What do you think of the NKJV?

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beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
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.
I know who he is, and do not expect anyone on this board to “side” with me, so to speak, over him. God is not a respector of persons, and we are not to show partiality. There is no need to throw around bona fides when it comes to charitable discussion.

If I were being equally as uncharitable as he, I would push back and say that people like him are never content with the version that is in their hands and are always second guessing it. But I didn’t do that. Rather I thanked him for his labors. I was then challenged with the response of accusing me of making a strawman for stating I prefer a locked translation for memorization. Defend that if you wish.
 

Jemand

Puritan Board Freshman
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.
This is not a fair representation of Biblical scholars who value truth and accuracy over anything less.
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
This is not a fair representation of Biblical scholars who value truth and accuracy over anything less.
Fairness is a road that travels both ways, I see no one objecting to me being criticized for simply preferring a locked translation. One simply is confident in their copy of God’s Word or they are not. I prefer memorization over textual criticism as a layman as it is of more profit to my discipleship.

Are they mutually exclusive? No, though we all have different gifts. I am not able to memorize several different translations. This is not an unreasonable position for me to take, yet here I am.

Anyhow, it is not my desire to get bogged down into an unprofitable debate, nor am I equipped to do so. I just wanted to share that I prefer locked translations for memorization, and was wondering if the NKJV is officially locked. I did not anticipate that to be a controversial position.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Fairness is a road that travels both ways, I see no one objecting to me being criticized for simply preferring a locked translation. One simply is confident in their copy of God’s Word or they are not. I prefer memorization over textual criticism as a layman as it is of more profit to my discipleship.

Are they mutually exclusive? No, though we all have different gifts. I am not able to memorize several different translations. This is not an unreasonable position for me to take, yet here I am.

Anyhow, it is not my desire to get bogged down into an unprofitable debate, nor am I equipped to do so. I just wanted to share that I prefer locked translations for memorization, and was wondering if the NKJV is officially locked. I did not anticipate that to be a controversial position.

Brother, your position is not controversial and no one has said it was ridiculous or even criticized it that I can see. I agreed with you that it was a reasonable desire. However, it's also reasonable to think about the implications that Dr Duguid brought up. This certainly doesn't mean that you have to change your mind, but the question itself is neither debating or out of bounds and your reaction so far has been strangely indignant.

Textual criticism was specifically avoided in this particular conversation so don't be confused by that.
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
Brother, your position is not controversial and no one has said it was ridiculous or even criticized it that I can see. I agreed with you that it was a reasonable desire. However, it's also reasonable to think about the implications that Dr Duguid brought up. This certainly doesn't mean that you have to change your mind, but the question itself is neither debating or out of bounds and your reaction so far has been strangely indignant.

Textual criticism was specifically avoided in this particular conversation so don't be confused by that.
Perhaps I have been a bit sensitive. If so then I do apologize.
 

Georgiadis

Puritan Board Freshman
Over the last five years I have been bouncing back and forth between a handful of popular translations among conservative Christians (KJV, ESV, NASB, CSB, NIV). I intentionally avoided the NKJV because I’d gotten the impression that it was stylistically inferior to the KJV and from a scholarly perspective also inferior to more modern translations. It wasn’t until I received a premium NKJV as a gift that my hand was kind of forced. I mean, c’mon. It has a goatskin cover. I’m not-NOT going to use it! And I am so glad that I did! The NKJV is a beautiful translation in my opinion and the most versatile. What I mean by that is how well it aligns with older commentaries that I frequent (i.e., Pulpit, Gill, Ellicott) but its impressive supply of footnotes also double as a CT alt-take which is helpful for study too. I’m really impressed with the restraint shown by the oversight committee. I feel like they were successful in their mission to make a good translation better all the while preserving its best qualities.

The NKJV doesn’t seem to get a lot of loud press or rave reviews from high profile leaders these days but from what I’ve found that’s not necessarily an indication of low readership. The people I’ve heard from have just been quietly enjoying it for years.

The funny thing is that the very first Bible I received as a boy was a NKJV. Sure could have saved myself a lot of time and research but I’m happy to have rejoined the ranks!
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
According to the information you shared I understand you switched to the NKJV in 2019. How have you found the NKJV after using it for 3 years?
It has been really good. We use paper bibles mostly but circumstances have also led us to use NKJV bible apps as well. I have 3 young children and neither myself nor my wife were raised on the KJV. I found the NKJV’s English to be updated enough to still get the points across to my 8 & 5 year old and more consistent with the language we teach them in homeschool and their kids catechisms compared to KJV. My kids seemed to also be doing well with retention after a reading. I am also comfortable, being slightly more mature than my children :cool:, with the translation Philosphy of NKJV as recorded in it’s preface. So….we are still happy with it.
 

Jemand

Puritan Board Freshman
Over the last five years I have been bouncing back and forth between a handful of popular translations among conservative Christians (KJV, ESV, NASB, CSB, NIV). I intentionally avoided the NKJV because I’d gotten the impression that it was stylistically inferior to the KJV and from a scholarly perspective also inferior to more modern translations. It wasn’t until I received a premium NKJV as a gift that my hand was kind of forced. I mean, c’mon. It has a goatskin cover. I’m not-NOT going to use it! And I am so glad that I did! The NKJV is a beautiful translation in my opinion and the most versatile. What I mean by that is how well it aligns with older commentaries that I frequent (i.e., Pulpit, Gill, Ellicott) but its impressive supply of footnotes also double as a CT alt-take which is helpful for study too. I’m really impressed with the restraint shown by the oversight committee. I feel like they were successful in their mission to make a good translation better all the while preserving its best qualities.

The NKJV doesn’t seem to get a lot of loud press or rave reviews from high profile leaders these days but from what I’ve found that’s not necessarily an indication of low readership. The people I’ve heard from have just been quietly enjoying it for years.

The funny thing is that the very first Bible I received as a boy was a NKJV. Sure could have saved myself a lot of time and research but I’m happy to have rejoined the ranks!
Thank you for sharing with us!
 

Jemand

Puritan Board Freshman
It has been really good. We use paper bibles mostly but circumstances have also led us to use NKJV bible apps as well. I have 3 young children and neither myself nor my wife were raised on the KJV. I found the NKJV’s English to be updated enough to still get the points across to my 8 & 5 year old and more consistent with the language we teach them in homeschool and their kids catechisms compared to KJV. My kids seemed to also be doing well with retention after a reading. I am also comfortable, being slightly more mature than my children :cool:, with the translation Philosphy of NKJV as recorded in it’s preface. So….we are still happy with it.
Thank you for sharing with us!
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
It has been really good. We use paper bibles mostly but circumstances have also led us to use NKJV bible apps as well. I have 3 young children and neither myself nor my wife were raised on the KJV. I found the NKJV’s English to be updated enough to still get the points across to my 8 & 5 year old and more consistent with the language we teach them in homeschool and their kids catechisms compared to KJV. My kids seemed to also be doing well with retention after a reading. I am also comfortable, being slightly more mature than my children :cool:, with the translation Philosphy of NKJV as recorded in it’s preface. So….we are still happy with it.
Glad to hear that. For me I tended to underappreciate the NKJV when I used the ESV but have come full circle. (I previously used the NKJV but switched to the ESV when it came out.)
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
I don’t believe I’ve commented in this thread yet. I consider the NKJV among the best of the modern versions (along with MEV, MKJV, KJV 2016), it not being based upon the CT or ET). I do have some serious gripes about it though, one being in Rev 19:8, where – along with the other moderns, it reads, concerning Christ’s bride, “to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

It would have been far better to have the KJV’s “the fine linen is the righteousness of saints”, which would have included the imputed righteousness of Christ as well as her own obedience and sanctification, enabled by His grace.

CF., Jer 23:6, “In His [Messiah’s] days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

And, Isa 54:17, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD.”

This is lost in the NKJV’s rendering. I think the right balance can be seen in Herman Hoeksema’s comment from his Behold He Cometh! – his commentary on Revelation:

Behold He cometh! Herman Hoeksema Rev 19:8​
This bride of the Lamb is clothed in fine linen, clean and white. The text itself explains that this fine, white linen is "the righteousness of saints." This righteousness is, first of all, the fundamental righteousness of the saints in the blood of Christ, the Lamb. It is their legal righteousness, the righteousness of their state, according to which the perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to them. It is the righteousness which is theirs through the very fact that the Lamb was slain and laid down His life for them, and thus purchased them to be His bride. But the reference is also to the righteousness of the saints in the spiritual, ethical sense of the word, or, if you will, to the holiness of the bride. She has kept her garments clean and unspotted from the pollutions of the world, of Babylon. She has heeded the call to come out of Babylon and not to be partaker of Babylon's sins. Hence, the church, the bride of the Lamb, appears here as clothed in garments of justification and sanctification, the pure and white linen of the righteousness of Christ. Moreover, in the vision she appears as having made herself ready. This cannot mean, of course, that the church has justified and sanctified herself, as if her righteousness were of her own accomplishment. On the contrary, the text even emphasizes that these garments of fine linen with which she is clothed are a matter of grace: "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white." But by faith and in love, and with a view to meeting her Bridegroom, through grace, the bride has prepared herself, has put on the garments provided by the Lamb Himself, and kept herself unspotted from the world.​
She is ready for her marriage to the Lamb.​
 

Jemand

Puritan Board Freshman
I don’t believe I’ve commented in this thread yet. I consider the NKJV among the best of the modern versions (along with MEV, MKJV, KJV 2016), it not being based upon the CT or ET). I do have some serious gripes about it though, one being in Rev 19:8, where – along with the other moderns, it reads, concerning Christ’s bride, “to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

It would have been far better to have the KJV’s “the fine linen is the righteousness of saints”, which would have included the imputed righteousness of Christ as well as her own obedience and sanctification, enabled by His grace.
Revelation 19:8 reads,

8. καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῇ ἵνα περιβάληται βύσσινον λαμπρὸν καθαρόν, τὸ γὰρ βύσσινον τὰ δικαιώματα τῶν ἁγίων ἐστίν.

The KJV mistranslated this sentence. The NKJV (and virtually every other translation) corrects the error,

Revelation 19:8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

“The plural -ματα is probably distributive, implying not many δικαιώματα to each one, as if they were merely good deeds, but one δικαιώμα to each of the saints, enveloping him as in a pure white robe of righteousness. Observe that here and everywhere the white robe is not Christ’s righteousness imputed or put on, but the Saints’ righteousness, by virtue of being washed in His blood. It is their own; inherent, not imputed; but their own by their part in and union to Him.” Henry Alford - The New Testament for English Readers - Matthew-Revelation
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Hello Thomas! – welcome to PuritanBoard!

This is a disputed reading / translation. A friend of mine (Al H.) commented,

It's called "righteousnesses" because it is talking about the imputed righteousness of each and every saint. But definitely not "righteous acts."​
Also Matthew Poole agrees:​
Rev. 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.​

And to her was granted; that is, to the Lamb’s wife, whether Jews or Gentiles, or both. That she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; that she should be clothed with the righteousness of Christ, reckoned to her for righteousness. This is the righteousness of the saints; called the righteousness of God, Rom. 1:17; a righteousness through the faith of Christ, Phil. 3:9: called righteousnesses, in the Greek, because there are many saints to be clothed with it; and because it is imputed both for justification and sanctification, not to excuse us from holiness, but to make up our defects. [emphasis added]​
Matthew Poole, Annotations upon the Holy Bible, vol. 3 (New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1853), 999.​

_____

Likewise John Gill,

for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints, or "righteousnesses"; not good works, or their own righteousness; for though these are evidences of faith, by which the saints are justified, and are what God has prepared for them, that they should walk in them; yet these are not comparable to fine linen, clean and white, but are like filthy rags, and cannot justify in the sight of God; but the righteousness of Christ is meant, and justification by that; for that is the only justifying righteousness of the saints: and though it is but one, yet it may be called "righteousnesses", or "justifications", in the plural number; partly because of the several seasons in which the act of justification passes, first in God's mind from eternity, next on Christ as the surety, when he rose from the dead, and on all the elect in him, and then in the consciences of the saints when they believe, and the sentence of it will be notified and declared to men and angels at the last judgment; and partly because of the many persons that are justified by it, as also because of the excellency of it; so the Jews use the word in the plural number: the Targumist on Zechariah 3:4 paraphrases the text, "I will clothe thee" זכוך, "with righteousnesses"; upon which words Jarchi has this note,

"change of beautiful garments is all one as if it had been said זכיות ‘righteousnesses’: and because sin is like to filthy garments, righteousness is like to garments beautiful and white.''​

Christ's righteousness may be compared to fine linen, clean and white, because of its spotless purity; those that are arrayed with it being unblameable and irreprovable, and without spot and blemish, and without fault before the throne; with this the Jewish church will be clothed; all the Lord's people will be righteous, they will have on the best robe, and wedding garment, which was despised by the Jews in Christ's time, who refused to come to the marriage feast; and their being arrayed with it will be owing to the grace of Christ, who grants it; and so Christ's righteousness is called the gift of righteousness, the free gift, and gift by grace, and abundance of grace; and faith, which receives it, and puts it on, is the gift of God, Romans 5:15. Not only the garment is a gift of grace, but the putting of it on is a grant from Christ, and what he himself does, Isaiah 61:10. [emphases added]
 
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Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
The NKJV often references the Majority Text in its footnotes. Since it was translated another text type has developed - the Byzantine Priority text. What are the similarities and differences between the Byzantine Priority and the Majority Text types. I ask because when I read the NKJV and see the MT references, I do wonder if the text notes in the NKJV are a little dated?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
The NKJV often references the Majority Text in its footnotes. Since it was translated another text type has developed - the Byzantine Priority text. What are the similarities and differences between the Byzantine Priority and the Majority Text types. I ask because when I read the NKJV and see the MT references, I do wonder if the text notes in the NKJV are a little dated?
As far as I understand it, the primary difference between the Majority Text and the Byzantine Priority Text is that of methodology. In the end, as far as I am aware, the differences are very, very small.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
As far as I understand it, the primary difference between the Majority Text and the Byzantine Priority Text is that of methodology. In the end, as far as I am aware, the differences are very, very small.
The differences are indeed very small in resultant text. Maurice Robinson has a developed theory of transmission that undergirds his variant choices, and results in a majority reading usually being the “right one.” The majority text of Hodges and Farstad really is just counting noses, as it were, as far as I’ve understood.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
I would agree. The Byzantine Priority strikes a very good balance, in my opinion. It has no issues examining all manuscripts. Nor does it toss readings simply because it prioritizes a few old manuscripts. It is similar to the Majority Text position in that it prioritizes texts that were in use in the church for centuries. I would call it a confessional position, and I wish it were more widely recognized than the two "tribes" of CT and TR.

Robinson's essay on the Case for the Byzantine Priority is well-worth reading, both as a case for his methodology and as pointing out problems with other methodologies.

 
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Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
I would call it a confessional position, and I wish it were more widely recognized than the two "tribes" of CT and TR.
Except that it has not been used for a Bible Translation. Confessional Text advocates point out that the Reformation Bibles (Geneva and KJV) used the Received text. I use the NKJV as I have become sort of a 'fence sitter' between the Byzantine Priority and the Received Text :)
Robinson's essay on the Case for the Byzantine Priority is well-worth reading, both as a case for his methodology and as pointing out problems with other methodologies.
Yes I enjoyed this thanks. I find his comments interesting re the impact of Postmodernism on textual criticism.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
As far as I understand it, the primary difference between the Majority Text and the Byzantine Priority Text is that of methodology. In the end, as far as I am aware, the differences are very, very small.

The differences are indeed very small in resultant text. Maurice Robinson has a developed theory of transmission that undergirds his variant choices, and results in a majority reading usually being the “right one.” The majority text of Hodges and Farstad really is just counting noses, as it were, as far as I’ve understood.
Thanks. I thought that their approaches were quite similar. I had an interesting conversation some years ago with Wilbur Pickering and he kindly sent me a copy of his book 'The identity of the NT text'. I have not really looked at the issue in recent years though.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
the NKJV is an excellent literal translation (I would argue more literal than the NASB77
Peter, I have thought about your comment for some time. Can you expand on this. I thought the NASB 77 was 'very literal'

I did share a verse some time ago that the NKJV translates more literally than any other modern translation I know. I mentioned the LSB here but I think the NASB77 reads the same as the LSB.
One passage where the NKJV gives a wooden translation is 1 Pet 1:13 " gird up the loins of your mind". It is a wooden translation but it does preserve an important Hebraism.

The LSB is probably next with "having girded your minds for action".

Other translations I checked use the dynamic equivalent "prepare your minds for action" [NASB 95].

To my mind this is a good example of the pros and cons of a literal translation. The NKJV preserves an important Hebraism. I like that. But it is less readable.
I am enjoying the McLaren NKJV I purchased last month; it is a great Bible. For those interested here is a link with helpful details. Amazon is offering a 40% discount on their Leather bound, bound edition. Follow the details on this link:
https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/product/NKJV-large-print-bible-maclaren-series/
 

pmachapman

Puritan Board Freshman
Peter, I have thought about your comment for some time. Can you expand on this. I thought the NASB 77 was 'very literal'
R. Grant Jones has made a methodical comparison of translations using a selection of verses across most English translations, and collated the information in his translation continuum.

One "blocking" translation choice that I find to be interpretive rather than literal in the NASB 77 is 1 Corinthians 7:36, "virgin daughter". OK, so daughter is in italics, and so marked as supplied, but to me it is unnecessary, as the passage is intelligible without it. If daughter is omitted, both interpretive choices are available to the expositor, whereas the NASB really only allows one if you are preaching the passage. To me there are few things worse than when teaching or preaching you have to say: "well our pew bibles are wrong here, they should say..."

When preparing a Bible study, I will often refer to my NASB 77, and notice that many readings marked "Lit." in the centre column of my Cambridge '77 will be more or less the reading of the NKJV, such as a little further down at 1 Corinthians 8:1: "knowledge makes arrogant"/"knowledge puffs up"

There are others which I cannot recall it this time, but it would just be hole picking if I were to list them. For that reason, I find R. Grant Jones' Translation Continuum helpful as he clearly defines his method.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
R. Grant Jones has made a methodical comparison of translations using a selection of verses across most English translations, and collated the information in his translation continuum.
Yes I have looked at a number of his videos with profit. I was surprised on this continuum to see he rates the KJV as more literal than the NASB77.
When preparing a Bible study, I will often refer to my NASB 77
I thought you replaced this with the LSB :)
When preparing a Bible study, I will often refer to my NASB 77, and notice that many readings marked "Lit." in the centre column of my Cambridge '77 will be more or less the reading of the NKJV, such as a little further down at 1 Corinthians 8:1: "knowledge makes arrogant"/"knowledge puffs up"
One of the questions I looked at a few years ago was does the NKJV translate Hebrew and Greek tenses, moods etc as consistently as the NASB. I have not looked at this issue for some time but the LSB preface gives a great example of what I mean:
https://lsbible.org/preface/#HebrewTensesAspectandStem
and
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
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 :)
Around 2018, Holman printed some of the "Large Print" Ultrathin in black letter after years of printing everything in red letter. (I put "large print" in quotes because to me, it is not really "Large Print.") This is actually a classic old Nelson text block. One negative however is that it doesn't have the full set of references. I think it might have all of the marginal notes but I'm not totally sure. (I'm pretty sure it would have all of the textual notes. But the NKJV also has many other notes.) Another negative is that Holman no longer has a license to print the NKJV. So there aren't going to be a lot of choices when buying new as stock starts to dwindle. As far as "not too expensive" I don't know how that would work in NZ. I suspect you may have access to some editions but not others.

https://www.christianbook.com/NKJV-...e-leather/9781535905268/pd/905268?event=ESRCG
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Around 2018, Holman printed some of the "Large Print" Ultrathin in black letter after years of printing everything in red letter. (I put "large print" in quotes because to me, it is not really "Large Print.") This is actually a classic old Nelson text block. One negative however is that it doesn't have the full set of references. I think it might have all of the marginal notes but I'm not totally sure. (I'm pretty sure it would have all of the textual notes. But the NKJV also has many other notes.) Another negative is that Holman no longer has a license to print the NKJV. So there aren't going to be a lot of choices when buying new as stock starts to dwindle. As far as "not too expensive" I don't know how that would work in NZ. I suspect you may have access to some editions but not others.

See this
I am enjoying the McLaren NKJV I purchased last month; it is a great Bible. For those interested here is a link with helpful details. Amazon is offering a 40% discount on their Leather bound, bound edition. Follow the details on this link:
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Red letters became so uncomfortable for me to read about 10 years ago that I had to abandon the NKJV since I couldn't find a black letter edition that wasn't a study Bible. So I've mainly read from the NASB95, CSB, and KJV over the past decade. I'm not sure if I'll ever go back to the NKJV, but I'm glad that there are some more black letter editions available now.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Yes, that's what I get for responding before reading the whole thread. The Holman LPUT came to mind because it is the only double column with center column references and black letter than I could think of. But the quality of even their "goatskin" or whatever the premium option is isn't as good as the Nelson. The paper in particular is inferior although the paper in all of them is better than the average paper of 10 years ago in non-premium editions.

I'm glad you're enjoying the Maclaren. It was previously called the NKJV Preaching Bible. I couldn't get used to the references and marginal notes being all mixed in together at the bottom of the page so I ended up selling it. I prefer the way that the Schuyler Quentel have them. They are both at the bottom, but are separated. But the price of the Maclaren is certainly nice.

I think the Single-column reference is quite well done. Thankfully, it is in black letter.
 
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