KJV folks - why not the NKJV?

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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Some would mention differences in the OT as well. One that comes to mind is the Song of Solomon. Many of our KJV-Preferred brethren take the traditional view of that book being "a poetic representation of the spiritual relationship between the Lord and His people" in the words of the Reformation Heritage Study Bible. That is not the interpretation of most modern commentators, and it shows in most if not all versions. If it isn't apparent in the text, then it is in the marginal notes, subject headings, etc.

The NKJV has "The Beloved", "The Shulamite", "The Daughters of Jerusalem" in the text, (as subject headings or as the equivalent of actors in a play) which is at least somewhat interpretive. Those headings are not technically in the Bible text, I suppose, but most other modern translations put these in the margin, and I think I've seen some translations differ on who is supposed to be speaking in a particular passage. So if I'm right about that, this practice in the NKJV is questionable even from a modern standpoint, especially in a formal equivalent translation that is supposed to leave more of that kind of interpretation to the reader as opposed to what we'd expect to find in a dynamic equivalent version.

Another issue is the NKJV's capitalization of pronouns that refer to the Lord. This gets the translators into situations in which they are forced to make an interpretation in doubtful cases, as it is at least occasionally a question of interpretation as to whether or not the Lord is being referred to or not.

EDIT: You can read an article from the Trinitarian Bible Society on the Song of Solomon and the NKJV here.
 
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DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
I am not sure why you have addressed my post with the statement "the precise answer is..."

I say the "precise answer" because you respond to the claim that the NKJV is translated from the TR by citing places where it differs from the TR. Your instances are offered to "prove" or to "deny" that the NKJV follows the TR and that it is somewhat of a misnomer to connect the two. Those claiming the lineage of the NKJV would do better to nuance their speech a bit and say that both the KJV and the NKJV follow Byzantine texts which are the majority of manuscripts we actually have and which have been used continuously in Christian worship rather than privileging Alexandrian ones the way modern English translations do. But, speaking the way people actually talk, we would state simply that there are two textual approaches behind English translations: The Bzyantine (KJV and NKJV) and the Alexandrian/Ecclectic tradition (everything else). While you know that the TR is not identical to what Robinson or Pierpont mean by "Majority," when you are comparing KJV/NKJV to EVERYthing else, saying TR is (while less technically accurate and precise) good enough to communicate. The differences between the TR and the Majority are small compared to the differences among readings in the CT. That is all I was trying to say.

But, then, I am a simple man. I call it "greenish" regardless of whether it is "forest," "heather," "teal," "blue-green," "olive," "sea," or "chartreuse." We have two basic approaches to texts: either you count 'em or you weigh 'em. If you count 'em you will end up with a KJV/NKJV. If you weigh 'em you will end up with everything else. And, in popular conversation I will continue to use TR and Majority somewhat interchangeably, even though I realize that we could multiply the distinctions and sub-distinctions.

Pastor Robert Truelove is VERY specific and analytical in his nomenclature. He finds the following uniquely different positions among those who reject the Critical Text in favor of either the KJV or the NKJV:
1. Majority Text
2. Byzantine Priority
3. F35
4. Textus Receptus Only
5. Textus Receptus Primary
 
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JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I admit that my comment may be confusing but the way the issue is being handled is confusing. In so many words it seems people are saying the KJV is unreadable because there's 'words' that need defining. Or is there something more? Because reality is the KJV is not hard to understand once you define a few words because it's in English. It makes no sense to read Puritan literature or sing the historic hymns of the faith and turn around and say the KJV is dated and hard to read. I've heard men trash the KJV and then defend archaic language in the Trinity Hymnal. So no I don't necessarily believe people who say the KJV is dated.

I am not saying that the KJV in general is difficult to understand. Of course, I must grant that I am saying that as someone pursuing a master's degree from a high level seminary, and as one who also grew up on the KJV. My primary issue with the KJV is not so much vocabulary as it is syntax. There are some phrases in the KJV that simply do not make sense without diagramming the sentence. But, what I am saying is that claiming the archaic language and syntax makes one study Scripture more (or better) may not be true, because study happens at the concept level, not syntax or vocabulary level. One can understand every archaism in the KJV and yet have not an iota of understanding of Scripture's teachings.
This is exactly right and another reason people whose first language is not English might find the KJV difficult. It is also the reason I am grateful to have the alternative translations, done in a more current version of the 'vulgar language' to better interpret the text.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
? It's translated from the Textus Receptus, yet is easier to understand and doesn't use archaic words. Plus, it tells you which NT texts have which alternate readings.
It seems somewhat a misnomer to say that it is "translated" from the Textus Receptus. It certainly cannot be said to be a faithful interpretation of the TR.
A couple examples:
Matthew 22:10 adds the word "Hall" to wedding for example. There is no need for this. How is that supportive of the TR?

Acts 15:23 They wrote this letter by them: after this manner...
The "after this manner" which is in the TR is left absent which is the translation of the Critical Text not the TR.

2 Corinthians 4:14 "dia Iesou" (By Jesus) which is the TR rendering is changed to "sun Iesou" (with Jesus) which is the Critical Text rendering.

2 John 7 also uses the critical text rendering as does Revelation 6:11

2 Corinthians 7:2 is a translation that aligns with the RV. "choresate hemas" (receive us) is translated as (open your hearts to us)

John 1:18 for one. monogenes huios (only Begotton Son) is not equivalent to monogenes theos (Only begotton God.) Russelites could agree with the latter translation.

The translation also casts direct doubt itself on the TR with the footnotes. See esp. the Comma Johanneum and notes thereof.

The principle editor of the NKJV Arthur L. Farstad stated in his preface to the NKJV:
"Today, scholars agree that the science of New Testament textual criticism is in a state of flux. Very few scholars still favor the Textus Receptus as such, and then often for its historical prestige as the text of Luther, Calvin, Tyndale, and the King James Version. For about a century most have followed a Critical Text (so called because it is edited according to specific principles of textual criticism) which depends heavily upon the Alexandrian type of text. More recently many have abandoned this Critical Text (which is quite similar to the one edited by Westcott and Hort) for one that is more eclectic. Finally, a small but growing number of scholars prefer the majority text, which is close to the traditional text except in the Revelation"

The examples abound that the NKJV is not a faithful translation of the TR.

You do not seem to have a very good understanding of the process of translation. The fact that the NKJV makes different translation choices at times in no way demonstrates that it is not translated from the same text as the KJV. Consider the vast differences between most modern translations and yet they are all translated from the CT.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I see what your saying brother, but history doesn't support that claim. In fact wouldn't it be fair to say that the majority of KJV readers down through the centuries have been uneducated men and women? The first thing that comes to mind were the slave preachers of the south who used the KJV, and were mightily used by God. If what some of you are saying is true than we should have heard these claims a long time ago.

I don't think I am being understood. I am not contending that the KJV is difficult to understand. I am saying that learning definitions of words is not studying Scripture, and that therefore the KJV's causing someone to look up archaic words does not mean they are studying Scripture any more deeply than someone reading the NIV. Learning is at the conceptual level.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
My main reason for preferring the KJV to the NKJV is the plural and singular second-person pronouns.

As for the difficult language, there are editions of the KJV with explanations of difficult or archaic words in the margins. I use the Westminster Reference Bible (published by Trinitarian Bible Society), which does just this, and also gives helpful alternate translations of a word or clause here and there.
 

reaganmarsh

Puritan Board Senior
My main reason for preferring the KJV to the NKJV is the plural and singular second-person pronouns.


This is my reasoning as well. All due respect to our brethren here who use it, though I consult it in my study each week, I am not a fan of the NKJV.
 

Free Christian

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hi all. For me its the blatant omissions and uncalled for word changes. Hell is omitted 20 or so times, Repent 40+ times, Lord 60 times. Then compare these verses John 8 v 35. Acts 3 v 13. Hebrews 4 v 8. 1 Corinthians 1 v 18. Acts 15 v 18. Psalm 109 v 6. Titus 3 v 10. Mathew 7 v 14. They are just some.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hell is omitted 20 or so times, Repent 40+ times, Lord 60 times.

No offense, brother, but this is beginning to sound a little too much like Gail Riplinger. There are far too many pages of fine argumentation and reasoning in support of the AV on this forum to have things like this posted.
 

MichaelNZ

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for all the replies. I have ordered the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible, which I hear is a good resource to help understand the KJV.

As far as I understand it, the KJV used the word 'hell' to refer to three words: Sheol, Hades and Gehenna. These three words are not interchangeable. Sheol for instance can apparently refer both to the place where the wicked are tormented forever or simply the destination of all men after death.

The Independent Fundamental KJV Only Baptist church I used to attend used Revelation 20:14 in their Gospel presentation. "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." This was to show that hell exists. If you turn to the same verse in almost any other translation, it will say 'Hades' instead of hell. To those who use the KJV, would you feel comfortable showing an unbeliever Revelation 20:14 as proof for hell since the Greek word used is Hades, not Gehenna?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
To those who use the KJV, would you feel comfortable showing an unbeliever Revelation 20:14 as proof for hell since the Greek word used is Hades, not Gehenna?

I don't know why it matters. The lake of fire is hell. It's like saying, "Hell was thrown into hell."
 

Beezer

Puritan Board Freshman
I have ordered the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible, which I hear is a good resource to help understand the KJV.

I received the goatskin version of this study Bible for my birthday and it is the best study Bible I own. I hope you find it profitable.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks for all the replies. I have ordered the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible, which I hear is a good resource to help understand the KJV.

As far as I understand it, the KJV used the word 'hell' to refer to three words: Sheol, Hades and Gehenna. These three words are not interchangeable. Sheol for instance can apparently refer both to the place where the wicked are tormented forever or simply the destination of all men after death.

The Independent Fundamental KJV Only Baptist church I used to attend used Revelation 20:14 in their Gospel presentation. "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." This was to show that hell exists. If you turn to the same verse in almost any other translation, it will say 'Hades' instead of hell. To those who use the KJV, would you feel comfortable showing an unbeliever Revelation 20:14 as proof for hell since the Greek word used is Hades, not Gehenna?

No problem!

Fact is it's easier to read the KJV than to read most of the Puritans, and yet, brethren read the Puritans and encourage others indiscriminately to do so. I read the Puritans because they're helpful, not because they're easy, and I'm sure most of you would agree. Therefore, it serves no one for me to go on about the KJV being an 'outdated' translation. Until this inconstancy is addressed I'll never feel the need to 'go with the flow', if you will.

Your brother,
Tyrese
 
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Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Fact is it's easier to read the KJV than to read most of the Puritans, and yet, brethren read the Puritans and encourage others indiscriminately to do so.

I doubt it is indiscriminately. No one is passing out copies of Owen's works at high-schools in inner cities. Even so, there is a huge difference. The Bible is the word of God, necessary for the nourishment of the soul. Is it right to insist that a starving man learn the intricacies of wine-tasting or have to adapt to certain utensils in order to partake of what can save him from death? He probably is capable of it, he may even enjoy it once he learns, it just seems strange to me to insist on an additional barrier (language) in order to be fed.

It is not critical to read the Puritans. It is critical to read Scripture. I have met with and studied with numerous people for whom the KJV just would not have been comprehensible. People whose first language was not English but our study was in English. People with low reading abilities. People who had never actually read a book. People who sight-read and struggled with the plethora of unfamiliar words. Or people who recognized the word, but the general-use meaning had changed and were confused as to what it meant (though in another translation it would be perfectly clear). I use the KJV personally, yet I would be extremely cautious about raising an artificial barrier for one of these.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
Fact is it's easier to read the KJV than to read most of the Puritans, and yet, brethren read the Puritans and encourage others indiscriminately to do so.

I doubt it is indiscriminately. No one is passing out copies of Owen's works at high-schools in inner cities. Even so, there is a huge difference. The Bible is the word of God, necessary for the nourishment of the soul. Is it right to insist that a starving man learn the intricacies of wine-tasting or have to adapt to certain utensils in order to partake of what can save him from death? He probably is capable of it, he may even enjoy it once he learns, it just seems strange to me to insist on an additional barrier (language) in order to be fed.

It is not critical to read the Puritans. It is critical to read Scripture. I have met with and studied with numerous people for whom the KJV just would not have been comprehensible. People whose first language was not English but our study was in English. People with low reading abilities. People who had never actually read a book. People who sight-read and struggled with the plethora of unfamiliar words. Or people who recognized the word, but the general-use meaning had changed and were confused as to what it meant (though in another translation it would be perfectly clear). I use the KJV personally, yet I would be extremely cautious about raising an artificial barrier for one of these.

Hi Logan,

Personally, I think the reason brothers are unsuccessful in their attempts to convince others of their perpective is because they speak of the KJV as if it's written in another language. It's still English. If you pulled out a chapter from any given book in the KJV the average reader would be able to read it and comprehend what was read. You may say, 'what about those words that need defining?' I would say look it up. That's a normal thing to do. You might also say, 'people need to understand doctrine and concepts.' I say, true, but that's not necessarily a translation issue. If it was, more people would think and believe as we do. Brother what we need is sound preaching and teaching in the land, not 'readable' translations becuase Americans are lazy when it comes to reading.

I pointed out in a previous post how the KJV has always been the primary translation for English speaking Christians; including the uneducated. Slave preachers who had little to no education were reading and preaching from the KJV. Could it be that Americans have lost touch with what it means to read? I feel like some of you are barking up the wrong tree. Whether you realize it or not people are struggling to read the NKJV and the ESV as well.

Finally I'll say this: Your example is just that, it's your example. My experience with new English speakers could be used as an example, but it's certainly not authoritative nor is it the standard. The OP said he 'heard' of a man in prison who could not read the KJV, but I knew a guy who didn't graduate high school, spent a good deal of time in prison, and yet he read the KJV and refused to read any other translation. So who's right? I'd say neither. I would would just say we should avoid thinking and telling one another that people can't read KJV when we don't really know who's reading it. The majority of African Churches in PG County MD use the KJV. I would imagine they're explaining what may not be familiar to everyone.

Don't disagree for the sake of disagreeing. No matter how many times we tell ourselves that people don't read the KJV because they can't understand it doesn't mean that it's true. A lot of people read the KJV. A lot more than you know.

Your brother,
Tyrese
 

Free Christian

Puritan Board Sophomore
I should add that I also have as well as the KJV a 21,st Century KJ Bible. When my wife and i read one uses one and the other of us the other version. We do this to check and compare. So far I have no problems with the 21,st. In fact i like it.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
I would would just say we should avoid thinking and telling one another that people can't read KJV when we don't really know who's reading it.

I don't think you captured the essence of my post. My point is not that most people can't, most people are probably capable, I agree and it's great that you knew a guy who could with little education. My point is that as much as I enjoy and use the KJV, I think it is wrong to unilaterally tell everyone, regardless of education or language capacity, without exception to just "deal with it" (thus my personal examples of exceptions). Why raise the artificial hurdle of archaic language when it is people's critical spiritual nourishment that is at stake?
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
I would would just say we should avoid thinking and telling one another that people can't read KJV when we don't really know who's reading it.

I don't think you captured the essence of my post. My point is not that most people can't, most people are probably capable, I agree and it's great that you knew a guy who could with little education. My point is that as much as I enjoy and use the KJV, I think it is wrong to unilaterally tell everyone, regardless of education or language capacity, without exception to just "deal with it" (thus my personal examples of exceptions). Why raise the artificial hurdle of archaic language when it is people's critical spiritual nourishment that is at stake?

I see what you're saying brother, but does anyone here have an example of how that's happened? Do we have real examples of people not being nourished by the KJVs use in the pulpit and at home after they've given time to understand words and phrases that are no longer used?

I would also add that the NKJV uses words and phrases that need to be defined. It also uses words that people don't walk around saying on a regular basis. Trust me I know; I read it everyday. :)
 

MichaelNZ

Puritan Board Freshman
So, if someone you're discipling said that they have trouble understanding the KJV (i.e. they've actually tried to read it), would you give them an NKJV instead? If not, what would you do?

A guy from my church who holds to the Majority Text position said that he wouldn't have a problem giving away a modern translation to someone because he said that there's enough Scripture there for the person to get saved. Do you KJV folks agree? Is an NIV better than no Bible at all?
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
So, if someone you're discipling said that they have trouble understanding the KJV (i.e. they've actually tried to read it), would you give them an NKJV instead? If not, what would you do?

I'd probably give them a resource like the Reformation Heritage Study Bible or the Westminster Reference Bible. They help a ton.

Is an NIV better than no Bible at all?

Of course it is! But I still won't be handing it out, when the KJV is so easy to come by.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If it is a question of preferred translation, I would recommend the most reliable translation; that is, the translation which most faithfully translates the word of God. As far as I can judge, that is the AV (or KJV). The NKJV is not the New KJV. It misrepresents itself as another revision when it is really a new translation. Sometimes its changes are meaningless, sometimes needless, sometimes unclear, sometimes erroneous, sometimes dangerous. I am glad I can say that this version is much better than some others that are available, and I have no doubt that the Lord can and does bless the use of this version to save and sanctify His own; but I cannot in good conscience recommend it over the AV. It is one thing to use it as an help to study; quite another thing to use it as a replacement for the AV. And, obviously, no translation serves to replace the ordained ministry of the Word. The problem with many modern versions is that they try to infuse their Bibles with evangelistic or teaching abilities which the gracious and glorious Head of the church only gives to certain men of His choosing.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
If it is a question of preferred translation, I would recommend the most reliable translation; that is, the translation which most faithfully translates the word of God. As far as I can judge, that is the AV (or KJV). The NKJV is not the New KJV. It misrepresents itself as another revision when it is really a new translation. Sometimes its changes are meaningless, sometimes needless, sometimes unclear, sometimes erroneous, sometimes dangerous. I am glad I can say that this version is much better than some others that are available, and I have no doubt that the Lord can and does bless the use of this version to save and sanctify His own; but I cannot in good conscience recommend it over the AV. It is one thing to use it as an help to study; quite another thing to use it as a replacement for the AV. And, obviously, no translation serves to replace the ordained ministry of the Word. The problem with many modern versions is that they try to infuse their Bibles with evangelistic or teaching abilities which the gracious and glorious Head of the church only gives to certain men of His choosing.

Rev Winzer, Logan said, "Why raise the artificial hurdle of archaic language when it is people's critical spiritual nourishment that is at stake?"

Based on your personal experience, is this a legitimate concern?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rev Winzer, Logan said, "Why raise the artificial hurdle of archaic language when it is people's critical spiritual nourishment that is at stake?"

Based on your personal experience, is this a legitimate concern?

Not really. Archaisms are an accepted part of language and serve multiple functions. That is why they are in the dictionary.

Every field has its linguistic circle. The so-called man on the street knows language about things that I am not familiar with. Take sports for an example. Supporters use particular terms, and some of them quite different to their natural meanings, which others are not acquainted with, but should someone become interested in the sport the language will be learnt soon enough.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
Hi all. For me its the blatant omissions and uncalled for word changes. Hell is omitted 20 or so times, Repent 40+ times, Lord 60 times. Then compare these verses John 8 v 35. Acts 3 v 13. Hebrews 4 v 8. 1 Corinthians 1 v 18. Acts 15 v 18. Psalm 109 v 6. Titus 3 v 10. Mathew 7 v 14. They are just some.

As to 1 Corinthians 1:18, I take it your objection is "preaching" (KJV) vs. "message" (NKJV). If you look at the Greek of the TR you see the word translated "preaching" is not "kerugma" which is usually translated "preaching", but the word is "logos" which means "word, reasoning, message". This is the only place the KJV translates "logos" as preaching. The problem is not one of textual issues, but translational issues. The NKJV translates this verse correctly from the TR.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The translation issue in 1 Cor. 1:18, as with 2 Cor. 2:15; 4:3, is "being saved" and "are perishing." Compare 2 Thess. 2:10.

Logos is literally word, and contrasts with mere words. But "word of the cross" does not convey specificity in English, so translators supply a more specific word. Message, doctrine, preaching, are examples of specificity. Each has its proper and improper sense which requires explanation.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
My point is 1 Corinthians 1:18 is not an example of "uncalled for word changes" as asserted in the quoted post.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Every field has its linguistic circle. The so-called man on the street knows language about things that I am not familiar with. Take sports for an example. Supporters use particular terms, and some of them quite different to their natural meanings, which others are not acquainted with, but should someone become interested in the sport the language will be learnt soon enough.

True enough. A person will have to learn the "language" of Scripture (e.g., terms like atonement). But I don't think that learning a translation of the language of Scripture into 400 year old English should be an additional barrier, as an absolute rule.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
My point is 1 Corinthians 1:18 is not an example of "uncalled for word changes" as asserted in the quoted post.

"Word changes" in the context of this discussion refers to words in the AV which have been changed in the NKJV. A change from "saved" to "being saved" is certainly a change in meaning, and a disputed one at that.
 
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