones.
It has been my experience that most
people who object to the NKJV object simply because there are some things
rendered differently than what they are used to reading in the KJV. Friends,
just because something is rendered differently than the KJV doesn't make it
wrong. The question is, does it agree with the original languages? Is it
translated correctly? I think you can see from this study that the NKJV does
make some improvements over the KJV. It is easier to understand in some places.
It is more literal and accurate in some places. It is easier to read and
comprehend because, for the most part, it uses the language we use today.
I have often heard preachers
who object to the New Versions (and I also object to some of them) say that if a
modern translation was produced that was both reverent and accurate they would
not object to it. However, some of those same preachers are vehemently against
the NKJV which (in my opinion) is as accurate and reverent as the KJV.
The Greek that the New
Testament was originally written in was the common language of the day. God gave
His word in the language of the common people. Certainly, one could conclude
from this that He would want His word to be given in the common language of
every nation under heaven. If you want to use the KJV to preach, teach, read and
study from that is your right and I support you in that. But you bind where God
has not bound if you teach that anyone who uses anything other than the KJV is
sinning and not worthy of fellowship with faithful Christians.
[Note: this is not to say that one cannot object to
translations available today and point out their errors, unreliability,
and unacceptability, but the emphasis in the last sentence is upon binding the KJV only.]
If that is true, there are a
lot of people in the world who have heard the gospel in their own language
(through translations other than the KJV in their native languages), and who
have obeyed it and who (in your view) are sinning by using another translation.
If you take the King James Only route you are condemning everyone who does not
read English because they can't read the KJV.
Let me plead with those of you
who are King James Only people to not cause division where God has not spoken.
"If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1
Peter 4:11). Repent of binding where God has not bound.
Here is a question that you
need to consider: Do you know anywhere in God's word where He has bound a
certain version on people? I can't find it. If you know where it is, please let
me know the book, chapter, and
verse that teaches it. Of course, we realize that some of the modern translations pervert God's
word (the NIV is a good example) and must be rejected. However, we need to be
comparing the new translations to the original languages to see if they are
correct rather than to the KJV.
[Note: we have not
discussed the textual basis of the KJV, NKJV (Received Text) versus the text
most new versions of the Bible use (i.e. Nestles-Aland). There are also those
who are claiming that the Majority Text
(which is more like the Received Text) is the most accurate text. This discussion does not
enter into our study of the KJV versus the NKJV because they are both based on
the same texts.]
I would be glad to consider any
other objections you may have concerning the NKJV. Please email me at the
address on the main page and we will
add them to this page.
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