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September 16, 1997

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KJV, NKJV and God's Word

Apparently the KJ-only debate is flairing up again in some circles. A week-or-so ago, I concurrently received from a subscriber the text of a piece by Dr. Henry M. Morris regarding his reasons for using KJV; and from another, some specific questions regarding passages compared between KJV and NKJV, along with an article from another source, blasting the NKJV.

[Link: VW & Translations]

For your interest I have uploaded to VW:Library's "Discernment Archives" a couple of pieces on this subject...

  1. Dr. Morris' piece on KJV origins. Heb/Grk text manuscript origins. Origins for the other modern translations and their problems. And his reasonings for KJV-only. His thoughts, based on everything else I've read on the subject, are "classic" to the KJV-only reasonings.

  2. A Q/A by Dave Hunt on this subject from a few years ago. While he does not go into as much depth regarding the manuscript origins, his views on "modern translations" is a bit more objective/balanced. For those of you who thought he is KJV-only, you have a surprise awaiting.
After reading these two, the little I might have to say probably won't be worthy of mention. But a few comments are necessary in reponse to Morris, and the "other" piece which blasted NKJV.
The person who sent the Morris piece said, "I thought Henery Morris' comments were interesting."

My comments:
They are. His adherence to Textus Receptus and Mazoretic texts is the reason to stick with KJV or NKJV. NKJV comes from the same manuscripts.

When I do word studies, if there is a difference between the two, I do, however, find NKJV to be more accurate, more often, than KJV....when using KJV study tools and interlinears. One recent example queries the difference between NKJV & KJV in Gen2:18.

     NKJV "I will make him a helper comparable to him"
      KJV "I will make him an help meet for him"
The question surrounds NKJV's use of "comparable to" which KJV seems not to. And, indeed, the KJV lexicons do not include it, as they run the words "help meet" together into one definition. However, if one looks in a Mazoretic-based interlinear, one finds it is there. In other words, it would appear that KJV left it out. And of course, looking this up in Strongs does not help, because Strongs is based on the KJV words which ACTUALLY APPEAR in the KJV. It is based on the KJV; not the original manuscripts.

Having said this, I looked up the word "meet" in Webster's 1828 dictionary, one finds "suitable, proper, qualified, adapted as to a use or purpose." It would appear that "meet" and "comparable" are actually quite similar in meaning...and that the compilers of Strongs missed the boat on this one...having worked "backwards" from the KJV, with modern word meanings. Would it be, if we went even back all the way to 1611, that "meet" (then) would mean the exact same thing as "comparable to" (today)?

So, perhaps I should be slightly amending my comments? Perhaps I should be saying that in my studies, the NKJV is more accurate most of the time, [based on modern language useage and current word understandings.] ..? Perhaps it may be the case that NKJV is just as accurate in today's English, as the KJV was in 1611?

Which leads to the next thought. Dr.Morris' thoughts about modern English-speaking people understanding KJV well is more "wishful thinking" than reality. I have even been in KJV-only churches where someone has expounded on some "truth" based on inaccurate understanding of words...because they used KJV words, understanding KJV words with modern understanding. And, as such, totally miss out on what God was really saying in the passage. Thus, even though NKJV is certainly not the "masterpiece" of English Historical Literature like KJV is, it is more "fitting" to the way modern English is understood.

And...the long litany of the "scholars" and their associations is flawed. I think Diana's funeral and its surroundings provides us with a good case in point. The KJV scholars came from places JUST LIKE Westminster. Westminster is "text book" on ancient gothic architecture, and the "Catholic" design of the "cross" when building these structures. And the bishops, etc. of these places were "Church of England." In many respects, they could just as easily have been "Catholic" except for politics.

And, why praise the proximity with Shakspeare...and all his plays of immorality. And if one looks at the preface to the KJV...in "whose honor" is it presented? "God Most High?" or the "Most high and mighty Prince James?" And where does "James" in the N.T. come from? In the original it is actually "Jacob." A Jewish name. Why did they not translate it "Jacob?" Could "James" be it because of the "most high and mighty Prince?" Why did they transliterate to the word "baptize?" Such a word never existed until the KJV was made. In the original the word means "Immerse, dunk, thorough wash...etc." Could this have anything to do with the "Catholic-esque" church of England, which "sprinkled", of which the "high and mighty Prince" was the official "head?" If we translated it correctly, that would have indicated a major "flaw" in the mighty prince's church's doctrine. And, I'm sure political expedience would allow them that one little digression from accuracy. Right?

So...Sorry, Dr.Morris! KJV is not the "perfect" saintly-inspired version that many would wish it to be.

Yes...Dr.Morris' comments are interesting, and pretty much follow the KJV-only party-line. And he presents much useful information at a scholarly level. Yes, KJV is good. But from my own use for several years, I have found NKJV to be "better." It is not without its flaws, too. Sometimes KJV is better than NKJV. But then, there are times that NEITHER is exactly right.

there is a dishonesty, of sorts, amongst many of the KJV-only people. By manipulation of words, explaining the personal theological bent of the people who compiled the NKJV, by association, attempting to scare people into the notion that NKJV omits some things that other modern translations omit.

One case-in-point. The modern translations based on Alexandrian Westcott/Hort usually delete 1John 5:7-8. As these people are slamming NKJV along with the rest, they will spin words of "association" which make it appear that these verses were deleted from NKJV, also. However, they were not. These verses appear in NKJV just as they do in KJV. And this is the case with several other of the "proof texts" that are bantied about...that I have had reason to investigate.

Another argument given by the KJV-only against NKJV is its references in the margins to "NU" ...the texts from which the other modern translations come. While I might agree, and wish they weren't there, I much prefer such an arrangement to something like a Scofield (KJV) edition, where man's headings, notes and such are prominently displayed in the body of the Scripture text, so that one cannot help BUT see them. At least the "NU"s are somewhat "hidden" in the margin...and one can read God's Word by itself.

all this stuff brings back to my mind God's "Sovereignty." In spite of sinful man who wishes to struggle against God's perfect will, if even skeptics are doing the translating, and do so from the "correct" manuscripts, God's Word, Itself, remains in tact. Whether KJV or NKJV. Hallelujah!

Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. (Ps 119:89)

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isa 55:11)

[Link: VW & Translations]


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