What do you think of the NKJV?

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C4MERON

Puritan Board Freshman
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?
I haven’t read much of the NKJV admittedly, but, have you considered the MEV? The Modern English Version. I know its had mention on PB before but not seen so within recent threads. Our church has fairly recently begun making use of it within services along with our usual KJV readings. It’s served as a very good alternative as it is (obviously) re-translated into the modern Engliah vernacular but also from the Masoretic & TR.
 

pmachapman

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't know a lot about it. I have used the NKJV on and off since 1989. I'm quite familiar with it.
Come visit us in New Plymouth, and I will give you a copy of the MEV! It is one of my favourites. Also, it is currently undergoing a minor revision, with an ETA later this year.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
I may have to start reading it to get a better feel of it; my translation is KJV yet I have my wife and children read the ESV. So it’s ESV for family worship and our “Scripture of the week” chalk board. NKJV might just strike the perfect balance. Though I do love my KJV.
We have always used the KJV in our family. We have raised our six children on it, and they love it very much. Even if you prefer a more modern translation, for educational purposes, I think it is wise to use the KJV with your kids. I think it is hard to say one has a well-rounded education if one has never read the text of the King James Bible. I never fail to be amused by the Christian homeschool parents that will have their kids study Latin and read Shakespear and then complain that "The King James is just too hard for them to understand!" :doh:
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
We have always used the KJV in our family. We have raised our six children on it, and they love it very much. Even if you prefer a more modern translation, for educational purposes, I think it is wise to use the KJV with your kids. I think it is hard to say one has a well-rounded education if one has never read the text of the King James Bible. I never fail to be amused by the Christian homeschool parents that will have their kids study Latin and read Shakespear and then complain that "The King James is just too hard for them to understand!" :doh:
We were already an ESV family for a long time before I personally transitioned to KJV. I think it’s important that people stick to one translation so I decided not to switch it up on them. For me personally, I switched because I prefer it for memorization and I find comfort in a locked translation.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Come visit us in New Plymouth, and I will give you a copy of the MEV! It is one of my favourites. Also, it is currently undergoing a minor revision, with an ETA later this year.
Thank you. Do intend to some time. Health uncertainties an issue at the moment.

In terms of a Bible I am looking for a leather bound one, words of Christ in Black etc. But in no hurry.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
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.
The Pastor who is retiring, do you mean Rev Paul Archibald of the Reformed Church of Silverstream?
Come visit us in New Plymouth, and I will give you a copy of the MEV! It is one of my favourites. Also, it is currently undergoing a minor revision, with an ETA later this year.
Thank you. I had a good look at the MEV website. Rightly or wrongly it did not seem to grip me. I found the Bible I was looking for - NKJV, leather-bound, words of Christ in black, great print quality etc:

https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/product/NKJV-large-print-bible-maclaren-series/

Will look forward to a visit sometime when I am able.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
I am looking for a NKJV with the following:
  • Words of Christ in Black (I am having trouble finding one in the NKJV)
  • Leather bound but not too expensive
  • Centre column references
If anyone has pointers I would appreciate their insight :)
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks Grant. That was useful. Our views are very similar. The Bible I purchased was US$56. A good all round quality Bible. It does not have a concordance but I look up verses on the Internet anyway.
 

pmachapman

Puritan Board Freshman
I found the Bible I was looking for - NKJV, leather-bound, words of Christ in black, great print quality etc:

https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/product/NKJV-large-print-bible-maclaren-series/
Thank you for finding this one - I have been looking for a bible like this, as my current NKJV is far too hard to read in church (and red letter).

The other black letter NKJV I am looking at is https://www.thomasnelson.com/978078...ce-bible-genuine-leather-black-comfort-print/, which although out of print (but reasonably priced on Book Depository), has the same paper as their premium bibles for this print run.
 
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Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
Thanks Grant. That was useful. Our views are very similar. The Bible I purchased was US$56. A good all round quality Bible. It does not have a concordance but I look up verses on the Internet anyway.
Yeah I figured I was a little late to the party, but still decided to share.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you for finding this one - I have been looking for a bible like this, as my current NKJV is far too hard to read in church (and red letter).

The other black letter NKJV I am looking at is https://www.thomasnelson.com/978078...ce-bible-genuine-leather-black-comfort-print/, which although out of print (but reasonably priced on Book Depository), has the same paper as their premium bibles for this print run.
I looked at the link you provided and all the Leather editions appear to be out of print. The one I purchased appears to be Thomas Nelson's standard NKJV quality Bible (McLaren series) at a reasonable price. I purchased a leather bound McLaren series NKJV Bible from Amazon for a 44% discount.
 

StevieG

Puritan Board Freshman
I hope you don't mind me piggy backing off this discussion, but does anyone know if its possible to get a NKJV in a wide margin format that doesn't have red letters?
 

Jemand

Puritan Board Freshman
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?
The NKJV is a substandard translation that was thrown together without even reasonably good editorial oversight. Therefore, it includes ridiculous, inexcusable errors such as the blunder in Jeremiah 34:16,

Jeremiah 34:16 But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids. (KJV)

Jeremiah 34:16 but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back your male and female slaves, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them again into subjection to be your slaves. (NRSV)

Jeremiah 34:16. ‘Then you turned around and profaned My name, and every one of you brought back his male and female slaves, whom he had set at liberty, at their pleasure, and brought them back into subjection, to be your male and female slaves.’ (NKJV)

We see here in the NKJV the use of the third person singular pronoun ‘he’ to translate the second person plural pronoun in the Hebrew text.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
The NKJV is a substandard translation that was thrown together without even reasonably good editorial oversight. Therefore, it includes ridiculous, inexcusable errors such as the blunder in Jeremiah 34:16,

Jeremiah 34:16 But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids. (KJV)

Jeremiah 34:16 but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back your male and female slaves, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them again into subjection to be your slaves. (NRSV)

Jeremiah 34:16. ‘Then you turned around and profaned My name, and every one of you brought back his male and female slaves, whom he had set at liberty, at their pleasure, and brought them back into subjection, to be your male and female slaves.’ (NKJV)

We see here in the NKJV the use of the third person singular pronoun ‘he’ to translate the second person plural pronoun in the Hebrew text.
That’s an interesting observation about Jer. 34:16. It appears that the NKJV editors uncritically admitted the reading into their text from the Oxford edition of the KJV, whereas the “Pure Cambridge” edition has “ye.”
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Junior
The NKJV is a substandard translation that was thrown together without even reasonably good editorial oversight. Therefore, it includes ridiculous, inexcusable errors such as the blunder in Jeremiah 34:16,

Jeremiah 34:16 But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids. (KJV)

Jeremiah 34:16 but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back your male and female slaves, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them again into subjection to be your slaves. (NRSV)

Jeremiah 34:16. ‘Then you turned around and profaned My name, and every one of you brought back his male and female slaves, whom he had set at liberty, at their pleasure, and brought them back into subjection, to be your male and female slaves.’ (NKJV)

We see here in the NKJV the use of the third person singular pronoun ‘he’ to translate the second person plural pronoun in the Hebrew text.
That's a bad miss to be sure. However, they do seem to have fixed it in their current editions, at least based on Bible Gateway and Bibleworks.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
That's a bad miss to be sure. However, they do seem to have fixed it in their current editions, at least based on Bible Gateway and Bibleworks.
The Logos edition is still wrong. That’s interesting. I may report it as a typo.
 

pmachapman

Puritan Board Freshman
I looked at the link you provided and all the Leather editions appear to be out of print. The one I purchased appears to be Thomas Nelson's standard NKJV quality Bible (McLaren series) at a reasonable price. I purchased a leather bound McLaren series NKJV Bible from Amazon for a 44% discount.
Did you purchase the brown leather or the black goatskin? The brown leather edition looks like excellent value, although I have just purchased the goatskin mostly because I do not like brown coloured bibles. Do post a review when it arrives!
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Junior
The Logos edition is still wrong. That’s interesting. I may report it as a typo.
Yes, I see that. Bible Gateway is the e-version that the publishers, Thomas Nelson, link you to, which makes me think that they have made a change. But it can't be a particularly recent update if Bibleworks has it, since they haven't made any changes for some years. Either way, the publisher should be making the effort to correct all of the major forms in which the NKJV appears.
 

Jemand

Puritan Board Freshman
Yes, I see that. Bible Gateway is the e-version that the publishers, Thomas Nelson, link you to, which makes me think that they have made a change. But it can't be a particularly recent update if Bibleworks has it, since they haven't made any changes for some years. Either way, the publisher should be making the effort to correct all of the major forms in which the NKJV appears.
Remaining for a while in the book of Jeremiah, we find another significant error in the NKJV,

Jeremiah 27:1 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

That the reign of Jehoiakim is not in view in this passage can be clearly seen in vv. 3, 12. and 28. The verse is absent in the Septuagint. The Syriac and Arabic texts of the passage read ‘Zedekiah’ instead of ‘Jehoiakim’, and hence,

Jeremiah 27:1 IN THE beginning of the reign of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord. (RSV, 1972)

Jeremiah 27:1 In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying— (NASB, 2020)

Jeremiah 27:1 (At the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from Yahweh (NJB, 1985)

Jeremiah 27:1 [In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim . . . Judah] this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD: (NAB, 1970)

Jeremiah 27:1 In the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah son of Josiah of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord. (NRSV, 1989)

However, this same error is found in the KJV—even in the “pure” Cambridge edition. If the “translators” of the NKJV had done even a little bit of researching rather than simply “modernizing” the KJV, they certainly would have found this error.

For further information, please see the commentaries on Jeremiah by Leslie C. Allen in the OTL series (2008), and J. A. Thompson in the NICOT series (1980)


Question: Is either the KJV or the NKJV accurate enough to be used in our churches as pew Bibles?
 
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pmachapman

Puritan Board Freshman
Question: Is either the KJV or the NKJV accurate enough to be used in our churches as pew Bibles?
I think that is a pretty bold claim to make on solely textual criticism grounds, not translational errors.

Both my TBS Bomberg/Ginsberg Hebrew OT (underpinning the KJV and NKJV) and my Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (underpinning most modern translations) read יהויקם (Jehoiakim).

The translators who chose Jehoakim were not misreading the text, or copy-pasting a transcriptional error found in another English bible - they were translating what they read - in the same way the translators who chose Zedekiah made an educated decision based on the evidence of the Syriac, Arabic, and a few Hebrew manuscripts (see the apparatus in the BHS).

Both are accurate translations, they just utilised a different methodology to yield different answers to the text critical decision present in the text. Translating Jehoakim is definitely not an error if that is what is in the Hebrew text!
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Junior
Remaining for a while in the book of Jeremiah, we find another significant error in the NKJV,

Jeremiah 27:1 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

That the reign of Jehoiakim is not in view in this passage can be clearly seen in vv. 3, 12. and 28. The verse is absent in the Septuagint. The Syriac and Arabic texts of the passage read ‘Zedekiah’ instead of ‘Jehoiakim’, and hence,

Jeremiah 27:1 IN THE beginning of the reign of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord. (RSV, 1972)

Jeremiah 27:1 In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying— (NASB, 2020)

Jeremiah 27:1 (At the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from Yahweh (NJB, 1985)

Jeremiah 27:1 [In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim . . . Judah] this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD: (NAB, 1970)

Jeremiah 27:1 In the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah son of Josiah of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord. (NRSV, 1989)

However, this same error is found in the KJV—even in the “pure” Cambridge edition. If the “translators” of the NKJV had done even a little bit of researching rather than simply “modernizing” the KJV, they certainly would have found this error.

For further information, please see the commentaries on Jeremiah by Leslie C. Allen in the OTL series (2008), and J. A. Thompson in the NICOT series (1980)


Question: Is either the KJV or the NKJV accurate enough to be used in our churches as pew Bibles?
Certainly the KJV and NKJV are accurate enough to use as pew Bibles and by ordinary believers. If I were trying to build a case to prefer a different version, I'm not sure I would choose this verse as a "Gotcha" text. It is true that there are good contextual reasons for preferring Zedekiah to Jehoiakim here, but the vast majority of Hebrew manuscripts have Jehoiakim. Calvin and Gill deal with the difficulty by proposing that the word was given to Jeremiah at the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign, but was kept hidden until the time of Zedekiah, which suggests that the translators of the KJV were aware of the issue. Most modern commentators are not convinced, given that the current form of 27:1 exactly matches 26:1, so it is easy to explain how a scribal error could have occurred, but it remains very much a minority reading in the MT tradition. And for those who hate the canons of text criticism, this is a clear example of the KJV preferring the harder reading, since it is very easy to explain why an original Jehoiakim would be changed to Zedekiah, but not the reverse.

It does illuminate the fact that the KJV is very closely aligned to the Bomberg text (the Second Rabbinic Bible), though not slavishly so. There is a short passage missing from the Second Rabbinic Bible that they restored on the basis of the First Rabbinic Bible. And of course, famously, they deviated from the Majority Jewish text in Psalm 22:16, a text that Calvin and many others argued had been deliberately tampered with by the Jewish sources.

All of this illustrates how the issues are different in the OT from the NT regarding text criticism. Any view of the doctrine of textual preservation has to do justice to the OT text - largely preserved by Jewish scribes outside the church, which in many cases relied on the Septuagint - as well as the NT text.
 
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