The KJV vs NKJV: How The Two Bible Translations Compare

by Sister McCook
The KJV Bible

There are many translations of the Bible, but two of the most popular are the King James Version (KJV) and the New King James Version (NKJV).

Both versions have their pros and cons, and it can be helpful to understand the differences between them.

The KJV was originally published in 1611, while the NKJV was published in 1982.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key differences between these two translations!

Origin of KJV and NKJV

One of the key differences between the KJV and NKJV is their origin.

The KJV was translated from ancient manuscripts by a team of scholars, while the NKJV was translated from modern manuscripts by a team of scholars.

Because of this, the NKJV is said to be more accurate to the original text than the KJV.

Translation

The KJV is a word-for-word translation, while the NKJV is a thought-for-thought translation.

This means that the KJV is more literal, while the NKJV tries to convey the meaning of the text rather than translating it verbatim.

The KJV takes its wording from the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, while the NKJV uses a combination of these manuscripts and modern language.

The KJV was translated into English, while the NKJV was translated into modern English.

This means that the NKJV is easier to understand than the KJV.

Style

The KJV is considered to be more formal and poetic, while the NKJV is more contemporary.

The KJV features Elizabethan English, while the NKJV has a less archaic style.

Reading Level

The KJV is written at a higher reading level than the NKJV.

This is because the KJV uses more formal language and includes words that are no longer in use.

Many readers consider the KJV to be more difficult to read than the NKJV.

Purpose

The KJV was originally published for use in the church, while the NKJV was published as a revision of the KJV with the intent of making it more accessible to modern readers.

The NKJV is therefore considered to be more user-friendly than the KJV.

Pronunciation Guide

The NKJV includes a pronunciation guide, while the KJV does not.

This can be helpful for those who want to correctly pronounce biblical names and terms.

Footnotes and Cross-References

The NKJV includes more footnotes and cross-references than the KJV.

This can be helpful for those who want to study the Bible in-depth.

Bible Verses

The NKJV includes additional verses that are not found in the KJV.

These verses were added to clarify or expand on certain passages.

Some of the differences between Bible verses between both versions are minor, while others are more significant.

Bible Verse Comparison

The table below shows a comparison of Bible verses between the KJV and NKJV.

As you can see, there are some slight differences between the two translations.

1. Psalm 23:1-2

KJV – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”

NKJV – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.”

Notice the difference between the translation of both Bibles. Maketh (KJV) is different from makes (NKJV) and leadeth (KJV) is different from makes (NKJV)

2. Isaiah 53:12

KJV – “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

NKJV – “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

3. John 3:16

KJV – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

NKJV – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Notice the differences in the words between both Bibles in John 3:16? Believe (KJV) is changed to believeth (NKJV) and whoever (KJV) is changed to whosoever (NKJV).

Best For Bible Studies?

The NKJV is considered to be better for Bible studies than the KJV because it provides more in-depth information.

The KJV is more suitable for reading aloud or using as a reference.

Pros and Cons of The KJV

  • The KJV is a word-for-word translation, which makes it more accurate than the NKJV.
  • The KJV uses Elizabethan English, which can be difficult to understand for some readers.
  • The KJV does not include a pronunciation guide.

Pros and Cons of The NKJV

  • The NKJV is easier to understand than the KJV because it uses modern English.
  • The NKJV includes a pronunciation guide.
  • The NKJV has more footnotes and cross-references than the KJV.
  • The NKJV includes additional verses that are not found in the KJV.
  • The NKJV is better for Bible studies than the KJV.

Which Version is Best?

As with any translation of the Bible, there is no one “correct” version.

Each version has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to read them all in order to get a better understanding of the Bible.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference which version you prefer.

Which Bible Translation is Best for You?

That’s a question only you can answer.

But it’s helpful to know the differences between the KJV and NKJV so that you can make an informed decision.

Both translations have their merits, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Some people prefer the KJV because it is more literal and closer to the original manuscripts.

Others prefer the NKJV because it is easier to read and understand.

It’s up to you to decide which translation you prefer!

As you can see, there are some key differences between the KJV and NKJV. Ultimately, it’s up to you which translation you prefer.

If you’re looking for a more literal translation, then the KJV is a good choice.

If you want a translation that is easier to read and understand, then the NKJV might be a better option.

Whichever translation you choose, make sure to read it with a prayerful heart and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through its pages!

If you enjoyed reading this Bible comparison you might also enjoy KJV vs ESV and NIV vs ESV.

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