Posts tagged ‘NKJV’

New King James Translation (NKJV)

The NKJV was published in three stages:

  • New King James Bible, New Testament; 1979
  • New King James Bible, New Testament and Psalms; 1980
  • New King James Version of the Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments; 1982

The New King James Version uses the Textus Receptus (“Received Text”) for the New Testament, just as the King James Version used. The translators have also sought to follow the principles of translation used in the original King James Version, which the NKJV revisers call “complete equivalence” in contrast to “dynamic equivalence” used by many other modern translations.

The task of updating the English of the KJV involved significant changes in word order, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. One of the most significant features of the NKJV was its abandonment of the second person pronouns “thou,” “thee,” “ye,” “thy,” and “thine.” Verb forms were also modernized in the NKJV (for example, “speaks” rather than “speaketh”). (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

One needs to remember that the NKJV is based solely upon the ancient texts available during the time of King James and not on earlier manuscripts and documents which have since been discovered. From this, we conclude that it is an update and not a revision. One example of where this is seen to be a flaw is that the New King James Version maintains “Lucifier” (Isaiah 14:12) in its modern update of the KJV for which there is no excuse.

Take a look at some comparisons

(NKJV) How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!

(ASV)  How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, that didst lay low the nations!

(ESV)  “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!

(NASB) How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!

(HCSB)  Shining morning star, how you have fallen from the heavens! You destroyer of nations, you have been cut down to the ground.

(NLTse) How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.

(NET) Look how you have fallen from the sky, O shining one, son of the dawn!1 You have been cut down to the ground, O conqueror of the nations!

Additional Notes from NET

1 tn The Hebrew text has הֵילֵל בֶּן־שָׁחַר (helel ben-shakhar, “Helel son of Shachar”), which is probably a name for the morning star (Venus) or the crescent moon. See HALOT 245 s.v. הֵילֵל.

sn What is the background for the imagery in vv. 12-15? This whole section (vv. 4b-21) is directed to the king of Babylon, who is clearly depicted as a human ruler. Other kings of the earth address him in vv. 9ff., he is called “the man” in v. 16, and, according to vv. 19-20, he possesses a physical body. Nevertheless the language of vv. 12-15 has led some to see a dual referent in the taunt song. These verses, which appear to be spoken by other pagan kings to a pagan king (cf. vv. 9-11), contain several titles and motifs that resemble those of Canaanite mythology, including references to Helel son of Shachar, the stars of El, the mountain of assembly, the recesses of Zaphon, and the divine title Most High. Apparently these verses allude to a mythological story about a minor god (Helel son of Shachar) who tried to take over Zaphon, the mountain of the gods. His attempted coup failed and he was hurled down to the underworld. The king of Babylon is taunted for having similar unrealized delusions of grandeur. Some Christians have seen an allusion to the fall of Satan here, but this seems contextually unwarranted (see J. Martin, “Isaiah,” BKCOT, 1061).

Additional Notes from the NLTse Study Bible

fallen from heaven, O shining star: These words allude to the Canaanite story of the god Helel’s rebellion against the god El (chief deity of the Canaanite pantheon) and his fall from heaven. Some see the fall of the king of Babylon here as symbolizing the fall of Satan (see Ezek 28; Luke 10:18; Rev 12:9). However, there is little to suggest that Isaiah understood it in that way. He was thinking of the historical king of Babylon. • son of the morning: The battle took place under the early morning sun. The Latin Vulgate translates the term as Lucifer (morning star), a name for Satan in Christian tradition, but the Hebrew text makes no apparent reference here to Satan.

We see that sometimes our Bibles need revisions, since translators are not inspired, mistakes are made and there is always room for improvement. I am really encouraged to see the communication between the NLT / ESV folks and the public. I hope others (HCSB) follow their example over the coming year.

The NKJV sells well and will continue to sell well but I think there are more readable and clearer translations to select from today. Our Sunday material normally has the NKJV text combined with a newer translation for comparison, I have enjoyed studying this way and encourage others to consult more than just your favorite translation when studying the scriptures.

October 16, 2008 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment


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