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Green's NKJV Review, Reviewed

Part Three

By Gary F. Zeolla

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

>NKJV: 2Cor. 4:18, so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

MKJV: we not considering the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are not lasting, but the things which are not seen are everlasting.<

First off, Green has not accurately quoted the NKJV, at least as this verse appears in any edition of the NKJV which I have. All of my editions read, "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." So it is on this reading I will make my comments.

That said, looking at the first phrase, first is "while we do not look at" vs. "we not considering." First it should be noted how awkward the MKJV reading is. Next, the main part of this phrase is a present participle. And using an English participle (an "ing" word) is the most basic way if translating a participle. But one of the possible usages of the participle is in the "temporal" sense. And "while" is an appropriate way of rendering this usage.

Next, the meaning of the participle according to the UBS Dictionary is:
pay attention to, keep one's attention on; be concerned about; watch out (for), be careful." Friberg has, "(1) keep a watchful eye on, notice carefully, watch out (RO 16.17); (2) of self-examination based on inspection of a model or example before one consider, be concerned about, keep thinking about (GA 6.1).

So the MKJV’s "consider" is specifically mentioned by Friberg. The NKJV’s "look at" is not specifically mentioned, but it is similar to some of the definitions given. And these two readings are basically synonymous. Note how two paragraphs above I said, "looking at the first phrase." I could have just as easily said, "considering the first phrase."

The other differences between these renderings would also simply be in using different synonymous words or phrases: "temporary" vs. "not lasting" and "eternal" vs. "everlasting." So there really is not that much of a difference between these translations.

>NKJV: 1 Tim. 6:20, O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane [and] vain babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge.

MKJV: O Timothy, guard the Deposit, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and opposing theories of falsely named science.<

The first main difference here is "what was committed to your trust" vs. "the Deposit." The UBS Dictionary defines this noun as, "a deposit entrusted to one's care." So it would seem both the idea of a "deposit" and "committing" something to someone’s "trust" is involved in the word. So both translations are accurate, but also somewhat incomplete. The full meaning would combine both translations (a good example of why comparing more than one version in Bible study is helpful).

As for Green’s capitalizing of "Deposit," I am not sure of the reason for this. I can only assume it is because Green is taking the "deposit" as being the Holy Spirit. This interpretation is debatable.

The next difference is "contradictions" vs. "opposing theories." First it should be note, this is a noun, but the way the verse is worded in the MKJV, especially with the common before the preceding "and," it reads like a verb, more specifically a command. At least that is how I first read it, that Paul is commanding Timothy to be "opposing" what follows. It was only by checking the Greek text and seeing that the word was a noun not a verb that I realized this was not the case. In fact, the command is the earlier "avoiding." The point is, the wording of the MKJV can be confusing.

That said, the UBS Dictionary gives the meaning of the noun as simply "contradiction." Friberg has, "(illogical) objection, contradiction, argument." So it would seem the NKJV’s reading has the best lexical support.

The final important difference is the last word: "knowledge" vs. "science." The Greek word is gnosis and means according to the UBS Dictionary, "knowledge; esoteric knowledge; kata gnosis with understanding or consideration (1Pe 3.7)."

Friberg has:
basically, as the possession of information what is known, knowledge; (1) as a characteristic of God and man knowledge (RO 11.33; 1C 8.1); (2) as the result of divine enlightenment knowledge, understanding, insight (LU 1.77); (3) of heretical claims to higher forms of knowledge available only to a select few Gnosis, (esoteric) knowledge (1T 6.20).

So "knowledge" is the most basic meaning of the word. "Science" is not given in either of these lexicons, nor any others that I checked.

>NKJV: 2 Tim. 1:14, That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

MKJV: Guard the good Deposit [given] through [the] Holy Spirit indwelling in us.<

The main noun and verb here are the same as in 1Tim 6:20 above. So the MKJV is more consistent than the NKJV in the translation of the verb. It has "guard" in both places, meanwhile the NKJV has "guard" in 1Tim 6:20 and "keep" here. However, "keep" is a legitimate translation of the verb. And see above for the discussion of the translation of the noun.

However, since the Holy Spirit is mentioned later in this verse, "the Deposit" cannot be a reference to Him. So I really have no idea why Green capitalizes "Deposit."

Otherwise, the differences here are minor: "by" and "thorough" are both possible translations of the preposition, and "who dwells in us" vs." indwelling us" are two different possible ways of translating the participle.

>NKJV: Heb. 2:9, that He, by the grace of God, might taste of death for everyone

MKJV: might taste of death for every [son]

The NKJV is teaching universal salvation here, because taste of death is here put for dying. If Jesus died for everyone, then every person who ever lived would be saved. The KJV does not make this gross error.<

First let me comment on Green’s last comment. The KJV has "for every man." There is not significant difference between this translation and "for everyone" other than the latter being an inclusive rendering (or as Green would probably put it, a "politically correct" reading). But the basic meaning is the same. So if the NKJV has a "gross error" then so does the KJV.

That said, I do agree with Green in that the NKJV should not have "everyone" here. The word "one" is not in the Greek text. So at best it should be in italics. By including it, the NKJV makes this verse support the doctrine of "universal atonement." This is a complicate theological point that will not be pursued here.

OTOH, by adding "son" Green has rendered this so that it supports the opposite doctrine of "limited atonement." Either way, both translations are guilty of inserting a particular interpretation and thus theological viewpoint into the text when the text itself is ambiguous. But at least Green indicates the added word is in fact added by putting it in brackets.

That said, the problem is, a sentence cannot end with "every." It would leave the verse "hanging." So both versions are trying to "complete" the sentence with their added words. However, there is another way to translation the Greek word, as "all." And using this translation would complete the sentence without leaving it hanging and without inserting a particular viewpoint into the text, i.e. "for all." This rendering would be ambiguous just as the Greek text is. It would be up to the reader to decide "all" of who: all people, or just all sons?

>NKJV: Heb 2:16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.

MKJV: For truly He did not take [the nature of] angels, but He took hold of [the] seed of Abraham.

Basically the word #1949 means to take hold of, to lay hold of. Metaphorically, it can mean to succor, to take hold of to help. But Jesus did not take hold of manhood merely to help men, but He did so in order to save them everlastingly by purchasing through His blood a full remission of the sins of His elect, thus being able to present them before God the Father as if the elect person had never sinned. Add to this the fact that He perfectly obeyed the Law of God, there can be no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. No amount of "giving aid to the seed of Abraham" could have made it possible to present a totally depraved sinner before God "without spot or blemish,"<

First it should be obvious, Green’s theology is driving his translation and criticism of the NKJV. As Green points out, lexically "give aid to" is possible.

For instance, Friberg has:
(1) lit. as taking a firm hold, oft. w. the hand grasp, take hold of, seize (LU 23.26); (2) fig. (a) as listening to someone's words w. hostile intent catch, fasten on, take hold of (LU 20.20); (b) as drawing someone to oneself in order to help take hold of, be concerned with, help (HE 2.16); (c) as seeking to experience someth. take hold of, have (1T 6.12).

The UBS Dictionary has, "take, take hold of; seize, catch; arrest (Ac 21.33); help, be concerned about or assume the nature of (He 2.16)."

So both lexicons give the meaning of "help" for Heb 2:16, which is similar to the NKJV’s "give aid to." The UBS Dictionary also gives the possibility of "assume the nature of" which is basically how Green handles it. So both renderings are possible. But which is best? Green’s arguments about the problem with "give aid to" might makes sense. But it would depend on what kind of "aid" is meant. If the "aid" is Christ’s death on the cross then there is no problem. And the verse could easily be interpreted this way.

But it should be noted, that either rendering is not truly a literal translation. A literal translation would say that Christ, "takes hold of the seed of Abraham."

>NKJV: 1 Peter 1:20: indeed was foreordained

MKJV: having been foreknown<

Here Green is correct. The most literal translation is "foreknown" not "foreordained." The UBS Dictionary has, "know already, know beforehand; choose from the beginning, choose beforehand."

>NKJV: Titus 2:14 His own special people - the Greek does not have the His or own or special here

MKJV: a people for possession<

The text is question is one word in the Greek. Friberg defines the word as, "strictly, of property owned as a rich and distinctive possession; metaph. in the NT, of God's redeemed people as his costly possession and a distinctive treasure especial, choice, chosen (TI 2.14)." The UBS Dictionary has, "special, belonging only to oneself."

So it would seem "special" can be a part of the meaning, and if something is "belonging only to oneself" then it would be "His own." So yes, these words are in the Greek. That said, the idea of "possession" is also supported. So either translation would be legitimate.

>NKJV: 1 John 2:29; 3:9 (twice); 4:7; 5:1 (twice); 5:4; 5:18. is born of God

MKJV: has been born of God (practicing righteousness, not practicing sin, loving God, believing that Jesus is the Christ, whatever overcomes the world, not sinning, and keeping oneself, are all evidences that one has been born (#1080, regenerated) of God. But is born (present tense) incorrectly expresses the aorist tense, leaving the impression that one practicing righteousness, loving God, etc. is the cause of one's being regenerated of God. The new birth is not earned in such a way, but it is the gift of God, who generates spiritual life in His elect (which evinces itself by the exercise of the spiritual gifts, such as faith and repentance).<

The tense is actually perfect, not aorist. It is also passive voice. So the MKJV’s "has been born" would be most correct as it brings out both the tense and voice, while the NKJV’s "is" indicates neither.

>NKJV: John 3:8, The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from, and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.

MKJV, LITV, and Interlinear Bible: The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.

(Note carefully: The wind does NOT blow where it wishes. It blows where God desires it to blow. The Greek word which the NKJV translates as wind is pneuma, which is the word for spirit. NEVER in the New Testament is pneuma used for wind, and that includes here. The NT word for wind is usually #417, anemos. Secondly, the word pnei can be translated blow, but it also can properly be translated as breathe, depending on the context. Thirdly, the word phonen can be translated as sound, but it also can properly be translated as voice. Doctrinally, it should be clear that the true statement here is that the Spirit breathes where He desires, and He has the power to cause one to hear His voice; and we do not know from where He comes, or where He goes. And so it is with those who receive birth (are regenerated, #1080) from the Spirit.<

Green gives such an extended discussion on this verse as he needs to defend the very "unique" translation of his versions. The only other version that I know of that renders this verse like Green does is Young’s Literal Translation (YLT). All other versions are similar to the NKJV.

I updated YLT for stage one for the ALT. And when going over this verse for stage two I decided to keep the kind of translation seen in YLT (and Green’s versions). It is definitely a possible way of rendering the verse. However, so is the more "traditional" translation.

Despite what Green says, pneuma can mean "wind." Both the UBS Dictionary and Friberg cite John 3:8, along with Heb 1:7, as possible places for this translation. The NAS95 has "winds" in Heb 1:7, but most other translations have " spirits." So Green is right in that "wind" would be an unique, but not impossible translation.

OTOH, "breathe" would be a very unique translation of the verb pneo. Friberg states, "in the NT, only of the wind blow." And the UBS dictionary only gives "blow (of wind)" as a definition. However, L&S does give "breathe" for a definition, but that is based on usage in extra-Biblical sources. So the word can be translated as "breathe," but John 3:8 would be the only place in the NT where it would be.

So with the traditional translation as seen in the NKJV, the noun must be translated in an "unique" way for the NT, but with Green’s translation the verb must be. So either translation has its pluses and minuses.

And finally on this verse, Jesus’ statement about the "The wind blows where it wishes" as given in the NKJV, could be taken to mean simply that we humans can not control its direction. So Green’s comments in this regard are not necessarily true.

Green concludes his review with the following:

>The first edition of the MKJV was published 20 years before the NKJV. It is our purpose to challenge all versions to be as accurate in translating the Biblical languages as the English language will allow. The NKJV has a great many added words without support from the original. And they often do not italicize these added words Therefore, they are misrepresenting what God actually said. This is also true of their many paraphrases, rather than exact translations of the original words.

Any close examination should reach the verdict that the NKJV does not report God's Word as it was God-breathed (theopneustos) by God the Spirit, the Author of every word of the Scriptures.


The above evaluation does not support Green’s conclusion. Instead, it supports what I said in my article Green’s Response, Responded to, some of the time Green is correct: the MKJV is more accurate than the NKJV. Other times, IMO, the NKJV is more accurate than the MKJV. And other times it could go either way. Plus, there are also times when I believe the best possible translation is not given in either version. And given the above evidence, out of these four possibilities, I would say the third is the most common, either the translation seen in the NKJV or the one seen in the MKJV would be possible.

At the best it could be said the MKJV is slightly more literal than the NKJV, but the MKJV is also somewhat more awkward in some of its renderings than the NKJV. So which is the "better" translation would be a toss-up. Bottom line, the reader would do well to use either the NKJV or the MKJV. Both are accurate translations of the Word of God. And comparing these two versions in Bible study would be helpful. It would give the reader two different perspectives of legitimate translations of the original texts.


>Thanks Bro Gary for the great response to Green's view on the NKJV !<

Thank you for the kind comments. I was hoping someone would find it worthwhile given the amount of time and effort that went into it.

>Bro. Gary, I have a lot of confidence in the NKJV Greek-English Interlinear!! It would be nice to see something BIG on your sight promoting it. Green also did a review on it in his Feb.--April [1999] issue. He didn't slam it too bad. Perhaps in the future you would consider a response on it like you did on the NKJV.

You’re the Greatest!!
Bro Greg

Well, I don't have time now for another review. But you are correct, the NKJV Interlinear is truly an excellent resource. It is one of the primary sources I am using in working on the ALT. I was disappointed that Green gave it a "BC" rating in his review. I would definitely give it an "A" or even a "Best Books in Print" using Green's labels.

Aland, Kurt, et.al. The Greek New Testament. Germany: United Bible Societies, 1983.
Analytical-Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (ALT). Copyright 1999-2000 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.zeolla.org/christian).
Bauer, Walter. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. 2nd ed. Trans. and rev. by William Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich and Fredrick W. Danker. Chicago: University of London Press, 1979.
BibleWorksfor WindowsCopyright 1992-1999 BibleWorks, L.C.C. Big Fork, MT: Hermeneutika. Programmed by Michael S. Bushell and Michael D. Tan.
Dana, H.E. and Julius Mantey. Manual Grammar of the Greek NT. New York: Macmillian, 1955.
Farstad, Arthur L. et.al. The NKJV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1994.
Friberg, Timothy and Barbara. Analytical Greek New Testament. Copyright 1994 and Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Copyright 1994. Both as found on BibleWorksfor Windows™.
Green, Jay P. Sr. Modern King James Version (MKJV). LaFayette, IN: Sovereign Grace Publishers, 1976 - 1998.
Liddell-Scott Greek English Lexicon (Abridged). Public Domain. As found on BibleWorksfor Windows™.
Louw, Johannes and Eugene Nida, eds. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. New York: United Bible Societies, 1988. And second edition, Copyright 1998 as found on BibleWorksfor Windows™.
New American Standard Bible (NAS77 and NAS95). Copyright 1960-1995. La Biblia de Las Americas. The Lockman Foundation.
New King James Version (NKJV). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publisher, 1982.
Newman, Barclay M. Jr. A Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Copyright 1971 by United Bible Societies and 1993 by Deutsche Biblelgesellschaft (German Bible Society), Sttugart. As found on BibleWorksfor Windows™.
Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures in the New Testament. As found on BibleWorksfor Windows™.
Webster’s Talking Dictionary/ Thesaurus. Licensed property of Parson’s Technology, Inc. v. 1.0b. Software Copyright 1996 by Exceller Software Corp. Based on Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. Copyright 1995 by Random House, Inc.
Young, Robert. Young's Literal Translation (YLT). Public Domain, 1898.

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

Bible Versions Controversy: MKJV & LITV
Bible Versions Controversy
Verse Evaluations and Word Studies

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