New king james version (NKJV)

Beautiful. Trustworthy. Today.

The NKJV preserves the authority and accuracy, as well as the rhythm and beauty,
of the original King James Version while making it understandable to current readers.


First Bible printed by Cambridge University Press


Printed by Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel


Printed by Dr. Thomas Paris, Trinity College, Cambridge University


Printed by Dr. Benjamin Blayney, Oxford University


NKJV New Testament released from Thomas Nelson Publishers. The New King James Version becomes the fifth major revision.


NKJV Book of Psalms is released.


NKJV Full Bible is released.


In 1611, the King James Version of the Holy Bible was published in England. No other book has had as much impact on the world as this historic translation. Earlier century scholars maintained the translation by modifying grammar, spelling and word usage to keep the biblical language alive and relevant for each new generation. In 1769, updates to the King James Version ceased, and its words continue to be cherished today. In the last thirty years, more than forty modern translations of the Bible have been published, and the King James Version continues to be the overwhelmingly favorite translation.

In 1975, more than two-hundred years since the King James Version’s last update, the boldest and most extensive revision in the history of modern Bible publishing began. With a 130-person team of Greek, Hebrew, and English scholars, editors, church leaders, and Christian laity Thomas Nelson Publishers sought to preserve the accuracy and poetry of the King James Version, but in a language that the everyday person could understand. In 1979 the NKJV New Testament was finished, releasing only the Book of Psalms in 1980. In 1982, the New King James Version was released in its entirety, seven years after its commission, making it the fifth major revision to the beloved King James Version.


The King James Version is the most widely known Bible translation around the world. Though its Shakespearean English is most recognized when referencing Bible verses, its coherence began to diminish to the common reader. Since 1611, many words used in the English language have changed in meaning or have gone out of use altogether. Additionally, twentieth and twenty-first century scholars, theologians, and Church laity have a much stronger understanding of the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek languages of which the original Scriptures were written.

When the New King James Version was commissioned the need to preserve the beauty and trustworthiness of the King James Version was imminent, however, language and dialect barriers needed to be addressed. The New King James Version Bible translation is scrupulously faithful, a preservation of the authority and accuracy, as well as rhythm and beauty, with resounding clarity and understandability for today’s reader.


When choosing a primary Bible translation, there are three core elements to look for:

The NKJV preserves the traditional literary quality of the King James Version. As the latest revision of the time-honored 1611 Bible, it deliberately seeks to maintain the sound, language, and rhythm that lovers of the Bible have come to expect, while modernizing when necessary to prevent misunderstanding. The Bible reader needs to be fed in both the head and the heart. Accuracy without literary beauty would feed the head more than the heart. Ingenuity or creativity in composition without enough accuracy would thrill the heart, but the head would not be well served. The New King James Version achieves the necessary balance between understanding and spiritual uplift.

The Bible is a literary classic. Even today, 400 years since the King James Version was first published, it is still what people think of first when they think of “the Bible.” Time and again, readers remark that they want their Bible to “sound like the Bible,” and by that they mean the KJV. The NKJV does that better than any other modern Bible translation.

The NKJV translates from the traditional texts of the Hebrew and Aramaic Old Testament and the Greek New Testament, and it has footnotes wherever variations are found in critical texts that would affect the wording of the English translation.

The translation method is “complete equivalence,” which is sometimes known as formal equivalence. It gives the meaning clearly in natural English while maintaining as much of the wording and grammar of the original languages as possible. Therefore, the match between the original language and the English translation is as complete as can be, making the NKJV ideal for close study. The NKJV was created using a painstaking translation and review process involving scholars in countries around the world.

The NKJV is written in today’s language for today’s reader. All of the accuracy and beauty in the world wouldn’t mean much if it couldn’t be understood. To achieve maximum clarity, the NKJV uses modern English that is dignified but natural. Its presentation is formal, yet at the same time, graceful, pleasant, and uncomplicated.

The reading level is eighth grade, which is quite a bit easier than many would expect in a direct revision of the King James Version. That’s because the NKJV’s stylists were careful to eliminate any English that would be archaic, obsolete, or unnatural for today’s reader, but they were deliberate about keeping the good things about the KJV’s style and manner.