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Monday, 15 March 2010

Revised: Bible Translation NKJV Debate

Edited 3 March 2011 and 9th Nov 2014 (see the edited section in bold)

I have revised  this post and removed most of the article I had previously posted, as it may lead to unnecessary angst and confusion. Please also reads the comments which relate to this post, below.

Based on the replies I received I want to clarify some things from the material I sent. Someone pointed out to me that the shortcut link I gave you was from a website  that  is unreliable. At the time I was looking at a website "biblebelievers" (after investigating the site thoroughly). It looked very sound to me. So when they showed an article about the symbol on NKJV bibles I pressed the link not realising it took me to another external website.  Although I would mostly  recommend  I am not willing to recommend I am actually unsure why "biblebelievers" needed to give the link there.

Although I have to say that av1611 do raise some interesting points but unsure if we can take them seriously or not. The Trinitarian Bible Society also give scathing remarks about the NKJV. Maybe I should have sent this instead as more reputable in what they say.
This is their article:  in particular this is their conclusion

"For our part, we reject the New King James Version and we do not believe it should be used in our churches. The Authorised Version is far superior, and while not perfect it remains the best and most accurate English translation of God’s Holy Word. Our prayer and hope is that those who have been deceived into thinking that the New King James Version represents a decided improvement and who have therefore introduced it into public worship, will realise that they have made a dreadful mistake and so restore to their churches the Authorised Version."

Now regarding the symbol (a 666 symbol) some NKJV have the symbol on the outside cover, others have it inside on one of the presentation pages, or elsewhere. However one person told me that there was no symbol on their copy - maybe it has now been removed. Although it appears on every NKJV I have seen.

By the way I did a search on the origins/history of that symbol. It is called a triqueta. It was first used by the celts a long time before the Christians used it. So why would the Christians (maybe catholics) use something which had been used in paganism. We know the Catholics "christianise" a lot of pagan stuff. Christians say it represents the trinity.

So I still ask the question, why would something which was first used in paganisn appear on our Bibles if those producing these bibles are true believers? At least the introductions in Bibles state that it is believers who translate it. One person stated that maybe the symbol  was put there by non believing publishers without permission, so maybe nothing sinister in it appearing there. Well ... maybe it was.

So maybe we are being too suspicious at times. The best thing to do is have a KJV with you whenever you use the NKJV and then compare. The same can be said with the NIV, but use the KJV as the standard, but NEVER use a paraphrase as it it "man's" interpretation - totally unreliable..

Also, some websites (even if they have some unreliable stuff) have some very useful and accurate information. Not everything is bad. We just need to be careful in using discernment. To accept what is good and true and reject what is untrue or bad but expose and reject deception.

For example Jude quoted something from the non biblical writings of Enoch, Paul quoted "all Cretians are liars" and "bad company corrupts good morals" and we use the findings of archeologists and historians in our arguments for truth. Obviously everything MUST be weighed up to the plumbline of scripture. Mostly we need discernment from the Holy Spirit. God said He will not give us a snake if we ask for an egg. How much more will He give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. Surely, if we are sincerely serving God with deep devotion He will lead us. His Word is a lamp unto our feet.

Edited 3 March 2011
Please click on this following shortcut link Bible NIV 2010 Version ALERT 
which is a much more in depth look at the manuscript origins behind our most popular versions. Please read that article and the subsequent comments, which don't just discuss the NIV 2010 version. That article is a good follow up to this article regarding NKJV.  I have today (3 Mar 2011) posted a new comment to this article which has been copied from that article. This comment is particularly appropriate to the subject of this article.

Edited 9th Nov 2014
To assure readers regarding the concerns which may have been raised, I strongly urge you to check out this following article, which is a follow up to this one:
Why Most of Our Major Bible Translations Can Be Trusted


Tony Cox said...

I am very concerned - a few years ago, I purchased a NIV (which I rarely use)for myself and a friend - I never researched it, and didn't know much about these things, but after reading your post, am very alarmed with my stupidity - I feel I have disappointed the Lord and my friend - I don't even want this thing in my house.

Can you please recommend a sound Bible?

John Chingford said...

The original King James Version (not the New King James) has been recommended by many.

I have to say that I think those who stipulate The KJV as the be all and end all of versions are maybe going a little extreme on this.

I can see there must be something worrying about the NKJV because of the 666 symbol and new age links and the fact that it is NOT the same as KJV (even though they say it is but are lying)therefore they are hiding something!

But isn't our God BIG enough to speak to us if we are sincerely seeking Him (even if we are using a faulty version)?

I mean, Jesus said if you earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more the Heavenly Father. If a son asks for an egg will He give him a snake?

So I believe that despite us using an imperfect version the Holy Spirit will teach us the truth, anyway.

I have rarely used a KJV bible because of the thees and thous but when I did read it I never had a problem understanding it - even when I was a babe in Christ.

Those who say we must make it easier to read are just presenting a smoke-screen for distorting the Word of God.

However, I don't think the NIV is that bad because it is a translation from the original manuscripts. In fact it claims to translate from earlier manuscripts than the KJV.

I think it is good to read both together and compare.

Certainly we should NEVER use paraphrases which are "man's" interpretation only.

John Chingford said...

I received an excellent response to the NKJV debate which I want to share with you all. His advice is invaluable.

But before I present it I would like to make a closing comment and ask questions. I do believe we need to take what Trinitarian Bible Society say seriously as they are a reputable organisation, aren't they?

They are also an authority on the KJV, so surely they (of all people) would know if the NKJV is trustworthy or not, wouldn't they?

Also, since the rise of ecumenicalism within our churches and the affect of new age etc, can we still trust those who translate the ever increasing new versions?

Are they all truly born-again and not affected by the unGodly "paradigm shift" trend to "reinvent" Christianity.

Is there still the same holy and sincere dedication to God that there used to be?

I personally trust the translations up to and including the NIV (although I now have a question mark over the NIV). All subsequent versions I wonder about because of the ulterior motives.

Anyway, this was the wise response I got:

Somebody wrote:
Please bear in mind that until 1611, there was no readily available bible in the english language, so prior to that one had to understand Latin in order to study the scriptures.

The way in which the early christian missionaries to these isles communicated the gospels was to use the language and symbology that was already in use in british culture and appropriate it to explain the gospel.

The celtic knot symbol you refer to on the front of the NKJV is the symbol for the Trinity, illustrating how one God (depicted by the continuous curve) has three facets of Father, Son & Spirit (depicted by the three lobes).

It enabled the locals to understand the concept of the Christian God without having to learn a foreign language.

Language can be difficult to translate, (e.g. Greek has four different words for 'love' each of which has a different meaning).

In relation to the various translations, the bible was not written in 1611 in english, but in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, passed down to us in a huge number of manuscripts on vellum and parchment.

Most of the KJV was brought to us through translation from the Latin, Hebrew (Massoretic texts of OT) and Greek (Septuagint translation of OT by Jews in Alexandria, Egypt), it thus reflects the understanding of non-semitic language.

Some of these very early manuscripts came from centres of heresy in the early Christian church (Alexandria was the centre of the Gnostic heresy - salvation through special/secret knowledge), so translators have to make informed judgements about the actual content and any minor variations there may be between them.

In determining the most accurate translation, it is probably more appropriate to determine who is on the panel of translators, their particular theological emphasis and what influence it has on their judgement regarding accuracy of meaning when approving a particular translation edition or version.

Yes the KJV is a good overall translation, but new more accurate manuscripts have been found in the last 400 years, most notably the Dead Sea Scrolls, that enable clarification and greater accuracy of translation in modern editions.

If you are serious about translation, learn the original languages and study the scriptures using copies of the original manuscripts, otherwise trust the translators judgement in good faith and read widely across the different versions to get the fullest meaning of the scriptures and let the Holy Spirit guide you in all truth.

John Chingford said...

By the way, I have compared all the major versions (those which are direct translations from the original manuscripts) and see little difference in them. Certainly nothing of signifance.

The differences are generally minor and definitely do not distort the overall and underlying (important) message of the Bible.

I mean the major issues in the bible regarding how and why to be saved are not in contradiction. The milk of the Word is consistent in all those versions, ie the simple doctrines.

It seems to me that when we get into the "meat" of the Word and study certain (maybe less important issues)doctrines then this is where slight variations could affect the way we interpret.

The answer is to compare the different versions and most importantly compare scripture with scripture.

This means comparing passages in other parts of the bible and compare it with the passage you are reading so as to arrive at the correct interpretation.

John Chingford said...

I strongly urge you to watch this following video by David Hocking choose message 07.

It shows strong evidence why we cannot trust the newer versions which are based on Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus (which are Catholic influenced) rather than on the "received text" which KJV was translated from. The video shows the significance of this.

Here is a brief summary:

What is WRONG with Modern Bible Translations?

The Old Testament has been faithfully preserved by the Jews in what is known as the Masoretic Text. There are few translation problems with the Old Testament.

However, most modern translations, from the Revised Standard Version Bible (RSV) to the New International Version Bible (NIV), use as their source for the New Testament a Greek Text based upon the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth century.

This text, publicized by Westcott and Hort, is also known as the Alexandrian Text. It originated in Egypt and has been massaged by "higher critics" down through the ages.

These manuscripts, used in the RSV, represent less than 5% of known Greek Biblical manuscripts, but are supposedly more authentic because they are "old."

The bulk of New Testament manuscripts were copied century after century from earlier ones as they wore out. Older copies did not survive because these texts were used until worn out.

This text, the so-called "Received Text" or "Byzantine Text" (also termed "Syrian", "Antioch", or Koine text) was used in the King James Version. Nearly 4,000 manuscripts of this Byzantine or Official Text agree almost perfectly with each other, and are a far better standard to go by than corrupt copies - no matter how early they were made.

Located primarily at Mt. Athos in Greece, copies of the official Greek Text give us a very reliable record of the New Testament scriptures.

Is there PROOF the Received Text is Correct? Jay P. Green, Sr., General Editor and Translator of the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, states in his preface:

"The market-place is being glutted with new books which are being represented as VERSIONS of the Bible. Each one claims to be the very word of God, yet there are literally thousands of differences between them . . . . they all leave out dozens of references to the deity of Jesus Christ, and they add words which tend to question His virgin birth, His substitutionary, fully satisfying atonement.

"This is due to their decision to depend upon an Alexandrian [Egyptian] textbase, instead of that body of God's words which has been universally received and believed in for nineteen centuries, known to us as the Received Text.

"These new versions [such as the New International Version Bible, New Jerusalem Bible and others] are not only marked by additions, but also by subtractions, since some four whole pages of words, phrases, sentences and verses have been omitted by these new versions. And these are words attested to as God's words by overwhelming evidence contained in all the Greek manuscripts . . . .

For example: why does NIV (for example)omit the word Lucifer from Isaiah 14:12?

I think that is very telling!
I wrote (about 7 weeks ago)to the NIV site to ask them why, but I never received any reply

Myfanwy said...

Hi John and fellow believers,

I have been doing quite alot of research myself about Bibles. I recently wanted to purchase a KJV bible. I had found alot of info on other sites, about how Bibles are being tampered with, some people are KJV onlyists, and there is also alot of info about the other false bibles. Last night I found some info about even the KJV bible, some recent prints are supposedly not correct either!

Wow what a minefield! John, I also use that site Biblebelievers for informayion.

Anyway, when I finally decided on a bible, I purchased A Trinitarian KJV! It seemed important to me in my heart, to not only be careful as to what bible I chose, but also as to who the printer was.

So it looks like I have chosen a good one John, after reading what you said here! Personally, I am going to investigate my NKJV, which I have had for many years, as I did like using it. Apart from that, I am not going to use any other translations, it seems it is too dangerous.

John Chingford said...

Hi Myfanwy

Actually, I advise that you use 4 versions as a safeguard. There is very little difference between the versions.

Where there is a possibility of wrong interpretation, it can be avoided by comparing all 4.

If you use KJV as a base and then use NIV (1984 version) NKJV and NASB to assist in getting your interpretation, you should be okay.

There is a danger in just sticking to one translation because EVEN the KJV may lead you to a bad interpretation on a text, if read in isolation.

Myfanwy said...

Hi John,

Thanks very much for your advice, I do believe you are right in saying we should compare bibles. I have found a few other sites where you can actually do that, so I intend to take my bible(s),and try that too, out of interest.
Another site I have found of interest is Dial- the -Truth Ministries, I like to compare sites, and see what they have to say on different subjects, and see how they do or do not match up, especially on certain teachers/preachers and theologies.

RomaLynn said...

Thank you both here. I do know the message bible, is certainly one I never recommend, as it uses new age phraseology etc. I have not even looked at the NKJV, but have read from the NIV, many years ago. I use the esword program and have the KJV with strongs concordance on that now. NOt sure if you know about this one John, could you tell me what you think of esword, the computer one it is free for some stuff. thanks

Myfanwy said...

Hello my friends Roma and John,

Actually it REALLY is a minefield when it comes to Bibles. I have a NKJV somewhere, I am looking for it so that I can compare it to others. I have found loads of useful information on different sites, and as I said, I also compare sites to get a more balanced view on everything from theology to false teachers and teachings,not just Bibles. As my NKJV will be quite old, I am very interested to see how it compares with a recent version. I have seen some disturbing info on how much the NKJV differs, but I have not had my NKJV Bible to compare yet. The Lord is amazing though, everytime I ask Him to show me something, He leads me to it, even if it takes me hours to research and find. And it all comes together like a jigsaw puzzle, piece by piece. Sometimes I go to bed confused and questions running through my head, but I just pray and keep searching. So, hang in there, the Lord really does lead us to the truth, when we search diligently, with the right motives. And yes, God's Word is always the final authority!

Myfanwy said...

Hello John and everyone,

I have been doing alot of research and reading on ALL the bible translations, and I have to say, that I am more and more convinced that we should stay with the KJV only. John, I know you advised me to use 4 different translations, and I respect your views, but I have decided to use just the KJV.

Even then, it seems that we have to check the 'new' KJV bibles that are being sold, as it seems some are being printed wrongly, and not by mistake! I do believe the Trinitarian Bible Society is a good place to get a KJV bible from, but it is also wise to check any new KJV's with older KJV bibles.

I believe that KJV-onlyists, as 'they' are being called, are being unfairly targeted. Afterall, we will all have to answer for our decisions and choices,one day.

I have recently received four books that go into a lot of detail about the KJV and all the other versions too. I am hoping they will help me, together with my bible, to root out the lies.

God bless all.

John Chingford said...

Hi Myfanwy

The problem with some KJV only adherents is that they border on worshipping the KJV. We are never to worship the Bible but to worship the Lord alone. The Bible has been given to lead us to all truth.

What we must NEVER fail to forget is that the Original manuscripts (as written directly by the authors, as inspired by the Holy Spirit) is the infallible, perfect and EXACT Word of God and not the KJV or any other version. Although theyt are STILL the inspired Word of God but not necessarily 100% without fault in its word for word translations - although STILL as close as can be.

Translations have limitations because of changing languages.
For example "gay apparel" is understood differently today. It is no longer meaning "bright, colourful or happy" clothes but now means clothes worn by a distinct set of people.

The danger of just sticking to the KJV is that we could misinterpret the scriptures by assuming we know what the words meant in the past. we may not. Using (fairly) trustworthy versions like the NASB help us to check out if our interpretation (from the KJV) was correct.

Another thing about some of the KJV only guys, is that they so idolise the KJV that they believe there is inspiration on things that are nonsense like a "bible code" which they use to make prophecies or claim that the Bible code mentions the death of JFK and the rise of Hitler etc. They get caught up in "numerology" and all sorts. In stead of JUST trusting the clear literal meaning of THE WORD they open up a can of "hidden" things, which actually have their roots in the occult.

I am not saying that all the KJV only followers do this, but there are a large number who do. This is why we need to be careful when looking at websites that go "over the top" in dismissing all other versions. Many of these sites (if you thoroughly examine them) teach many other weird unscriptural - almost cultist type things.

I have discovered that most of these who OVER state the "glories" of the KJV DO teach other false things. As I say, NOT every KJV adherent is like that though.

Remember, the Holy Spirit has been given to each of us. It has been promised that He will lead us into all truth. Peter told us that Men moved by the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible. In the same way, the Holy Spirit will ensure that the Bible is preserved for absolute truth
and the SAME Spirit will give us discernment regarding the numerous versions now in circulation. He will give us wisdom and be our teacher. The wise thing to do is COMPARE versions always being aware that it is only the original Manuscripts that are without error. Even the KJV has errors.

Myfanwy said...

Hi John,

Thanks for your reply. As always, you are very wise. It has given me alot to think about. I agree with you about some of the sites, but not all those I have seen are OTT. Some of the sites I have seen simply point out the differences between translations, and it is basically up to us to check it out.

Of course the Bible is not to be worshipped, I agree. I just do not want to be misled, and some translations are leaving out certain words that are important, or phrasing them incorrectly.

Many years ago when I belonged to an evangelical church in Cape Town, I did a 2 year Bible school course with them. They actually had a whole section on numerology, I found it strange, but at the time I was an easily led sheep! I did not question what I was being taught.

Anyhow, as you say, we are led by the Holy Spirit, He is our guide.

Thanks again for all your hard work and your wisdom. Your blogs are very detailed, comprehensive, and I know it must be an awful lot of work for you. It feels like 'home' when I come on here. Bless you.