NKJV Bible Babel in Proverbs

 The Book of Proverbs – KJB compared to the NKJV

In this study we will look at the book of Proverbs. I will show just some, by no means all, of the changes made by the NKJV, which purports to merely update and revise the old language of the KJB. Many of the changes are alluded to in the footnotes of the NKJV. Sometimes a completely different meaning is given to the verse, with no footnotes in the NKJV. I will focus primarily on the KJB versus the new KJB, and not so much on the NIV and NASB.

Proverbs 1:6 – “to understand a proverb and THE INTERPRETATION” ; NKJV “to understand a proverb and AN ENIGMA.” The interpretation of a proverb is not the same as an enigma.

Proverbs 1:32 “the PROSPERITY of fools shall destroy them”. Prosperity is the reading of the Revised Version, Wycliffe, Coverdale, Bishops’ Bible, Geneva, Darby, Douay-Rheims, the Spanish Reina Valera and others, but the NKJV joins the NASB, NIV, ESV and the Catholic New Jerusalem bible 1985 and says “the COMPLACENCY of fools…” Not the same things, are they?

 Good understanding or “high esteem” Proverbs 3:4

Proverbs 3 starts off with “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments.” Verse 4 reads: “So shalt thou find favour and GOOD UNDERSTANDING in the sight of God and man.”

“Good understanding” are two words in Hebrew and English. The word “good” is very common. It is first found in Genesis 1:4 where God saw the light, that it was GOOD.” The two words are found together in I Sam. 25:3 describing Abigail, the wife of Nabal, as “a woman of good understanding.” Psalm 111:10 says: “a good understanding have all they that do his commandments” and in Proverbs 13:15 “Good understanding giveth favour”. Even the NKJV has correctly translated both words as “good understanding” in these three verses.

The word “understanding” is found in Job 17:4 “For thou hast hid their heart from understanding” and in Pro. 16:22 “Understanding is a well-spring of life unto him that hath it.” The word is also translated as wisdom, sense, prudence and discretion.

The versions that agree with the KJB here in Proverbs 3:4 “good understanding” are the Revised Version, the ASV, Coverdale, Bishops’ Bible, the Geneva Bible, the 1936 Hebrew Publication Society version, Douay, Youngs, the Italian Diodati, Third Millenium Bible, Hebrew Names Version, the Living Bible and even Wallace’s NET bible.

However the NKJV says: “and so find favor and HIGH ESTEEM”, the NASB has “GOOD REPUTE” while the NIV has “A GOOD NAME”. The liberal RSV was the first version to pervert the correct sense of this verse. It says: “GOOD REPUTE” and then in a footnote tells us “- Hebrew – understanding.” The Holman Standard now says: “you will find GOOD REPUTE”.

The NRSV then continued with “GOOD REPUTE” but this time omitted the telling footnote, and now the ESV revision of the revision of the revision says: “you will find GOOD SUCCESS”, and then footnotes “or good repute”. Yet “repute” was previously acknowledged by the RSV as being an emendation of the Hebrew text which reads “GOOD UNDERSTANDING.” Do you begin to see how they play this shell game? The New Jerusalem bible 1985 also says “success” even though the previous Douay-Rheims correctly said “good understanding”.

The word is not “name” as the NIV has it at all. In fact the NIV only translates this word once as “name”; nor is “repute” correct, as the NASB only once has it; nor is the NKJV’s ” HIGH ESTEEM.”

The meaning of “high esteem” or “a good name” is not at all the same as a “good understanding”. There are many who have a good understanding yet they are not highly esteemed by men. Likewise there are many that are of high esteem or good repute among men, but are sadly lacking in spiritual good understanding. The modern versions like the NKJV, NIV, NASB, RSV, ESV and Holman all appeal to the pride of man.

In verse 8 we read “It shall be health to thy NAVEL, and marrow to thy bones.”

Navel is the reading of the Revised Version, the ASV, Young’s, Douay, Darby, 1917 and1936 Jewish translations, Geneva, Spanish of 1909 and the Diodati. The RSV and the NKJV footnotes recognize the Hebrew literally says NAVEL, but the NKJV has changed it to “flesh”, while the NIV, NASB and New Jerusalem bible have “body”.  The ESV says “your FLESH” but then footnotes that the literal Hebrew is the word “navel”. The word for navel is found only twice in the Hebrew texts; here and in Ezekiel 16:4 “in the day thou wast born thy NAVEL was not cut”. Even there the NASB, NKJV have retained the word “navel”. Maybe God should have made a better choice of words here in Proverbs 3:8 instead of “navel”, so the modern versions are helping God out with His odd way of expressing Himself – Just to assist the modern reader, you understand. We know better than God how to express what He really wants to say.

In verse 25 we read “Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the DESOLATION OF THE WICKED, when it cometh.” The RV, ASV, 1917, 1936, Geneva, Young’s, Darby agree with the KJB. Even the NIV, ESV and Holman agree in sense though they word it a little differently.

The NIV says: “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked.” But the NKJV reads: “Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble FROM the wicked when it comes.” The NASB has “nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes”. The NASB could go either way, but it leans heavily toward the more perverted NKJV.

The NKJV clearly states that the trouble that comes is FROM the wicked, rather than the desolation that comes upon the wicked from God as a judgment. The next verse makes this clear. “For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” Judgment shall come from God upon this world and the wicked shall be made desolate, but we are safe in the care of God. If we read it as it stands in the NKJV, the wicked make us desolate. If we are made desolate by the wicked, then how is God keeping out feet from being taken? It is a contradiction.

What these little studies are showing is that if all these bibles are the inspired words of God, as some foolishly claim, then we end up not really being sure of what God actually said. Guess who wants us to be in that position? Yea, hath God said?

3:35 “The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the PROMOTION of fools.”

To Promote is the same word found in 4:8 where it says “exalt her and she shall promote thee.” To promote is to move forward, and though fools who despise the words of God may prosper in this world, God shall turn them over to shame for having lived a life apart from God. This is still in their future, just as glory shall be the inheritance of the wise. The RV and ASV read just like the KJB. However, the NKJV says: “shame shall be the LEGACY of fools.” The legacy is what they leave behind for others. Completely different meaning.

4:18 “But the path of the just is as the shining LIGHT, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” NKJV “like the shining SUN” footnote – lit. light.

The light that shines in the spiritual darkness of this world does get brighter, as we understand more of God’s word until the perfect day come when He is fully revealed to us. This word is “light” both physical and spiritual, and is never translated as “sun” in the KJB. The sun, on the other hand, rises, passes across the sky and then sinks into coming darkness. Just a little change by the NKJV, which admits the word is literally “light”, and the meaning is subtly altered.

Proverbs 6:11 “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as ONE THAT TRAVELLETH, and thy want as an armed man.”

The Hebrew word used here is #1980 hah-lach. It is very common and means simply “to travel, to go, to walk”. It is used in such phrases as “Enoch walked with God” and “he IS GONE on a long journey” Proverbs 7:19. In fact, the same word is found in the next verse as “walketh with a froward mouth.” One who travels, eventually comes to his destination; so through idleness, poverty eventually arrives. But this word has nothing to do with “a robber”.

Other Bible versions that read as the KJB “so shall thy poverty come as ONE THAT TRAVELLETH” are Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible, the Douay-Rheims, Young’s, the Spanish Reina Valera, Douay, Italian Diodati, Webster’s, Green’s 1998 MKJV, and the Third Millenium Bible.

However the NKJV joins the ASV, NRSV, Holman, and ESV and says “so shall your poverty come AS A ROBBER”. The NASB, RSV have “a vagabond”, which is more like the KJB meaning. The NIV has “LIKE A BANDIT” but then footnotes “or like a vagrant.” The New Jerusalem bible has “a vagrant”

Daniel Wallace’s NET bible also reads as the perverted NKJV. It says: “and your poverty will come like A ROBBER”, but then in his footnote Dr. Wallace says: ” Hebrew “like a wayfarer” or “like a traveler.” The LXX has “swiftness like a traveler.” It has also been interpreted as a “highwayman” or a “dangerous assailant.” W. McKane suggests “vagrant” . Someone traveling swiftly would likely be a robber.”

All Wallace’s footnote tells us is that he knows what the Hebrew text actually says, but he has chosen to alter it, and instead, put in his own private interpretion – just like the NKJV did.

6:22 “when thou goest IT shall lead thee…IT shall keep thee…IT shall talk with thee. NKJV “THEY” in all three. footnote Lit. It.

8:16 Wisdom is speaking and says “By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges OF THE EARTH.”


Here the NKJV reads as does the King James Bible, but it has a false and lengthy footnote. After reading the same as the KJB, it then footnotes: “Masoretic text (this is a false and misleading statement), Syriac, Targum and Vulgate read “righteousness”.  “Bomberg, LXX and some mss. read “earth”.

The NASB reads “By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge RIGHTEOUSLY” instead of “all the judges OF THE EARTH.” and the ESV says “all who govern JUSTLY”, even though the previous RSV agreed with the King James Bible and followed those Hebrew texts. 

The NASB, ESV, New Jerusalem bible 1985 here follow a different Hebrew text than the KJB, the RV, ASV, RSV or even the NIV. Those that read “all the judges OF THE EARTH” like the KJB are the Geneva Bible, Bishops’ Bible, the Revised Version, American Standard Version, NIV, NKJV, the Hebrew Names Version, the Jewish Publication Society of 1917, the 1936 Hebrew Publication Society, and the Complete Jewish Bible, the Revised English Bible 1989, Young’s, Darby, the Amplified bible (put out by the same Lockman Foundation that does the NASB) and even the RSV of 1954.

 Foreign language Bibles that follow the same Hebrew texts and read the same way as the King James Bible – “all the judges OF THE EARTH” are the Spanish Reina Valera 1909, 1960, 1995, the 2005 Reina Valera Gomez, the Portuguese Almeida, the Italian Diodati 1649, the New Diodati 1991, the Riveduta 1927, the French Martin 1744, Louis Segond 1910,  the Ostervald 1996, and La Bible du Semeur 1999, the Portuguese de Almeida and the Biblia Sagrada – “todos os juízes da terra.” as well as the Modern Greek Bible used in the Orthodox Greek churches all over the world.

The NKJV footnote is merely accomodating the false NASB, ESV, New Jerusalem  reading, and implying that part of God’s words have been lost or confused.

The NKJV footnote tells us the Syriac version reads “righteousness”, but Lamsa’s 1936 translation of the Syriac actually reads differently by combining both ideas. It says: “By me princes and nobles rule, even all THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGES OF THE EARTH.” Likewise the NKJV is inaccurate regarding the so called Greek Septuagint. The copy I have says: “By me the nobles BECOME GREAT AND MONARCHS (not Judges) BY ME RULE OVER the earth.” So the truth of the matter concerning the so called LXX is that it has a whole bunch of words that are not in the Hebrew text nor in the KJB, but does have the word “earth” in it.  The NKJV footnote is totally misleading.  Neither is the NKJV footnote totally accurate regarding the Latin Vulgate. It actually reads: “per me principes imperant et potentes decernunt iustitiam” – which would be translated as “By me princes rule and potentates DISCERN JUSTICE.”

Other versions that have now adopted the other Hebrew reading of the NASB are the ESV and the Holman Standard, but the NIV 1984 and 2011 editions and TNIV here stick with the Hebrew Masoretic text that underlies the King James Bible.

 Dan Wallace and company’s NET version as usual departs from the correct texts and says: “nobles and ALL RIGHTEOUS JUDGES” but then he has a revealing footnote that not only shows the NKJV footnotes are in error, but shows the mindset of all bible agnostics.  The NET footnotes on this verse says: 

Many of the MT mss read “sovereigns [princes], all the judges of the earth.” (Thus the NKJV ft. is a lie) The LXX has “sovereigns…rule the earth.” But the MT manuscript in the text (the one Wallace has chosen to follow)  has “judges of righteousness.” C. H. Toy suggests that the Hebrew here has assimilated Psalm 148:11 in its construction (Proverbs [ICC], 167). The expression “judges of the earth” is what one would expect, but the more difficult and unexpected reading, the one scribes might change, would be “judges of righteousness.”    


So  in other words, this guy who is “Toying” around with the Hebrew texts “suggests” that some scribes took “the more difficult reading” and changed it to match what is found in another part.  So we are then left with speculation, guesses, hypothesis and personal preferences rather than the sure and infallible words of the living God.  This all sounds suspiciously like the “Yeah, hath God said….?” syndrome to me.  How about you? 


8:30 Wisdom is speaking (as personified in Christ who is the wisdom of God). “when he appointed the foundations of the earth, Then I was by him, AS ONE BROUGT UP WITH HIM.”

The NKJV follows the incorrect RSV, ESV, Holman, NIV and NASB and says: “Then I was beside Him, AS A MASTER CRAFTSMAN.” Then it has a false footnote which says “a Jewish tradition reads ‘one brought up'”. The word is a noun form found only once and comes from the verb #539 which is used in 2 Kings 10:1 “them that BROUGHT UP Ahabs children”, and in Ester 2:7 “he (Mordecai) BROUGHT UP Hadassah.” The NKJV by this false footnote seeks to discredit the King James reading. The fact is, the NKJV, NIV, RSV, NASB have mistaken the Hebrew word ahmOn (used only once, and that here) for another Hebrew word ahmAn, which is used in Song of Solomon 7:1 and means “a master craftsman”.

The 1936 Jewish Hebrew to English translation, published by the Hebrew Publication Company, Webster’s 1833 translation, the KJV 21st Century version, and the Third Millenium Bible read exactly like the KJB here with “as one brought up with him”.

The 1917 Jewish translation, Darby’s, and Diodati have a similar meaning as the KJB with “as a nursling”. Even the RSV and NRSV have a footnote that tells us another reading is “as a little child”.

“Then I was by him, as one brought up with him” is not, as the NKJV tells us, a Jewish tradition, but rather a legitimate reading of the Hebrew texts. See John Gill or Adam Clarke’s commentaries on this verse.

11:21 “Though HAND JOIN IN HAND, the wicked shall not be unpunished.”

The NKJV says: “Though they JOIN FORCES” footnote: Lit. hand in hand. The NIV, NASB, ESV and New Jerusalem bible are even worse here with the NASB saying “assuredly” and the NIV “be sure of this”, the ESV’s “Be assured” and the New Jerusalem has “Be sure of it”, yet footnotes that the Hebrew reads literally “hand in hand”. The “hand in hand” is the reading of the Revised Version, the ASV, Douay, Darby, Young, Geneva, 1936, and the Spanish of 1909.



Proverbs 12:26 -”The righteous IS MORE EXCELLENT THAN HIS NEIGHBOUR: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.”

So read the Bishops’ Bible, the Geneva Bible 1587, the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company translation, Webster’s 1833 translation, the KJV 21st Century version 1994 and the 1998 Third Millenium Bible.

The NKJV actually reads: “The righteous SHOULD CHOOSE HIS FRINEDS CAREFULLY, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”  (Yeah…that’s pretty close, huh?)

 The NASB, ESV say “The righteous is A GUIDE TO his neighbor.” These are similar to the Catholic New Jerusalem that says: “The upright SHOWS THE WAY TO a friend”

While the NIV has “the righteous man is CAUTIOUS IN FRIENDSHIP.”

Green’s ‘literal’ has: “The righteous SEARCHES OUT WITH HIS FRIEND, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”  Say What?

Holman Standard – “A righteous man IS CAREFUL IN DEALING WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, but the ways of wicked men lead them astray.”

The New Living Translation 1996 has- “THE GODLY GIVE GOOD ADVICE TO THEIR FRIENDS”


The 2002 Message is different than them all so far with: “A GOOD PERSON SURVIVES MISFORTUNE, but a wicked life invites disaster. “

The RSV 1952 – “A RIGHTEOUS MAN TURNS AWAY FROM EVIL, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

Then a few years later the NRSV 1989 came out with: “THE RIGHTEOUS GIVES GOOD ADVICE TO FRIENDS.”

The Catholic Douay-Rheims has: “HE THAT NEGLECTETH A LOSS FOR THE SAKE OF A FRIEND, IS JUST: but the way of the wicked shall deceive them.”

Young’s ‘literal’’ has: “THE RIGHTEOUS SEARCHETH HIS COMPANION, And the way of the wicked causeth them to err.“


So, I guess resident scholar James White is right when he says that by comparing various translations we can get a better idea about what a passage means, right?

Proverbs 13:23 KJB – “Much food is in THE TILLAGE of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.”

The word “tillage” is not at all archaic and it means plowed land that is cultivated for the growing of crops. It is land that produces food.

So read translations like the Revised Version 1881, American Standard Version 1901, the 1917 and 1936 Jewish translations, Douay, Darby, Young, and the KJV 21st Century.

John Gill comments: Much food is in the tillage of the poor…?The poor are generally employed in tilling land; from whose labours in ploughing and sowing much food arises to men, bread to the eater, and seed to the sower: or a poor farmer, that has but a small farm, a few acres of land, to till; yet through his diligence and industry, with the blessing of God upon it, he gets a comfortable livelihood for himself and family; much food, or a sufficiency of it for the present year, and seed to sow land again the following year; but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.”

The Judaica Press Tanach has: “An abundance of food is the result of the plowing of the poor, and some perish because of lack of propriety.”

Even the NIV, NRSV are OK here in the first part with: “A poor man’s field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away.” The Holman is OK too, reading: “The field of the poor yields abundant food”.

The Message is unrecognizable with: “Banks foreclose on the farms of the poor, or else the poor lose their shirts to crooked lawyers.”

However the NKJV, along with the NASB, ESV reads: “Much food is in THE FALLOW GROUND of the poor, And for lack of justice there is waste.”

You might ask, What is wrong with this? Well, “fallow ground” is a field that has been plowed and then LEFT UNSEEDED. NOTHING is planted and, of course, nothing in the way of food grows there. It is the opposite of “tillage”, in which we DO have food.

The TNIV has now changed even the meaning in the previous NIV and now reads: “An UNPLOWED FIELD produces food for the poor, but injustice sweeps it away.”

Hebrew words have different meanings in different contexts, and it is obvious that not all “scholars” see this verse in the same way. In any case, it should be obvious that the NKJV does not carry the same meaning as found in the KJB and many others.

14:23 “The TALK OF THE LIPS tendeth only to penury.”

The NKJV “IDLE CHATTER leads only to poverty.” footnote- literally talk of the lips. If they know this is the literal reading, why change it? Well, it has to be significantly different that the KJB, or they can’t get a copyright and so make their money.

14:29 “he that is HASTY OF SPIRIT exalteth folly.” NKJV “he who is IMPULSIVE” footnote lit. short of spirit.

15:30 “A good report maketh the bones FAT.” NKJV “bones HEALTHY.” footnote lit. fat.

16:10 “A DIVINE SENTENCE is in the lips of the king; his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.”

“A DIVINE SENTENCE is in the lips of the king” is the reading of the Revised Version, American Standard Version, the Geneva Bible, the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, Spanish Reina Valera, and Green’s MKJV.. Even the NIV, ESV and NASB are closer to the KJB than the NKJV. The NIV, ESV say “an oracle is in the mouth of the king” while the NASB has ” a divine decision”. The Holman Standard says: “God’s verdict is in the mouth of the king.”

BUT only the NKJV says: “Even though DIVINATION is on the lips of the king, His mouth MUST not transgress in judgment.” This is a totally different meaning. Divination is of the devil and forbidden by God.

Deuteronomy 18:9-10 tell us: “When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee…there shall not be found among you any one that…useth DIVINATION, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.” The king was to keep a copy of the law of God and read therein daily that he might learn to fear the Lord and execute His judgments. The NKJV has the king consulting spirits!

16:22 “the INSTRUCTION of fools is folly”.

NKJV “the CORRECTION of fools is folly.” In the KJB, what a fool teaches you is folly, but the NKJV has the idea that it is folly to correct fools. Yet scripture tells us to instruct, correct and teach fools that they might become wise. A very different meaning.

Proverbs 17:1 – “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of SACRIFICES with strife.”

The Hebrew text clearly says “sacrifices” as even the Darby, the NIV and ESV acknowledge in their footnotes, and so do Wycliffe, the Geneva Bible, Young’s, Webster’s, the 1936 Jewish translation, Green’s Modern KJV and the Spanish Reina Valera 1909.

However the NKJV says: “Better is a dry morsel with quietness, Than a house full of FEASTING with strife.” Other versions that have also changed the Hebrew word “sacrifices” to “feasting” are the RSV, ESV, NIV, NASB and Holman Standard.

The so called Greek LXX adds several extra words and changes the meaning too with: “Better is a morsel with pleasure in peace than a house full of MANY GOOD THINGS AND UNJUST SACRIFICES, with strife.”

17:23 “A wicked man TAKETH A GIFT OUT OF THE BOSOM to pervert the ways of judgment.”

NKJV “A wicked man ACCEPTS A BRIBE BEHIND THE BACK, to pervert the ways of justice.” footnote lit. from the bosom. Here the NKJV has not only not followed the admitted literal reading, but has reversed the meaning. In the KJB the wicked man is offering the gift or bribe, while in the NKJV he is accepting it.

18:1 “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom”.

The man in the KJB has devoted himself to find out all wisdom. This is also the reading of the Geneva Bible, the Spanish Reina Valera, Young’s, Webster’s and the TMB. The NKJV reads very differently. It has “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”

18:8 “The words of a talebearer are as WOUNDS.”

The 1936 Hebrew translation, Webster’s, TMB, and Youngs read as the KJB. The NKJV says ” The words of a talebearer are like TASTY TRIFLES.” And again it gives a misleading footnote saying “A Jewish tradition reads ‘wounds’.”

Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends MUST SHEW HIMSELF FRIENDLY: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

Agreeing with the King James Bible word for word or in sense are Coverdale 1535, Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Barker’s Bible 1615, the Italian Diodati, Young’s 1898, Las Sagradas Escrituras 1569, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909, 1960, 1995, The Word of Yah 1993, The New Life Version 1995, NKJV 1982, the Third Millenium Bible 1998, the Bond Slave Version 2009, the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, the Jubilee Bible 2010 – “The man that has friends must show himself to be a friend, and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.”,  the Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, the Conservative Bible 2011, the BRG Bible 2012 and the Modern English Version 2014.

The Modern Greek Bible.  

The Modern Greek Bible says: “Ο ανθρωπος ο εχων φιλους πρεπει να φερηται φιλικως· και υπαρχει φιλος στενωτερος αδελφου.” = “The man who has many friends should show himself friendly, and there is a friend who is closer than a brother.”

The Spanish reads: “El hombre que tiene amigos ha de mostrarse amigo; Y amigo hay más unido que un hermano.” (The man who has friends must show himself friendly). Likewise the 1991 New Italian Diodati reads like the KJB with: “L’uomo che ha molti amici deve pure mostrarsi amico”

John Gill comments: A man that hath friends must show himself friendly…”Friendship ought to be mutual and reciprocal, as between David and Jonathan; a man that receives friendship ought to return it, or otherwise he is guilty of great ingratitude.”

Adam Clarke writes: A man that hath friends must show himself friendly “Love begets love; and love requires love as its recompense. If a man do not maintain a friendly carriage, he cannot expect to retain his friends. Friendship is a good plant; but it requires cultivation to make it grow.”

Here the NKJV reads as does the KJB but it has a footnote that supports the ridiculous reading of the NIV, NASB and Darby. The NIV and NASB say “A man of many companions MAY COME TO RUIN, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ” (NIV).

The NKJV, being in partnership to destroy faith in the words of God, includes a footnote “Or MAY COME TO RUIN”. You see, some of the same “scholars” who worked on the NIV also participated in the NKJV.

The NIV 2011 edition doesn’t even agree with the previous NIV 1984.

The 1984 NIV had: “A MAN OF MANY COMPANIONS MAY COME TO RUIN, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

But the NIV 2011 edition now reads: “ONE WHO HAS UNRELIABLE FRIENDS SOON comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

The Holman Standard 2003 is very similar with: “A man with many friends may be harmed.”

The Message has: “FRIENDS COME AND GO, but a true friend sticks by you like family.”

The Judaica Press Tanach 2001 – “A MAN ACQUIRES FRIENDS WITH WHOM TO ASSOCIATE, and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Douay-Rheims version and the 2011 The Work of God’s Children Illustrated Bible read: “A MAN AMIABLE IN SOCIETY, shall be more friendly than a brother.”

Jerusalem Bible 1968 – “There are friends who lead one to ruin, others are closer than a brother.

RSV 1952 – “THERE ARE FRIENDS WHO PRETEND TO BE FRIENDS, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

NRSV 1989 – “Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.”

ESV 2001 – “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Good News Translation 1992 – “SOME FRIENDSHIPS DO NOT LAST, but some friends are more loyal than brothers.”

Easy to Read Version 2001 – “SOME FRIENDS ARE FUN TO BE WITH. But a close friend can be even better than a brother.”

Lamsa’s 1936 translation – “THERE ARE FRIENDS WHO ARE MERELY FRIENDS; and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

The so called Greek Septuagint shows its usual confusion by omitting Proverbs 18:23 and 24, and also omitting 19:1, 2 and 3. By the way, instead of Proverbs 18:22 reading: “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth the favor of the LORD.” (KJB and an host of others), the LXX actually says: “He that PUTS AWAY A GOOD WIFE PUTS AWAY A GOOD THING, AND HE THAT KEEPS AN ADULTERESS IS FOOLISH AND UNGODLY.” Yeah…, that’s pretty close, isn’t it?

New English Bible 1970 – “SOME COMPANIONS ARE GOOD ONLY FOR IDLE TALK, but a friend may stick closer than a brother.”

As our scholarly friend James White writes: “By comparing various Bible versions we get a better idea of what God said.”

19:16 “He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that DESPISETH his ways shall die.”

Again, the Jewish translations, Geneva, Young’s and others read as the KJB. However, the NKJV agrees with the NASB and has: “he who is CARELESS of his ways will die.” footnote lit. despises. There is a considerable difference of degree between despising God’s ways, and being careless of His ways. Even the NIV is closer with “he who is contemptuous of his ways will die.”

19:18 “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and LET NOT THY SOUL SPARE FOR HIS CRYING.”


19:24 “A slothful man hideth his hand in HIS BOSOM.”

The 1936, Geneva and Spanish of 1909, Webster’s, and the TMB read this way, but the NKJV says “A slothful man buries his hand in THE BOWL.” Then has another misleading footnote -LXX and Syriac read bosom (like the Hebrew can’t possibly read this way), and Targum and Vulgate read armpit.

Who really cares that the Vulgate and targum read armpit? Just more doubt as to what God really said.

19:27 “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.”

NKJV “Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge.” The KJB teaches that there is a kind of instruction that is wrong and leads into error; the NKJV apparently thinks all instruction is good. Just like some who think all bibles are equally good, and none lead into error.

20:27 “The spirit of a man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the BELLY.”

The NKJV reads HEART, then in a footnote says: Literally belly. The NASB and NIV have “being” here instead of the literal belly. Even the RV and ASV have “belly”.

21:8 “The way of MAN is froward and strange; but as for the pure, his work is right.”

The KJB teaches that the ways of man, that is all men in general, are perverse, which is true. This is also the reading of the Jewish translations and the Geneva Bible, to name a few.

The pure refers to God, who alone is pure. The NKJV capitalizes what it considers to be references to God by He or His (though several times they are wrong). The NKJV says: “The way of A GUILTY MAN is perverse, but as for the pure, his work is right.”

The word guilty is not in any text, and the NKJV again agrees with the NASB, NIV and denies that all men’s ways are perverse. Instead it teaches that there are some who are pure. Even Proverbs 20:9 says “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” Of course, the answer is “no one”.

21:14 “a reward IN THE BOSOM” is replaced in the NKJV by “BEHIND THE BACK” though in the footnote it recognizes it literally is “in the bosom.”

Proverbs 21:28 “A false witness shall perish: BUT THE MAN THAT HEARETH SPEAKETH CONSTANTLY.”

This is the reading or meaning found in the Bishops’ Bible, the Geneva Bible, Darby, Douay, Youngs translation, the KJV 21, and Green’s Modern KJV.

Even the NASB has a similar meaning to the KJB. It says: “A false witness will perish, But THE MAN WHO LISTENS TO THE TRUTH WILL SPEAK FOR EVER.”

John Gill comments: “but the man that heareth – before he speaks, and speaks what he hears, and does not devise things himself; but witnesses the truth, and nothing else, to the best of his knowledge: speaketh constantly; invariably and consistently; he is made use of as a witness as long as he lives, whenever there is occasion for him.”

John Wesley says: “Heareth – He witnesses nothing but what he has heard or seen. Constantly – Always affirms the same thing.”

Matthew Henry remarks: “He who hears the command of God, which is to speak every man truth with his neighbour, he who testifies nothing but what he has heard and knows to be true, speaks constantly (that is, consistently with himself); he is always in the same story;… he carries the cause, which the false witness shall lose; he shall speak to eternity. What is true is true eternally. The lip of truth is established for ever.”

BUT, the NKJV changes the whole meaning of the verse and says: “A false witness shall perish, But THE MAN WHO HEARS HIM WILL SPEAK ENDLESSLY.” This translation makes it out to mean that the man who listens to the false witness speaks endlessly.

The NIV is much like the NKJV, but with a different twist at the ending. It reads: “A false witness will perish, AND WHOEVER LISTENS TO HIM WILL BE DESTROYED FOR EVER.”

Then we have the Bible in Basic English which actually says: “A false witness shall perish*****.” This version omits the entire phrase altogether.

And then there is the New English Bible of 1970 which reads: “A false witness shall perish, but he whose words ring true will leave children behind him.”

23:6 “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath AN EVIL EYE, neither desire thou his dainty meats.”

NKJV “Do not eat the bread of a MISER.” Footnote lit. who has an evil eye. The miser would not give you of his dainty meats, but a man with an evil eye towards you would. The NKJV is pointless.

27:16 speaking of a contentious woman says: “Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, AND THE OINTMENT OF HIS RIGHT HAND WHICH BEWRAYETH ITSELF.” Yet the NKJV has “Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, AND GRASPS OIL WITH HIS RIGHT HAND.”

27:19 “As in water face answereth to face, SO THE HEART OF MAN TO MAN.”

So read the RV, ASV, 1917 and 1936 Jewish translations, the Geneva Bible, Young’s and Darby.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown comment: “We may see our characters in the developed tempers of others.”

Matthew Henry – ” knowing one another by ourselves; for, as there is a similitude between the face of a man and the reflection of it in the water, so there is between one man’s heart and another’s for God has fashioned men’s hearts alike; and in many cases we may judge of others by ourselves.”

Wesley tersely comments: “So one man resembles another in the corruption of his nature.”

Even the NASB agrees with the KJB in this Proverb in that if I know something of my own heart I also know something of other men’s hearts. The NASB says: “so the heart of man reflects man.” However the NKJV says: “As in water face reveals face, SO A MAN’S HEART REVEALS THE MAN.” This doesn’t even make sense. I cannot see another man’s heart, so how could his heart reveal himself? But if I know my own heart, which I can do, then I can know something about another’s heart.

27:21 “As a fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; SO IS A MAN TO HIS PRAISE.”

As fire purifies silver and gold, so when other men praise us, it teaches us how far along we are in being conformed to the image of Christ. If we receive the praise as though we ourselves have done something of value, and we give ourselves the credit, we know we are still full of vain and foolish pride. There dwelleth no good thing in our flesh. The glory and praise belongs solely to Christ, not to us, for anything good that He chooses to reveal through us, who are but earthen vessels.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown comment: ” Thus vain men seek it, weak men are inflated by it, wise men disregard it.” Adam Clarke says: ” If he feel it not, he deserves it; if he be puffed up by it, he is worthless.”

The praise of men serves as a fire to reveal the impurities in our hearts, and hopefully to produce humility. The NKJV however gives a totally different meaning to the verse. It says “The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold, AND A MAN IS VALUED BY WHAT OTHERS SAY OF HIM.”

There is no verb “is valued by” in any text, and the meaning is totally changed. A man’s value is NOT what others think about him. How does the NKJV rendering fit the context of the fire for the silver and gold? It doesn’t.

29:10 “The bloodthirsty hate the upright; but the just seek his SOUL.” NKJV “his WELL-BEING.” footnote literally soul.

29:24 “Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul; HE HARETH CURSING, AND BEWRAYETH IT NOT.”

The cursing he hears are the curses of the law pronounced upon those who break it. He knows there is the judgment of God to come upon them for their thievery, but he doesn’t mention it to the other guy.

The Lord make thee a curse Num. 5:21, and Deut. 29:20,21 God says of those who break His commandments (thou shalt not steal for instance) that He will separate that man unto all the curses that are written in this book. Yet the NKJV says: “Whoever is partner with a thief hates his own life, HE SWEARS TO TELL THE TRUTH BUT REVEALS NOTHING.”

30:14 “There is a generation who teeth are as swords, and their JAW TEETH as knives.”

The jaw teeth would be the molars. Even the NASB has “jaw teeth” while the NIV has “jaws”. But the NKJV reads “whose FANGS are like knives.” Are these vampires perhaps?

And lastly for now, in Proverbs 30:31 God is listing four things which are comely in going, and three of them are mentioned in verse 31. “A greyhound; and he goat also; and a king, AGAINST WHOM THERE IS NO RISING UP.” In other words, a mighty king against whom no one dare to rise up in battle.

Not only does the KJB read: “and a king, against whom there is no rising up” but so also do the Revised Version 1881, the Amerian Standard Version , Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, the 1917 and 1936 Hebrew translations, the Hebrew Names Version, Young’s, Darby, Douay, World English Bible, Las Sagradas Escrituras 1569, the French Louis Second 1910, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909 and 1960 and the Italian Diodati.

The NKJV says; “And a king WHOSE TROOPS ARE WITH HIM.” Then the NKJV footnotes “A Jewish tradition reads ‘a king against whom there is no uplifting’, thus implying that the KJB comes from tradition rather than the Hebrew text itself. The NASB, Holman Standard, and the NIV agree basically with the NKJV saying: “a king when his army is with him.”

The word used here for “no rising up” is found only one time, but it is a composite word, formed from two others. The word is #510 al-koom, and according to Wigram’s Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance, it is composed of two words – #408 al, which is used in places like Genesis 13:8 “Let there be NO strife between me and thee”, and # 6965 koom, meaning “rising up”, as in Proverbs 28:12 “when the wicked RISE”, and 24:22 “their calamity SHALL RISE suddenly”.

Of interest are the RSV and the NRSV. These were the first major versions to change the reading of this passage. They both read differently even from the NKJV and NASB. These say: “a king STANDING BEFORE HIS PEOPLE.” Then they footnote “The Hebrew is uncertain.”

Peterson’s The Message puts a different slant on it saying: “a head of state in stately procession.”

Now the ESV has come out reading like the NKJV, NASB, but it now footnotes: “Or, a king against whom there is no rising up.” Likewise J.P. Green does his usual flip-flop. His 1998 Modern KJV reads like the NKJV, NASB “a king when his army is with him”, but now Mr. Green has come out with his 2005 KJV3, and guess what? He goes back to the original King James reading and translates this as “a king against whom there is no rising up.”

Do you STILL think the NKJV is the same as the KJB but with updated language?