KJV folks - why not the NKJV?

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MichaelNZ

Puritan Board Freshman
My question to those who use the KJV is this: why not use the NKJV instead? It's translated from the Textus Receptus, yet is easier to understand and doesn't use archaic words. Plus, it tells you which NT texts have which alternate readings.

Also, do you think using the KJV is an obstacle to spreading the Gospel to those who have never read the Bible? Do you think the average guy on the street with no Bible education can read the KJV and understand it as well as he could an NKJV, NIV, HCSB or ESV? I remember hearing that a guy from the local Independent Fundamental KJV Only Baptist church in my city told a guy in the prison to switch to the KJV from whatever other translation he was reading, and he complained that he couldn't understand it. Wouldn't the NKJV be a better option in those circumstances?

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
I personally love the NKJV, but I think most of the folks on here who would reject it would do so because it was not translated under the authority of the church and because it fails to disntiguish between singular and plural pronouns. I'm sure there are other reasons as well, but those were just two that came to mind.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
My question to those who use the KJV is this: why not use the NKJV instead? It's translated from the Textus Receptus, yet is easier to understand and doesn't use archaic words. Plus, it tells you which NT texts have which alternate readings.

Also, do you think using the KJV is an obstacle to spreading the Gospel to those who have never read the Bible? Do you think the average guy on the street with no Bible education can read the KJV and understand it as well as he could an NKJV, NIV, HCSB or ESV? I remember hearing that a guy from the local Independent Fundamental KJV Only Baptist church in my city told a guy in the prison to switch to the KJV from whatever other translation he was reading, and he complained that he couldn't understand it. Wouldn't the NKJV be a better option in those circumstances?

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.

Personally, I don't think this is a translation issue but rather an issue of understanding the Bible. Someone who has never read the Bible will eventually seek out help so that he or she can understand it. I can't tell you how many times I've had a person ask me to help them understand a passage of scripture that they didn't understand. But that's what I want. I want people to ask for help and ask questions. Yes there's a few words in the KJV that need defining, but come on guys it's not as bad as you all make I out to be. I prefere the NKJV, but it's not because I don't understand anything in the KJV.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
I like old words. They force me to think harder about what I'm reading.

Exactly! I would also add that most of the new translations of the Bible haven't been around long enough for any one person to prove that they are in fact better (or easier) to read than the KJV. Fact is people need to be taught the Bible. They need guides. May we never get to the place were we think a translation is so clear that we no longer need teachers and preachers to show sinners the way.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
most of the new translations of the Bible haven't been around long enough for any one person to prove that they are in fact better (or easier) to read than the KJV.

Readability can be scored, and yes, many of the newer translations ARE more readable than the KJV. The KJV generally scores out as needing a 12th grade reading ability; several of the newer translations grade out at the junior high level.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
most of the new translations of the Bible haven't been around long enough for any one person to prove that they are in fact better (or easier) to read than the KJV.

Readability can be scored, and yes, many of the newer translations ARE more readable than the KJV. The KJV generally scores out as needing a 12th grade reading ability; several of the newer translations grade out at the junior high level.

Yes, but are they more readable to the point where a new Chriatian will not need a verse or word explained?
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
Just yesterday my wife was asking me about Ephesians 5:4 which says, "...neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." (NKJV) We had to define "jesting" because it's not a word that we regularly make use of. If someone complained about a verse such as this one, would you get rid of the NKJV, or just define the word?
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Yes, but are they more readable to the point where a new Chriatian will not need a verse or word explained?

As for word, it depends on the reading level of the person.

As for verse, it depends on which verse. "All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them." John 11:35 is pretty easily understood in almost all English translations.
 

Warren

Puritan Board Freshman
My buddy reads kvj, because that's what they had in jail. Never cracked a book till he read the bible. He reads fine. I think the Word's an active sword, regardless of the wielder, because God's doing the cutting.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yes, but are they more readable to the point where a new Chriatian will not need a verse or word explained?

As for word, it depends on the reading level of the person.

As for verse, it depends on which verse. "All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them." John 11:35 is pretty easily understood in almost all English translations.

Agreed. And the same applies to the KJV.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
In the congregation I attend the former pastor (years ago) used the 1984 NIV, and that is what is in the pews. Our current pastor uses the NKJV, though he also sometimes quotes passages from the KJV, ESV, or NASB. He personally prefers the KJV for his own reading and study. I use all of the above. This year I am going through the M'Cheyne 1 year Bible reading plan with the 1599 Geneva.

There is one women in our congregation, in her 70s, who is originally from Guyana. She speaks English fluently but told me, when I asked, she prefers the NIV because she understands it far better than the KJV. Also a young man, in his 30s, from South Africa and English is not his first language. I asked him as well. He has a difficult time with the KJV and prefers an NIV, or NKJV. . Same with a young couple who are from Korea, and are members of our congregation. No axes to grind, they just find it more practical to use those texts to better understand the BIble

I happen to love the KJV and read it regularly, but I also have to re-read certain portions in a modern translation to make sure I'm 'getting it.' I've participated in many of the threads arguing for the AV as the premier translation, and heard all of the arguments, but I believe I'm on safe ground in my position. For whatever that is worth.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Yes, but are they more readable to the point where a new Chriatian will not need a verse or word explained?

I fear you are equating learning new vocabulary and studying Scripture. They are not the same. What is important is that people are taught what Scripture teaches, not what archaic words mean. No matter what the translation, the concepts behind the words are the important and difficult parts.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
My church uses ESV; I prefer NKJV.

Two issues: text and translation.

If the TEXT is important to you, then you will either choose the KJV/NKJV OR ANYTHING else (in English). NIV, ESV, NASB, HCSB, CEB, NRSV, RSV, LB, etc. ALL use a "critical text" relying heavily upon the so-called Alexandrian texts.

In the area of TRANSLATION, there are many reasons why people prefer the KJV - some serious (it has stood the test of four centuries, the serious language does honor to the content), some merely circumstantial ("my mother read it to me," "the beloved pastor who baptized me liked it").

All decisions about translations involve multiple factors that get weighed and balanced. IF lowest reading level were the ONLY issue, then everyone would use the same Bible since, as Edward noted, reading level can be "scored." Whether or not to use theological language (e.g., "propitiation") or periphrastic explanation for theological terms ("atoning sacrifice" or "sacrifice that makes us right with God") is another factor. What your church uses also enters into the mix since some people do not want to go against the stream, explaining why their Bible differs from what most other people are reading during a sermon or class. Finally, translation philosophy (formal correspondence vs. dynamic equivalent) dominates many people's decisions. I can hardly stand the NIV these days, even though it was my preaching Bible back in the '80s.

I believe that WHATEVER Bible people actually will read is the "right" Bible for them. And, despite the legitimate "issues" and scholarly quibbles with all translations, they are ALL the Word of God.

As an anal retentive, nerdy, fuss-budget, I want the BEST translation, not merely a good one. Hence, I pretty much stick with the NKJV (and KJV) and ESV as exemplar English translations of the formal correspondence type for the Majority Text and Critical Text types.
 

Ajay

Puritan Board Freshman
I suggest him to look up on dictionary and find the meaning to the words which He can't Understand. In India, No complete Bible in many languages. Most of the people who know little English use Dictionary to understand the meaning of the unknown Words.


Sent from my ONE A2003 using Tapatalk
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I find a tablet useful. I can follow along with the lesson being taught from the ESV. One tap, and I'm in the KJV, another tap, the Strongs numbers are displayed, and a third tap, I'm looking at the Strong's entry.

A few more taps, and I can have Calvin's Commentary or Matthew Henry.

The KJO in practice folks might find the exercise useful starting from the KJV and working to the other resources to sort out meanings.
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
? It's translated from the Textus Receptus, yet is easier to understand and doesn't use archaic words. Plus, it tells you which NT texts have which alternate readings.
It seems somewhat a misnomer to say that it is "translated" from the Textus Receptus. It certainly cannot be said to be a faithful interpretation of the TR.
A couple examples:
Matthew 22:10 adds the word "Hall" to wedding for example. There is no need for this. How is that supportive of the TR?

Acts 15:23 They wrote this letter by them: after this manner...
The "after this manner" which is in the TR is left absent which is the translation of the Critical Text not the TR.

2 Corinthians 4:14 "dia Iesou" (By Jesus) which is the TR rendering is changed to "sun Iesou" (with Jesus) which is the Critical Text rendering.

2 John 7 also uses the critical text rendering as does Revelation 6:11

2 Corinthians 7:2 is a translation that aligns with the RV. "choresate hemas" (receive us) is translated as (open your hearts to us)

John 1:18 for one. monogenes huios (only Begotton Son) is not equivalent to monogenes theos (Only begotton God.) Russelites could agree with the latter translation.

The translation also casts direct doubt itself on the TR with the footnotes. See esp. the Comma Johanneum and notes thereof.

The principle editor of the NKJV Arthur L. Farstad stated in his preface to the NKJV:
"Today, scholars agree that the science of New Testament textual criticism is in a state of flux. Very few scholars still favor the Textus Receptus as such, and then often for its historical prestige as the text of Luther, Calvin, Tyndale, and the King James Version. For about a century most have followed a Critical Text (so called because it is edited according to specific principles of textual criticism) which depends heavily upon the Alexandrian type of text. More recently many have abandoned this Critical Text (which is quite similar to the one edited by Westcott and Hort) for one that is more eclectic. Finally, a small but growing number of scholars prefer the majority text, which is close to the traditional text except in the Revelation"

The examples abound that the NKJV is not a faithful translation of the TR.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yes, but are they more readable to the point where a new Chriatian will not need a verse or word explained?

I fear you are equating learning new vocabulary and studying Scripture. They are not the same. What is important is that people are taught what Scripture teaches, not what archaic words mean. No matter what the translation, the concepts behind the words are the important and difficult parts.

I admit that my comment may be confusing but the way the issue is being handled is confusing. In so many words it seems people are saying the KJV is unreadable because there's 'words' that need defining. Or is there something more? Because reality is the KJV is not hard to understand once you define a few words because it's in English. It makes no sense to read Puritan literature or sing the historic hymns of the faith and turn around and say the KJV is dated and hard to read. I've heard men trash the KJV and then defend archaic language in the Trinity Hymnal. So no I don't necessarily believe people who say the KJV is dated.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
Brother Taylor, let me give you an example. A hymn that's a Reformed favorite is Lord, with glowing heart I'd praise thee. The lyrics can be found here: http://www.opc.org/hymn.html?hymn_id=447.

Why do so many Churches sing this song if they have such a hard time reading the KJV? Another question is why are so many worship leaders more willing to define 'dated' words in hymns such as this one but have no desire to help anyone understand challenging aspects of the KJV?

And for some of our Psalm only brethren who do not use the KJV, why sing psalms from the psalter that use words and phrases that you don't even want in your Bible?
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
In the congregation I attend the former pastor (years ago) used the 1984 NIV, and that is what is in the pews. Our current pastor uses the NKJV, though he also sometimes quotes passages from the KJV, ESV, or NASB. He personally prefers the KJV for his own reading and study. I use all of the above. This year I am going through the M'Cheyne 1 year Bible reading plan with the 1599 Geneva.

There is one women in our congregation, in her 70s, who is originally from Guyana. She speaks English fluently but told me, when I asked, she prefers the NIV because she understands it far better than the KJV. Also a young man, in his 30s, from South Africa and English is not his first language. I asked him as well. He has a difficult time with the KJV and prefers an NIV, or NKJV. . Same with a young couple who are from Korea, and are members of our congregation. No axes to grind, they just find it more practical to use those texts to better understand the BIble

I happen to love the KJV and read it regularly, but I also have to re-read certain portions in a modern translation to make sure I'm 'getting it.' I've participated in many of the threads arguing for the AV as the premier translation, and heard all of the arguments, but I believe I'm on safe ground in my position. For whatever that is worth.

In no way do I deny this to be true in some cases where those who are new to English are still in the process of learning. However I will say this, more than once I've heard someone suggest that African Ameicans need a more modern translation (NIV,ESV,etc.) because they cannot comprehend the KJV. It's at that point that I realize how ignorant to the facts that many people are. Sometimes I wonder if some brethren enjoy being in the dark on some issues. Fact is the majority of African American Chistians read the KJV. This may not be the case in reformed circles but it certainly is a reality outside of our circles. More people are reading the KJV than we think. They're just not as vocal as those who are telling us otherwise.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
I admit that my comment may be confusing but the way the issue is being handled is confusing. In so many words it seems people are saying the KJV is unreadable because there's 'words' that need defining. Or is there something more? Because reality is the KJV is not hard to understand once you define a few words because it's in English. It makes no sense to read Puritan literature or sing the historic hymns of the faith and turn around and say the KJV is dated and hard to read. I've heard men trash the KJV and then defend archaic language in the Trinity Hymnal. So no I don't necessarily believe people who say the KJV is dated.

I am not saying that the KJV in general is difficult to understand. Of course, I must grant that I am saying that as someone pursuing a master's degree from a high level seminary, and as one who also grew up on the KJV. My primary issue with the KJV is not so much vocabulary as it is syntax. There are some phrases in the KJV that simply do not make sense without diagramming the sentence. But, what I am saying is that claiming the archaic language and syntax makes one study Scripture more (or better) may not be true, because study happens at the concept level, not syntax or vocabulary level. One can understand every archaism in the KJV and yet have not an iota of understanding of Scripture's teachings.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
I admit that my comment may be confusing but the way the issue is being handled is confusing. In so many words it seems people are saying the KJV is unreadable because there's 'words' that need defining. Or is there something more? Because reality is the KJV is not hard to understand once you define a few words because it's in English. It makes no sense to read Puritan literature or sing the historic hymns of the faith and turn around and say the KJV is dated and hard to read. I've heard men trash the KJV and then defend archaic language in the Trinity Hymnal. So no I don't necessarily believe people who say the KJV is dated.

I am not saying that the KJV in general is difficult to understand. Of course, I must grant that I am saying that as someone pursuing a master's degree from a high level seminary, and as one who also grew up on the KJV. My primary issue with the KJV is not so much vocabulary as it is syntax. There are some phrases in the KJV that simply do not make sense without diagramming the sentence. But, what I am saying is that claiming the archaic language and syntax makes one study Scripture more (or better) may not be true, because study happens at the concept level, not syntax or vocabulary level. One can understand every archaism in the KJV and yet have not an iota of understanding of Scripture's teachings.

I see what your saying brother, but history doesn't support that claim. In fact wouldn't it be fair to say that the majority of KJV readers down through the centuries have been uneducated men and women? The first thing that comes to mind were the slave preachers of the south who used the KJV, and were mightily used by God. If what some of you are saying is true than we should have heard these claims a long time ago.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Benjamin,

The precise answer is that the NKJV is "based on" the Majority Text. But insofar as pretty much EVERYthing else is based on a Critical Text leaning heavily upon Alexandrian readings, the fact is that the NKJV, like the KJV, is "based on" a textual tradition that is TR or very close to the TR. Even Bibles that are translations from the Critical Text make individual decisions, far more than you cited, where the translation differs from the CT. That does not stop us from saying that modern translations are "based on" the Critical Text. Indeed, since they keep releasing new editions of the UBS/Nestle Critical Text, I doubt that there is ANY English translation that follows the latest CT at every point, despite being "based on" it.
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
Dennis,
I am not sure why you have addressed my post with the statement "the precise answer is..." as my post was the answer I gave to the OP and not meant to be exhaustive. Nor did I ask a question in my post. It is expected that translations based on the Critical Text be influx. It's based upon committees of men who update and revise it.

It appears in your post that you stated that the NKJV is based on the Majority Text & it is based on a tradition that is similar to the TR. Not sure that makes any difference to my answer. I answered the OP which stated the NKJV is a translation of the TR, then I pointed out multiple instances where it is not. More can be produced. Obviously the instances cited were not taken seriously, so I don't believe more will further the argument other than substantiate fact.

I do appreciate your usage of the phrase "based on" when referring to modern translations relationship to the Critical Text. It seems to make much more sense to use language of that nature when referring to a set of texts that have changed, will most likely continue to change, and are based upon the reason of man to determine their canonicity.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
And for some of our Psalm only brethren who do not use the KJV, why sing psalms from the psalter that use words and phrases that you don't even want in your Bible?

Drive by commentator here; not sure I understand this statement.

We use the NKJV and we use the Book of Psalms for Worship at our church. The thing about God's Word is that unlike a Hymn, it is to be translated into every vulgar tongue (not saying the KJV and 1650 Psalter are not the vulgar tongue mind you). But that is just one additional benefit to singing the Word of God: it is timeless, ageless, and relevant for every situation, every society, and every culture.

"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever", or "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever".
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
I also appreciate the Authorized Version's recognition of the second personal pronoun. AV translators used "thee, thou, & thine" for singular and "ye, you, and you" for plural. This is not some preference of mine toward some form of formality. I don't find the same usage in the NKJV so I would have to consult the KJV in English or a Greek/Hebrew tool to determine what the grammatical number is.

Example Luke 22:31-32 "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
When I read this in the AV I can tell right away that the "You" is plural meaning the Disciples, not Simon only, and that the "Thee, Thy & Thou" are singular and directed specifically to Simon.

I can't do that with the NKJV.
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
And for some of our Psalm only brethren who do not use the KJV, why sing psalms from the psalter that use words and phrases that you don't even want in your Bible?

Drive by commentator here; not sure I understand this statement.

We use the NKJV and we use the Book of Psalms for Worship at our church. The thing about God's Word is that unlike a Hymn, it is to be translated into every vulgar tongue (not saying the KJV and 1650 Psalter are not the vulgar tongue mind you). But that is just one additional benefit to singing the Word of God: it is timeless, ageless, and relevant for every situation, every society, and every culture.

"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever", or "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever".

Hi brother, I'm not questioning the legitimacy of exclusive psalm singing, but the use of 'outdated' words in the psalter while complaining about the KJV. Why use the language of the KJV in song but not use the Bible for which it came? Btw, I'm aware that many psalters are modernized, but many are not and continue to be used. Either the language is outdated or it's not.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
Hi brother, I'm not questioning the legitimacy of exclusive psalm singing, but the use of 'outdated' words in the psalter while complaining about the KJV. Why use the language of the KJV in song but not use the Bible for which it came? Btw, I'm aware that many psalters are modernized, but many are not and continue to be used. Either the language is outdated or it's not.

This is peculiar, as it is a rare church that uses the 1650 Psalter and doesn't use the KJV. At least in my experience that happens to be the case. Churches that use a newer metrical translation (BOPFW, Sing Psalms, etc.) usually use a newer translation.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the Church commissioning a new translation of the TR. I trust, all in good time, being a post-mil kinda guy. :)
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hi brother, I'm not questioning the legitimacy of exclusive psalm singing, but the use of 'outdated' words in the psalter while complaining about the KJV. Why use the language of the KJV in song but not use the Bible for which it came? Btw, I'm aware that many psalters are modernized, but many are not and continue to be used. Either the language is outdated or it's not.

This is peculiar, as it is a rare church that uses the 1650 Psalter and doesn't use the KJV. At least in my experience that happens to be the case. Churches that use a newer metrical translation (BOPFW, Sing Psalms, etc.) usually use a newer translation.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the Church commissioning a new translation of the TR. I trust, all in good time, being a post-mil kinda guy. :)

What about the Trinity Psalter and the BOPFS? I have a copy of both of these Psalters and they're both published by the RPCNA. They both include language throughout that's found in the KJV. The Free Church of Scotland also has a version of Sing Psalms that includes the 1650 Psalter. This is my favorite Pslater btw. But my point is I don't understand why brothers complain about the KJV but sing the same words that they say no one understands. Very confusing.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
I cannot represent those people. My point is that there are modern psalters that match modern translations. As such the inconsistency (if there is one) is unnecessary. The words that I have found people find difficult are not the thees and the thous - almost everyone knows those. The Bopfs is significantly easier to read than the KJV in my estimation. Not that the KJV is difficult.
 
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