Does Love for the KJV Justify Printing Falsehoods about the NKJV?

by Rick Norris

True lovers of God's Word surely love the truth. Believers realize that the light (truth) has no fellowship with darkness (falsehoods, false claims, fallacies, etc.). Does not justice to the truth demand exposure of falsehoods or false claims? The truth does not need the use of false claims to defend it. The person who seeks to serve God comes to the light of the truth so that his deeds may be manifest (John 3:19-21).

Surely, believers should be encouraged to apply the truth of God's Word to the many and various claims of people. In her tract concerning the NKJV, Gail Riplinger claimed that the "NKJV copies Jehovah Witness Version" at Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8 by having the rendering "Joshua" instead of the KJV rendering "Jesus." Where is the proof and documentation that proves the NKJV translators copied or even consulted the Jehovah Witnesses' Version? Should this claim simply be accepted on the word of a woman that dares to attempt to teach and excercise authority over adult men in local churches (1 Tim. 2:12)?

Perhaps, the evidence should be examined before we assume this claim to be correct. For example, the KJV translators stated in the margin of the 1611 KJV concerning their rendering "Jesus" at Hebrews 4:8 the following: "That is Joshua." At "Jesus" at Hebrews 4:8 in the 1560 Geneva Bible, the following marginal note is referred to: "He speaketh of Joshua the son of Nun." The Hebrew word translated "Joshua" when translated into Greek is the same Greek word as the word for "Jesus." Thus, this word could be translated as either "Jesus" or "Joshua" with the context determining the correct rendering. Several of the early 1500's English Bibles such as Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Matthew's, Great, Taverner's, and Whittingham's have "Joshua" at Hebrews 4:8. At Acts 7:45, Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Matthew's, and Great Bibles have "Joshua."

The old Peshitta Version that is on the line of good Bibles in several KJV-only books also has a name that would be translated "Joshua" in English at these two verses. Both the 1851 translation of the Peshitta and the 1933 translation by George Lamsa have "Joshua" at these two verses. The Peshitta included the words for "the son of Nun" at Hebrews 4:8. Luther's German Bible had a name meaning "Joshua" at these two verses as have the old Spanish Bibles. John Wesley had "Joshua" at both these verses in his 1754 New Testament.

The fact should be obvious that a 1950's Jehovah Witnesses' Version did not even exist when the Peshitta, Luther's German Bible, old Spanish Bibles, and several English Bibles had "Joshua" in both these verses. The evidence is clear and overwhelming that it was wrong and false to claim that the NKJV copied the Jehovah Witnesses' Version at Acts 7:45 and Hebrew 4:8. This false claim that attempts to condemn the NKJV by associating it with a cult is based on the ad hominem (poisoning the well) fallacy. Riplinger admitted: "This ad hominem technique is not scholarly and is usually only employed as a last resort by opponents who cannot win a debate on a rational and factual level" (Blind Guides, p. 2).

In her book, Riplinger suggested that the rendering "disobedience" at Romans 15:31 and Hebrews 4:11 and the rendering "obey" at John 3:36 are doctrinal errors from the Jehovah Witness Bible (New Age Bible Versions, p. 255). The 1560 Geneva Bible has "disobedience" at Hebrews 4:11 and "disobedient" at Romans 15:31, and the KJV translators listed it in the margin of the 1611 as an acceptable translation. Were the KJV translators recommending a Jehovah Witnesses' reading as an acceptable alternative translation? The 1557 Whittingham's N. T. has "disobedient" at Romans 15:31 and "stubbornness" at Hebrews 4:11. At John 3:36, Whittingham's and Geneva Bible have "obeyeth not" where the KJV has "believeth not." At Romans 11:30-31, the margin of the 1611 KJV has "Or, obeyed" as an acceptable alternative translation for "believed." At Hebrews 3:18, the Great and Bishops' Bibles have "that were not obedient" while Whittingham's and Geneva Bibles have "that obeyed not."

On the other hand, Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Matthew's, Great, and Bishops' Bibles have "believeth not" at Romans 10:21 while the Geneva and KJV have "disobedient." In addition, Tyndale's, Coverdale's, and Matthew's have "children of unbelief" at Colossians 3:6c while the KJV has "children of disobedience." Romans 15:31 and Romans 10:21 have the same Greek word while Hebrews 4:11 and Colossians 3:6 have the same Greek word. Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Matthew's, Great, and Bishops' Bible have "believe not" at 1 Peter 2:7 while the KJV has "be disobedient." Would a consistent application of Riplinger's claim suggest that the KJV changed the good rendering of the early Bibles to Jehovah Witnesses' renderings at Romans 10:21, Colossians 3:6, and 1 Peter 2:7? Could not this false and misleading claim have been avoided by more careful research? Is the evidence for the KJV-only view so weak that such false claims are needed to defend it? Does love for the KJV justify such false and seemingly malicious attacks on the NKJV?

D. A. Waite claimed: "If she [Riplinger] has made an error of fact or quotation, she is willing to admit it and correct it" (Foes of the KJB Refuted, p. 55). After two years, I have not found where this falsehood has been admitted or corrected. Instead, the falsehood has only been made bigger. On her cassette entitled "Detailed Update," Riplinger stated the following about the NKJV: "Everytime they change from the King James to something different they follow the New World Translation of Jehovah Witnesses." Did any of the many pastors and other adult men listening to this false teaching in a Baptist Church correct it? Did these pastors compromise their supposed "preference" or "conviction" against women preachers by giving their implied approval of such false claims and false teaching?