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Green's NKJV Review, Reviewed

Part Two

By Gary F. Zeolla

This three-part article is continued from: Green’s NKJV Review, Reviewed - Part One.

>NKJV: Luke 17:7. Come at once and sit down to eat

MKJV: having come, recline (there is no original word for at once, nor to eat (then they did not sit down, but reclined.)<

First off, there is a word for "at once." It is translated as "immediately" and placed earlier in the sentence in the MKJV. Which is the correct location for the word would be a matter of debate.

Second, "Come" (or "having come") is an aorist participle. And translating it as "having come" is a perfectly legitimate translation. This form is how I usually translate this form in the ALT. However, one usage of a participle is as an imperative. So the NKJV is legitimate also. See Part Four of the Grammatical Renderings section of the Companion Volume to the ALT for more on the translation of participles.

Third, as for "sit down to eat," again, the MKJV is more technically correct in that people reclined to eat at the time. And the words "to eat" should be italicized as they are not specifically in the text. However, they are needed to indicate why the command to recline is being given. So for the ALT I am adding the words in brackets.

>NKJV: Luke 17:8, for my supper

MKJV: that I may eat<

Here, the MKJV is correct. The word is a verb ("I may eat"), not a noun ("supper").

>NKJV: Luke 20:16, Certainly not

MKJV: Let it not be (the Greek does not say either God, or forbid [as in the KJV], nor Certainly)<

The Greek phrase here is me genoito. It expresses in the strongest terms possible a negative in Greek. So any translation that brings out this meaning is appropriate. Either the NKJV or MKJV translation would fit the bill. For the ALT I chose to use "Absolutely not." See under "Optative Mood" in Part Two of the Grammatical Renderings section for more on this phrase.

>NKJV: Luke 22:41, kneeled down

MKJV: placing the knees (3 Greek words)<

Here, the MKJV is most literally correct. However, Friberg includes the following: "idiomatically tithenai ta gonata, lit. place the knees, i.e. bend the knees, kneel down (MK 15.19)." So the NKJV is a legitimate idiomatic rendering.

>NKJV: Luke 23:11, treated Him with contempt and mocked [Him], arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, (Jesus' garment was never said to be a robe in the Greek)

MKJV: humiliating Him with his guardsmen, and mocking [Him) by putting luxurious clothing around Him <

First note, that Green only gives part of the verse. In the case of the NKJV, he has left out that the NKJV puts the words "Then Herod with his men of war" at the beginning of the verse. The words "with his men of war" would be equivalent to "with his guardsmen" in the MKJV. The MKJV has followed the Greek word order more closely, but in doing so has left the verse in awkward English format. For the ALT I will be following the practice of the NKJV.

Otherwise, each of the other differences between the two versions would be lexically or grammatically possible. But it take some explaining to show how. So I will just look at the one point Green mentions.

Was Jesus arrayed in a "robe" or just "clothing?" Friberg defines the words as, "clothing, robe, garment." So either reading is possible.

>NKJV: Luke 23:46, He breathed His last

MKJV: He breathed out the spirit (translation of exepneusen, #1606) <

In both cases, the entire phrases given are the translation of one Greek word. Friberg defines it as, "lit. breathe out; euphem. expire, die (MK 15.37)." So "breathed out" is the most literal translation. However, the words "the spirit" are not indicated by the Greek word, and are not bracketed as added in the MKJV. So here Green does what he charges the NKJV with, adding words without indicating as such.

Meanwhile, the NKJV also adds "His last." Bottom line, the expression is hard to translate literally into English. Either one has to add words to make "breathed out" meaningful, or give an idiomatic translation like simply "He expired" as in the NKJV Interlinear.

>NKJV: Luke 24:5, they were afraid

MKJV: them becoming terrified<

The NKJV actually has the word "as" before this phrase. This is important as it shows they are taking the participle in the temporal sense, a legitimate usage. However, Green is right in that the verb more specifically means "become" than simply the verb of being. However, it is an aorist. So a more literal rendering would be "having become." So the NKJV gets the tense more exact, while the MKJV gets the meaning more exact.

As for "they" vs. "them," the pronoun is a genitive. So them" or "their" would be the most literal rendering. But given the wording here, to use "them" as the NKJV does is very awkward. Even Green’s own LITV changes it to "they." So the MKJV is slightly more literal, but more awkward.

>NKJV: Luke 24:30, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread

MKJV: as He reclined with them, taking the loaf (singular - no word for sat, or for table)<

This is the third time Green has brought this one up. Yes, "reclined" is more culturally accurate than "sat." But something does need to be added so it is clear they are reclining to eat, and not to rest or sleep. But such clarifying words should be marked as added.

>NKJV: John 1:3, were made through Him

MKJV: came into being through Him (twice; also in verse 11)<

The verb here is the same as that in Luke 24:5 above. It is more than the simple verb of being. So something like "came into being" or "came to be" would be more accurate than the NKJV’s "were made."

>NKJV: John 1:5, the darkness did not comprehend it

MKJV: did not overtake it<

I struggled with how to translate the verb in question here for the ALT. The problem is, the word has a wide range of meanings, with two of them possibly fitting in this context.

Friberg gives the following definitions:
(1) w. the kata adding intensity seize, grasp with force (MK 9.18); overpower, gain control over (poss. JN 1.5); (2) w. the kata adding suddenness catch, overtake, come on (1TH 5.4); (3) w. the kata adding certainty to possession attain, win, make one's own (PH 3.12c); (4) mid. of intellectual appropriation find out about, comprehend, understand (AC 4.13; perh. JN 1.5)

Note how Friberg mentions John 1:5 twice. The word in this context can "possibly" mean "overpower, gain control over" or it "perhaps" means "find out about, comprehend, understand." So not being sure which to choose, initially I used the primary translation of "overpower" and then gave "comprehend" as an alternative translation.

So my primary translation would be similar to the MKJV’s "overtake," and my secondary translation was the same as the NKJV’s rendering. The point being, either is possible in this context.

But then a reader suggested "apprehend" for a translation. This English word fit even better as it is as ambiguous as the Greek word. It can mean either to "take into "custody" (which would be similar to "overtake"), or it can mean to "understand" something (which is similar to "comprehend" - Webster’s). So my final translation incorporates elements of both the NKJV and MKJV.

>NKJV: John 11:43, Lazarus, come forth!

MKJV: Lazarus, Here! Outside!<

Friberg defines the first word in question as, "adv. here; (1) of place, used as imper. come, come here (AC 7.3); foll. by imper. come (and) (MT 19.21); (2) of time until now (RO 1.13)." So the adverb can mean "here" or it can be used as an imperative and mean "come."

The second word is defined as, "adverb - (1) adv. out, outside; away; (2) prep. with gen. out of, outside; (3) ho exo outsider, unbeliever; outer, physical (2 Cor 4.16); foreign (Ac 26.11) (UBS Dictionary)." The NKJV has "forth" rather than "out." But the meaning is the same. So it would appear this is yet another case where either translation is possible.

However, upon closer inspection, the rendering of "Lazarus, come out!" would be most accurate. First off, note that in Friberg, the word only means "here" when used as an adverb. When it is used as an imperative it means "come." But Green is using "here" as an imperative.

Second, L&S specifically state that the second word, when used with verbs of motion (which "come" would be in this context), the last word means "out" and not "outside." So overall, the NKJV rendering seems more accurate, although "come out!" would be better yet.

>NKJV: Matt. 14:27; Mark 13:6; 14:62; Luke 21:8; 22:70; John 4:24; 6:20; 13:13, 19; John 4:26; 6:20; 8:24, 28; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8, fails to capitalize I AM where Jesus is stating that He is God

MKJV: translates correctly I AM!<

This is the second time Green has mentioned this point; it was discussed under Matt 14:27. I will simply re-iterate, I do not believe it is "correct" to insert ones interpretation into a translation.

>NKJV: John 16:21, joy that a human being has been born into the world

MKJV: joy that a man has been born into the world (The Greek definitely specifies a man. The NKJV distorts the message. Is it to be politically correct?)<

The Greek word in question is anthropos. The question is, is it true the word "definitely specifies a man" or can it more generally refer to any human being?

Friberg defines it as:
(1) as a generic term a human being, man, person (AC 10.26); pl. people, mankind, one's fellow men (MT 23.5); (2) as a form of address: in friendly relation friend (LU 5.20); as a reproach man, my good fellow (LU 12.14)… (3) w. transl. according to context an adult male (LU 7.25); a husband (MT 19.10); son (MT 10.35) …

The UBS Dictionary has, "m man, human being, person, one (friend, sir, man in address); pl. people; mankind, humanity (kata anthropos according to human standards); husband (Mt 19.10); son (Mt 10.35); servant (Lk 12.36)."

L&N gives three general meanings of: "human being, man, husband." The entry for "human being" then gives the expanded definition of, "a human being (normally an adult) - (in the singular) 'person, human being, individual,' (in the plural) 'people, persons, mankind.'"

So it would seem there is overwhelming lexical evidence that the word does NOT "definitely specify a man." It can and does refer more generally to any human being or person, not necessarily a male. And less Green claims these newer lexicons are also influenced by "political correctness, Baur’s lexicon of 1958 (long before today’s PC movement), also gives "human being" as a basic meaning of the word.

Moreover, it must be asked if "man" even fits the context of this verse. The word "man" can refer to any human being, but it more specifically means an adult, human male. But this verse is talking about birth, and men are not born, baby human beings are.

So it is not "political correctness" but lexical evidence and context that is the reason for the NKJV translation. The MKJV rendering is a possible rendering of the word, but does not fit this context.

>NKJV: John 16:22, and your joy no one will take from you.

MKJV: no one takes your joy from you.

(What difference does it make? The NKJV with other new versions take the joy out of the present life, moving it up to a future time. And this on the basis of only two corrupt Egyptian mss., B and D. Over 2,000 mss. Have the present tense.)<

First off, there are actually four Greek manuscripts, along with a variety of ancient translations that have the future tense (UBS Greek NT). However, I doubt it is for this reason that the NKJV has the present tense here. The NKJV Interlinear has the present tense first, then in its second, more idiomatic translation gives the future tense.

The reason for this is a "special use" of the present tense is "The Futuristic Present" according to Dana and Mantey (p.185). However, I would agree with Green that a present tense should be translated as such.

But, I don’t agree with Green’s interpretation of the use of the future tense. I don’t see how this translation, "takes the joy out of the present life." With either translation it reads the same to me, we have joy now and no one "takes" it or "will take’ it from us.

>NKJV: John 19:29, so when Jesus had received the sour wine

MKJV: when Jesus had received the sour wine

LITV: when Jesus took the vinegar

(Both the NKJV and the 1993 MKJV are wrong here: The 1998 revised edition of the MKJV correctly says: when Jesus took the vinegar. Why? Because in Luke 22:18, Jesus said, "I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God come. Sour wine is the fruit of the vine." To have Jesus drink the sour wine instead of vinegar would make Him contradict His positive words in Luke.<

I can understand Green’s desire to use "vinegar" here rather than "sour wine." But what is the lexical evidence?

Friberg has, "sour wine, wine vinegar, a popular and inexpensive thirst-quenching drink." L&S has, 1. poor wine, vin-de-pays, Ar., Xen. 2. vinegar made therefrom, Aesch., Ar. 3. metaph. of a sour fellow, Theocr," while the UBS Dictionary has simply "sour wine."

So either translation has lexical support. But for the reasons Green gives, "vinegar" would be preferable.

>NKJV: John 20:7, handkerchief

MKJV: cloth, or, gravecloth<

Friberg defines this word as, "face cloth, handkerchief, napkin (LU 19.20); as used w. a dead body to bind shut the jaws or wrap the head cloth, kerchief (JN 11.44)." The UBS Dictionary has, "handkerchief; facecloth (used for the dead)."

So any of the translations given have lexical support. But the context does favor a more general "cloth" rather than something specific as a handkerchief. I used "facecloth" for the ALT.

>NKJV: John 20:17, Do not cling to Me

MKJV: Do not touch (#680) Me<

Friberg lexicon defines this word in the form it appears here as, "touch, take hold of, hold (JN 20.17)." So the word can mean simply "touch" but also something stronger, more in the sense of "hold." And "cling to" brings out this stronger sense. So either translation would be possible.

But a point of note, the grammar here is that of a present, prohibitive imperative. This grammatical form indicates that an action in process is being commanded to cease. But neither of these versions indicates this point. I translate this command as "Stop holding Me" in the ALT. For an in-depth discussion of this verse, see "Touch Me Not".

>NKJV: Acts 21:32, chief captain

MKJV: chiliarch (a chiliarch was over a thousand soldiers.)<

The MKJV’s "chiliarch" is basically just a transliteration of the Greek word; it is not a translation. Now Green is correct in that a chiliarch "was over a thousand soldiers." However, how many people would have known this fact, or even that a chiliarch was a military leader without such a note?

The NKJV gives the word a legitimate translation. Granted it may not be so specific as to indicate how many men the military leader was over, but at least its translation gives the reader some idea that a military commander is meant.

>NKJV: Rom. 1:14, barbarians

MKJV: foreigners<

Friberg defines this word as, "strictly, stammering, stuttering, uttering unintelligible sounds; hence, of strange speech or foreign language (i.e. non-Greek in language and culture in the NT) barbarian, foreign, strange; as subst. a non-Greek, uncivilized person, barbarian (RO 1.14)."

The UBS Dictionary has, "non-Greek; uncivilized; foreigner; native (Ac 28.2, 4)." So it would seem either translation has lexical support.

>NKJV: 1 Cor. 15:47, 8 The first man [was] [of the earth, made of dust]; the second Man is [the] Lord from heaven. [As was] the [man of dust, so] also [are those who are made of dust]; and [as is] the heavenly Man so also [are those who are] heavenly

MKJV: The first man [was] out of earth, earthy. The second Man [was] the Lord out of Heaven; such the earthy [man], such also the earthy ones; and such the heavenly Man, such also the heavenly ones.

NOTE: The many words added by the NKJV (all those bracketed above) without italicization of the added words. The MKJV has the exact lexically correct translation of the Greek.<

Green has bracketed a whole bunch or words in the NKJV as being "added" and says they are not italicized. In fact, they either are not added, or if they are, they are italicized.

The following words are italicized in the NKJV (in order): was, made, is, was, man, are who, are made, is, Man, are, who are. So the NKJV does seem to be trying to italicize all added words.

As for the other words Green claims are added, the first are "of the earth" vs. the MKJV’s "out of earth." The preposition ek can be translated as "of" or "out of" and "earth" is even in the MKJV. So I don’t know why Green brackets either of these as being added. But he is right that the "the" is added.

Next is "made of dust" vs. "earthy." Friberg has, "of existence in this world made of earth or dust, earthy, earthly (1C 15.41); subst. ho choikos, the person made of earth (1C 15.48)" So either rendering is possible.

Note also, Friberg indicates that in the next verse, "the person made of earth" is the proper translation of the substantive. In the plural, this is basically the same as the NKJV’s "those who are made of dust." So it would seem about the only word the NKJV adds and does not bracket is a "the."

This three-part article is concluded at: Green’s NKJV Review, Reviewed - Part Three.

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The above article was posted on this Web site September 9, 1999.

Bible Versions Controversy: MKJV & LITV
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