Question: What is wrong with
the New King James Version (NKJV)? All it does is modernize the
words of the King James Bible, right? Why should I read the King
James and not the helpful New King James?
Answer: The New King James
is not a
King James Bible. It changed thousands of
words, ruined valuable verses, and when not
agreeing with the King James Bible, it has
instead copied the perverted NIV,
NASV or RSV. And this you must know: those
who translated the NKJV did not believe
God perfectly preserved His words!
I have gotten more letters on this question than almost any other. This is very important to those who want God's truth in the English language. I myself used the NKJV for a decade before I learned the truth about the preserved words of God. Here is some of what convinced me to switch to the King James Bible from the "New King James."
Changed Words Means Changed Meanings
We know that Bible versions disagree on how to translate certain words. Here is an example: Is Jesus God's "Son" or God's "servant"? In Acts 3:26, the NKJV calls Jesus God;s "Servant." The KJV correctly calls Him Godís "Son." These are not the same by any stretch of the imagination. Which one is He? If He is God's servant, so are you and I. If He is God's Son, then we all need to listen to what He said, because He is God! Changed words like this make a great deal of difference in how we understand a passage.
"And the LORD said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?" (Exodus 16:28, NKJV)
It looks like God is saying, "Moses, you are continuing to refuse to keep My
commandments and My laws." But look carefully at the accurate King James:
"And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep
my commandments and my laws?"
Now we understand! It was the people, not Moses, that God was upset with. "Ye" and "you" mean more than one person. "Thee," "thou," "thy," "thine," "doeth," "hast," etc., only mean one person. How do we know? The "y" is plural. The "t" is singular. Isn't that easy? Now you know what Jesus meant when He said to Nicodemus,
"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).
What Jesus said was, "Nicodemus, marvel not that I said unto thee, all of you need to be born again." This is very important. Not only Nicodemus needed to be saved. But everybody, including him, needed to be born again. That's why Jesus used the plural.
But there is more of a problem than the thousands of times "thee" and "thou" are removed from God's words. What does a word mean? This is very important, as you shall see.
Go to Gehenna?
The NKJV claims to be "more accurate" because it leaves untranslated words like "Gehenna," "Hades" and "Sheol." What do they mean? You will know from the King James the exact meaning: "hell." We know what that means. Meaning is very important. When's the last time you heard someone told to "Go to Gehenna"?
Which is correct?
The NKJV consistently uses terms that don't mean the same as in the King James Bible. Here are some examples:
King James Version
New King James Version
2 Corinthians 2:17
"For we are not as many which corrupt the word of God"
"peddling the word of God" (like the NIV, NASV and RSV)
"A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject"
"Reject a divisive man" (like the NIV)
1 Thessalonians 5:22
"Abstain from all appearance of evil."
"Abstain from every form of evil." (like the NAS, RSV and ASV)
"Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed." [This means that the LORD shall appear, which shall occur at the Second Coming of Christ.]
"Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at His word: "Your brethren who hated you, who cast you out for My name's sake, said, 'Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy.' But they shall be ashamed." (Like the NIV, NASV, RSV and ASV, the Second Coming is wholly omitted from this scripture.)
Both translations cannot be correct. If one is right, the other has to be wrong. No matter how you slice it, the NKJV does not have the same meaning as the accurate King James Bible.
2. Changed Affections
There is a lot of evidence that the translators and publishers did not believe God preserved His words.
Thomas Nelson Publishers
The NKJV was translated and is printed under the watchful eye of Thomas Nelson Publishers. Here is part of a timeline they published.
Sam Moore purchases Thomas Nelson Publishers,
vowing to return it to its once proud place among
the leading publishers of the world.
Nelson initiates the creation of a new Bible
translation--The New King James Version.
Nelson reclaims its place as a premier publisher of
Bibles and Christian Books, expands into
international markets, and establishes Markings® as
Nelson's Gift division.
It is clear the NKJV made Thomas Nelson Publishers a lot of money. Did a King
James-type Bible renew their hearts to God? Note the following facts:
They are also the publishers of the American Standard Version, the American revision of Westcott and Hort's perverted English Revised Version.
They are also the publishers of the Revised Standard Version, the revision of the American Standard.
To this day they continue to sell at least six Bible perversions. The NKJV was just one moneymaker that helped Nelson "reclaim its place" as a major publisher.
The NKJV repeats the lie that "There is only one basic New Testament used by Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox, by conservatives and liberals." In fact, there are two: the perverted Alexandrian line that was continued by the Roman Catholic religion and the preserved, apostolic, Antiochian line that progresses from the Christians at Antioch of Syria (Acts 11:26) to our precious King James Bible.
The New King James translators
Marion H. Reynolds Jr. of the Fundamental Evangelistic Association reveals a little-known fact:
"The duplicity of the NKJV scholars is also a matter for concern. Although each scholar was asked to subscribe to a statement confirming his belief in the plenary, divine, verbal inspiration of the original autographs (none of which exist today), the question of whether or not they also believed in the divine preservation of the divinely inspired originals was not an issue as it should have been. Dr. Arthur Farstad, chairman of the NKJV Executive Review Committee which had the responsibility of final text approval, stated that this committee was about equally divided as to which was the better Greek New Testament text-the Textus Receptus or the Westcott-Hort. Apparently none of them believed that either text was the Divinely preserved Word of God. Yet, all of them participated in a project to "protect and preserve the purity and accuracy" of the original KJV based on the TR. Is not this duplicity of the worst kind, coming from supposedly evangelical scholars?"
Not "the real thing"
What Mr. Reynolds points out is very important to understand. There were basically two groups of translators working on the NKJV. One half believed that the perverted 45 Alexandrian manuscripts, from which came the Roman Catholic Bibles and the modern perversions, were better than the manuscripts behind the King James. The other group believed the thousands of manuscripts supporting the King James were better.
This is a big problem: No one believed that they held God's words in their hands, only a "better" or "worse" text! The translators believed they had something close, but not an accurate Bible. It is a sad thing when a Bible translator doesn't even believe he has God's words in his hands. It sounds like they don't believe God kept His promise:
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Mark 13:31)
Perhaps that is why some of them had no problem working on other perversions, both before and after working on the NKJV. This is so unlike the 54+ Bible men who faithfully translated the King James Bible from preserved manuscripts of God's words. The difference between the King James and the "New" King James is the difference between day and night.
Compromising God's Words
Many Christians are discovering the miracle of God's words in English. But the enemy has tried to insert a monkey-wrench: the NKJV. Pastors approve it, "scholars" promote it, but the NKJV is a wolf in sheep's clothing. The New King James is just a compromise between the liberal, perverted Bible versions floating around and the rock-solid, accurate and preserved words of God, the King James Bible.
Brothers and sisters, don't settle for anything less than God's words.