But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and forever.  Amen.

2 Peter 3:18



KJV or New King James Version (NKJV)?


The WORDS of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt PRESERVE them from this generation for ever.  (Psalm 12:6-7) (Emphasis mine)


In our previous editorials, we sought to prove that the King James Version (KJV) is the preserved Word of God in English today. But what about the New King James Version (NKJV)? Isn’t it based on the same Greek text as the KJV?


Almost all modern versions of the Bible are based on the Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament. To see what is wrong with:


· The Alexandrian manuscripts of Westcott and Hort, you can read our March/April Editorial


· The men (Westcott and Hort) you can read our May/June Editorial.


But the NKJV claims to be based on the same Textus Receptus that underlies our King James Version. It is not based on the corrupt Westcott and Hort text.


Some good men would argue that the NKJV simply uses Modern English, rather than the archaic English of the KJV. Therefore, they say, the NKJV is more easily understood by today’s average reader.


Are the supporters of the NKJV correct? Should we abandon the KJV in favor of the NKJV, since both are based on the same Textus Receptus?  To answer that, we need to uncover some little known facts.




As we mentioned in an earlier editorial, the NKJV drops the word God sixty-six times, according to G.A. Riplinger. There is no warrant in the Greek text to do this. Nor is God an archaic (old, out of date) word.


Therefore, this is a theological change, made by the translators of the NKJV. There are many other such changes in the NKJV. In a presentation to the Berean Baptist Church of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, G.A. Riplinger said:


· There are 1100 places where the NKJV differs from the Textus Receptus.


· Repent is omitted 44 times.


· Blood is omitted 23 times.


· Hell is omitted 22 times.


· Damnation is omitted entirely.


In addition, the Deity of Christ and of the Father is watered down in dozens of places. Consider this:


                              NKJV                         KJV


Matt. 18:26             Master                       Lord


Luke 13:8               Sir                             Lord


Acts 3:26                Servant                      Son


Moreover, the NKJV agrees with the Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation in removing the Deity of the Spirit of God. Both the NKJV and the New World Translation call him a helper.  How can this be, if the NKJV is based on the same Textus Receptus as the KJV?




The KJV Old Testament is based on the Ben Chayyim Masoretic Text. But the NKJV is based on the Biblia Hebraica.


According to the Encyclopedia Judaica (1971) its author, Rudolph Kittel, was an anti-Semite and a believer in Hellenistic mystery religions. His son, Gerhard Kittel, was tried and convicted at Nuremburg as a Nazi war criminal.


Gerhard Kittel gave open theological support for Hitler’s extermination of the Jews during the Nazi Holocaust. He also authored The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament that bares his name. Many seminaries use it today.


His father’s Hebrew text, known as the Biblia Hebraica, is based on the Leningrad B 19a manuscript of the Old Testament. The Catholic-led translation committees for several other modern versions of the Bible use it also.


The Textus Receptus follows the Masoretic text. Rudolph Kittel’s Biblia Hebraica does not. Therefore, the NKJV Old Testament does not truly follow the Textus Receptus.


Here we have an unsaved father and son, both anti-Semitic, handling the Word of God with unwashed hands. They give us their slant on what it says.




Supporters of the NKJV argue that it is easier to understand than the KJV because the NKJV does not use archaic words like thee and thou.  At first glance, this argument seems to be plausible.


But upon further examination, we find that this argument is faulty. The Flesch-Kincaid research company’s Grade Level Indicator places the KJV at a 5th grade reading level. The same standardized test places both the NKJV and the NASB at 6th grade level and the NIV at an 8th grade level.


The chapters compared were Genesis 1, Malachi 1, Matthew 1 and Revelation 1. The test formula is: (.39 x average number of words per sentence) + (11.8 x average number of syllables per word) – (15.59) = grade level.


Why is the KJV easier to read? The KJV uses many one or two syllable words. But the NKJV (and both the NASB and the NIV) substitute complex, multi-syllable words and phrases. Consider the following contrast between the NKJV and KJV:


                                                     NKJV HARD WORD      KJV EASY WORD


1 Kings 10:28                                             Keveh                     linen yarns


Lamentations 5:3                                         waifs                     fatherless


Ezekiel 31:4                                                 rivulets                 little rivers


John 18:28                                                 Praetorium             judgment hall


Acts 17:22                                             the Areopagus             Mars Hill


Acts 27:17                                             Syrtis Sands                 quicksand


Luke 16:23                                                 hades                         hell


On the last substitution (hades for hell) keep this in mind. Virtually no angry sinner tells someone else to go to hades. Rather, they normally say, in their anger, go to hell!  Even unsaved people know the meaning of hell.


To use hades instead of hell (as the NKJV does) is to associate it with ancient, pagan Greek mythology as a place of the departed souls. This fits in nicely with the modern day revival of paganism in the New Age movement.


Now consider the complex phrases of the NKJV when contrasted with the simpler phrases of the KJV:


COMPLEX PHRASE – NKJV                                                                                         SIMPLE PHRASE – KJV


Psalm 40:9             I have proclaimed the good news of                                 I have preached


1 Cor. 3:3                 behaving like mere men                                                     walk as men


2 Cor. 11:29             do not burn with indignation                                                 burn not





One reason the publishers of the new Bible versions change words is to obtain a copyright. In order to obtain a copyright, one must produce a substantially new work. It cannot be just a minor updating of someone else’s original work.


The NKJV publisher (Thomas Nelson Publishers) cannot produce a substantially new work from the same Textus Receptus on which the KJV is based without making substantial changes in the words and phrases used.


In order to obtain a copyright on their NKJV, Nelson made substantial changes to the text of God’s Word.  Nelson substituted complex, multi-syllable words and phrases in place of the simple language of the KJV.


These man-made changes not only made the NKJV more difficult to read than the KJV. They also perverted the pure Word of God.


To earn money through a copyright, Thomas Nelson, Inc. made substantial changes to the KJV in creating the NKJV. Nelson’s NKJV perverted the Word of God to make it a substantially new work of man, which could then qualify for a copyright.


The NKJV is the copyrighted word of man. The KJV is the Word of God.


For those who may be interested in further reading and documentation for this editorial, we highly recommend the following two books:


LET'S WEIGH THE EVIDENCE: Which Bible is the Real Word of God? by Barry Burton (ISBN: 0-937958-17-4) Chino, CA: Chick Publications, 1983.


NEW AGE BIBLE VERSIONS: An Exhaustive Documentation of the Message, Men & Manuscripts Moving Mankind to the Antichrist's One World Religion by Gail Riplinger (ISBN: 0-9635745-0-2) Ararat, VA: AV Publications Corporation, 1993.



A Rebuttal of James White's book, The King James Only Controversy



George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows the Lamb of God.  He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019).  They have 8 grown children.  You can contact George at support@tulipgems.com

Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss