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Difference Between the KJV and the NKJV

bible-pdKJV vs NKJV

When it comes to debating the difference between the KJV and NKJV, even friendly conversations can become heated. Those who follow the King James Version or the New King James Version do so with great vigor and dedication. However, the more we truly understand the differences, the more we can unite in in terms of faith.

We have to remember that the English language was used more precisely in the 1600’s when the KJV addressed the word of religion for the people. By our more relaxed English standards, the NKJV often appears to be saying something different. This gives many individuals the belief that one or the other is more accurate.

It should also be stated that the KJV was written entirely based upon the exclusion of the Alexandrian Manuscripts. The NKJV includes the Alexandrian Manuscripts in an effort to find more potent and direct information. Translation of the Alexandrian Manuscripts is rejected by most KJV followers.

The New King James Version was partially written as a new translation for the entire framework of the Bible. It was also partially written to reflect a time when translating text into personal experiences can mean different things to different people. This does not make it more liberal, it just makes it more amenable to more modern thoughts and interpretations. This is not to insinuate that the KJV is wrong.

To make generalizations, many of those who follow the KJV are more literal in their interpretations of text. Literal translation of the NKJV can create different meanings. Word origins and original definitions need to be considered when contemplating either version, as well as the potential for human error.

When it comes to completely defining the difference between the KJV and NKJV, using linguist specialists would be applicable.


1. KJV followers are likely to reject the NKJV.

2. The NKJV is written with word meanings that are more similar to today’s modern interpretations.

3. The NKJV includes Alexandrian texts.

4. The KJV neglected to include Alexandrian texts altogether.

5. The NKJV is written as a new translation to reflect better readability and interpretation.

6. The KJV is usually taken literally, despite the differences in language.

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  1. I thought maybe the NKJV might be the same as the KJV, but with word usage updated, but now I find that they used the Alexandrian texts from Egypt? Really?

    • Any bible version with an “N” meaning New has differences which may not be significant to most people who read God’s word. But to someone who studies it closely, there can be differences which significantly changes the meaning or context of a portion…

      An example of this, if we were to use the Law of First Mention (means, whenever a word is used for the first time in the bible, it has it’s greatest meaning). As you can imagine, Genesis is a wealth of “first mentions” and Chapter 1 of Genesis includes basic fundamental OT insight… nothing more than the first verse of Genesis 1.

      KJV “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

      NKJV “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

      One may think this is not significant. After all, Strong’s Concordance uses same word for both. Hebrew Word #8064.

      • Not intending to nitpick, but my understanding is that there are three heavens. The one we see when we look up into the sky, the second heaven where the devil and his demons were cast down, and the third heaven where God is.

        • That’s what I thought as well..

        • The only answer that can be is that God is everywhere. God can be here or there… or not. He is all powerful. God is present here there anywhere. God can be there or not, Jesus is the Lord all powerful. He showed his power in what is. He gave us his grace to free us, but we much choose to choose him. We do, his love will free us. We don’t, he will not force us. But sin without his freedom and forgiveness will kill us. Without his salvation eturnal death will follow. That’s what the Bible says. John 3:3 unless you are born again, you will not see the kingdom of heaven. Jesus says, I am the way the truth and the light. No one comes to the father but through me. I am a Christian. I love the Lord and I pray that anyone and everyone should give their hearts to the Lord. Ask Christ into your heart and give him to your heart. In Jesus name…Amen. God bless, much love. See yeah

        • You can’t have 3 of anything without a 1 and 2 right?
          If there is a third heaven it is only logical there is a first and second heaven even if the bible doesn’t speak of them.
          We know from Daniel that the angel sent from the third heaven encountered a battle between there and earth to deliver the answer to Daniel.
          Paul talked about the third heaven and it is where God’s throne is.

        • Yes there are three but on that day only one was created. God was already in Heaven.

          • Heaven translated from the KJV in the Greek is the word “shameh”
            Meaning the sky, also higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve.

            If you ask me, it sounds like like the KJV is the incorrect translation here.
            1600 years of translations before the KJV. We have many other manuscripts before the KJV. Make sure you study and find truth.
            Don’t just listen to what people say, study for yourself and find Truth!

            KJV by the way is the Word of God, probably the best English version to study out of.

            People who believe KJV is the only Bible that is reliable don’t know other languages and haven’t studied manuscripts that came before the KJV.

        • SharmaIne SHOOTS and SCORES !!!

        • You are correct that there are 3 heavens and the first one is the sky that we look at when we look up. However the Devil was cast down to earth not the second heaven. The second heaven is up in space where the stars are and yes the third heaven is where God’s thrown is.

  2. The NKJV uses the Textus Receptus, similar to the Byzantine text-type. OT: Masoretic Text with Septuagint influence not the Alexandrian texts

    • That is correct. It uses the traditional text or received text(TR). This is a well known and researched fact. It is also documented in the preface to the NKJV.
      What it does is it puts the Alexandrian or NA and the majority text(MT) in the footnotes. This is actually a huge advantage and help of the NKJV.

  3. So it’s OK to read either?
    Someone help here. I’m kinda lost.

    • I read KJV for years. I but I bought a new bible and I bought NKJV. I LOVE it. I read it everyday.

    • Absolutely , it is your choice. the KJV is more poetic than the NKJV and the NKJV uses more uptodate language so it is more meaning to us living and talking today’s language. If reading the Bible use one that reads easy. If studying the Bible use several translations. But above all translations be sure to pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth, that way you want come away with your own interpertations of what it says But the Holy Spirit’s. after all it was the Holy Spirit that told the writers what to write in the first place. God Bless you real good.

  4. I read and enjoy reading the King James Bible. I had been reading the “New World Translation” of the bible, which is a Jehovah’s Witness bible. Then I noticed omitted verses, namely Acts 8:37. When I went to the KJV, I saw it read “Acts8:37  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” This is a HUGE change to the word of God to remove this verse, to remove any verse. I checked other versions. NRSV-CE and NIV omit this verse. It matters what version of the Bible you read and study. I do not trust any version but the KJV now. Please do research! Also this site gives some very good insight into the differences between the KJV and NKJV God Bless!

    • I pray maureen your eyes have been opened to the truth. Jesus is the son of God And God. God bless you hope you keep reading that KJV.

  5. Check Ezekial 28:18 kjv says little horn power will be turned to ashes.nkjv says he has been turned to ashes. Also the mark of the beast is referred to as “in” the forehead and right hand in kjv. It is “on” the forehead and right hand in nkjv. Also check out the Wisemen in Daniel 2…..there are major differences in the story’s when you pay attention to detail.

  6. Someone kindly notify me about the verses with different meanings between the KJV and NKJV

  7. My brother and I have discussions concerning NKJ and KJ versions. I read the NKJ and I believe the Holy Spirit is our teacher and will reveal the truth if you believe He is here with us. In general people have translated the Bible according to their knowledge and understanding of the original manuscript. If you feel convicted get on your knees and ask The Holy Spirit to be your teacher concerning the Bible
    He was there from the beginning of time. The last thing people need is confusion and that is a way Satan tries to bring decision amongst Gods people. Yes the essence of the Word of God is I believe. Jesus is the Son of God (just like His Father they are one) He died for us to reconcile man to God. He was raised from the dead. He is seated at the right hand of His Father. He sent The Comforter (Holy Spirit) He is coming back. By His blood we are forgiven our trespasses.

    • Mark said it perfectly. It doesn’t matter the version. What matters is what guides and if its the spirit of God then truth will be shown

    • Thank you so much for your comment as I needed to see this. I just am so confused as it says the publishers for the NIV also created a Satanic Bible. I can’t support that

  8. I will stick to the KJV. It was good enough for this country for almost 400 years, and God doesn’t make any mistakes. All the new modern versions give me a bad feeling in my spirit. I know the NIV was satan authored which any true believer who has studied God’s Word knows. I was wondering about the NKJV, but now I am assured that with prayer and study, the KJV is the only version that is authorized by God. I also know after 71 years of my life that God raises up preachers to preach His Word, and The Holy Spirit blesses the hearts of every person who totally depend upon God Almighty for The Truth, The Way, And The Life Who Is Jesus Christ from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus Christ Himself Is Who everybody should be seeking to worship. Intellectual arguments will all be done away with, but The Word Of God will stand forever.
    The Holy Spirit will not bear witness to a lie.

  9. No matter what version you read if it is not with the Holy Spirit you are merely reading literature, when you read it with the Holy Spirit then it becomes a holy bible. Many theologians study the Bible and aren’t Christians. “Lean not on your own understanding”!!!!

  10. Thank you everyone for all of the information, it was very helpful.
    God Bless You All.

  11. Might I also suggest people look into the King James Version Easy Read (KJVER) Bible. It is the same text as the KJV, BUT it does update clearly archaic words like drave is updated to drove & others.

    I love the KJV but I understand some people might struggle with the few archaic words, to them I would recommend the KJVER. I have read both the KJV & KJVER from Genesis through Revelation. In my humble opinion I will take a the KJVER over the NKJV.

    No matter which bible you read, may you grow in faith that Jesus Christ has saved you. God bless you. Amen.

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