I have a lot of Christian friends who use the New King James (NKJV). They’re convinced that the genuine King James Bible is old and out of date. These are great folks. I have no problem with them. I just don’t trust that book. Whenever they read, I check it against my tried-and-true King James. I want to know what God REALLY said. Sometimes they match and sometimes not.
Here are just three examples why I do not trust it.
[1.]The first one is in Acts chapter 3 where TWO verses, (13 and 26), in the NKJV say that Jesus is God’s servant. But my Bible says He’s God’s SON. Which one is it? Is He God’s servant, or God’s Son? We really need to get this one right! And I just don’t have time to read a Bible that doesn’t.
[2.]In 1st Corinthians 1:18, my traditional King James tells me that the preaching of the cross is the power of God to us who are saved. But the NKJV tells me that it is the power of God to us who are BEING saved. Once again, those are not the same. If I had been raised Catholic, I would be very comfortable with “being saved” because I would have been taught all my life that you cannot really KNOW you are saved. You are on the road to salvation. And if I faithfully do the rituals of the Mass, confession, last rites at death, and suffer a few centuries in purgatory for my sins, then that is added to what Jesus did and, hopefully, it will be enough to get me in to heaven.
But I’m not Catholic. I don’t believe that. Through Jesus, alone, I HAVE eternal life. Jesus finished the job. It’s a done deal.
[3.]There is a little something extra in Luke 23:34 that I hear was not in the first edition of the NKJV, but added later. Just a footnote. Not important, right? But here we see one of the big differences between Christianity and the other religions of the world. The Creator of the universe allows His creatures to torture and crucify Him. But on the cross, He prays, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” That’s big stuff. He forgave the Jews, the Romans, everyone, for this supreme insult. (And He forgives me, too). But there is that little footnote that says something like: “NU brackets the first sentence as a later addition.”
Oh, so they are telling me that the “better manuscripts” leave out His forgiveness, that it was added later? You mean, Jesus really didn’t say that? He really didn’t forgive the Jews? I guess, if I was into replacement theology, I might like to believe that God has cast off his people and replaced them with someone else, but I would have to ignore the verses that say the promises to Abraham were forever. But you see, I’m not into that stuff. I still believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people, that Israel is His chosen land, and that He is going to keep all those promises like my Bible says.
The NKJV is full of “footnotes” that tell me what I am reading might not have been in the original. Does that build faith? No. So why are we giving a doubt-producing Bible to a generation of young Christians? Why not just teach them the meanings of the classical English in the King James? In school we expect them to learn all the new words of the great technologies we use every day. It’s called getting educated.