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What’s Wrong with the New King James Version?

There are some who reject certain modern versions of the Bible (such as the New International Version,  NIV), but they think that other modern versions (such as the New King James Version, NKJV) are acceptable. In other words, they reject the more liberal versions but accept what they consider to be the more conservative versions. For example, the Berean Bible Society does not use the NIV, but it is now selling the NKJV in it’s bookstore. This is not surprising because while the Berean Bible Society has always used the King James Bible (KJB), it’s leaders haven’t really believed it. It is not enough to merely use the KJB, we must believe it. When you don’t really believe the Bible, it is only a matter of time before you start accepting the modern versions. 

While the NKJV is better than the NIV, it is far inferior to the King James Bible. The NKJV is a very dangerous Bible because the closer something appears to being the truth without actually being the complete truth, the more deceptive it is. The NKJV is a transition Bible that will likely lead people to more liberal translations. It takes just a little leaven to the leaven the whole lump. 

The NKJV claims to be an updated version of the KJB. In the preface to the NKJV the claim is made that this new version will unlock “for today’s readers the spiritual treasures found especially in the Authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures.” Sorry, but only the Holy Spirit can do that for a real Bible believer (1 Cor. 2:9-16). The NKJV does not unlock spiritual treasures; it hides them! 

One of the major doctrines that Christ revealed through the apostle Paul for this present age of grace is justification by the faith OF Christ (Rom. 3:22; Gal. 2:16; 3:22; Phil. 3:9). Christ accomplished salvation by His faith. The faith of Christ is perfect and proven. The moment we believe the gospel of the grace of God we are justified by the faith of Christ. That is why we are instantly and permanently justified the moment we believe and do not have to prove our faith by works in order to be justified in this age of grace (compare James 2:14-26). The NKJV hides this spiritual treasure by changing every reference to the “faith OF Christ” to say “faith IN Christ.” 

There are many problems with the NKJV. 

The NKJV demotes Jesus Christ in a number of passages.
                             NKJV                                                                    KJB 
Gen. 22:8.         “God will provide for himself the lamb”      “God will provide himself a lamb”
Matt. 18:26      “before him saying, Master”                          “and worshipped him, saying, Lord”
Matt. 20:20      “kneeling down”                                              “worshipping him”
John 8:35          “a son”                                                              “the Son”
Acts 3:13, 26    “His Servant Jesus”                                         “his Son Jesus”
Acts 4:27, 30    “holy Servant Jesus”                                       “holy child Jesus” 

The NKJV deletes important words from the Bible. It deleted “Lord” 66 times, “God” 51 times, “JEHOVAH” entirely, “blood” 23 times, “soul” 137 times, “damnation” entirely, “hell” 22 times, “heaven” 50 times, “repent” 44 times, “New Testament” entirely, etc…

The NKJV is supposed to be easier to understand than the KJB. So, why does it change:
“oak” (Gen. 35:4) to “terebinth trees” 
“sun was up” (Judg. 8:13) to “Ascent of Heres”
“tree” (1 Sam. 22:6) to “tamarish tree”
“fatherless” (Lam. 5:3) to “waifs” 
“princes” (Dan. 6:2) to “satraps”
“a penny” (Matt. 20:2) to “a denarius” 
“deputy” (Acts 18:12) to “proconsul”
“thousands” (Acts 21:20) to “myriads”
“riot” (Titus 1:6) to “dissipation”
“unruly” (Titus 1:6) to “insubordination” 

Do you really think the KJB is hard to understand because it says “thee” and “ye?” Actually, those words are very helpful in Bible study. In the KJB the words “thee,” “thou,” and “thine” are always singular, and the words “you” and “ye” are always plural. This makes a difference in understanding certain passages. The English of the KJB is superior to modern English. How come nobody wants to update Shakespeare? 

There are doctrinal problems with the NKJV. For example, it says “difficult is the way” to life (Matt. 7:14) instead of “narrow is the way.” It says that “God is Spirit” instead of “God is a Spirit” (Jn. 4:24). It says that we are to “Reject a divisive man” instead of a “heretick” in Titus 3:10. Christ was a divisive man in His earthly ministry, but He certainly was not a heretick (Lk. 12:51; Jn. 7:43; 9:16; 10:19)! It tells us to “imitate Christ” instead of following Him (1 Cor. 11:1) and to be “imitators of God” (Eph. 5:1). Satan is an imitator of God and his antichrist will imitate Christ! It changes the mark of the beast from being “IN their right hand” to being “ON their right hand” (Rev. 13:16). 

There are many other problems we could point out about the NKJV, but this should suffice in proving to you that it is a corrupt translation that needs to be rejected right along with the NIV, ESV, CEV, etc…


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