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New King James Bible

QUESTION: What is the New King James Bible?


The New King James Bible is a revision of the 1611 King James Version as revised in 1769, which is the version in general usage today. The revision was an undertaking led in 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, successors to the British firm that had first published the English Revised Version (1885), the American Standard Version (1901) and the Revised Standard Version (1952). They sought to provide a revision of the King James Bible that would retain the traditional text while taking account of variant readings in footnotes.

To come up with an acceptable revision that would meet the needs of public worship, Christian education and personal reading and study, they selected leading clergymen and Christian laymen who were invited to meetings in Chicago, Illinois, and Nashville, Tennessee in 1975 and in London, England in 1976. Almost 100 church leaders from a broad spectrum of churches gave strong endorsement to a New King James Version.

To this end, biblical scholars were selected to work on the New King James Bible project and they came from all over the world; Canada, England, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and the United States. They were hopeful that by selecting such a diverse team, the New King James Version would reflect international accepted English usage. All of the translators worked privately using the Bilia Hebraica Stuttgatensia for the Old Testament or the Scrivener Greek Text for the New Testament and all used the 1611 King James Version as revised in 1769. Each scholar then submitted their work to the executive editor of either the Old or New Testament. A concordance and word studies of the English, Greek and Hebrew were prepared by the executive editors and their associates.

Using the original texts and the King James Bible in view of the guidelines, the executive editors for each Testament reviewed each scholar's work. Each book was then submitted to the English editor to be checked for grammatical accuracy, literary beauty and effective communication or readability. Over a period of four years, a final exhaustive review was carried out by a separate executive review committee for each Testament. The review process was completed in July, 1981, at St. Andres University in northeast Scotland not far from King James' residence, Sterling Castle.

As in the older version of the King James Bible, words added to the English in the New King James Version for purposes of clarity, which were not in the original Hebrew or Greek, were shown in italics and subject headings were developed jointly by the executive editors and the English editor.

The stated goal of producing the New King James Version was to produce a revision of the King James Bible prepared with profound reverence for the Word of God and with a deep appreciation of the wise traditions established by the translators of the 1611 King James Bible. The translators worked with the hope that their revision clarified the meaning of the Scriptures and brought the treasures of God's Word to the reader.

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