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May 1, 2006

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Q/A's
VW writings and Bible translations

READER QUESTION:
If I may ask a question, tonite I read another of your articles or email concerning translations and the NKJV do you now remove your endorsement of that and say the KJV is more accurate? One of your articles said you felt you were home again (or something similar) with the NJKV but now you say the KJV is more correct? My personal opinion is that to me there is one serious and glaring mistake that puts me right of the NKJV and it is Gen 12:7 using descendants rather than seed, in my way of thinking that causes the scripture to contradict it self even if it is foot noted, why put something other than what was literally spoken?

READER QUESTION:
If you used to recommend the NKJV with high praise, why do you now reject it?

VW ANSWER:
First of all, please keep in mind that what you see posted at the website comprises writings from the past 12 years. A lot has happened during those years; and I can't necessarily go searching for every past mention of this, that or the other thing, to try to update every little thing. (There's thousands of files at the website, including Bible, songbook and 'midi' files...and even the ones that specifically get spidered for the search engine number around 800) In saying that I had come "home", when I started using the NKJV, it meant that I had come home to the Masoretic/TR based translation...away from the (NASB) corruption from Egypt that I had been using for 20 years. That happened around the summer of 1991, after my unequal yoke had left earlier that spring, and my life was getting squared away with God.

VW began the summer of 1994.

In 1998 I was introduced to the works of JPGreen, the MKJV and LITV. Thus, from 1991 to 1998 I was using NKJV exclusively... being at 'home' in God's Word with it...not knowing of anything better.

When I then started reading from the MKJV, I began to see things that were wrong with the NKJV, because I would come to something and realize: That's not what I've been used to reading (as a child and in my youth, before those 20 yrs of NASB, all I had known was KJV; thus, my Scripture memory has been in the KJ-family. I didn't do much memorizing those 20 years in the NASB); would look it up, and discover that both KJV and NKJV were in error. That sort of revelation happened quite a bit as I read from the MKJV.

1999-2000 I was coordinating updates and proofreading for the 2001 litv for Mr.Green, and also using the MKJV and LITV in my own reading, and in VW writings. That process made me realize the need for something better, because the LITV and MKJV also had problems here and there, and so when my involvement with the LITV (2001) was finished the end of 2000 and it was going to press, and due to the problems I had been seeing had returned to the NKJV, but by this time was not fully convinced regarding it; a few months later I began working on the VW-edition, which was finished in 2003 after many 12-hour days of eating/sleeping it, pretty much every waking moment that I was not making signs and/or writing studies for these mailings, and further proofreading and corrections/updates have happened since 2003.

Thus, as a person reads website postings, when there is a topic addressing translation issues, this little 'history' may help. And this will also explain the different versions that are quoted over the years: NKJV, LITV, MKJV...and now-and-onward since 2003: the VW-edition.

There is the Q/A item: "What Bible translation to choose?" In it I address the KJV, NKJV, MKJV and LITV. It has been revised a few times along the way....but I'm still not totally comfortable with it. And Green has now come out with a KJ3....which I have not looked at. Back in 2000 he was already making changes to the MKJV, making it a lot more like the LITV in places. So, perhaps the two are being joined into one with the KJ3? Don't quote me on that...I don't know (I've not even been to their website in ages). He really 'needed' to combine the two, and just have -one- work.

But to narrow down this discussion now, and speak of the KJV vs NKJV... it is really a 'squirrely' situation. And even though I've written in that Q/A that the KJV is better than the NKJV, it (KJV) still does have errors....and errors just make me jittery, when it comes to God's Word. If you look at the 'lists' published by many KJ-onlyist websites, of 'errors' in the various perversions, back when I was looking up the references in those lists, the NKJV, on those items -they- pointed out, was usually 99% correct...and if it differed from the KJV, in 99% of the cases, the KJV was either in error, or not 'as good' as the NKJV was. That's -those- 'lists' published by many KJ-onlyists. If all a person went on was those lists, the KJ-onlyists actually have shot themselves in the foot regarding their denunciation of the NKJV, because those lists typically show the NKJV to surpass the KJV; when judged against the standard of the Heb/Grk, not comparing the NKJV -to- the KJV. But the problem with the NKJV is a lot of stuff the KJ-onlyists don't even address on their lists. (as addressed in that Q/A)

And to my mind/heart...what sort of error is better/worse? KJV's kind of errors? or the kinds the NKJV has? They -both- have errors.

The KJV was more accurate for its day, often in a non-literal sort of way, the way it was written and the way people of that day spoke and understood what was written; than the NKJV is for today. The NKJV is often more literal. But if both the KJV and NKJV have errors, compared to the Heb/Grk...and then add the "understanding" factor of today's people, with 400-year old English...it sorta makes a person want to lean towards the NKJV. But having been through them both, as I have in compiling the VW-edition, the errors that are in the NKJV are more egregious...to the day (today) for which it was designed, than the KJV was for its day (400 years ago).

You see the quandary...!

If the VW-edition didn't exist, I expect I would likely have my software setup to display both the KJV and NKJV side-by-side....and Scripture quotations in these writings would likely end up being a running-compilation between the two, on-the-fly, to quote the best from both/either. Or perhaps, the LITV would be a 3rd window, and when both the KJV and NKJV were grossly in error, the LITV would alert me to it, and I would quote accordingly.

Speaking of 'gross' errors:

e.g. Ec2:8 "....musical instruments of all sorts..." (KJV/NKJV) Where did they come up with "musical instruments" where it says "wives and concubines"? Even the NASB and Darby got this one right. The writer is Solomon, who was a womanizer. It was his father, David, who was the musician. This may be the 'craziest' of such errors, that I can think of off the top of my head...but is certainly not the only one to be found. And in case a KJ-onlyist (not picking on anybody) might think to suggest that the "olde English" might have meant "musical instruments" in that instance for some cultural/colloquial or 'slang' reason (such as: a man being with a woman is like "making music", thus she is like an instrument?? Don't laugh...I'm stretching to even allow for that one, trying to conceive of even a 'remote' reason for doing what they did!), well, the Geneva Bible, of the same period as the KJV, got it right; that it had to do with "women", not "instruments". That sort of thing absolutely baffles me...how/why did those (alleged) 'great men of God' and 'scholars' (if that's what they were) just pull something out of thin air like that?

And since you mentioned "what was literally spoken"; to which: I Agree! Many translations are not very good at that. They use a kind of "dynamic equivalency".

Another example here (there are many like it): Ex5:19 "You shall not diminish any bricks from the matter day by day" (VW) The NKJV and KJV (as well as others) say "daily quota", "daily task", etc. The Hebrew does not have the words "quota" or "task"; nor does it use the word "daily". But most translations have taken what is there, and worked-the-words-around to say what they do, to give English speaking people the idea that the Isralite slavery was a daily grind of making bricks. But for this discussion, if we can pick one item out of there: there was no reason why the translators could not have been 'literal' about the Hebrew use of two identical words that mean "day" (actually literally: "period of time", but in the context is understood as "day"; e.g. Gen1:5 "day one") (yowm yowm), the same word, side-by-side, one following the other. Certainly, while the fact that 'day follows day' in English -can- be expressed as "daily"; why not be more 'literal' in the matter, and say, "day by day"? Using two "day"s, as the Hebrew does? That is just as much 'English' as "daily" is...and is more faithful to the Hebrew's word-for-word, when in that instance 'literal' is possible, and perfectly easy to understand in English.

So, if a person is comparing the four, KJV, NKJV, LITV, MKJV....they 'all' have problems. How does one weigh between errors? It's quite possible there are still some things I have missed in the VW-edition... but this quandary (amongst the four) is 'why' the VW-edition came into being. The Lord put me in a place where I was not scholastically qualified, let me see the need, allowed me to experience the processes involved, and prompted me to do something about it.

If a person doesn't want the VW-edition, for whatever reason, and they've got one of those four... -READ- IT. It -is- God's Word. And if you are a Believer, the same Holy Spirit who authored it in the first place might "witness" (Rom8:16) to your heart when you come upon an error (like I've repeated before: He remembers what He wrote in the first place, and knows what a proper translation today should be) and 'prompt' you that "something" is not right (like He was doing with me continually)...to then drive you to the lexicons to find out what it is supposed to say.

Which is better? KJV or NKJV? For the days in which they were compiled, the KJV was more accurate for its day (400 years ago) than the NKJV is today. But if you misunderstand the old English (which many KJ-onlyists do, even, in spite of their pride to the contrary...and as a result often teach bad doctrine!), then perhaps the NKJV is a better choice for you? (than the KJV) But of course, even though it is not fancily produced, there -is- the VW-edition. It is a humble version; but check it out for yourself online; compare it to the Heb/Grk with your KJV-based lexicons, and see if it isn't accurate to what God said; and the software modules are free.

Of course, if you don't know the Lord, you likely won't be any-the-wiser... and you're probably wondering what all this fuss is about...? For you it won't matter... but if you read from any of these five (it doesn't matter which one, and you don't need lexicons), the Holy Spirit -can- reach to your heart for Saving Faith (Rom10:17) if you are humbled before Him (Ja4:10)

9/12/07 ADDENDUM: (after another similar question)
When a person is reading and studying, to be generically reading and studying, there are a lot of 'periferal' words that one does not necessarily always take note of. But when a person goes through, word-by-word, for the purpose to verify -if- every word-by-word is correct, that is a whole different process. When a person does general topical reading/studying, in a lot of cases it doesn't matter if a verse begins with "and" or "then" or "now". When reading about all the OT temple/tabernacle rituals, the size of objects and how they were constructed, a person might not initially take note that God's Word says that the tribe of Levi had the "charge" of the high priest and the congregation vs (nkjv) "meeting needs" (Nu3:7) Some things like this a person only comes to realize when going through it word-by-word. And I am very nit-picky when it comes to God's Word. Sometimes a periferal word might not make a difference in doctrine. But in other cases it does; and/or it gives the reading a different 'flavor'....but if it was not being compared, word-by-word, a person could read along in innocence and not be any-the-wiser. It is -that- scrutiny by which the NKJV has become lower in my estimation. Most people tend to read periferally, and they pick-n-choose the words they want to study, based on the topic of their study, and for them, they probably aren't any-the-wiser. It at least comes from the correct manuscripts. When I started reading from it, after realizing that the NASB was a perversion, in my spirit I knew I had come back "home" to God's Word. It was just that, when I read from the MKJV, my eyes were opened to things, and then doing the LITV proofreading, my eyes were opened to more things...a process that most people are not exposed to. And I am just picky enough, I became very unhappy with what I was seeing, that people have done to God's Word over the years. In some cases I found myself downright 'angry' that men had twisted certain things the way they did....and some would seem to have been -deliberate- tamperings. e.g. How does anybody confuse "wives and concubines" with "musical instruments"??? (Ec2:8)

God's Word is not an "equivalency", but "Every word of God is pure..." (Pr30:5) even down to every "jot" and "tittle" (Mt5:18)

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