What do you think of the NKJV?

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pmachapman

Puritan Board Freshman
Do you have somewhere in mind?
Anywhere: Here, YouTube, Amazon review, maybe all of the above?

I found during my research to find a new bible (and I wouldn't have found out about this particular edition having black letter if not for your comment), is that local Christian book stores, as much as I try to support them, do not have the full range, so you have to look online for advice. I watched nearly a hundred reviews of NKJV bibles before settling on this one!
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Anywhere: Here, YouTube, Amazon review, maybe all of the above?

I found during my research to find a new bible (and I wouldn't have found out about this particular edition having black letter if not for your comment), is that local Christian book stores, as much as I try to support them, do not have the full range, so you have to look online for advice. I watched nearly a hundred reviews of NKJV bibles before settling on this one!
I am presently doing a review of a book on Covenant Theology for Faith in Focus (Ruin and Redemption) and doing a series of articles on the Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs on how he dealt with persecution (also for Faith in Focus). Although I would love to review this Bible, I don't think I can take on any extra commitments at present.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
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.”
My Cambridge has "you"

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gjensen

Puritan Board Freshman
I have been considering the Topaz. Even though the NKJV is my preferred imperfect translation among all of our imperfect translations, I have had a hard time finding a copy that I was excited about.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
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.

My NKJV - printed in 2006 - has "you" at that place in Jeremiah 34.16.
 

SeekerOfTruth

Puritan Board Freshman
NKJV is used by my church and seems to be the preferred modern translation of my church's denomination. I use it for my daily study and reading, and my goal is to transition into using the KJV more due to some shortcomings I have read about the NKJV having. I stick to using both the KJV and the NKJV.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
and I wouldn't have found out about this particular edition having black letter if not for your comment)
I ordered the Bible on Saturday. It arrived today. That is amazing speed considering it came from the USA. Amazon appears to use good shipping services.

The Bible is what you would expect paying for genuine leather. It is a nice edition. But it is not the same as Premium leather. The gold edges on the paper looked a little bland to me. But that is a minor criticism. Printing is very good, blue colour for headings, verse nos etc which which is nice. Comes with 3 ribbons.
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Bible curriculum I use with my children is keyed to the NKJV, so we use that translation during Sunday afternoon lessons. The NKJV sits squarely in my Top 3 to read from, but I always find myself reaching for the KJV as my primary on most days.
 

John Yap

Puritan Board Sophomore
NKJV is used by my church and seems to be the preferred modern translation of my church's denomination. I use it for my daily study and reading, and my goal is to transition into using the KJV more due to some shortcomings I have read about the NKJV having. I stick to using both the KJV and the NKJV.
have you read about any 'shortcomings' of the KJV to balance out your reading of the NKJV's 'shortcomings' - so that you make a balanced decision?
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
Is the NKJV a locked translation? Locked meaning never will be updated again. If so, that is a huge selling point for some.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Junior
Is the NKJV a locked translation? Locked meaning never will be updated again. If so, that is a huge selling point for some.
I think I understand the attraction people have for locked translations; it's always awkward if you have memorized a verse and the translation then changes, and it can be confusing in a Bible Study when people reading from the same version have different readings. It also makes sense that nobody is tinkering with the KJV, while still calling it that.

However, think about the downside of a locked translation. Every translation gets it wrong sometimes (including the KJV). A locked translation has no ability to fix those errors when people point them out. So what you are really saying when you ask for a locked translation is "I would rather have a wrong translation that doesn't change than a more accurate translation that has some minor changes periodically." Is that really what you want?

The CSB (of which I am part of the Translation Oversight Committee) regularly gets suggestions of corrections and improvements - often from committee members. Most of these are minor changes that you would hardly notice, but our commitment to being as accurate as possible in our translation is the reason why our translation is not locked.
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
I think I understand the attraction people have for locked translations; it's always awkward if you have memorized a verse and the translation then changes, and it can be confusing in a Bible Study when people reading from the same version have different readings. It also makes sense that nobody is tinkering with the KJV, while still calling it that.

However, think about the downside of a locked translation. Every translation gets it wrong sometimes (including the KJV). A locked translation has no ability to fix those errors when people point them out. So what you are really saying when you ask for a locked translation is "I would rather have a wrong translation that doesn't change than a more accurate translation that has some minor changes periodically." Is that really what you want?

The CSB (of which I am part of the Translation Oversight Committee) regularly gets suggestions of corrections and improvements - often from committee members. Most of these are minor changes that you would hardly notice, but our commitment to being as accurate as possible in our translation is the reason why our translation is not locked.
I think you raise some fair points, and I am grateful for the labors of faithful men such as yourself who strive for improved textual criticism. Though, and I am going to be very candid here, I personally find much comfort in the KJV because it is locked. I know that some might think that’s anti intellectual or antiquated, but for me it matters.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
With the proliferation of electronic formats, I am far less opposed to “non-locked” translations than I used to be. Honestly, my main reason for wanting a locked translation is the fact that for whatever translation is my main one I want to have in a nice addition. I don’t want to have to spend $200 every few years.
 

Jemand

Puritan Board Freshman
I think I understand the attraction people have for locked translations; it's always awkward if you have memorized a verse and the translation then changes, and it can be confusing in a Bible Study when people reading from the same version have different readings. It also makes sense that nobody is tinkering with the KJV, while still calling it that.

However, think about the downside of a locked translation. Every translation gets it wrong sometimes (including the KJV). A locked translation has no ability to fix those errors when people point them out. So what you are really saying when you ask for a locked translation is "I would rather have a wrong translation that doesn't change than a more accurate translation that has some minor changes periodically." Is that really what you want?

The CSB (of which I am part of the Translation Oversight Committee) regularly gets suggestions of corrections and improvements - often from committee members. Most of these are minor changes that you would hardly notice, but our commitment to being as accurate as possible in our translation is the reason why our translation is not locked.

Crossway, the publishers of the ESV, released the following statement about the locking of the ESV,

In August 2016, we posted on our website that “the text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions printed and published by Crossway.” The goal behind this decision to make the text permanent was to stabilize the English Standard Version, serving its readership by establishing the ESV as a translation that could be used “for generations to come.” We desired for there to be a stable and standard text that would serve the reading, memorizing, preaching, and liturgical needs of Christians worldwide from one generation to another.

We have become convinced that this decision was a mistake. We apologize for this and for any concern this has caused for readers of the ESV, and we want to explain what we now believe to be the way forward. Our desire, above all, is to do what is right before the Lord.

Our goal at Crossway remains as strong as ever to serve future generations with a stable ESV text. But the means to that goal, we now see, is not to establish a permanent text but rather to allow for ongoing periodic updating of the text to reflect the realities of biblical scholarship such as textual discoveries or changes in English over time. These kinds of updates will be minimal and infrequent, but fidelity to Scripture requires that we remain open in principle to such changes, as the Crossway Board of Directors and the ESV Translation Oversight Committee see fit in years ahead….

We believe deeply that the translation and publication of the Bible is a sacred trust and unspeakable privilege, and we want to do all we can to steward this calling, before God, with the reverence and care that it deserves.

In the sufficiency of God’s grace,

Lane T. Dennis, PhD



The New King James Version New Testament dates back to 1979. The Psalms date back to 1980, and the complete Bible back to 1984! The English Standard Vision was first published in 2001, and was fine-tuned in the editions of 2007, 2011, and 2016. Each of these editions is identified on the copyright page. The New American Standard Bible underwent a major revision in 1995 and again in 2020. The New Revised Standard Version has been undergoing a major revision that is scheduled to be officially released in May of this year. Biblical research is not standing still; and the English language is changing at an alarming rate. The New King James Version is fast becoming an historical relic and locking it— or any other translation of the Bible—serves to make that translation less and less suitable for use in public worship and in private devotions and study.

I have taught and preached to congregations in which a variety of Bible versions was in use with the result that the minds of the congregants were stimulated and valuable discussions resulted.
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
I remember when Crossway almost locked the ESV; if memory serves they backed away from that position after about a week or so. If that held, I probably would have never switched from ESV to KJV. Though now I’m settled with KJV for good due to memorization.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
I remember when Crossway almost locked the ESV; if memory serves they backed away from that position after about a week or so. If that held, I probably would have never switched from ESV to KJV. Though now I’m settled with KJV for good due to memorization.
I remember thinking this to be a moment of particular spinelessness for Crossway. They made a few improvements to the text, and then decided to lock it. But because of uproar from various bloggers—especially of the feminist variety, who were upset with Gen. 3:16—Crossway backed off and “changed their minds.” I’m convinced it wasn’t out of conviction, but to save public image. It was disappointing.
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
I remember thinking this to be a moment of particular spinelessness for Crossway. They made a few improvements to the text, and then decided to lock it. But because of uproar from various bloggers—especially of the feminist variety, who were upset with Gen. 3:16—Crossway backed off and “changed their minds.” I’m convinced it wasn’t out of conviction, but to save public image. It was disappointing.
Though I can’t know for sure, I had and still have the same thoughts. The entire debacle planted the seed, as it were, for me to eventually switch to the KJV. Pressures from external sources are a very real thing, particularly in our day.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I think you raise some fair points, and I am grateful for the labors of faithful men such as yourself who strive for improved textual criticism. Though, and I am going to be very candid here, I personally find much comfort in the KJV because it is locked. I know that some might think that’s anti intellectual or antiquated, but for me it matters.
I think one thing to keep in mind is there are two kinds of changes. One may be related to manuscripts and text criticism and the other is fixing actual errors in the translation work or grammar issues. I believe the second kind was being discussed. It is important to remember the KJV did have/has errors in it of the second kind. The first type has been debated in many other threads so I won't bring in the text critical aspect here. I believe we were discussing an issue with the NKJV just a few days ago in this thread and evidence that those errors have been corrected. I would hope the KJV is allowed to have errors fixed without there being any issue, but perhaps I am wrong about that and when you all say locked translations you mean in regard to translation/grammar errors as well.
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
I think one thing to keep in mind is there are two kinds of changes. One may be related to manuscripts and text criticism and the other is fixing actual errors in the translation work or grammar issues. I believe the second kind was being discussed. It is important to remember the KJV did have/has errors in it of the second kind. The first type has been debated in many other threads so I won't bring in the text critical aspect here. I believe we were discussing an issue with the NKJV just a few days ago in this thread and evidence that those errors have been corrected. I would hope the KJV is allowed to have errors fixed without there being any issue, but perhaps I am wrong about that and when you all say locked translations you mean in regard to translation/grammar errors as well.
I can only speak for myself of course, but when I say locked I mean that it can never be changed in any way. The main desire for this is memorization.

There are many other options out there that continue to be updated every now and then, as the English language has an embarrassingly abundant amount of versions. This of course is a blessing. For brethren who appreciate such works, they have these options.

For me, I believe there are several English translations that are wonderful; KJV, NKJV, ESV and NASB all come to mind. When it comes to my own personal version though, having a locked translation is crucial. I don’t want to memorize something that is fluid as memorization does not come easy to me to begin with. Though I’m KJV preferred (not only), my reasons for choosing it are not because I have anything against the CT, for example. I like knowing that the exact version I read today will be the exact version I read for the rest of my life, Lord willing.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Junior
I can only speak for myself of course, but when I say locked I mean that it can never be changed in any way. The main desire for this is memorization.

There are many other options out there that continue to be updated every now and then, as the English language has an embarrassingly abundant amount of versions. This of course is a blessing. For brethren who appreciate such works, they have these options.

For me, I believe there are several English translations that are wonderful; KJV, NKJV, ESV and NASB all come to mind. When it comes to my own personal version though, having a locked translation is crucial. I don’t want to memorize something that is fluid as memorization does not come easy to me to begin with. Though I’m KJV preferred (not only), my reasons for choosing it are not because I have anything against the CT, for example. I like knowing that the exact version I read today will be the exact version I read for the rest of my life, Lord willing.
So you would really prefer to retain the version you memorized, even if it is an incorrect translation and the original Hebrew or Greek doesn't mean that? I don't mean to put you on the spot; just trying to understand the implications of your position. By the way, hardly any changes in an unlocked version are with "memorizable" verses, so I think it is a bit of a straw man (though I will grant that ESV's rather radical revised translation of Gen 3:16 was a pretty important verse). I can't recall anything similar with our revisions of the CSB; for example, I recently proposed replacing "from the east" as the translation of miqqedem with "eastwards" in Gen 12:8 - see Gen 13:11. I doubt that will trouble anyone memorizing the Scriptures, but it's important to me that we get our translation as accurate to the meaning of the original text as possible.
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
So you would really prefer to retain the version you memorized, even if it is an incorrect translation and the original Hebrew or Greek doesn't mean that? I don't mean to put you on the spot; just trying to understand the implications of your position. By the way, hardly any changes in an unlocked version are with "memorizable" verses, so I think it is a bit of a straw man (though I will grant that ESV's rather radical revised translation of Gen 3:16 was a pretty important verse). I can't recall anything similar with our revisions of the CSB; for example, I recently proposed replacing "from the east" as the translation of miqqedem with "eastwards" in Gen 12:8 - see Gen 13:11. I doubt that will trouble anyone memorizing the Scriptures, but it's important to me that we get our translation as accurate to the meaning of the original text as possible.
I’ve been charitable to you and I would appreciate the same in return. Which translation I use and the reasons behind it are very personal and I’ve been transparent as to why.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I’ve been charitable to you and I would appreciate the same in return. Which translation I use and the reasons behind it are very personal and I’ve been transparent as to why.
I don't see anything uncharitable in his question. So, are you saying that you would affirm an error in your memorization? He is saying that the translation actually screwed up and did not correctly translate the original Greek and Hebrew. So, you have memorized something that was actually not said in the original language. That would be ok? Even if it completely changes the meaning of the verse?

I do not think this is going to be the case in reality, but if it was, you would still stick to your position?
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't see anything uncharitable in his question. So, are you saying that you would affirm an error in your memorization? He is saying that the translation actually screwed up and did not correctly translate the original Greek and Hebrew. So, you have memorized something that was actually not said in the original language. That would be ok? Even if it completely changes the meaning of the verse?

I do not think this is going to be the case in reality, but if it was, you would still stick to your position?
I stated that I preferred a locked translation for memorization purposes, that is a reasonable position to take. If someone else wants to constantly change their translation throughout their lifetime, that is their business. The post that I replied to was needlessly challenging me and felt like quarreling. I made it clear that I wasn’t criticizing any other version.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I stated that I preferred a locked translation for memorization purposes, that is a reasonable position to take. If someone else wants to constantly change their translation throughout their lifetime, that is their business. The post that I replied to was needlessly challenging me and felt like quarreling. I made it clear that I wasn’t criticizing any other version.
The question was not around a locked translation as I see it. You can certainly prefer that. The question is in the situation being described in my last post. If the answer is, no I would not make a one off edit, I would continue to keep the incorrect translation memorized, then so be it.
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
The question was not around a locked translation as I see it. You can certainly prefer that. The question is in the situation being described in my last post. If the answer is, no I would not make a one off edit, I would continue to keep the incorrect translation memorized, then so be it.
Again, I am confident with the copy of God’s Word that I have in the King James Version. If someone else wishes to be on a lifelong journey of textual criticism and ever changing grammatical fixes, that is their business.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
The post that I replied to was needlessly challenging me and felt like quarreling. I made it clear that I wasn’t criticizing any other version.
Dr Duguid is a respected professor and contributor. I read nothing challenging in his question.

It's a reasonable question to ask: You prefer a locked translation for memorization (which is a reasonable desire). However, since this means that by definition the translation can never be altered even when a translational inaccuracy is found, is the conclusion therefore that you prize continuity over accuracy in every single case?

In a perfect world you'd have both, but that's not often the case. It's a good question and I'm curious too. I think I'd prefer accuracy while at the same time recognizing my own desire for continuity. I'm not really a fan of some of what happened to the NIV for example.
 
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