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Comments on Bible Versions

Below are assorted, short e-mails I received in 2001 on the items listed at Bible Versions Controversy. The e-mailers’ comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.

>I would be grateful for information regarding the publisher of the Revised Webster Bible and how one might obtain a copy.

Thank you in advance.


As far as I know, the RWB is not available in hardcopy. But it can be found on the Online Bible and BibleWorks software programs. As for who published it, I have no idea.

>Subject: 2.5 Qs

Aloha Gary,

Thanks if you are able to respond...my wife has this 200lbs red letter edition-easy reading KJV, it seems to only change the basic thee's and thou's and few other basic KJV tongue twisters. Unable to locate one in normal size I'm heading towards NKJV.<

Try: www.abible.org or www.swordbible.com  or 877-552-4253.

>Q-1...have you heard or seen this Red letter edition ?<

Yes I have. In fact, I mention it in my Bible versions book. It's called the King James Easy Reading Sword of God Study Bible or the Word of God Bible.

>Q-2...can you still get the early edition NKJV.<

Maybe used, or if a store still has it on the shelves. But most stores would probably only have a newer edition.

>Q-0.5...Either way, can I get from you the license plate No. for the best & simple NKJV.

Thanks again....Tim.


I believe you mean the ISBN. But for some strange reason my 1983 edition does not have one given. But I can tell you it is a Royal Reference Bible. If you can find one of these maybe it will be an older edition as well.

>I have a NIV Study Bible I bought 13 years ago when I became a Christian because that is the version my church at the time used. I continue to read from it. However, a fellow at work is trying to prove to me that the NIV is an aberration and written by Communist(s). He reads only the KJV and insists that he's read many books insisting it is the only accurate English version of the Bible. What is the truth here? I don't want to be committing a sin by reading the NIV.

DuPont, WA

You are not committing a sin by reading the NIV. However, the NIV is not as reliable as some other available versions. So your friend is correct in that sense only. However, the KJV is not the only reliable translation. There are many others, such as the NKJV.

I discuss in detail the NIV, KJV onlyism (which your friend apparently ascribes to), along with what versions I consider to be reliable in my Bible versions book.

>I have recently purchased your book Differences Between Bible Versions and have found it particularly useful in connection with the Greek text debate. When I first switched from the NIV to the NKJV it did strike me as odd that the traditional Byzantine Greek text which Christians have been using for over a millennium was suddenly found to be wrong! Your book has been very helpful in reinforcing the fact that the New Testament surely could not have been written originally as a series of contradictions and then 'smoothed out' by later scribes! Notwithstanding this however, I do still use the updated NASB as a secondary translation, even if it is CT.

On a considerably less important note, you did note in your book (in the chapter on the differences between the KJV and the NKJV), that there are places where the KJV uses 'his' where we would normally expect 'its' to be used. English is descended from a Germanic language (Anglo Saxon) which didn't have a distinct neuter form for the third person singular possessive pronoun and so used the masculine form for both (modern German still uses sein for both). The distinct neuter form 'its' appears in English during the seventeenth century and thus was probably too late to be used in the KJV. I did my MA in seventeenth century English history and couldn't help noticing that the English used in the KJV was somewhat antiquated even then, so it's not a surprise that many find it less than easy to read now.

Certainly the KJV Only people may well put people off reading the Bible altogether!

I hope that this e-mail finds you in good health, and that your excellent web-site continues to bear fruit in defending the Christian faith and pointing people to Christ.


I am thankful you have found my Bible versions book to be useful. And thanks for the info on "its" in the KJV.


I hope this email finds you well.

A few months ago, I referred to the NKJV as the "New Authorized Version." That name refers to a version published by the folks who publish the KJ21 and not the NKJV.<

Thank you for the correction.

>In my mind, the Bible Version debate is closed. Due to articles written by you and Reese Currie, I now regularly use the NKJV along with the NAS and NRSV.<

I'm glad we could be of help!

>I have figured out why the KJV Only people punish the NKJV. The NKJV uses the TR as the KJV did, but cites the CT in comparison. That angers them.<

That is one reason, but there are others. I address this issue and the others in my Bible Versions book.

>What's your view on the "Prayer of Jabez"? I have read a few pages and now, it's left a bad taste in my mouth.


Jay Green had an interesting review of this book in a recent issue of his newsletter Christian Literature World. Basically he said, "Jabez prayed. God sovereignly answered his prayer. End of story." There is no "trick" or formula to praying. What matters is that prayer is genuine and from the heart. Otherwise it is up to God how to answer your prayer. He cannot be "forced" to do so by using some kind of formula.

>I read some comments on your site regarding Mr. Green adding some changes in his translation which promoted his Calvinistic views. I am searching for a good TR based bible and am thinking about purchasing the MKJV but would like to know if there are any other places where the MKJV deviates from the KJV for the purpose of promoting a doctrine???<

As far as I know, Heb 2:9 is the only place, and even then the added word is bracketed, so it is clear it is added.

> Also, is the NKJV based on TR??? I have been led to believe it is not and is in the same family as NIV, NASB and so forth, with the additions/ deletions and interpretive text.<

Yes it is. KJV onlyists will try to claim it is not, but their comments in this regard are misleading. I discuss this subject in my book Differences Between Bible Versions.

>I really want to find a accurate/ reliable TR based translation that is as similar in reading to the KJV as possible and the MKJV seemed to be what I was looking for until I saw the scripture changed from "tasted death for every man- - to son."

But note that the "man" in the KJV is added but not italicized while the "son" in the MKJV is bracketed. So the KJV is actually less accurate in this regard.

>I find that disturbing and need to know before I buy/ use and recommend a translation as Accurate and reliable, how much it adds/ deletes or interprets scripture....the KJV being my standard.

Thank you for your time.


That is a valid concern. But if added words that promote a particular theological viewpoint are at least offset in some way then I don't have too much of a problem with it. It's when they're in the same type set as the rest of the text that it's a major problem.

I discuss version that do the later in my Bible versions book, such as the NLT in this verse, and how the NWT does in my review of the NWT I just made available in eBook format on my site.


First, let me say that I have enjoyed your sight a great deal. It has provoked in me a great deal of both soul-searching and Scripture-searching over the last two months. Specifically, I have switched Bible-versions (NASB to NKJV), and have had cause to reconsider the Calvinist position.

But to the point at hand. I recently purchased a copy of the NKJV for my father, and to my great surprise, the triquetra symbol was nowhere to be found. Instead a new symbol (an N in a circle followed by the letters KJV) was in its place.

It seems that the KJV-only people have one less argument for the inferiority of the NKJV. However, I have a feeling that, sadly, they'll make up for it in other ways.

God bless,

Thanks for the info. I hadn't heard of this change. I guess I addressed the KJV-only argument against the NKJV "mark" for nothing in my Bible versions book!

>When I questioned Nelson about the decision to remove the triquetra. This was their response.

>>From: Joseph

Is there an official reason that the NKJV no longer carries the triquetra symbol on the cover or title page? If so, what is that reason?

From: Editorial Nelson Bibles Editorial@NelsonBibles.com 

Thomas Nelson Publishers dropped the Triquetra approximately 2 years ago. The decision was made to adopt the current logos in its place simply because we felt it was time to refresh the NKJV.

Thank you for your inquiry.
Thomas Nelson Publishers
Bible Editorial Department<<

Thanks again for the info.


My family of seven practices memory verses around the supper table. For 15 years we used the NIV. After much recent study, I am switching everybody over to the NKJV. However, three of our NKJV were purchased in the early 90's, and one in the mid-90's (all Thomas Nelson). They are not the same. I like the words in the older editions better.

I want seven identical translations. Should I search for four (out-of-print) NKJV? Or should I just buy six updated (in-print) NKJV? Which edition is better?

Just so you know which editions I have, in Ruth 1:1 the older edition uses "sojourn" and the newer edition uses "dwell."


There have been some minor changes in the NKJV through the years. And these changes have tended to make the NKJV slightly less literal but more readable. For instance, the original 1982 NKJV has "Joseph dreamed a dream" in Gen 37:5. This is a very literal rending of the Hebrew and brings out that the verb and noun are cognates (i.e. from the same root word). But newer editions of the NKJV have "Joseph had a dream," a less literal but more natural way of expressing the thought.

I personally use and prefer the 1982 edition. But as I am sure you will find out, it will be difficult to find four 1982 editions. If you could that would be ideal. But the changes are not that significant, so if you have to go with the newer version I see no problem with that. You would still be way better off than using the NIV.


Thank you for your comments regarding the NKJV.

I have never used the King James. If I end up buying one, is there one better than the Defined King James by Waite?


I'm not really sure what the "Defined" KJV is like. There are many KJV based Bibles around. I would suggest just going to a Christian bookstores and checking out the ones they have.


Thanks for what appears so far to be the first site I have found dealing with the issues involving the King James Bible and other Bibles that doesn’t try to “slam” other proponents.<

I'm thankful my site has been of help to you. And yes, some Bible versions sites can get rather nasty, to say the least. But there is really no reason to use such caustic language.

>I have been studying this issue for about a month now seriously with the net as my main source of info and you site is refreshing. I will continue to look over the site and read your articles. Can you recommend a book on beginning textual criticism for someone that is a serious layperson?


My book Differences Between Bible Versions has an entire section on "Greek-text Types." The first chapter in the section is titled, "Introduction to Textual Criticism." So that would be a good place to start. Then for further study you could check out the books listed in the bibliographies at the end of each chapter.

>Dear sir,

I have read so much stuff pro and con about the New King James. Even the stuff saying that the mark on the New King James was evil and that the NKJV was a counterfeit. Is it a good Bible, a good version? Accurate?


Yes, the NKJV is a reliable and accurate Bible version. I discuss it at length in my book Differences Between Bible Versions. The book even addressed KJV onlyists arguments against the NKJV, including the "mark" on the cover.


Have you taken a look at the International Standard Version at www.isv.org?


I did look at it quickly once before. It looks like a basic dynamic equivalence/ Critical Text version. So I wouldn't recommend it.

>Hello Gary:

I have co-written the book, Return To Glory: The Powerful Stirring of the Black Man. I am White and co-author (Don Griffin) is Black. We are doing a lot of general market radio talk shows in urban America. A common subject is the King James version of the Bible. I am aware that King James participated in the slave trade in the early 1600s. The response we get is that King James hand-picked scholars who translated the Bible with the intent to use the Bible to further dominate people of color. Louis Farrakhan (Nation of Islam) has made mention of this in so many words.

My response has always been that if their intent was to use the Bible to distort Black presence and Black history, they did a very poor job of it, because the Bible is a rich repository of Black presence and Black history.

Please give me insight that may be of help to me in responding to this honest query about King James, the scholars he picked to translate the King James version and slavery/racism.

Thank you for allowing me to parachute into your day.

All the best,

I've never heard this one before. It sounds to me like unsubstantiated ramblings by Farrakhan. But it's rather hard to prove something didn't happen, so what you can do is this: the next time someone makes this claim, ask them what *specific* verses have been mistranslated in the KJV, and ask them to substantiate how the Hebrew should be translated so as not to be racist based on the *specifics* of the Hebrew text. And ask for *specfic* Hebrew references works that substantiate their claims.

Don't let them speak in generalities: get SPECIFICS. Chances are, you won't get any. But if you do, then you need to do a study on the Hebrew of the verses in question and see if in fact they are mistranslated in a way that would favor racism. Frankly, I seriously doubt it.

>Have you observed those who support the Byzantine NT almost without exception have a very high view of Biblical inspiration while on the flip side most proponents of the Alexandrian allow for some measure of relativism? Besides the forensic evidence, that speaks volumes. You had also written the equation MT/TR=FE, CT+DE.


Good observation!

>Hello again Gary, I have you are doing well. I have a question about the NT Greek text. Is it possible that there was "one" Greek text and the MT, CT,  and TR are offspring of this "one" text?<

Proponents of each text would say there text was the first and each of the other two developed from it. I would say the MT is the closest to the original (99.9% identical), and the other two are deviations from it.

>A survey was done a while back and asked Pastors what Bible version they liked. The results were:

NIV: 34%
KJV: 24%
NRSV: 17%
NKJV: 10%
NASB: 9%
Other: 6%

My view is that the KJV/NIV have become standardized texts. What is your view?

Aloha and God Bless,

Those are the two most popular versions. But it is interesting how different they are! The KJV is FE/ TR and the NIV is DE/ CT.


I have recently noticed that in all the Bible versions based on the Alexandrian NT, there is only one that has a degree of accuracy, that is the New American Standard.

Unfortunately it is so wooden that it has failed to gain a wide following. The Alexandrian versions that are readable are all paraphrases that compromise accuracy to a lesser or greater degree so as to be only marginally suitable at best. It is a powerful commentary that no Alexandrian version scores well on both readability and accuracy. Partly because of your influence, and partly because of Riplinger's obvious mistreatment of NKJV, I use that now and love it.


Conversely, as far as I know, all versions based on the TR or MT are literal or formal equivalence versions. It is interesting that it seem like CT = Dynamic Equivalence or paraphrase while TR/ MT = literal or Formal Equivalence.

>Dear sir,

Which of the two would you consider to be the most accurate translation? KJV or NKJV?


Both are reliable versions. But which is the more accurate I would probably be a toss up. Sometimes one has a better translation of a particular verse and sometimes the other. In my upcoming book on Bible versions I compare these two versions extensively.

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