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The False Witness of


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The False Witness of


G. A. Riplinger's Death Certificate for

the New King James Version

(Revised 10/6/97)


A recent publication by Mrs. G. A. Riplinger is represented by her as the death certificate for the New King James Version of the Bible (NKJV). Riplinger is an avid defender of the Old King James Version (KJV) which clearly gives God's commandment: "Thou shalt not bear false witness" (Exod. 20:16). Riplinger's pub­lication is a classic example of a false witness. Mrs. Riplinger has no academic cre­dentials in Biblical languages, in Biblical translation, or in textual criticism. She knows neither Hebrew nor Greek.1 She is unqualified to make the criticisms she does of the NKJV, and her publication demonstrates this lack of qualification to all but the extremely naive.

Omissions


The first section of her publication is entitled "NEW KING JAMES OMISSIONS." This gives her unsuspecting readers the impression that she has documented places where the NKJV has failed to translate important Hebrew and Greek words of the Bible--that is, where the NKJV has left out important words. This is a false accusation, without any confirmation or demonstration. The NKJV did not fail to translate any of the Hebrew and Greek words underlying the words and phrases she listed. She has wrongly used the term "omission" in the sense of "translated by a different English word." This was done with the subversive intent of convincing her uninformed readers that the NKJV followed Hebrew and Greek texts different than the Textus Receptus used by the KJV translators.
Lord

Riplinger's first accusation is that the "NKJV omits the word 'Lord' 66 times." This statement is false for two reasons: (1) the NKJV did not omit any words in the Hebrew and Greek texts, but translated the underlying Hebrew and Greek words by English words different than the word "lord" in the KJV. (2) Riplinger capitalized the first letter of the word, this was done to convince her unsuspecting readers that the NKJV omitted words refer­ring to God, thus undermining His sovereign lordship. The truth is that the KJV has the word "lord" (without a capital letter) in most of the places where the NKJV uses a different word, and only four refer to God or Jesus Christ. Not a single instance undermines the sovereign lordship of God or Jesus Christ in the slightest way.

In seventeen places the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  ('adon), meaning lord or master, as "master" instead of the KJV "lord."2 In all these places the word refers to a man of superior rank with respect to others in the context, such as a king, a high ranking officer, a slave owner, or the husband of a concubine. Elsewhere the KJV translates this Hebrew word as "master" 101 times in contexts similar to this; otherwise both the KJV and NKJV translate this word as "Lord" when it refers to God.

In two places the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  (gebir), meaning a strong one, as "master" instead of the KJV "lord."3 In these places Isaac blessed Jacob with tribal leadership over his brethren. Isaac did not give Jacob lordship over his brothers, but headship or leadership. These are the only occurrences of this Hebrew word in the Bible.

In one place the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  (sar), meaning prince, as "prince" instead of the KJV "lord."4 Here the reference is to high rank­ing officers under the king of Persia. Elsewhere in similar contexts the KJV trans­lates this Hebrew word as "prince" 208 times. This is the only place where the KJV translated this word as "lord."

In four places the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  (shalish), meaning one over three, as "officer" or "captain" instead of the KJV "lord."5 Here the reference is to an aide of a king. Elsewhere in a similar context the KJV trans­lated this Hebrew word as "captain" eleven times.

Once the NKJV translated the Aramaic word  (rabreban), meaning a great one, as "nobles" instead of the KJV "lords."6 Here the reference is to noblemen subordinate to King Nebuchadnezzar.

In thirty two places the NKJV translated the Greek word kurio" (kurios)--mean­ing Lord when referring to Deity and master, owner, or sir when referring to men--as "master" instead of the KJV "lord."7 Here the references are to the master of servants or the owner of slaves. Elsewhere in similar contexts the KJV trans­lated this Greek word as "master" fourteen times.

Twice the NKJV translated the Greek word kurio" (kurios) as "owner" instead of the KJV "lord."8 Here the reference is to the owner of a vineyard. Else­where in a similar context the KJV translated the Greek word kurio" (kurios) as "owner."

Once the NKJV translated the Greek word kurio" (kurios) as "sir" instead of the KJV "lord."9 The reference is a servant addressing his master. Elsewhere in similar contexts the KJV translated the Greek word kurio" (kurios) as "sir" thir­teen times.

Once the NKJV translated the Greek word megistane" (megistanes), meaning a great man, as "nobles" instead of the KJV "lords."10 Here the reference is to noblemen subordinate to King Herod. This is the only place where the KJV translated this word as "lords." Elsewhere the KJV translated this word as "great men."

Once the NKJV translated the Greek word rabboni (rabboni), meaning rabbi, as "Rabboni" instead of the KJV "Lord."11 Here the reference is to the Lord Jesus Christ addressed as Rabbi not Lord. The KJV translates this word elsewhere as "Rabboni."

Four times the NKJV transliterated the Hebrew divine name (YAH) as "YAH" instead of the KJV "LORD."12 The name is the abbreviated form of the sacred tetragram  (YHWH) which is nearly always translated as "LORD." This abbreviated form of the name occurs in many personal names in the Old Tes­tament. In one of these four instances the KJV transliterated this name as "JAH."13

The evidence demonstrates that Riplinger bore false witness. No words in the Hebrew and Greek texts were omitted in the NKJV, but rather the NKJV translated the Hebrew and Greek words with English words different and more accurate than those in the KJV. In most instances the NKJV used the same words that the KJV used elsewhere to translate the given Hebrew and Greek words. None but the last four instances refer to deity, and capitalization in the NKJV clearly indicates that they refer to deity. The wording of the NKJV better reflects the diversity of the Hebrew and Greek words; it clarifies the sense of the associ­ated context; and it makes the KJV more consistent with itself14 and more faithful to the Hebrew and Greek texts.


God

Riplinger's second accusation is that the "NKJV omits the word 'God' 51 times." This is a subtle but false accusation given to persuade her uninformed readers that the NKJV deliberately undermines the place of God in the Bible. The truth is that the KJV added the word "God" in fifty-one or more places where the Hebrew or Greek text did not contain it--and that without using italics in most cases. This was because the KJV used dynamic equivalence paraphrases such as "God forbid," "God save the king," or "God speed" instead of a more literal expression in good English. In all these places the NKJV made the KJV more literal and more faithful to the Hebrew and Greek texts without undermining the place of God in the Bible.

Twice the NKJV translated the Hebrew word (tsur), meaning "rock," as "Rock" instead of the KJV "God."15 The Hebrew text does not contain the word God. The KJV translated this Hebrew word as "rock" sixty two times, a number of which include the word as a figure for God.16 The NKJV made the KJV more consistent with itself and more faithful to the Hebrew text.

Eight times the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  (chalilah), meaning far be it, as "far be it," "certainly not!" or "by no means!" instead of the KJV "God forbid."17 The Hebrew text does not contain the word "God" or the word "forbid." Elsewhere in similar contexts the KJV translated this word as "far be it" (nine times) or "forbid" (four times). The NKJV made the KJV more literal to the Hebrew text, and avoided using the name of God as a strong interjection.18

Eight times the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  (chayah), meaning let live, as "long live" [the king] instead of the KJV "God save" [the king].19 The Hebrew text does not contain the word "God" nor the word "save." In fact the context does not refer to the salvation of the king, but to a wish for his long life. The KJV translated this Hebrew word as "live" 148 times. The NKJV made the KJV more literal to the Hebrew text and avoided the use of the name of God in a strong exclamation.

Four times the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  (lu), meaning if only, as "if only" or "O, that" instead the KJV "would to God."20 The Hebrew text does not contain the word "God." The KJV translated this Hebrew word by other means in all other places. The NKJV made the KJV more literal to the Hebrew text, and avoided the use of the name of God in a strong exclamation.

Five times the NKJV translated the Hebrew expression (mi yitten), an idiom meaning O that, as "O that" or "if only" instead of the KJV "would God."21 The Hebrew text does not contain the word "God." Elsewhere in similar contexts the KJV translated this Hebrew idiom as "O that" fifteen times.22 The NKJV made the KJV more consistent with itself, more literal to the Hebrew text, and it avoided the use of the name of God in a strong exclamation.

Once the NKJV translated the Hebrew word ('achalay), meaning O that or would that, as "if only" instead of the KJV "would God."23 The Hebrew text does not contain the word "God." Elsewhere the KJV translates this word as "O that."24 The NKJV made the KJV more literal to the Hebrew text, and avoided the use of the name of God in a strong exclamation.

Fourteen times the NKJV translated the Greek expression mh genoito (me genoito), meaning let it not be so, as "certainly not!" instead of the KJV "God for­bid."25 The Greek text does not contain the word "God" nor the word "forbid." The NKJV made the KJV more literal to the Greek text, and avoided using the name of God in a strong interjection.

Four times the NKJV translated the Greek word crhmatizw (chrematizo), meaning to receive a divine oracle, as "divinely instructed" or "divinely warned" instead of the KJV "warned of God."26 The Greek text does not contain the word "God."

Once the NKJV translated the Greek word crhmatismo" (chrematismos), meaning a divine response or oracle, as "divine response" instead of the KJV "answer of God."27 The Greek text does not contain the word "God."

Once the NKJV translated the Greek word latreia" (lateias), meaning a service, as "services" instead of the KJV "service of God."28 The Greek text does not contain the word "God."

Twice the NKJV translated the Greek word cairw (chairo), meaning to greet, as "greet" instead of the KJV "bid God speed."29 The Greek text does not contain the word "God" nor the word "speed." Elsewhere the KJV translates this word as "greeting" three times.30

Once the NKJV omits the phrase "the LORD thy God" which was added by the KJV in italics.31 The phrase occurs two other times in the very same verse, and the KJV addition is redundant, not necessary for understanding the clear sense of the text.

Three times the NKJV corrected the KJV from "God" to "Lord" because the Hebrew or Greek text has "Lord" not "God."32

The evidence demonstrates that Riplinger bore false witness. No words in the Hebrew and Greek texts were omitted or overlooked in the NKJV. The NKJV merely did not retain those English words that the KJV added to the text in the first place, usually without putting the added words in italics. The wording of the NKJV is a more literal rendering the Hebrew and Greek words; it clarifies the sense of the associated context; and it makes the KJV more consistent with itself and more faithful to the Hebrew and Greek texts.


Heaven

Riplinger's third accusation is that the "NKJV omits the word 'heaven' 50 times." This is a false statement given to convince her unsuspecting readers that the NKJV is undermining the importance of God's celes­tial abode. Again the truth is that no words in the Hebrew or Greek texts were omitted. Instead the NKJV translated the words with different but more accurate English words--in this case with the words "heavens," "sky," or "air." The Hebrew word  (shamayim) occurs only in the plural form, and may refer to God's heavenly abode, to the realm of the earthly atmosphere, to the realm of the strato­sphere, or to the celestial realm of the stars. In Modern English usage the singular form of the word "heaven" usually refers to God's abode, and the plural form usually refers to the others. The KJV is not consistent in the use of the singular and plural form.33 The NKJV corrected this in the places where confusion might occur. Thus, instead of undermining the importance of God's celestial abode, the NKJV clarifies places in the Bible where confusion about Heaven might occur.

In forty seven places the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  (shamayim) as "heavens" instead of the KJV "heaven" for the above reason.34 The KJV often translated this Hebrew word as "heavens." Once the NKJV translated this word as "sky" instead of the KJV "heaven."35 Three times the NKJV trans­lated this word as "air" instead of the KJV "heaven."36 Here the reference is to the birds of the air. Elsewhere in similar contexts the KJV translated this word as "air" twenty one times.

Once the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  (galgal), meaning whirlwind, as "whirlwind" instead of the KJV "heaven."37 Here the context refers to a catastrophic storm.

Once the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  (shachaq), meaning cloud or sky, as "heavens" instead of the KJV "heaven."38 Once the NKJV trans­lated the same word as "sky" instead the KJV "heaven."39 Here the reference is to the domain of the moon and stars. These are the only instances where the KJV translated this word as "heaven." Elsewhere the KJV translated the word as "cloud" (eleven times) or "sky" (seven times).

Once the NKJV translated the Greek word ourano" (ouranos), meaning heaven or sky, as "sky" instead of the KJV "heaven."40 Clearly the reference is to the sky and not to the abode of God. Elsewhere in similar contexts the KJV trans­lated this word as "sky" five times.41

The evidence demonstrates that Riplinger bore false witness. No words in the Hebrew and Greek texts were omitted or overlooked in the NKJV. The NKJV translated the Hebrew or Greek words by more accurate and consistent English words--usually English words used by the KJV in similar contexts to translate the given words. In most of these instances the NKJV merely changed a singular form to its more accurate plural form. Obviously the words were not omitted. The wording of the NKJV clarifies the sense of the associated context, and it makes the KJV more consistent with itself and more faithful to the Hebrew and Greek texts. None of these instances reflect any bias against God's heavenly abode.
Repent

Riplinger's fourth accusation is that the "NKJV omits the word 'repent' 44 times." This is a false statement given to persuade her uninformed readers that the NKJV is undermining the important doctrine of repentance. The truth is that no words in the Hebrew or Greek texts were omitted, but that the NKJV translated the given words with different but more accurate English words than those in the KJV. The problem primarily centers around the meaning of the word repent and the character of God. In Modern English the word repent conveys the idea of changing ones behavior from evil to good. In this sense, God cannot and does not repent. The Scripture says: "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall not he do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Num 23:19). Instead of undermining the doctrine of repentance, the NKJV strengthens the doctrine by clarifying places in the Bible where the doctrine could be confused.

In twenty six places the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  (nacham),42 meaning to be sorry or repent (or relent), as "relent" instead of the KJV "repent."43 Here, in all these instances, the reference is to God changing His mind about some potential action, not to God repenting from some moral evil. The NKJV brings the KJV up to current English usage and makes it more consistent with itself.

In four places the NKJV translated the same Hebrew word as "be sorry" or "regret" instead of the KJV "repent."44 Here the reference is to God being regret­ful of some past events, not to God repenting from some moral evil.

In four places the NKJV translated the Hebrew word as "have compassion" or "be moved to pity" instead of the KJV "repent."45 Here the reference is to God having compassion or pity on His servants, not to God repenting from some moral evil. The objects of the verb are people not deeds.

Once the NKJV translated the Hebrew word as "change the mind" instead of the KJV "repent."46 Here the reference is to the Israelites possibly changing their minds about leaving Egypt when they encounter war, not to their repenting from sin or disobedience.

Twice the NKJV translated the Hebrew word as "grieved" instead of the KJV "repent." Here the reference is to the Israelites grieving for the tribe of Ben­jamin because they had killed all the Benjamite women. The object of the verb is the surviving Benjamite men, not some sin or evil. The destruction of the Benja­mite cities was done under the instruction of God.

Once the NKJV translated the Greek word metamelwmai (metamelomai), meaning to repent (or relent), as "relent" instead of the KJV "repent."47 Here the reference is to God not changing His mind in the future about some act in the past, namely His oath by which He appointed Jesus as a priest after the order of Melchizedek. This passage quotes Psalm 110:4 where the NKJV also uses the word "relent." The reference is not to God repenting of some moral evil.

Once the NKJV translated that same Greek word as "relent" instead of the KJV "repent."48 Here the reference is to the Jews not changing their minds about believing the preaching of John the Baptist.

Four times the NKJV translated the Greek word as "regret" instead of the KJV "repent."49 Here the references are to persons being regretful of some former action not involving moral evil.

Once the NKJV translated the Greek word as "be remorseful" instead of the KJV "repent."50 Here the reference is to Judas Iscariot. It is very unlikely that Judas repented in the sense that it led to his salvation, because the Scripture says: "Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place" (Acts 1:25).

The evidence indicates that Riplinger bore false witness. No words in the Hebrew and Greek texts were omitted in the NKJV, instead they were translated by more accurate English words than those in the KJV. The NKJV made the KJV more accurate to the Hebrew and Greek words in their context, and more consis­tent with itself. None of these instances are related to the doctrine of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.


Blood

Riplinger's fifth accusation is that the "NKJV omits the word 'blood' 23 times." This is a false statement given to convince her unsuspecting readers that the NKJV is undermining the important doctrine of blood atonement. The truth is that no words in the Hebrew or Greek texts were omitted, but that the NKJV translated the given words with different but more accurate English words than those in the KJV. In nearly every instance the word used by the NKJV is a compound word containing "blood" as one of its compo­nents, such as bloodshed or bloodguiltiness. In each case, the plural form of the word blood or other evidence from the context indicated that something more than mere blood was involved. None of these instances are related to the doctrine of blood atonement.

In sixteen places the NKJV translated the Hebrew word  (dam--usually in the plural) as "bloodshed" instead of the KJV "blood."51 Here the reference is to the crime of shedding blood, not merely to the blood itself.

In five places the NKJV translated this Hebrew word (usually in the plural) as "bloodguilt" or "bloodguiltiness" instead of the KJV "blood."52 Here the refer­ence is to the guilt acquired by shedding blood, not merely to the blood itself.

Once the NKJV translated this Hebrew word as "life" instead of the KJV "blood."53 Here the reference is to a person taking a stand against his neighbor's life, not merely his blood. In this case the blood represents one's life as indicated by the Scripture: "the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Lev 17:11).

Once the NKJV translated this Hebrew word as "bloodline" instead of the KJV "blood."54 Here the prophet gave a parable lamenting Israel's origin. The reference is to Israel's mother in her bloodline, not merely to blood itself.

Once the NKJV translated the Greek word ai|ma (haima) as "bloodshed" instead of the KJV "blood."55 Here the reference is to Christians resisting hostility from sinners to the point of bloodshed.

The evidence indicates that Riplinger bore false witness. No words in the Hebrew and Greek texts were omitted in the NKJV, instead they were translated by English words that make better sense than those in the KJV. In every case but one the English words are compound words that include blood as a component. The NKJV made the KJV more accurate to the Hebrew and Greek words in their context. None of the instances had any bearing on the doctrine of blood atone­ment.


Hell

Riplinger's sixth accusation is that the "NKJV omits the word 'hell' 22 times. This is a false statement given to convince her uninformed readers that the NKJV is undermining the importance of hell and eternal punishment. The truth is that no words in the Hebrew or Greek texts were omitted. Instead the NKJV translated the given words with different but more accurate English words than those in the KJV in order to avoid the confusion in the KJV, and to maintain proper distinction between the words used in the Bible to refer to the place of the departed dead.

In Modern English the word hell means the place of punishment for the wicked after death. However, the Hebrew word  (sheol) means either grave or the place of the souls after death, whether righteous or wicked. The KJV translated this word as grave 31 times, as hell 31 times, and as pit three times. As a consequence, the KJV indicates that some righteous men went to hell after death.56 The Scripture makes it clear that the righteous do not go to a place of punishment after death, so it is appropriate for the NKJV to distinguish between Sheol (the place of the departed dead in general) and hell (that place in Sheol re­served for the punishment of the wicked). The context in which the Hebrew word sheol occurs indicates which reference is intended. Where the context refers to the righteous after death or to the place itself, the NKJV transliterated the word as a proper place name--Sheol. Where the context refers to the wicked dead, the NKJV translated the word with the KJV as "hell."

Thirteen times the NKJV transliterated the Hebrew word sheol as "Sheol" instead of translating it as the KJV "hell."57 Here the reference is to the place of the departed dead in general or to the place of the righteous dead.

Four times the NKJV transliterated this Hebrew word as "Sheol" instead of translating it as the KJV "grave."58 Here the reference is to the place of the departed dead in general, not to the place where their bodies were buried.

Once the NKJV transliterated this Hebrew word as "Sheol" instead of the KJV "pit."59 Here the reference is to the place of the departed dead. The place should be referred to by its proper name, as contained in the Hebrew text, not by a synonym.

Once the NKJV translated this Hebrew word as "hell" instead of the KJV "grave."60 Here the reference is to the place of the wicked dead, not merely to the place where their bodies were buried.

In New Testament Greek the word a/{dh" (hades) is the equivalent of the Hebrew word Sheol. It is the word consistently used in the Septuagint (an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament) to translate the Hebrew word sheol. Its relationship with Greek mythology is of no consequence, because the translators of the Greek Old Testament and the writers of the Greek New Testament chose this word as the equivalent of Sheol. It means the place of the departed dead, whether righteous or wicked. The Greek New Testament uses two other words to specifi­cally refer to the place of punishment of the wicked after death--Gehenna and Tartarus. It is important in a translation of the Bible not to obscure the distinction between these words. Therefore, the NKJV transliterated the Greek word hades as the proper place name Hades, and translated the other two words as hell.

In ten places the NKJV transliterated the Greek word hades as the proper place name "Hades" instead of the KJV "hell."61 This is in keeping with the above discussion.

Once the NKJV transliterated the Greek word hades as the proper place name "Hades" instead of the KJV "grave."62 This too is in keeping with the above discussion. The reference is to the place of the departed dead, not merely to the place where they were buried.

The evidence indicates that Riplinger bore false witness. No words in the Hebrew and Greek texts were omitted in the NKJV, instead they were translated by English words that make better sense than those in the KJV, and made impor­tant distinctions between the different Hebrew and Greek words that were some­what obscured in the KJV. There is no instance that undermines the doctrine of the eternal punishment of the wicked after death.
Jehovah

Riplinger's seventh accusation is that the "NKJV omits the word 'JEHOVAH' entirely." This is a false statement given to persuade her unsuspecting readers that the NKJV is undermining the importance of the names of God in the Bible. The truth is that no words in the Hebrew or Greek texts were omitted. Instead the NKJV translated the given words with dif­ferent but more accurate English words than those in the KJV in order to avoid the confusion in the KJV. In seven places the KJV transliterated the sacred Hebrew tetragram  (YHWH) as "JEHOVAH"63 instead of translating it "LORD" as was done over 6,000 times in the rest of the KJV.

This Hebrew name became so sacred among the ancient Jews that it was unlawful for them to pronounce it. Instead they always substituted the word  ('adonay), meaning Lord, in its place when they read the Scripture in public. This tradition was continued consistently when the Hebrew Bible was translated into other languages both ancient and modern. All translations use the word "Lord" in place of the sacred tetragram. In English translations the sacred name is translated as "LORD" with all capital letters to distinguish it from other words translated "lord" or "Lord."

The name JEHOVAH is a hybrid word consisting of the consonants of the sacred tetragram  (YHWH or JHVH as borrowed from German tradition) and the vowels e, o, and a taken from the substitute Hebrew word  ('adonay). The hybrid word became JeHoVaH. This pronunciation was unknown until AD 1520 when it was introduced by Galatinus the confessor of Pope Leo X.64 This pronun­ciation was strongly protested by the informed scholars of that day as being ungrammatical and contrary to historical propriety.65 In spite of the scholarly pro­tests, the hybrid name found its way into the English Bible in seven places.

The translators of the American Standard Version of 1901 chose to trans­late the sacred name as "Jehovah" in each of the over 6,000 instances where it occurs. This decision was reversed in the New American Standard Version for obvious scholarly reasons, so the NASV no longer contains the name Jehovah. For the same reason, the NKJV does not contain a name for God that was unknown to any Jew or Christian until the sixteenth century. The use of such a name is an anachronism.

The evidence indicates that Riplinger bore false witness. No words in the Hebrew and Greek texts were omitted in the NKJV, instead they were translated by English words that make the KJV consistent with itself, and that avoid the use of an ungrammatical and unhistorical anachronism.


New Testament

Riplinger's eighth accusation is that the "NKJV omits the word [sic] 'new testament' entirely." This is a false statement given to convince her uninformed readers that the NKJV is undermining the importance of the New Testament Scriptures. The truth is that no words in the Greek text were omitted. Instead the NKJV translated the given words with different but more accurate English words than those in the KJV in order to avoid the confusion in the KJV.

The Greek word diaqhkh (diatheke) means a testament (will) or a cove­nant. The KJV translated this word as testament thirteen times and as covenant twenty times, but not consistently. In those places where the reference is to a will or testament, the English word testament is appropriate. But in those places where the reference is to a covenant between God and man, or between men, the English word covenant is more appropriate. The NKJV followed this convention in order to avoid the confusion of these terms in the KJV.66

In six places the NKJV translated the Greek words kainh diaqhkh (kaine diatheke), meaning new covenant or new testament, as "new covenant" instead of the KJV "new testament."67 Here the reference is to the new covenant between God and mankind mentioned by Jeremiah68 and as cited in Hebrews 10:16-17. It is not a reference to the New Testament Scriptures or to a last will and testament. Elsewhere in similar contexts the KJV translated these words as "new covenant" three times.69

The evidence indicates that Riplinger bore false witness. No words in the Greek text were omitted in the NKJV, instead they were translated by English words that make the KJV more consistent with itself, and that avoids the confusion caused by inconsistent use of the terms in the appropriate context. No instance was an attempt to undermine the New Testament Scripture.
Damnation

Riplinger's ninth accusation is that the "NKJV omits the word 'damnation' entirely." This is a false statement given to convince her unsuspecting readers that the NKJV is undermining the importance of the eter­nal punishment of the wicked. The truth is that no words in the Greek text were omitted. Instead the NKJV translated the given words with different but more accurate English words than those in the KJV in order to avoid the confusion in the KJV.

In seven places the NKJV translated the Greek word krima (krima), meaning condemnation or judgment, as "condemnation"70 or "judgment"71 instead of the KJV "damnation." The reference is to the judicial condemnation and pro­nunciation of judgment rather than on ultimate damnation. This does not deny ulti­mate damnation; because when judgment has been pronounced, damnation is bound to follow. These are the only places where the KJV translated this word so. Elsewhere in similar contexts the KJV translated this word as "condemnation" five times, and as "judgment" thirteen times. The NKJV made the KJV more accurate and more consistent with itself.
In three places the NKJV translated the Greek word krisi" (krisis), meaning condemnation or judgment, as "condemnation" instead of the KJV "damnation."72 The reference is to the judicial condemnation and pronunciation of judgment rather than on ultimate damnation. Thayer's Greek Lexicon defines krisi" as "judgment; i. e. opinion or decision given concerning anything, esp. concerning justice and injustice, right and wrong."73 None of the six Greek Lexicons consulted uses the word "damnation" to define the word krisi".74 Regarding Matthew 23:33, John A. Broadus, a great Baptist scholar of an earlier generation, stated: "This last word [damnation] now denotes in English the eternal penalty resulting from judgment or condemnation, and while often necessarily suggested, this is not what the Greek terms themselves express. Accordingly, the words 'damn' and 'damnation' must now give way to 'judge,' 'condemn,' etc., leaving the punishment to be suggested, as it is in the Greek."75 A more contemporary conservative scholar, William Hendriksen, wrote concerning this verse: "How are you going to escape being sentenced to hell. . . . Literally '. . . how shall you escape the condemning judgment of Gehenna?'"76 These three passages are the only places where the KJV translated krisi" as "damnation." Elsewhere in similar contexts the KJV translated this word as "condemnation" three times, and as "judgment" forty-one times.
Once the NKJV translated the Greek word apwleia (apoleia), meaning destruction, as "destruction" instead of the KJV "damnation."77 This is the only place where the KJV translated this word so. Elsewhere in similar contexts the KJV translated this word as "destruction" five times, and as "perdition" eight times.

The evidence indicates that Riplinger bore false witness. No words in the Greek text were omitted in the NKJV, instead they were translated by English words that make the KJV more consistent with itself, and that avoids the confusion caused by inconsistent use of the terms in the appropriate context. No instance undermines the doctrine of the eternal punishment of the wicked dead.


Devils

Riplinger's tenth accusation is that the "NKJV omits the word 'devils' entirely." This is a false statement given to persuade her uninformed readers that the NKJV is undermining the importance of Satan and demons. The truth is that no words in the Greek text were omitted. Instead the NKJV translated the given words with different but more accurate English words than those in the KJV in order to avoid the confusion in the KJV. According to Scripture there is only one devil--Satan. In Modern English the other evil spirits are referred to as demons. The Greek New Testament uses the word diabolo" (diabolos) to refer to the devil (Satan), and the words daimonion (daimonion) or daimwn (daimon) to refer to demons. It is appropriate to distinguish these words in English as they are distinguished in Greek.

In forty three places the NKJV translated the plural form of Greek words daimonion or daimon as "demons" instead of the KJV "devils."78 In twenty places the NKJV translated the singular form of the words as "demon" instead of the KJV "devil."79 Likewise in twelve places the NKJV translated the Greek words mean­ing possessed or vexed by demons as "demon-possessed" instead of the KJV use of "devil" or "devils."80 In four places in the Old Testament the NKJV translated Hebrew words that refer to demons as "demons" instead of the KJV "devils."81 All of this was done to clear up the inconsistency and confusion in the KJV.

The evidence indicates that Riplinger bore false witness. No words in the Greek text were omitted in the NKJV, instead they were translated by English words that make the KJV more consistent with itself, and that avoids the confusion caused by inconsistent use of the terms in the appropriate context. No instance undermines the Biblical doctrine of Satan and demons.


Greek Textus Receptus

Riplinger's eleventh accusation in the section on omissions states that the "NKJV ignored the KJV Greek Textus Receptus over 2000 times." This is a false statement given to convince her unsuspecting readers that the NKJV is translated from a different Greek text than the one used by the KJV translators. The truth is that the NKJV translators followed exactly the same traditional Greek text that was used by the KJV translators. The following is an excerpt from the initial guidelines drawn up for the NKJV project:


The traditional texts of the Greek and Hebrew will be used rather than modern critical texts based on the Westcott and Hort theory. Because of the continued popularity of the traditional text (Textus Receptus) and the increas­ing number of scholars who prefer this text because of its support by the major­ity of manuscripts, it is important that a version of the Bible based on this text be available in current literary English.82
The Greek New Testaments used by the translators of the King James Bible of 1611 were Erasmus' texts of 1527 and 1535, Stevens' texts of 1550 and 1551, Beza's text of 1589 and 1598, and the Complutensian Polyglot of 1514. F. H. A. Scrivener, an outstanding scholar and defender of the traditional text, stated: "The editions of Beza, particularly that of 1598, and the two last editions of Stevens, were the chief sources used for the English Authorized Version of 1611."83 Scriv­ener noted that the translators followed the Beza text against the Stevens text 81 times; they followed Stevens against Beza 21 times; and they followed the Com­plutensian text, the Erasmus text, or the Latin Vulgate against both Stevens and Beza 29 times.84

The Elzevirs published seven editions of the Greek New Testa­ment with essentially the same text as that of Erasmus, Beza, and Stevens. In the Latin introduction to the 1633 edition, Elzivar stated that this text was the Textus Receptus (Received Text). In England, this name subsequently was applied to Ste­vens' text of 1550. However, the exact Greek words followed by the KJV transla­tors did not exist in a single printed edition until the middle of the 19th century when it was published by Oxford Press. Scrivener republished this text in 1894 and again in 1902.85 His text is currently published by the Trinitarian Bible Society,86 and this is the text upon which the NKJV was based. The Publisher's forward to the NKJV states: "the Scrivener Greek Text was the basis of the New Testament." Riplinger and the sources upon whom she relies know this publicized information--they have been informed. Yet they continue to publish misleading statements like the one at hand.

What she really refers to is related to Modern Standard English, not to the underlying Greek text, nor to the NKJV translators ignoring that text. Elizabethan English, like Greek, used second person pronouns that distinguish the singular from the plural, and the nominative case from the objective case, as the following table illustrates:
Nominative Objective

Singular thou thee

Plural ye you
Modern Standard English no longer uses these archaic pronouns but uses only the word you in all instances of number and case. One cannot translate the Bible into Modern Standard English and retain the archaic pronouns of Elizabethan English, otherwise the language is not Modern English. The general population of the English-speaking world does not understand these archaic terms. They must be taught such Elizabethan expressions, and, even so, they become confused by them. However, the reason for translating the Bible into Modern English is to avoid the necessity of pastors having to teach their congregations another language--an archaic, obsolete dialect of English.

Another problem is that Elizabethan English, like Greek, used a subjunctive form for verb phrases. Modern Standard English no longer uses the subjunctive forms of verbs. Such expressions sound unnatural to the general public, and may not be under­stood by them. This is confirmed by George S. Wykoff and Harry Shaw, recognized authorities on Modern English, who stated:


Distinctive subjunctive verb forms in current English have disappeared or are disappearing in favor of more commonly used indicative verb forms.87

. . . .


Only rarely, however, can you find such main-verb subjunctive forms, third person singular, present tense, in current writing. Instead, both subjunctive and other nonindicative mood and nonimperative mood ideas are expressed by the use of auxiliary verbs.88
So by 1969 the use of the subjunctive verb forms was almost extinct in Mod­ern English. This is not to say that the subjunctive mood itself is no longer expressed in Modern Standard English, but that the mood is expressed by other means than by the older subjunctive verb forms.

Other differences of this kind exist between Modern English and Elizabethan English. It is these minor areas, where English grammar in its modern form no longer corresponds with Greek grammar, that Riplinger accuses the NKJV translators of ignoring the Greek text. However, the fault does not lie with the translators but with Modern English. Modern English no longer uses those grammatical features.

Enemies of modern versions of the Bible, such as Riplinger, over exagger­ate the significance of these differences. In most instances the context identifies the antecedent of a pronoun and the reader has no difficulty knowing whether it is sin­gular or plural. Likewise, sentence position indicates whether a pronoun is nomi­native or objective. The disadvantage of those relatively few cases, where the Modern English pronouns are ambiguous, is greatly offset by the tremendous advantage of having the English Bible free of archaic words and grammar. After all, the general English speaking population manages to get along perfectly well in everyday life today without those archaic pronouns and without misunderstanding.

The evidence indicates that Riplinger bore false witness. The NKJV trans­la­tors did not ignore the Greek Textus Receptus text of the Bible. Instead, they followed the same Greek text that the KJV translators used, paying attention to each word as carefully as Modern English enables, and improving on the KJV in many ways, particularly in the area of verb tenses. The enemies of the NKJV have repeated this false charge seemingly without end, but they have failed to produce any legitimate examples of where the NKJV did not accurately follow the reading of the Textus Receptus. If such discrepancies are found, the NKJV would be cor­rected in the very next edition.


Hebrew Textus Receptus

Riplinger's twelfth accusation states that the "NKJV replaced the KJV (ben Chayyim) with the corrupt Stuttgart edition (ben Asher) Old Testament." This is a false statement given to convince her uninformed readers that the NKJV is translated from a different Hebrew text than the one used by the KJV translators. The truth is that the NKJV translators followed exactly the same traditional Hebrew text that was used by the KJV translators. The excerpt from the original guidelines cited above specifies that Hebrew text as a require­ment. The preface of the NKJV states:

For the New King James Version the text used was the 1967/77 Stuttgart edi­tion of the Biblia Hebraica, based on the ben Asher text, while frequent com­parisons were made with the Bomberg edition of 1524-25.

This statement could be misunderstood to agree with Riplinger's accusation except for the reference to frequent comparisons with the Bomberg edition of 1524-25. Actually the Bomberg edition was edited by ben Chayyim and is the text used by the KJV translators. What the preface did not make clear is that the NKJV transla­tors followed the Bomberg edition whenever it differed from the Stuttgart edition, and they included a marginal reference noting the textual difference. Riplinger and the sources upon whom she relies know this information--they have been informed. Yet they continue to publish misleading statements like the one at hand.89

Actually the NKJV improved on the KJV by making it conform to the Bomberg (ben Chayyim) text more exactly than before. For example: twice the NKJV corrected the KJV from "God" to "LORD" because the Hebrew Bomberg text reads "LORD" not "God."90 In Isaiah 13:15 the Bomberg text reads "captured," whereas the KJV reads "joined." In Isaiah 37:18--the Bomberg text reads "lands" or "countries," whereas the KJV reads "nations." In Ezekiel 46:18--the Bomberg text reads "take," whereas the KJV reads "take by oppression." The KJV added extra words, translating one Hebrew word twice in an attempt to har­monize with thoughts in both the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate. In Amos 5:8--the Bomberg text reads "the Pleiades," the name of the celestial con­stellation; whereas the KJV paraphrases as "the seven stars." Here the KJV incon­sistently para­phrases the name of the constellation which it properly translated everywhere else (Job 9:9; 38:31). Many more examples could be provided, but this is sufficient to demonstrate the point.

The evidence indicates that Riplinger bore false witness. The NKJV did not replace the Hebrew text with a different one, but followed exactly the same Hebrew text used by the KJV translators. The enemies of the NKJV have repeated this false charge seemingly without end, but they have failed to produce any legiti­mate examples of where the NKJV did not follow the reading of the Bomberg text in places where the KJV did.91 If such discrepancies are found, the NKJV would be corrected in the very next edition.



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