Discover the NKJV Bible
The Bible's Evolution - From KJV to NKJV
After the original 1611 King James Bible, four major revisions were made, each done to reflect current English usage:
||First Bible printed by Cambridge University Press
||Printed by Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel
||Printed by Dr. Thomas Paris, Trinity College, Cambridge University
||Printed by Dr. Benjamin Blayney, Oxford University
||NKJV New Testament released from Thomas Nelson Publishers. The New King James Version becomes the fifth major revision.
||NKJV Book of Psalms is released.
||NKJV Full Bible is released.
History of the NKJV Translation
In 1611, the King James Version of the Holy Bible was published in England. No other book has had as much impact on the world as this historic translation of the Scriptures into English.
English is a living, changing language, yet the King James Version is over 370 years old. Earlier centuries maintained the freshness of the translation by gradually modifying the grammar, spelling, and word usage to keep the meaning alive for each new generation. However, in our time, due to the proliferation of new translations, the King James had not been published in an updated edition since 1769.
Although more than 40 modern translations of the Bible have been published in the last 30 years, the overwhelming favorite continues to be the King James Version. Some of the new translations have lost either the beauty and power or the structure and meaning of the original version. A need was clearly seen for an updated and understandable edition of the world's favorite translation.
In 1975, the boldest, most extensive revision in modern Bible publishing history began. A 130-person team, including Greek, Hebrew, and English scholars, editors, church leaders, and Christian laity, was commissioned to work on the project. Altogether it took seven years to produce the complete New King James Version.
The NKJV New Testament was finished in 1979, and the Book of Psalms released in 1980. The first full NKJV Bible became available in 1982, making the New King James Version the fifth major revision of the beloved King James Version.
For additional information, visit our NKJV translation FAQs
Why the Need for the NKJV Translation
For centuries since it was first published in 1611, the King James Version has been the most outstanding English Bible translation. For millions around the world, it has always been "The Bible." But more and more these days, people find the English of Shakespeare's time hard to understand. A lot of words have changed in meaning or have gone out of use altogether. Also, our knowledge of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages in which the Bible was first written is much better now than it was in 1611. So, the wish was to preserve what ought to be preserved in the beloved KJV while addressing those shortcomings.
The New King James Version is an up-to-date translation of the Bible by devout scholars, which maintains as much of the beauty of the King James Version as possible, increases the accuracy, and makes the meaning as clear as possible for today's reader.
The purpose of the New King James Version was to preserve the authority and accuracy, as well as the rhythm and beauty of the original King James while making it understandable to 20th century readers. The result is an even better King James, scrupulously faithful to the original, yet truly updated to enhance its clarity and readability. There are several other good modern Bible translations available, but none does a better job of presenting the accuracy, beauty, and clarity that Bible readers need than the New King James Version.
Preservation of the Word
When choosing a primary Bible translation, there are three core elements to look for: a. Accuracy b. Beauty c. Clarity
The New King James Version is the only translation that has all three.
The NKJV translates from the traditional texts of the Hebrew and Aramaic Old Testament and the Greek New Testament, and it has footnotes wherever variations are found in critical texts that would affect the wording of the English translation.
The translation method is "complete equivalence," which is sometimes known as formal equivalence. It gives the meaning clearly in natural English while maintaining as much of the wording and grammar of the original languages as possible. Therefore, the match between the original language and the English translation is as complete as can be, making the NKJV ideal for close study.
The NKJV was created using a painstaking translation and review process involving scholars in countries around the world.
The NKJV preserves the traditional literary quality of the King James Version. As the latest revision of the time-honored 1611 Bible, it deliberately seeks to maintain the sound, language, and rhythm that lovers of the Bible have come to expect, while modernizing when necessary to prevent misunderstanding.
The Bible reader needs to be fed in both the head and the heart. Accuracy without literary beauty would feed the head more than the heart. Ingenuity or creativity in composition without enough accuracy would thrill the heart, but the head would not be well served. The New King James Version achieves the necessary balance between understanding and spiritual uplift.
The Bible is a literary classic. Even today, 400 years since the King James Version was first published, it is still what people think of first when they think of "the Bible." Time and again, readers remark that they want their Bible to "sound like the Bible," and by that they mean the KJV. The NKJV does that better than any other modern Bible translation.
The NKJV is written in today's language for today's reader.
All of the accuracy and beauty in the world wouldn't mean much if it couldn't be understood. To achieve maximum clarity, the NKJV uses modern English that is dignified but natural. Its presentation is formal, yet at the same time, graceful, pleasant, and uncomplicated.
The reading level is eighth grade, which is quite a bit easier than many would expect in a direct revision of the King James Version. That's because the NKJV's stylists were careful to eliminate any English that would be archaic, obsolete, or unnatural for today's reader, but they were deliberate about keeping the good things about the KJV's style and manner.
About the Scholar Team
A 130-person team, including Greek, Hebrew, and English scholars, editors, church leaders, and Christian laity, was commissioned to work on the project. Altogether it took seven years to produce the complete New King James Version. Click here
for a downloadable PDF detailing the team who worked on the NKJV translation.