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The New King James Version (NKJV) is a modern translation of the Bible published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. . The anglicized edition was originally known as the Revised Authorized Version, but the NKJV title is now used universally.

The NKJV was published in three stages:
  • New King James Bible, New Testament; 1979
  • New King James Bible, New Testament and Psalms; 1980
  • New King James Version of the Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments; 1982

An unabridged audio version called "The Word of Promise Audio Bible" has also been produced by the publisher. It is narrated by well-known celebrities and fully dramatized with music and sound effects.

Gideons International, an organization that places Bibles in hotels and hospitals, uses the NKJV translation.


The NKJV translation project, which was conceived by Arthur Farstad, was inaugurated in 1975 with two meetings (Nashvillemarker and Chicagomarker) of 68 interested persons, most of them prominent Baptists but also including some conservative Presbyterians. The men who were invited to these meetings prepared the guidelines for the NKJV. The New Testament was published in 1979, the Psalms in 1980, and the full NKJV Bible in 1982.

The aim of its translators was to update the vocabulary and grammar of the King James Version, while preserving the classic style and beauty of the 1611 version. Although it uses substantially the same Hebrew and Greek texts as the original KJV, it indicates where more commonly accepted manuscripts differ.

Update to King James Version

According to the preface of the New King James Version (p. v-vi), the NKJV uses the 1967/1977 Stuttgart edition of the Biblia Hebraica for the Old Testament, with frequent comparisons made to the Ben Hayyim edition of the Mikraot Gedolot published by Bomberg in 1524-25, which was used for the King James Version. Both the Old Testament text of the NKJV and that of the KJV come from the ben Asher text (known as the Masoretic Text). However, the 1967/1977 Stuttgart edition of the Biblia Hebraica used by the NKJV uses an earlier manuscript (the Leningrad Manuscript B19a) than that of the KJV.

The New King James Version also uses the Textus Receptus ("Received Text") for the New Testament, just as the King James Version had used. The translators have also sought to follow the principles of translation used in the original King James Version, which the NKJV revisers call "complete equivalence" in contrast to "dynamic equivalence" used by many other modern translations.

The task of updating the English of the KJV involved significant changes in word order, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. One of the most significant features of the NKJV was its abandonment of the second person pronouns “thou,” "thee," “ye,” “thy,” and “thine.” Verb forms were also modernized in the NKJV (for example, "speaks" rather than "speaketh").


Underlying texts

One major criticism involves the fact that it is based, as noted above, solely upon the ancient texts available during the time of King James and not on earlier manuscripts and documents which have since been discovered . Since these manuscripts, most of which (for the New Testament) reflect an Alexandrian text-type, are argued by most of today's biblical scholars to be more reliable (see for example D. A. Carson: The King James Version Debate), the NKJV's adherence to the Textus Receptus seems to many to violate the spirit of open scholarship and open inquiry, and to ascribe a level of perfection to the documents available to the 17th century scholars that they would not have claimed for themselves.

King James Only belief

Proponents of the "King-James-Only Movement" see the New King James Version as something less than a true successor to the KJV. Proponents view the NKJV as making significant changes to the meaning of the KJV translators . For example, Acts 17:22, in which Paul in the KJV calls the men of Athens "too superstitious", is interpreted in the NKJV to have Paul call them "very religious".

At the same time, many churches and evangelical groups such as the Seventh-day adventists have embraced the NKJV as an acceptable compromise between the original KJV and a Bible that uses a more modern syntax .

See also

External links


  1. Stars lined up for new audio Bible
  2. Klein, Peter. The Catholic Source Book, p. 146, Harcourt Religious Publishers, 2000. ISBN 0159506530
  3. Steven Sheeley and Robert Nash, quoted by David Dewey in A User's Guide to Bible Translations,, 2004, pp. 162-3, ISBN 0-8308-3273-4

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