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
|an hungered: hungry
|was wont: accustomed
||wist not: did not know
||winefat: wine vat
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.