The NKJV

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Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello, brothers ans sisters.

I have a quick question for NKJV users. I really enjoy reading the translation, and have several favorite preachers who use it. I would use it myself, by I truly fear the influence had upon it by dispensationalism (c.f., 2 Thess. 2:7), among other erroneous theological systems and notions.

Tell me, especially you who use the translation, how do you feel about the bias of the translation? Do you feel it generally unbiased and neutral? I am well aware that all translations have bias(es), but I wonder about this translation. Is it a translation that covenantal Calvinists generally feel comfortable using? Also, for the "problem passages" (e.g., 2 Thess. 2:7), how do you personally deal with those, especially when coming across them in teaching? Is the value of the translation outweighed by its problems?

Hopefully these concerns make sense. Thanks for your attention.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Also, for the "problem passages" (e.g., 2 Thess. 2:7), how do you personally deal with those


For dense ones like me, could you explain the problem with this verse?

KJV
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (κατέχω=restrain) will let, until he be taken out of the way.

NKJV
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

ESV
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
I find that it is a very good literal translation that does an excellent job of rendering the KJV in a more modern style of English while retaining much of the beauty. As for bias, anytime Bible translators set out to do things like capitalizing pronouns referring to persons of the Godhead, there will of necessity be a degree of interpretation involved. I personally do not allow such things to sway my understanding any more than I allow the presence of red letters to do so. It always best to refer to the original languages in such instances. Overall I would say it is an excellent translation and whatever bias may be present should not impact the understanding of a discerning student of God's Word.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Also, for the "problem passages" (e.g., 2 Thess. 2:7), how do you personally deal with those


For dense ones like me, could you explain the problem with this verse?

KJV
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (κατέχω=restrain) will let, until he be taken out of the way.

NKJV
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

ESV
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.


In the NKJV, the pronoun "he" is capitalized thus indicating the translators judgment that this pronoun is referring to Christ.
 

Beezer

Puritan Board Freshman
I am not a NKJV user, but if I were I would definitely save up for a Schuyler NKJV! Best Bible on the market for that translation.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Also, for the "problem passages" (e.g., 2 Thess. 2:7), how do you personally deal with those


For dense ones like me, could you explain the problem with this verse?

KJV
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (κατέχω=restrain) will let, until he be taken out of the way.

NKJV
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

ESV
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.


In the NKJV, the pronoun "he" is capitalized thus indicating the translators judgment that this pronoun is referring to Christ.

From the pretrib dispensational point of view (or at least the traditional or majority teaching) it is a reference to the Holy Spirit being removed from the earth at the time of the rapture. Some dispensationalists (and others) think it is a reference to civil government or something or someone else and would say the capitalization here is wrong. The NASB has also been accused of having a dispensationalist bias and it does not capitalize "He" here and doesn't have a marginal note.

Regardless of what one thinks about this verse, this is an example of the fact that capitalizing pronouns referring to God necessarily gets the translators into situations in which judgment calls (i.e. interpretation) are made in doubtful cases. I recall coming across this in a verse in one of the prophets as well, although I can't remember if it is an issue with the NKJV, NASB or both.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Hello, brothers ans sisters.

I have a quick question for NKJV users. I really enjoy reading the translation, and have several favorite preachers who use it. I would use it myself, by I truly fear the influence had upon it by dispensationalism (c.f., 2 Thess. 2:7), among other erroneous theological systems and notions.

Tell me, especially you who use the translation, how do you feel about the bias of the translation? Do you feel it generally unbiased and neutral? I am well aware that all translations have bias(es), but I wonder about this translation. Is it a translation that covenantal Calvinists generally feel comfortable using? Also, for the "problem passages" (e.g., 2 Thess. 2:7), how do you personally deal with those, especially when coming across them in teaching? Is the value of the translation outweighed by its problems?

Hopefully these concerns make sense. Thanks for your attention.

If you can acquire a copy of the Revised Authorised Version, which was the British NKJV, it did not have capitalised pronouns. Regrettfully, it died out and now the only thing that is published is Americanised NKJV's.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Although I'm now using the ESV since that is the standard translation used at our church, my personally preferred version is the NKJV.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
I love the NKJV. In fact I think it's the best translation behind the KJV. By the way I don't see how the meaning of the vs changes based on whether or not 'He' is capitalized or not. Do we know of anyone else who can retrain the 'mystery of lawlessness' besides Christ?
 

TheOldCourse

Puritan Board Sophomore
I love the NKJV. In fact I think it's the best translation behind the KJV. By the way I don't see how the meaning of the vs changes based on whether or not 'He' is capitalized or not. Do we know of anyone else who can retrain the 'mystery of lawlessness' besides Christ?

There are many options.

Matthew Henry espoused a fairly common view that it was the Roman Empire that prevented the "advances of the bishops of Rome to the height of tyranny". Thomas Manton took the passage the same way, as did Pierre Du Moulin, Matthew Poole, Edward Leigh, William Bradshaw, Robert Rollock (who also added the completion of the evanglistic task as an impediment), etc. Calvin actually seems to have held that the restrainer is actually the Antichrist who restrains not the mystery of iniquity but restrains the true profession and this phrase is intended to convey that his ascendency is temporary.

Obviously the ultimate cause is the Lord in his providence, but the passage is more likely speaking of the proximate agent of restraint which will be taken away.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
I love the NKJV. In fact I think it's the best translation behind the KJV. By the way I don't see how the meaning of the vs changes based on whether or not 'He' is capitalized or not. Do we know of anyone else who can retrain the 'mystery of lawlessness' besides Christ?

There are many options.

Matthew Henry espoused a fairly common view that it was the Roman Empire that prevented the "advances of the bishops of Rome to the height of tyranny". Thomas Manton took the passage the same way, as did Pierre Du Moulin, Matthew Poole, Edward Leigh, William Bradshaw, Robert Rollock (who also added the completion of the evanglistic task as an impediment), etc. Calvin actually seems to have held that the restrainer is actually the Antichrist who restrains not the mystery of iniquity but restrains the true profession and this phrase is intended to convey that his ascendency is temporary.

Obviously the ultimate cause is the Lord in his providence, but the passage is more likely speaking of the proximate agent of restraint which will be taken away.

Interesting! Thanks for sharing.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
I love the NKJV and use the Schuyler Quentel in all my preaching and teaching these days, even though my church has adopted the ESV as the Bible quoted in our bulletin.

* It is easier to read out loud than the ESV (in my opinion). My tongue stumbles less anyhow.
* in my opinion, it is easier to understand than the KJV (which I also enjoy along with the ESV)
* I LOVE how the footnotes inform me when the text differs from the Critical Text or from the Textus Receptus.
* It is among the most "literal" of the English translations, sometimes ranked "slightly more" and sometimes "slightly less" literal than the ESV.
* It generally follows the Majority Text tradition rather than the Alexandrian Text tradition so popular with most modern English translations.

* The Schuyler Quentel is the BEST Bible I have ever owned (also have R.L. Allan ESV and KJV Bibles). As an almost 63 year old, the print is large enough to see plainly when preaching and teaching.

English Bible Translations.jpg
 

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Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I love the NKJV and use the Schuyler Quentel in all my preaching and teaching these days, even though my church has adopted the ESV as the Bible quoted in our bulletin.

* It is easier to read out loud than the ESV (in my opinion). My tongue stumbles less anyhow.
* in my opinion, it is easier to understand than the KJV (which I also enjoy along with the ESV)
* I LOVE how the footnotes inform me when the text differs from the Critical Text or from the Textus Receptus.
* It is among the most "literal" of the English translations, sometimes ranked "slightly more" and sometimes "slightly less" literal than the ESV.
* It generally follows the Majority Text tradition rather than the Alexandrian Text tradition so popular with most modern English translations.

* The Schuyler Quentel is the BEST Bible I have ever owned (also have R.L. Allan ESV and KJV Bibles). As an almost 63 year old, the print is large enough to see plainly when preaching and teaching.

Thanks so much for your input! That is encouraging.

Are you ever bothered by the possible bias of the translation committee?
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Our church also uses the NKJV for public reading. I think Dean is correct that it is easier to read out loud (and possibly memorize) than the ESV. My supposition is that this is because it is very similar to the KJV, which was published for public reading and in a time when oral learning was much more common. It must be extraordinarily difficult to be both accurate in translation and also smooth in reading out loud.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Do we know of anyone else who can retrain the 'mystery of lawlessness' besides Christ?

Interestingly, in v6, Paul says, "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time." So, in verse seven, it is a he, and in verse six it is a what. The he is Caesar, and the what is the Roman Empire. The fall of Rome caused the world to look to the Pope of Rome, that Man of Sin and Son of Perdition, to provide stability and order.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
What do you folks think about the NET Bible's study note for 2:7? I realize the NET is mostly a work of DTS, but I would still love to hear thoughts, especially on the bolded section below:

Grk “the one who restrains.” This gives a puzzling contrast to the impersonal phrase in v. 6 (“the thing that restrains”). The restraint can be spoken of as a force or as a person. Some have taken this to mean the Roman Empire in particular or human government in general, since these are forces that can also be seen embodied in a person, the emperor or governing head. But apocalyptic texts like Revelation and Daniel portray human government of the end times as under Satanic control, not holding back his influence. Also the power to hold back Satanic forces can only come from God. So others understand this restraint to be some force from God: the preaching of the gospel or the working of the Holy Spirit through God’s people.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
What do you folks think about the NET Bible's study note for 2:7? I realize the NET is mostly a work of DTS, but I would still love to hear thoughts, especially on the bolded section below:

Grk “the one who restrains.” This gives a puzzling contrast to the impersonal phrase in v. 6 (“the thing that restrains”). The restraint can be spoken of as a force or as a person. Some have taken this to mean the Roman Empire in particular or human government in general, since these are forces that can also be seen embodied in a person, the emperor or governing head. But apocalyptic texts like Revelation and Daniel portray human government of the end times as under Satanic control, not holding back his influence. Also the power to hold back Satanic forces can only come from God. So others understand this restraint to be some force from God: the preaching of the gospel or the working of the Holy Spirit through God’s people.

The passage doesn't say anything about "hold[ing] back satanic forces." It speaks of holding back a man from gaining power. Also, the authors have chosen to interpret a somewhat difficult text in light of an assumed understanding of some of the most difficult texts in the Scriptures, and do so with out any specific references.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
I have not been troubled by bias in the least. No Bible translation is perfect. Other than the NKJV, none routinely tell you when the text differs from the other major texts. This is a real anti-bias benefit.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The passage doesn't say anything about "hold[ing] back satanic forces." It speaks of holding back a man from gaining power.

That's what I thought, as well. I felt that making Satan the force being restrained was an assumption.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The end times should be recognised as the end times of the national theocracy of Israel. The impersonal/personal "holding" properly refers to the "covenant" and its "administrator," of which Daniel has some very important things to say in relation to the end times of Israel. It was with respect to this covenant that the gospel was preached to the Jew first with a view to the conversion of the elect. This interim period, in which the old and new administrations of the covenant of grace overlapped, held back the working of the mystery of iniquity so that the man of sin could not be revealed all at once. This man of sin was none other than the theocratic nation stripped of all its holy status and deprived of its privileges under the law, so that now it can be described as being without law. Already the mystery of iniquity was working in the blinding and hardening Israel, as we learn from Romans 11. When the interim period was finished, and the mystery had fully discovered the de-sacralised state of Israel, the gospel would no longer be preached to the Jew first. The new administration of the covenant of grace would have reached its state of "perfection," and then Israel would be evangelised and conquered in the same way as all the nations of the earth are evangelised and conquered, which is through the spirit of the Lord's mouth and the brightness of His coming, i.e., His first coming having now established the full light of the gospel administration in the power of the Holy Spirit.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have not been troubled by bias in the least. No Bible translation is perfect. Other than the NKJV, none routinely tell you when the text differs from the other major texts. This is a real anti-bias benefit.

Exactly! Every translation has its problems. Throwing out the NKJV because of a scruple with one passage is rather unfair. I personally think the ESV and NASB are weak translations compared to the KJV and the NKJV.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Throwing out the NKJV because of a scruple with one passage is rather unfair.

Forgive me if I seem unfair. Although I did mention only one passage (2 Thess. 2:7), my main concern was the possibility of dispensationalist bias elsewhere in the translation, seeing that it is rather present here. I recognize also that, with this particular verse, the problem partly lies with the choice of the translation to capitalize pronouns referring to deity. That forced them to make a choice. With translations that do not do this, leaving the pronoun un-capitalized would have relieved the translators the responsibility of making a conscious choice since it could be taken either way in that case.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Throwing out the NKJV because of a scruple with one passage is rather unfair.

Forgive me if I seem unfair. Although I did mention only one passage (2 Thess. 2:7), my main concern was the possibility of dispensationalist bias elsewhere in the translation, seeing that it is rather present here. I recognize also that, with this particular verse, the problem partly lies with the choice of the translation to capitalize pronouns referring to deity. That forced them to make a choice. With translations that do not do this, leaving the pronoun un-capitalized would have relieved the translators the responsibility of making a conscious choice since it could be taken either way in that case.

If we go looking for bias it is likely that we'll find it, especially if we know what we're looking for. That's not to say it isn't there.

For an example, see the prophecies against the nations at the end of Jeremiah. Several times (e.g. 48:47, 49:6,39) the NKJV has "bring back the captives." Other translations have "bring again the captivity of" (KJV), "bring back the captivity of" (ASV) or "restore the fortunes of" (ESV, NIV, NASB, HCSB, RSV, NRSV.) The NASB has "captivity" in a footnote. The NET has "reverse Moab's ill fortune" in Jer. 48:47.

Some (especially those looking for bias) may say that the NKJV rendering is possible but that it is maybe slanted toward a restorationist (i.e. Zionist) literalistic interpretation as opposed to interpreting that phrase as a reference to salvation, etc. (In those cases, captivity not only refers to Israel being returned to the land but Moab, Elam etc., not that that matters from a doctrinal perspective.)

I don't know Hebrew and don't even know of the NKJV here is really different than the KJV. (I think they are probably saying the same thing, especially the ASV and NKJV. And the NKJV tends to follow the KJV (as opposed to other modern translations) unless they really think it needs improvement.) But "bring back the captives" seems to me (a complete amateur to be sure) to point to more of a particular interpretation than "restore the fortunes of" does. The latter appears to be a more general term. On the other hand, the dispensationalist (or other "Christian Zionist") might allege that the other modern translations show the evidence of replacement theology/supersessionism here and that it started with the liberal RSV.

Regardless, if one only had the ESV and NKJV to compare, one could say "Aha!" and allege bias one way or the other.

I'll note a few more examples of alleged bias in modern translations. I can think of at least one passage in the ESV (Micah 5:2) in which some allege that a liberal (i.e. anti-supernatural) rendering from the RSV has been retained even though it is generally acknowledged that the ESV committee generally fixed the problems elsewhere. Other conservatives say it (Micah 5:2 in the ESV) is the correct rendering despite the controversy. Those looking for liberal bias in the ESV can find more examples, I'm sure, the validity of which will probably be debatable. Then there's the allegation of political correctness with their refusal to use "slave" instead of "bondservant" or whatever, with the video discussion by the ESV committee being used as evidence by those making the charge.

To give another example of how a translation is viewed by various camps, the NIV84 is alleged by various Arminians, Lutherans, and Semi-Pelagianistic Baptists to show evidence of a Calvinist bias in various passages. One anti-Calvinist blogger even blames the NIV for being a significant factor in the rise of the "New Calvinism" over the past 10-15 years as most of the leaders would have cut their teeth on it. I've seen some Lutherans say that it is ironic that so many Calvinists were quick to adopt the ESV because in their view the NIV is a more Calvinistic translation. Others say it has a premillennial and perhaps even a dispensational bias. But dispensationalists and other Christian Zionists strongly object to its rendering of Gal 6:16 since it rules out their interpretation.

If you are looking for a safe "Reformed" Bible, I think you'll have to opt for the Geneva or KJV. Every other one has had Baptists, dispensationalists, Arminians, liberals (RSV, forerunner of the ESV, which is only a light revision of it) and allegedly even a Unitarian(s) (ASV, forerunner of the RSV and NASB) on the translation committee, maybe among others. At least one person involved in the NIV was homosexual. I'm sure we can dig into the personal lives of the KJV translators (or James I himself) and make ad hominem attacks as well, whether legitimate or not.

It was either a post by someone here or the review of the NKJV by the Trinitarian Bible Society that gave several examples of the NKJV being less "Calvinistic" than the AV in certain passages.

I have to confess that I've spent way too much time over the past 15+ years trying to figure out which Bible to use instead of just reading one.
 
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I have to confess that I've spent way too much time over the past 15+ years trying to figure out which Bible to use instead of just reading one.

You and me both.

If I had a copy that made for comfortable reading, I probably never would have stopped reading the NKJV, which had been my go to version for several years. A few years ago reading red letters became very uncomfortable. (The same goes for most bright colors, such as books that have been annotated with brightly colored ink or highlighting.) Almost all NKJV editions that aren't Study Bibles are red letter. I need larger print now as well, although some large print editions are actually too large for me to read comfortably.

One big thing the KJV has going for it is the vast array of editions with so many different font sizes and typefaces, especially if you don't mind a vintage two column verse by verse (as opposed to a paragraphed) format.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have to confess that I've spent way too much time over the past 15+ years trying to figure out which Bible to use instead of just reading one.

You and me both.

If I had a copy that made for comfortable reading, I probably never would have stopped reading the NKJV, which had been my go to version for several years. A few years ago reading red letters became very uncomfortable. (The same goes for most bright colors, such as books that have been annotated with brightly colored ink or highlighting.) Almost all NKJV editions that aren't Study Bibles are red letter. I need larger print now as well, although some large print editions are actually too large for me to read comfortably.

One big thing the KJV has going for it is the vast array of editions with so many different font sizes and typefaces, especially if you don't mind a vintage two column verse by verse (as opposed to a paragraphed) format.

I went from the NIV to the ESV. But after a while I realized how much was missing from the ESV. Growing up my parents taught me the Lord's Prayer, so naturally when I became a Christian the words of Jesus Christ meant more to me. Well lets just say I was disappointed when I noticed the ESV was missing the final vs of the prayer. After doing some digging I learned about the different manuscripts that were available for different translations and I was at that time unconvinced that the Church has finally 'recovered' the Word of God which can now be found in the NIV, ESV, NASB, etc. Long story short I changed over to the NKJV feeling much more comfortable and at home with its wording and it won't be long until I begin using the KJV. I'm not saying there's nothing good about the ESV or the NASB, but I think these versions have been the cause of a good deal of confusion.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
I have to confess that I've spent way too much time over the past 15+ years trying to figure out which Bible to use instead of just reading one.

You and me both.

If I had a copy that made for comfortable reading, I probably never would have stopped reading the NKJV, which had been my go to version for several years. A few years ago reading red letters became very uncomfortable. (The same goes for most bright colors, such as books that have been annotated with brightly colored ink or highlighting.) Almost all NKJV editions that aren't Study Bibles are red letter. I need larger print now as well, although some large print editions are actually too large for me to read comfortably.

One big thing the KJV has going for it is the vast array of editions with so many different font sizes and typefaces, especially if you don't mind a vintage two column verse by verse (as opposed to a paragraphed) format.

I actually had two Schuyler NKJV Bibles. One was a single column with a modern typeface. My current one is the Quentel two column and it is VERY easy to read. Somewhere I seem to remember a reviewer saying that it had the largest type in a Bible not actually called a "large print" Bible. It is black letter and has no annoying other colors in it.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have to confess that I've spent way too much time over the past 15+ years trying to figure out which Bible to use instead of just reading one.

You and me both.

If I had a copy that made for comfortable reading, I probably never would have stopped reading the NKJV, which had been my go to version for several years. A few years ago reading red letters became very uncomfortable. (The same goes for most bright colors, such as books that have been annotated with brightly colored ink or highlighting.) Almost all NKJV editions that aren't Study Bibles are red letter. I need larger print now as well, although some large print editions are actually too large for me to read comfortably.

One big thing the KJV has going for it is the vast array of editions with so many different font sizes and typefaces, especially if you don't mind a vintage two column verse by verse (as opposed to a paragraphed) format.

I actually had two Schuyler NKJV Bibles. One was a single column with a modern typeface. My current one is the Quentel two column and it is VERY easy to read. Somewhere I seem to remember a reviewer saying that it had the largest type in a Bible not actually called a "large print" Bible. It is black letter and has no annoying other colors in it.

I currently use a Schuyler single column NKJV. It's my favorite NKJV that's available. I thought I was done buying 'designer' bibles until one day (about two months ago) I came across a really nice Cambridge KJV that was priced at about $100 at Lifeway Christian bookstore. I wasn't going to buy it until the store manager offered to sell it for like $50 dollars. When he said $50 I offered $45 and he gladly sold it to me. I couldn't pass up that offer. :)
 
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