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Chapter 40

The Best Modern Version

 

The New King James Version of Scripture does not suffer from the use of corrupted Greek manuscripts from which the New Testament is translated in other modern versions. This fact sets it above all the best-known recent translations. The translators recognized that

Although the Elizabethan period and our own era share in zeal for the technical advance, the former period was more aggressively devoted to classical learning. Preface of The New King James Version of the Bible

They also appreciated that

The King James translators were committed to producing an English Bible that would be a precise translation and by no means a paraphrase or broadly approximated rendering.

Thus has resulted a modern translation more closely achieving the ideal of precision than the great majority of other modern versions. Another advantage from which this translation benefited was that each participant in the revision testified to the divine Authorship of the total Scriptures. Further, a policy was adopted whereby the alterations in wording from the original King James Version were not made simply for the sake of change. Thus the poetic quality of the Bible and the purity of English are largely maintained. That no Roman Catholics were consulted in the work of translation protected the version from the usual distortions of Holy Writ, designed to support untenable Roman Catholic doctrines.

The translators did remove some words which were regarded as having become archaic. A list of these, prepared by the Trinitarian Bible Society (Article No. 68) will provide examples from the books of Matthew and Mark. For the daily reader of Godís Word this list will serve to remind him or her that those words used in the Authorized Version and regarded as archaic are readily understood even in the last decade of the twentieth century. The word used in the Authorized Version is placed first, and its The New King James Version equivalent next.

begat: begot without: outside
privily: secretly dureth: endures
wroth: angry charger: platter
throughly: thoroughly besought: begged
garner: barn halt: lame
lighting: alighting platter: dish
an hungered: hungry bewrayeth: betrays
divers: various noised: heard
verily: assuredly straitly: sternly
was wont: accustomed wist not: did not know
aught: something winefat: wine vat
twain: two husbandmen: vinedressers
mote: speck tore: convulsed
scrip: bag affrighted: alarmed

Perhaps we are a little nostalgic for the past, but it does seem to us that the removal of these older English words from Scripture in some way reduces the richness of the devout Christianís vocabulary, while adding very little to his comprehension of Scripture.

We do not think that the Bible student is assisted in his understanding of Godís Word by the elimination of the little-used second person singular personal pronouns such as thou, thee, thy, and thine. At the very least these words should have been retained out of respect for the Godhead. It is still contemporary usage to thus demonstrate respect for our great God and Holy Father. The use of You and Your lowers respect and awe in an age when such regard for our God was never more required.

One very distressing alteration in The New King James Version is apparent in comparison with its parent version.

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. 2 Peter 2:9, KJV

Then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment. 2 Peter 2:9, NKJV

The translators of The New King James Version have followed virtually all modern translations with this rendering. It is faulty because it implies immediate punishment of the unrighteous after death. But Scripture speaks of death as a sleep, and testifies that the unrighteous will be resurrected after the millennium, and then their punishment will be meted out (see Revelation chapter 20). Thus the King James Version is perfectly in accord with other passages of Scripture when it indicates that the wicked are reserved (in the grave) until the day of judgment (recorded in Revelation 20:12) to be punished (recorded in Revelation 20:13-14). A God who punishes men and women prior to judging them would hardly be seen in the universe as a just God. Such an act would deny elementary justice to those punished.

Another serious mistranslation is seen in Hebrews 9:12, where holy is changed to most holy, a change which is unjustified by the Greek, and which implies that Christ commenced His work in the Most Holy Place at His ascension. This translation does not accord with other Scriptural passages. Again we emphasize that it is not justified by the Greek ta hagia.

Another significant divergence from the King James Version is noted:

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:17, KJV

In substituting complete for perfect, the new version markedly diminishes the force and impact of the text.

Christís response to the disciplesí question (Matthew 24:3) is rendered as the end of the age. This detaches His prophecy from the Second Coming, unless the end of the age and the end of the world coincide.

Confusion arises from the translation "was raised because of our justification" (Romans 4:25, NKJV) instead of the manifestly more suitable statement that Christ "was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25, KJV). Clearly Christ was raised for our justification, not because of it.

Even factual error is introduced. Speaking of the Most Holy Place in Hebrews 9:4, The New King James Version places the altar (of incense) present there. This altar of course was in the Holy Place. The King James Version rightly states that is the golden censer, not the golden altar, that was in the Most Holy Place.

Thus while The New King James Version is superior to the other modern versions, it still does not match the King James Version for faithfulness of translation.

 


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