What do you think of the NKJV?

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Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
There has been some stimulating discussion about Bible translations in recent times. I was wondering what PB users think of the NKJV. Pros? Cons? Those of you who lean towards the Confessional Text position, what do you think of it?
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Moderating:

I am not interested in a KJV only type of debate. I was well aware of the Trinitarian Bible Society critiques. I personally found them unconvincing. I am interested in a broader discussion of the merits (or lack of them) of the NKJV. Certainly discuss the NKJV use of the Received Text. But do not turn this into a KJV only debate, please.
 

John Yap

Puritan Board Sophomore
I will add the NKJV is abit more literal in some places than the NASB. Both are good. Using both really gives you a good picture of translational and manuscript variance.
 
D

Deleted member 12415

Guest
Sorry I posted them, Stephen. I thought I was helping. I see now I wasn't. I had no intention of debating anyone about anything here. Sorry to have wasted your time. I'll go ahead and delete the post.

EDIT: Post containing the TBS articles has been removed.
 
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Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Sorry I posted them, Stephen. I thought I was helping. I see now I wasn't. I had no intention of debating anyone about anything here. Sorry to have wasted your time. I'll go ahead and delete the post.

EDIT: Post containing the TBS articles has been removed.
No worries brother. Just to clarify if you think there are places where the KJV has translated a word or two better than the NKJV, feel free to say this. I am making a distinction here between the KJV only position (which is not appropriate for this particular thread) and freedom to praise and/or critique the NKJV.
 
D

Deleted member 12415

Guest
Yeah, I'm not engaging any more here, brother. You asked for info, I posted it, and you immediately replied with, "please no KJV only debates," which is your right, as the original poster.

I wasn't trying to debate. I was trying to answer the question. Others can engage with you if they want to, that's fine with me, but I'm bowing out. Have a good one.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
I am out and about right now, so not much time to make a detailed post. For now I will just say this: the greatest weakness of the NKJV, in my opinion, is the capitalized pronouns for deity.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Not arguing just providing some resources here. Except to say one thing:

By going away from the proof texts and the version used for the Confession, by going to the NKJV some doctrinal proof texts are actually lost. E.g. Heb. 2:16 that proves Christ assumed a human nature is lost in the NKJV.
 
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pmachapman

Puritan Board Freshman
Our church changed to the NKJV from the ESV two years ago and it has been a welcome change for nearly everyone in the congregation. I for one have found it an excellent change, as not only do I prefer the TR, but the NKJV is an excellent literal translation (I would argue more literal than the NASB77).

One pastor in our denomination, who is retiring very soon, once told me he chose the NASB because it matches his Greek translation in his head. I have found this to be the case for my own self-translation and the NKJV and can only think of one case where I have had to elaborate further when explaining a text (Phil 2:6 - "did not consider it robbery to be equal with God", a classic rendering from the KJV). I can't say the same for my time using the ESV!

My only real problem with the NKJV is the restrictive licencing and copyright. I have found other Bible rights holders (such as Charisma House who license the MEV, another TR translation) to be much more affordable and accessible than Zondervan/Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins. Crossway used to be very permissive and affordable for licensing (which is why I and many other content providers flocked to them in the mid-2000's), but I have had to cancel historic licensing agreements as I just couldn't afford what they were asking (they do have excellent turnaround for enquiries, though, unlike every other rights holder I have engaged with!)
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I prefer the NKJV, but swtiched to the ESV because that is the standard translation at our congregation.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
I think the NKJV is a fine translation and I don't really understand the distaste some have toward it. I feel like it is a good bridge between "familiar language" in commentaries and understandability. I use it quite regularly.

That's an interesting note about Hebrews 2:16, it appears the KJV is different from almost all other translation except the Webster Bible and maybe the Geneva Bible. Wycliffe is different from the KJV as well. The KJV reads "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham" where the words in italics are their interpolation / interpretation. It seems to follow the Vulgate's translation/interpretation.

Within the passage, either interpretation seems to make sense and the rest of the passage also confirms Christ's human nature (e.g., 2:17), and it doesn't appear to be any textual difference.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
I raised my kids on the NKJV. I liked the Geneva Study Bible a lot. So does my son Samuel. He is still using it. My congregation uses the ESV. I hold on to my KJV. I read from an ESV ever now and again. I prefer the TR / Majority stuff. Actually my Son Sam is using the Reformation Heritage Study Bible too. His Pastor took Mine.
 
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C4MERON

Puritan Board Freshman
Our congregation makes use of the KJV but also the MEV (moved over from the ESV). For personal reading I favour the KJV & NASB.
 

PointyHaired Calvinist

Puritan Board Sophomore
The NKJV is a great translation, poetic, accurate, and readable. It has the best of the KJV in modern speech. In my humble opinion it’s a better read than the ESV, seems to be just as literal as the NASB but with more natural language, and its textual basis is both traditional (the Received Text) and honest that there are other text types.

Had the NKJV been put together 10 years sooner (pre NIV and before the NKJV was finished), it very well might be the evangelical Protestant standard.

I would add that the red letter of a lot of NKJV bibles is a minus for me it has to be said
Agreed. There are some good black letter editions these days. The Maclaren Bibles are superb.
 

pmachapman

Puritan Board Freshman
I would add that the red letter of a lot of NKJV bibles is a minus for me it has to be said
Yes, I agree - I had forgotten that. I still use an old Bagster "Revised Authorised Version" (their title for the NKJV) as it is clear, verse by verse, and black letter.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
To clarify if you think there are places where the KJV has translated a word or two better than the NKJV, feel free to say this. I am making a distinction here between the KJV only position (which is not appropriate for this particular thread) and freedom to praise and/or critique the NKJV.
Maybe this is slightly off the subject. But I have been using the ESV for the last four years where I learned a number of things where the KJV was unclear. My wife is currently going through the NASB and is seeing things, like me, that were unclear in the KJV. But now I'm going through the whole Bible again with the KJV. With all of its faults I love it dearly.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I raised my kids on the NKJV. I liked the Reformation Study Bible a lot. So does my son Samuel. He is still using it. My congregation uses the ESV. I hold on to my KJV. I read from an ESV ever now and again. I prefer the TR / Majority stuff.
I think early New Geneva Study Bibles, predecessors to Reformation Study Bibles, were NKJV.
 
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bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I am out and about right now, so not much time to make a detailed post. For now I will just say this: the greatest weakness of the NKJV, in my opinion, is the capitalized pronouns for deity.

I like the capitalized pronouns for deity. I think it's respectful, and there are a few places where there will be two mentions of "he" in a text - one human and one divine - and the capitalization shows who is whom for clarity.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
I like the capitalized pronouns for deity. I think it's respectful, and there are a few places where there will be two mentions of "he" in a text - one human and one divine - and the capitalization shows who is whom for clarity.
I don’t think capitalizing them is any more respectful than not capitalizing. No English translation before the YLT did it. And capitalizing forces the translators to make decisions in passages where the pronouns’ referents are unclear grammatically (see 2 Thess. 2:7, which the NKJV gets wrong).
 

gjensen

Puritan Board Freshman
I love the NKJV.

Until recently, a primary concern was the lack of quality purchase options. Now that concern has shifted to a lack of affordable options that are not printed in China.

I prefer the pronouns for deity being capitalized though I understand the pitfalls. I do not like red-letter Bibles, and apparently, a majority of their customers prefer it.

Once I eliminate the red letter Bibles and the Bibles printed in China, I am back to a lack of affordable purchase options.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
I read an article some time ago where a Hebrew scholar argued that the NKJV consistently translated the Old Testament to a higher level of accuracy than the ESV. Unfortunately I did not note the reference so I cannot look it up to verify. But I clearly remember this statement.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
I read an article some time ago where a Hebrew scholar argued that the NKJV consistently translated the Old Testament to a higher level of accuracy than the ESV. Unfortunately I did not note the reference so I cannot look it up to verify. But I clearly remember this statement.
I don’t doubt that the NKJV is generally more literal than the ESV. I have found that to be the case myself. However, is the NKJV more literal where it matters? I don’t necessarily care that the NKJV is more literal in places where literalness doesn’t make a difference.

I’m thinking of a particular example. The ESV consistently translates זֶרַע as “offspring.” This is significant because the English “offspring,” just like the Hebrew זֶרַע, can be either singular, collective singular, or plural, which makes Paul’s argument in Gal. 3:16 make sense from an English perspective.

The NKJV translates זֶרַע as “seed,” “offspring,” and “descendant,” which ends up, in my opinion, masking the biblical-theological significance of זֶרַע.

I say all this as someone who loves and uses the NKJV primarily, and who goes to a church which primarily uses the NKJV. It’s a great translation, but it has flaws that I really wish weren’t there.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I don’t doubt that the NKJV is generally more literal than the ESV. I have found that to be the case myself. However, is the NKJV more literal where it matters? I don’t necessarily care that the NKJV is more literal in places where literalness doesn’t make a difference.

I’m thinking of a particular example. The ESV consistently translates זֶרַע as “offspring.” This is significant because the English “offspring,” just like the Hebrew זֶרַע, can be either singular, collective singular, or plural, which makes Paul’s argument in Gal. 3:16 make sense from an English perspective.

The NKJV translates זֶרַע as “seed,” “offspring,” and “descendant,” which ends up, in my opinion, masking the biblical-theological significance of זֶרַע.

I say all this as someone who loves and uses the NKJV primarily, and who goes to a church which primarily uses the NKJV. It’s a great translation, but it has flaws that I really wish weren’t there.
Which flaws do you wish it had? :rofl:
 
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