New King James Version
Image of a NKJV Pew Bible
NKJV Pew Bible (Hardcover, Black)
OT published1982
NT published1979
Derived fromKing James Version
Textual basis
Translation typeFormal equivalence[3]
Version revision1984
PublisherThomas Nelson
CopyrightThe Holy Bible, New King James Version®
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Religious affiliationProtestant[3]
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
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.

The New King James Version (NKJV) is a translation of the Bible in contemporary English. Published by Thomas Nelson, the complete NKJV was released in 1982. With regard to its textual basis, the NKJV relies on a recently published critical edition (the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia) for the Old Testament,[1] while opting to use the Textus Receptus for the New Testament.[2][a]

The NKJV is described by Thomas Nelson as being "scrupulously faithful to the original,[b] yet truly updated to enhance its clarity and readability."[4]


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2024)

The text for the New Testament was published in 1979; the Psalms in 1980; and the full Bible in 1982. The project took seven years in total to complete.[5]

Translation philosophy

The Executive Editor of the NKJV, Arthur L. Farstad, addressed textual concerns in a book explaining the NKJV translation philosophy.[6] He defended the Majority Text (also called the Byzantine text-type) and claimed that the Textus Receptus is inferior to the Majority Text, but he noted (p. 114) that the NKJV references significant discrepancies among text types in its marginal notes: "None of the three [textual] traditions on every page of the New Testament [...] is labeled 'best' or 'most reliable.' The reader is permitted to make up his or her own mind about the correct reading."[6]


The NKJV translation has become one of the best-selling Bibles in the US. As of July 2022 it is listed as the sixth best selling Bible by the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association).[7]

An unabridged audiobook version called "The Word of Promise Audio Bible" has been produced by the publisher. It is narrated by celebrities and fully dramatized with music and sound effects.[8]

Gideons International, an organization that places Bibles in hotels and hospitals, at one stage used the NKJV translation along with the KJV, offering the KJV as the default translation and offering the NKJV when an organization asked for a Bible in newer English to be used.[citation needed] After HarperCollins' acquisition of Thomas Nelson, however, the Gideons have chosen to start using the English Standard Version (ESV) instead of the NKJV.[9][10]

See also


  1. ^ Footnotes are provided regarding textual variants found in the Nestle–Aland Novum Testamentum Graece and the Majority Text.
  2. ^ That is, the King James Version.


  1. ^ a b "Preface to the New King James Version". Archived from the original on August 23, 2021. Retrieved August 23, 2021. For the New King James Version the text used was the 1967/1977 Stuttgart edition of the Biblia Hebraica, with frequent comparisons being made with the Bomberg edition of 1524-25. The Septuagint (Greek) Version of the Old Testament and the Latin Vulgate also were consulted. In addition to referring to a variety of ancient versions of the Hebrew Scriptures, the New King James Version draws on the resources of relevant manuscripts from the Dead Sea caves.
  2. ^ a b "Preface to the New King James Version". Archived from the original on August 23, 2021. Retrieved August 23, 2021. The King James New Testament was based on the traditional text of the Greek-speaking churches, first published in 1516, and later called the Textus Receptus or Received Text. ... because the New King James Version is the fifth revision of a historic document translated from specific Greek texts, the editors decided to retain the traditional text in the body of the New Testament and to indicate major Critical and Majority Text variant readings in the footnotes.
  3. ^ a b "Bible Translation Spectrum". Logos Bible Software Wiki. Archived from the original on January 7, 2023. Retrieved January 7, 2023.
  4. ^ "New King James Version Bible". Thomas Nelson Bibles. Archived from the original on August 23, 2021. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  5. ^ "New King James Version (NKJV Bible)". The Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
  6. ^ a b Arthur L. Farstad, "The New King James Version in the Great Tradition," 2nd edition, 1989, Thomas Nelson Publishers, ISBN 0-8407-3148-5.
  7. ^ "ECPA Best Sellers: Bible Translations". ECPA (Christian trade association) Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. July 2022.
  8. ^ Groves, Martha (16 November 2009), "Stars lined up for elaborate audio Bible", Los Angeles Times
  9. ^ Staff (June 2013). "Development and Growth of the English Standard Version". The Gideons International. Retrieved 2013-10-14. [dead link]
  10. ^ Klein, Peter. The Catholic Source Book, p. 146, Harcourt Religious Publishers, 2000. ISBN 0-15-950653-0