It has been shown in Bible Translations, Ch. 9 of The Kingdom of Heaven, that the Authorised Version of the Bible, the English classic, is of a most delightful standard, and though not that perfection which all must seek, for purity it is almost without comparison. Its discernment and wisdom is considerable, as a work to render the Bible from its original languages to the present language. Present ? that was the original intention. However, 400 years ago is not now present, as it was for the translating team of that day.


As also shown in the above reference, the New King James Bible, although it has some nearly always relatively minor matters where the AV surpasses it in accuracy and understanding, yet it presents what is in many respects a combination of the extreme scholarship and consultation of that day, with the language of today, and does this with what appears almost a conscious desire to minimise change, without being bound out of conscience, from the AV.


Hence for ordinary pastoral purposes, it is recommended that the AV be used together with the NKJV, the former being preferable when it is sufficiently clear, in any small matter - or nearly always modest in proportions, which may arise. There is no escape from care and consideration with the word of God, but this quite simple approach guards against most dangers.


Other translations often have in the New Testament a modish textual approach, not suitable for those devoted to the word of the Lord and His own testimony to it. However, this does not mean they have no value, although a number are noxious in their careless effrontery, as it might almost be called, in putting as if it were a simplification or modernisation, a real change in concept.


Thus the New American  Standard Version has many merits, and is sometimes quite brilliant, and could be consulted to give new stimulus, especially in the Old Testament. The New International Version has some clear diction, and can be of value also, although these two need care in use, if you do not have the original languages. The latter has a magnificent treatment of the book of Job, that proves very gripping.


J.B. Phillips paraphrase (it is not really a translation, and it is not really very far from being one either, so that it can serve as a quick survey instrument with considerable value, initially in an approach to a biblical book - it can be read very quickly to give a sense of movement and thrust in a passage) is valuable for its wise use.


There are a number of passages which the more scholarly, industrious or verbally inclined in particular may wish to consult. In the Bible Translation chapter noted above, these have been given considerable attention, with reasons given for valuing or avoiding this or that translation. In only one place is there an amazing failure in the NKJV, and in a few it is good to give careful attention to the material provided in this chapter.


The list of available verses for study is given below, and they may all be found through this hyperlink.

Some are given some attention in this present section, in case any may not have access to the internet at this time. These appear below, amid the simple list.




1) Rev. 19:8  This is far the most important lapse in the NKJV,
and here the AV shines. For presentation on this, follow hyperlink. 

2) I John 5:7-8
3) II Kings 7:13
4) Psalm 139: 16
5) Zech. 9:17
6) Romans 3:25
7) Isaiah 13:12
8) Isaiah 53:10
9) Lev. 19:20
10) Psalm 90:12
11) Matthew 10:8
12) I Cor. 15:33
13) Ephesians 3:21
14) Matthew 28:9
15) Acts 9:35
16) Rev. 20:4
17) Isaiah 64:4
18) Matthew 11:27
19) Job 21:30
20) Titus 2:12
21) Acts13:19-20
22) Romans 9:5
23) Isaiah 2:22

"Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for of what account is he ?"

24) Amos 4:11
25) Psalm 22:30
26) Revelation 22:14


27) Isaiah 9:3
28) Romans 5:12-15,
29) Joel 2:23 and
30-31) Malachi 2:12,15,
32) II Thessalonians 2:2
33) Isaiah 26:19
34) II Kings 8:10 and
35) II Peter 1:19-20.

36) Also on the topic of I John 5:7 see above.

37) On Titus 1:2-3, translation, see Of the Earth Earthy, or Celestial in Christ Ch. 14,  IV.  

38) At the same site there is a rendering with reason, of Romans 16:25-26.

39) On II Timothy 3:16, see The Christian Pilgrimage ...Ch. 5 and Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Ch. 8.

40) This is the case treated in the preliminary section of this work, Revelation 19:8, at End-note *2.

41) Psalm 12:6 is also covered in the preliminaries, at End-note *1. "You shall rescue them, O LORD, You shall preserve him from this generation forever." The singular  plural, the one oppressed and those afflicted precedes, and is echoed here. The "words" of the Lord are a different gender from the "him", and plural only.

42) Zechariah 14:5 (with I Thess. 3:13) is to be found at End-note *2A, below.

43) Psalm 19 is translated in Christ Jesus: the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 3.

44) Titus 1:2-3

45) Romans 16:25-26

(44 and 45 in Of the Earth, Earthy or Celestial in Christ 14 at one location).


46) Isaiah 23:13


Let us take these in order.


23)    In Isaiah 2:22:

"Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for of what account is he ?"

Delitzsch has an interesting rendering, much the same:

"Oh, then, let man go, in whose nostrils is a breath; for what is he estimated at ?"
This is the sense, and this is the severance in view: from man who, estimated as empty in pride when divorced from God, is the inflated but spiritually fallen object one must cease to follow.

As Delitzsch points out justly, "it is preceded by the prediction of the utter demolition of everything which ministers to the pride and vain confidence of man…"  MAN the generic is the one exalted, to be debased. THAT is the message, and Isaiah 2:22, showing his end, prescribes the finale, CEASE from MAN (or mankind).

‘Man’ is in the Hebrew text precisely the same word with precisely the same definite article as in Isaiah 2:17, "the loftiness of man shall be bowed down," translated as such in the NKJV. But amazingly, leaving this consistent emphasis of the text, and this total parallel in construction, it wishes to translate "man" in this generic sense, as "such a man", which is in the text, is simply "the man" or as a generic, "man". This invention has no defence perceptible whatever. It is not the idea of not being drawn to the craven refugees who move in terror to the rocks for protection - the preceding verse (2:21); for who would be! It is man, the lofty one who has been attacked in religion in Isaiah 1 and here as that from which the "house of Jacob" must not relate as ground or rule for the heart, for "come and let us walk in the light of the LORD," is the call. In 2:10ff., there is the invitation,

"Enter into the rock and hide in the dust
From the terror of the LORD… The lofty looks of man shall be humbled…
The LORD alone shall be exalted in that day."

The TOPIC is man, the place to go is the LORD, to walk, to be secure, to be in friendship, whose is the glory, unlike majestic man, a triumph of trivia, vainly exalted. From him one must cease in all his ways, for look, does he not lurk in the shadows of obviously inadequate protection in physical rocks (still ‘the man’, 2:1), when (Isaiah 26:1ff.), their ‘strength’ or literally ‘rock of Ages’,  is the LORD!

This is perhaps the worst example of eisegesis in the NKJV, destructive of the sense of the entire passage, abortive of its dénouement and contrary to the consistent usage in this chapter,

Isaiah 2:11,17,22, except for the reference to MAN casting away his idols in v. 20, and since it is also ‘the man’ or the common generic, ‘man’ that here appears in the text, there is even here the sense of this being the ultimate ‘repose’ of riotous flesh for mankind: holes in rocks, because not abiding in that intrinsically secure Rock, the LORD! It is all man so small and devious, derelict and pretentious, and God so grand and innately glorious, to be trusted, as distinct from the defiled, and defiling, lofty haughtiness of man. The generic, man, it is he who is without strength or help, except in the Lord, and from him, thus occupied, one is to be severed. It is not so much the punishment of pride, but the presence of it which is the thrust of what one is to cease from, throughout: for in punishment is the pitiful, rather than the vaingloriously attractive in its vaunting.
Indeed, in Isaiah 57:11-13 has the same theme:

"And of whom have you been afraid, or feared,
That you have lied,
And not remembered Me,
Nor taken it to your heart…
I will declare your righteousness and your works,
For they will not profit you…
But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land,
And shall inherit My holy mountain"

It is not some fleeing man, who, for some unknown reason, though called ‘the man’ or man, is rendered ‘such a man’, suddenly invented  it is not this vagrant and refugee who is the butt of the passage, but gloriously arrogant man, and indeed, man whether punished or not, as a phenomenon of unbelief. CEASE from him! comes the challenge, this breathing fragility, with farcical loftiness, like a prince outside the Lord.

Contrary to context, grammatically unwarranted, it is also unaligned with other parallel emphasis. Rather, do we find:

"I dwell in the high and holy place
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would fail before Me,
And the souls which I have made" (from Isaiah 57:15ff.).

24) Amos 4:13.

Here, the difference is small, but not so small is the issue. The NKJV has this, that God is the One who "declares his thought to man" in a context where capitalisation is used when the Lord is in view. Thus, if it be the Lord’s own thought, then this would be "declares His thought to man". The NKJV, therefore,  excludes God here, in favour of man. It thus becomes the message that God is the one who psycho-analyses or discovers in man his little thoughts, and as it were, shows them up on the screen for man to see. Is that however the thrust of the passage ? Hardly. It is all declamatory, declarative FROM GOD TO MAN! The chapter starts,

"Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor,
Who crush the needy… The LORD has sworn by His holiness, ‘Behold the days shall come upon you …’ "

The whole chapter is an exercise is exposure of sin, BY the word of the holy God, who SAYS what is to be done, and what He has done, so revealing both His majesty and His mind, relative to the foolish, unjust and rebellious ways of man. It is NOT the declaration of what man is thinking, but of what he is DOING, and what the LORD is saying about it, which is the emphatic and unmistakable context!

In advising them to be ready after they DID NOT LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAID AND DID FOR SO LONG, he comes to the climax in 4:12-13. Thus in Amos 3:7-8 where He even makes the generic point that it is He who declares His thought:

"Surely the Lord GOD does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
A lion has roared!
Who will not fear ?
The Lord GOD has spoken!
Who can but prophesy ?"

The prophecy indeed near its commencement, after the declaration of who the prophet is, has this in Amos 1:2:

"The LORD roars from Zion,
And utters His voice from Jerusalem
For three transgressions and for four…"

It continues almost unrelenting, with the precise depictions of what the LORD has chosen to do, conveyed through what He has chosen to say. In Ch. 3, it starts, "Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O children of Israel," and then exhibits the text in 3:7 noted above, in which the LORD’s undertaking is made clear, about what He will REVEAL, SAY for Israel to HEAR. He proceeds to divulge these words, until 4:1, where the exposure becomes vehement. He then  in Amos 4, exposes what He has thought and done, relative to punishment of Israel in five stages, and then in 4:12 declares that now - having heard and received all this, His deeds replete complete with detailed explanation, following this rehearsing of their failures before Him - they must prepare to MEET their God. Discipline did not create the pangs of conscience, and punishments did not lead to repentance, so now only the direct and fateful meeting is left.

Now is this sequence, series and stress, a revealing of the will and mind and word of GOD or of man! Is the dénouement one of crisis through man’s thoughts exposed, or man’s deed exposed by GOD’S THOUGHTS and the DIVINE WORDS of retribution and judgment! To ask is to answer. Thus it is properly, "Who declares to man what His thought is!" To import man here is not merely contrary to the ENTIRE strength of the context, and of the preceding chapters, and of the key note commencement, but contrary to it. This is simply not what it is about! It rather reflects what has been said in 3:7-8, and applies it in a more totally retributive situation, a climax to all that went before in 4:13, in one of the most beautifully majestic utterances essentialising and giving vast perspective in its consistent thrust… To fail here, is like talking about flowers, while visiting the moon.

NOTE: For more on this verse, see VICTORY Ch. 9, where linked.


In Psalm 22:30-31, the KJV has "a seed shall serve him;
It shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
They shall come and shall declare his righteousness
Unto a people that shall be horn, that he has done this."

The NKJV has: "A posterity shall serve Him.
It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation.
They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born,
That He has done this."

The Hebrew verb concerned in the Piel form can mean count or recount (tell, narrate). It is intensive, and can be iterative, so allowing the deepened second meaning. In this case, the choice of translation is determined, one taken by the KJV and the other by the NKJV, by the context. There is no word 'next' in the text, so that this venture of the NKJV cannot stand by addition. Could it stand without it ? This we must ask of the rendering : "It will be recounted of the Lord to the generation" ? WHICH is THE generation on this rendering! Why "of" when it is more normally to or for ? It seems perfectly straightforward as written, with no additions : It will be accounted to the Lord for the generation.

The LORD Himself, whom after all, Psalm 22 focusses and describes, HE, as Isaiah 53 tells us, had NO offspring, because He was cut off from the land of the living, and if any Psalm tells this with emphasis, it is Psalm 22! In Isaiah 53:10, we learn that when His soul is an offering for sin, it is then that He sees His seed (see  No. 8   above). In other words, biologically He had no children, but spiritually He has many. This Peter picks up in I Peter 2, where we are who are believers in Christ are  a CHOSEN GENERATION, a royal priesthood, a special people.  WHO ?  Why there, those born of the Lord, begotten by His word (I Peter 2:23).

Does the KJV rendering fit without addition also, the rest of the Psalm to follow ? This is further index for its test. When it is said that they will come and declare His righteousness to a people to come that He has done this, if we took the NKJV meaning, it would leave us still more stranded about THE generation. Who are they ? A people to be born ? In such a case, it is surely generations! However, taking it as counted to the Lord for the generation, it is the generation of those who serve Him, as appears very near to this, in Psalm 24:6. There we find the question, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD ?" answered in terms of those who, consecrated to the Lord, receive righteousness from Him (as in Isaiah 61:10, 44;5), even from "the God of his salvation" (Psalm 24:5).

What then is said of such in Psalm 24:6 ? : "This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face." In spiritual terms we are dealing with a spiritual generation, indeed we have to, for in those terms there is no other. These ARE HIS generation, these are to come, these are to declare to a people not yet born, and so transmit (II Timothy 2:2).

Here is the concept PRECISELY as presented by PETER, namely that it is a special people, a generation of spiritual kind, whether or not locatable in an historical locus. The apostle seems to be exegeting Psalm 22, not least, in this place.

It is for this reason that "a posterity shall serve Him" (Psalm 22:30) - they do so because they are THE GENERATION which is HIS, generated by Him, in lieu of physical children, spiritually begotten, a remnant of grace. It is for the SAME reason that they will DECLARE His righteousness to a people to be born, in future times (not a generation, a people). So to act in the name of their Lord, Himself so deprived on earth as Psalm 22 forever depicts: It is their heritage, their joy and their privilege (Romans 10:9, Psalm 107:1).

In the latter Psalm, it is rendered:

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed ..."

It is quite unthinkable that they should not do so, either fail to speak of their redemption or to praise Him,  and with Psalm 22, with more pith and purpose yet! and like Joshua and Caleb, Moses and the prophets, it is both their inheritance and their duty, their due and their delight so to do (cf. Isaiah 24:16). It is because they are SPECIAL to Him, that you see the intensive itemisation in Psalm 84:5-12 with 87:4-5: prophets.  It is because they are SPECIAL to Him, that you see the intensive itemisation in Psalm 84:5-12 with 87:4-5:

"And of Zion it will be said,
‘This one and that one were born in her;
And the Most High Himself shall establish her.’
The LORD will record,
When He registers the peoples,
‘This one was born there.’ "

It is this which relates so well to the same, apt  (Piel) form of the same Hebrew verb as that noted in Psalm 22:30. EACH matters, the reckoning for His book is like the attention to beloved sheep, watchful, alert and intense. The pictures are correlative, the terms brothers in arms, as are His people, under His care. In Psalm 22, this is the generation begotten through the spectacularly grotesque suffering of the Messiah. Small wonder they shall have so much to tell to the people. With what tenderness of thought and precision of prophecy, correlative and filled with character, it is depicted!


26) Of great interest in the text for Revelation 22:14. It is the fact that the two major offerings are so vastly different that, in the end, this simplifies the matter acutely.

·      One rendering, appearing in the NKJV and the AV (1), unlike the case in the NIV, English Revised Version, Berkeley, the American Standard Version of 1901 and the New American Standard Version (2), is this:

"Blessed are those who keep His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and enter through the gates into the city" (1).

·       The case for those mentioned second above (2) results in the rendering:

"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city."

The word for 'right' signifies AUTHORITY! It is an absolute mandate. THAT is found ONLY in Christ as in Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1ff., Titus 3:5ff., Romans 5, John 10, 6:51ff., I Thess. 5:9-10. It is at HIS APPOINTMENT and not at our provision. He ONLY is Saviour (Ephesians 1:1-12), and any endeavour to synthesise this with the poor and imperfect efforts of the flesh is not so much an error as a different religion (Isaiah 53-55, Psalm 51, Romans 5:9-11, 10).

It is interesting that the famed Dean Alford in his very conscientious textual apparatus for the New Testament, also chooses (2). He notes of this that Athanasius (the famed controversialist for the trinity, against Arianism in the 4th century), along with Vulgate and Ethiopian, with such mss. as   A and
a are here ranged against others supporting  the reading he does not choose. These include such items such as the mss. B, the Coptic, Tertullian, Cyprian.

From the United Bible Societies text we find that (1) also has a wide selection of Italian versions, varied of the early Church 'fathers', Coptic testimony and various notable mss.. That discriminating translator, Weymouth, also has (1), rendering "who wash their robes clean", while the notable Amplified New Testament has "those who cleanse their garments" while J.B. Phillips has "who wash their robes."

This official UBS text also puts in (1) as the resolution, not (2).

This array is interesting, but not surprising when further criteria are regarded.

The considerations are mixed; but especially strongly in favour of (2) is the very MIXED and highly DIVERSIFIED sources of testimonies from many ages.

To this must now be allied a further pair of considerations. The metaphor, spiritual pageant or in fact doctrinal declaration inscribed in the clause "wash their robes" which appears in essence both in Rev. 7 and Rev. 1, is strongly at peace with the normal phrasing and teaching therefore of the apostle. It is not only what he teaches; it is actually what HE SAYS!

It is far more even than this. The alternative in (1) is not so much at variance with his doctrine: it is in stark and elaborate confutation of it. The redemption of the Lamb (5:9), the glory of Him whose blood allows washing, the clean and fine linen of the saints which knows no degree when they appear in HIS own presence (Rev. 19): all these are matters of the utmost simplicity. HE washed us from our sins in His own blood  as Rev. 1:5 expressly tells us and it is HE who has MADE us priests and kings. THIS FOLLOWS FROM THE WASHING, AND IS NOT ATTAINED, BUT DONATED (Rev. 1:5-6). The water of life, accordingly, in Rev. 22:17, up to the very end, is not sold but given as was the case from the first (Isaiah 55), where there is even EXPOSTULATION on the spending of wages for nought, when the free gift was available without money and without price. Eternal life is a gift (Romans 6:23). It is the blood which makes white; not the sweat. That is what this Book says!

To make war on this direct teaching, and make OBEDIENCE to gain access to heaven as a RIGHT is at war with John, with Revelation and with Paul, with Christ and with the prophets. It is not merely the folly of the concept  of method of entry; it is the species of aggravation: it is by this as a RIGHT! Such is the plea of those in Matthew 7:21ff., and Romans 10 who go about to maintain and secure their own righteousness. This is a gift as we see in Romans 5:17. You receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.

This is the total emphasis of John and Paul alike. Isaiah pours coals on the vagrant concept: "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Indeed, he declares, "All OUR righteousnesses are as filthy rages"! HE was cleansed by direct divine action (Isaiah 6), and it is He who writes, "with His stripes we are healed". It is not our aches but His stripes which give us authority to enter in (cf. John 1:12, 5:24, 10:9,27-28). While the ministers or servants of God burn like a flame of fire as the Psalmist tells us, it is not this which makes them so: it is because they are His servants that they so burn (cf. Matthew 7:18). They are made so, with the gift of righteousness, with the regeneration as new equipment (hardware if you will) and the Spirit of the living God upon them to drive and refine, while the blood covers (Romans 3:25).

Moreover Christ in Matthew 20:28, we find, gave Himself as a service, and the nature of the service was this: to RANSOM. Now a slave does not gain access to his new, and free premises as a RIGHT from obedience! Someone washed in the very blood of another does not have right of access by his own OBEDIENCE!

It is thus clear that the text "wash their robes" is Johannine, Pauline and Isaianic; it is of the core and thrust of Revelation likewise in terms of access to Christ and authority to be His with all the spiritual graces and gifts involved in that simple fact (cf. I Cor. 3:21-23, Romans 8:32 in context 8:29-39). Its alternative in this function of authority to enter the kingdom "keeping the commandments" , as supplied, is the precise contrary, like a student making a caricature of his teacher in a fit of outrageous humour.

These considerations, in the light of the enormous cleavage in meaning of the two texts (1) and (2) make the choice easy. Someone at some point corrupted the text. It is blatant and extreme, derelict of all consonance with the Bible, the apostle or the book of Revelation. It was a vast intrusion; but the alternative is strongly attested in church 'fathers', early versions, translations and decisively in the clash or consonance consideration.

Hence the AV and unusually, the NKJV likewise here are both unable to meet the full configuration of criteria necessary. One can see the stress that might have been felt by some. Thus in Isaiah 26:2-3 we find this: "Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps the truths may enter in. You will keep him in peace, peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You." This is a wholly different aspect. Here in context the question is a refuge and emplacement, following the destruction of the wicked featured, in Isaiah 25, together  and the provisions for the righteous, the people of God made righteous by HIM (Isaiah 25:7-8, 53:10-11, Jeremiah 23:6, Zechariah 3:9, Isaiah 28:16, Zechariah 3:4, Isaiah 61:10, Romans 5:17).

To provide a REFUGE  and emplacement for the people already those of God, and to give a ground of entry into that city are two things wholly different. The REASON for entry is the blood of Christ, never the keeping of commandments.

The NEED for entry in Isaiah 25-26 is a refuge for the people of God. In Revelation 22 the question is not NEED but AUTHORITY, ground and reason for permission to enter. This is NEVER keeping of commandments; that is the EVIDENCE which appears, not always to those who do not see what the left hand is doing, but known to God. It is not that evidence of fruit is the ground of entry; it is provision of blood (Romans 3:28, Galatians 6:14).

Hence John's constant stress on just that throughout the book of Revelation. Confusion may have been a reason why some wanted to change the text. However, it is not changeable; the evidence on all sides, of all kinds, is overwhelming. You do not alter the everlasting gospel which none of the writers stresses more constantly than John, and none more than Christ for that matter, because of confusion. That leads only to illusion; and indeed, as Paul says, even if HE should preach another gospel, it is accursed (Galatians 1). You do not, emphatically NOT, keep that commandments so that you may have right to enter in; you do it because a good tree cannot do otherwise. It may have this and that, but in essence this is its nature. Its attestation is not its authority to be; its nature is its acceptance. In Christ, those who are planted are kept and bear fruit (Romans 6).

Their authority is in Him who called, justified and will glorify them. AS children they ARE entered; but as for the keeping of commandments, this is not to secure entry but a function of what has a far higher and more perfect ground: the unalterable, undimmable, unfading, unflecked and unspotted purity which alone keeps faith with God, alone up to the infinite standards of His acceptation; for these found only in Christ (Romans 3:21-22, II Corinthians 5:17-21), by whom alone is reconciliation and authority to be gained. The standards NEVER stoop so low as to enable the pleaders and presenters of ANY work of their own as relevant to acceptation!

Otherwise, there would be fat if not fatuous 'Christians', who not only might some boast (Ephesians 2:10-12), contrary to the word of God which excludes it definitively; but it would not be by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). They would not be having been saved by grace through faith people, as the Greek expresses it. They could still assert, I for one did the works which made the difference, unlike some one could mention! and fill the hallowed halls of heaven with horror. This, mercifully is expressly excluded.

Thus the mere reliance on some one version, excellent and much used as it is, is no more a reason to follow it in all things, exempt from the command to test ALL things, than is it wise to follow one preacher, exempt from test, however 'good' he may be in general.

In this way, we are kept on our toes, forced to examine ourselves and all the evidence, the very fundamental principles profuse in the word of God, lest we should somnolently ALWAYS follow the majority text, though its prima facie criteria are far the best in a general way. It is not perfect. God has not asked us to de-craniate but to evaluate and test all things. He has however presented evidence, and this is quite overwhelming in this case, when all the criteria are pondered.

It does have one further advantage. Any tendency to worship the AV, or to use it as if God was remiss for thousands of years before He got it right in this English translation, and so left humanity -mere blasphemy when it is analysed - is overthrown. This one error of note the AV has in its main text. It is not a lot which is wrong at an important level in that marvellous translation. I John 5:7 is a blatant error, that as we have seen should never even have been considered. Nevertheless, this was not however a different doctrine. Here however we have a doctrine so appallingly askew from the apostle's teaching that it is enough to make one realise the point to the full. If we are wedded to the evidence of all kinds, and to the COMMAND test ALL things in I Thess. 5, then the AV like all the rest, is a provision. It is in this cae an exceedingly good one. It is not however a substitute for the commandment to TEST! Test, indeed "all things"! (5:21).

It is when this is followed the case is clear. It all fits. In teaching, words, scope of objective testimony over a wide breadth of time AND place, it is all one.

Many have rightly followed this; and in this case we find as so often, the importance of not following tradition. The word of God is given attestation, and a given vehicle cannot alone determine the issue, lest as Tennyson put it, 'one good custom corrupt the world'. On the other hand, it is extraordinarily uncommon for this in the majority text, which in turn reminds us that nothing is in any doubt, only the addiction to carelessness! The word of God is in all things exceedingly clear.

27) For this case, see LIGHT OF DAWN Ch. 6.


28) Of interest also is a far less significant, but nevertheless impelling issue in Romans 5:1-15. While it is largely an issue of form, form can lend attraction to fact.

In this case, the impact of the word of God is highly contemporary and of great value to discernment in these searching times.

For this, see Red Alert, in a Grey Day, with the Bright Light Coming Ch. 7.

29) Joel 2:23 is a fascinating one since it is in a matrix of development which enhances the lucidity one can readily find in the progression. For this, see Teacher of Righteousness, in Barbs, Arrows and Balms.

30-31) For these, Malachi 2:12,15, see More Marvels from the Majesty and Mind of the Almighty Ch. 1.

32) II Thessalonians 2:2. This case appears in A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 18,  *1.

33) Isaiah 26:19. See More Marvels from the Majesty and Mind of the Almighty Ch. 8.

34) II Kings 10:8

35) II Peter 1:19-21.

These are found in Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 9.

36) Also on the topic of I John 5:7 see above.

37) On Titus 1:2-3, translation, see Of the Earth Earthy, or Celestial in Christ Ch. 14,  IV.  

38) At the same site there is a rendering with reason, of Romans 16:25-26.

39) On II Timothy 3:16, see The Christian Pilgrimage ...Ch. 5 and Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Ch. 8.

40) This is the case treated in the preliminary section of this work, Revelation 19:8, at End-note *2.

41) Psalm 12:6 is also covered in the preliminaries, at End-note *1.

42) Zechariah 14:5 (with I Thess. 3:13) is to be found at End-note *2A, immediately above.

 43) Psalm 19 is translated in Christ Jesus: the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 3.

 44) Titus 1:2-3

 45) Romans 16:25-26

(44-45 in Of the Earth, Earthy or Celestial in Christ at one location)

 46) Isaiah 23:13

This is a wholly fascinating piece of lyrical drama, flaming with judgment, ripe with message, incandescent with glory.

As E. J. Young points out in his work, “The Book of Isaiah,” Vol.  2,  the ‘towers’ may be those of Tyre’s making or those of en enemy, assault towers. The context must show it. Again, the AV and NKJV ‘raised’ is better razed, or laid bare, as Young indicates, adducing the nearby Isaiah 32:11: this is contrary to both the AV and the NKJV but appears the common rendering, and for good reason. The translation appears, then, from this and in view of Delitzch’s contribution (Commentary on the Old Testament – Isaiah Vol. 1), to be as follows: Behold the land of the Chaldeans:

This people which was not,
Assyria founded it for wild beasts of the desert.

They set up its towers,

They laid bare its palaces,

He brought it to ruin.

The NJKV appears particularly misleading here, actually adding in italics an ‘and’ which assuredly is not in the text, but which, in the setting the translators here provide, appears to imply a plural subject: for those preceding the ‘and’ inserted, are plural. This however is not the case.  As a basic datum one needs to know, it is singular. Italics should reveal the underlying next, but this does not do so.

What then is the sense ? It seems that the Lord, in full parallel to the whole chapter 14, is denigrating the lofty and presumptuous oppressors and haughty imperial magnates who multiply their own praise and significance. Thus though Babylon indeed is to assault Tyre and flout its glory, yet it is the LORD who will bring about Tyre’s desolation! It is HE who will bring it to ruin. Indeed, in the day of Alexander the Great this unqualified ruin, this utter ravishing occurred, when that conqueror took the stones from the coastal city of Tyre, in order to construct WITH THEM as building materials, a causeway THROUGH THE SEA thus allowing the conquest of the Tyrian State, removed in flight to the island adjoining.

With the usual magnificence of precision, and foresight, the Lord had also prophesied in Ezekiel 26, that the stones of Tyre would be laid in the sea, a fitting envelopment for this once so proud and pantheistic city, in its spiritual harlotry. Its actual site would become like the top of a rock, a location not for city but for fishing! This literally occurred, as Peter Stoner points out in his Science Speaks. The site was abandoned.  The city did not care for its former location. Painful indeed was the destruction wrought thus in stages, consummated by Alexander in the 4th century BC. As to the one who did it, HE, the LORD did it.

Thus the sense of Isaiah 23:14 appears to be gained in this way. WHY should there be these three ultra-dramatic seeming, staccato and matching lines, in the latter part of verse 13. Clearly these brisk utterances, with the ‘they’ initial uncertainty as to the subject, are a kind of tour de force. It is to be interpreted, as in any great and moving speech, in view of the tenor and thrust of it. What here is that ? It is the futility of man’s building himself up, the smallness even of those who destroy, and their nauseous disregard of the actual power, principles and personal Being who runs the universe, whose divine and actual name is neglected, but whose attributes are conveyed here and there, by the ungodly and rapaciously religious, like Autumn leaves from no tree at all, none whatsoever!

Thus, we are forced to find in the first of these lines, subject 1 – they built the towers, the worker.  Someone has to be there for the impact of the desolation. Tyre, though the theme of this chapter, with other bodies in mere relationship with it, was not being discussed in the line just above. It is rather the Chaldees. Since the ruin of the city is the topic, however, overall, and this thrust is indicative of the desolating or destructive action, it is needful to have the city brought into focus before it is destroyed!

Hence THEY (the Tyrians) built the towers, as in the thrust of the chapter, in pride and self-congratulation. That is the first point.  However, weak and vain though the Chaldeans are compared with their actual attainments, since Assyria was a vast builder of what they inherited, and they were like ‘wild beasts’, unsophisticated wanderers in the vast spaces in their early days, yet it is they who, now better placed,  are to take some negative action here. They, the Chaldeans,  expose, lay bare, the palaces, thus resuming in this action, the topic of the immediate vicinity, namely these denigrated but yet active Chaldeans.

Yet theirs was not the decisive action which was utterly to destroy Tyre, so that its desolation would endure. That was to come later. It is HE, the LORD who brings it to ruin.

Not merely does this match what is known of history, as it would seem, but it matches the impelling needs of the context.

Thus it becomes: THE TYRIANS BUILT IT UP,



It is a vast historic panorama in which the theme of the chapter is fully realised.

Now we come to a most grievous mistranslation of the NKJV.




Several examples of this translator's non-infallibility could be given, just as we have had to cite a case in I John for the AV. However for now we shall restrict the exercise to one. It is chosen because it is a grave departure from scriptural conformity, not at all because the Greek text is in any question at all.

This example, by far the most serious, is found in Revelation 19:8. Let us hasten to note that several other translators give precisely the same translation. It is not specific to the NKJV and has nothing to do with its underlying Greek text. It reads, re the bride of the Lamb, that is, the church of believers in Jesus Christ: "and to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." That is what the NKJV says here...

In fact, two rather obvious possible translations actually present themselves here, simply in terms of the language. It will take other criteria to choose between them. The AV rightly translates in this case, "the righteousnesses of the saints". That is sound. It does not intrude, and leaves the understanding of it to the reader. The term translated from the Greek as "righteous acts" or "righteousnesses" can assuredly be translated in either of these ways.

Before we proceed, let us notice this. In Romans 5:16 and 5:18 there are TWO words translated "justification". In Romans 5:16 it is the same Greek word, though here in the singular (dikaiwma), which is used in Rev.19:8 . "The judgment which resulted from one offence resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offences, resulted in justification." This term refers to righteous ordinance, just law (A), and can also mean righteous acts. It can mean judgment, either negative or positive; but can have a sense of acquittal. The emphasis is on RIGHTEOUSNESS, and the underlying thrust, is law. There is a third word which means the state of righteousness, of things as they ought to be, integrity, virtue, purity of life and so forth. This however is not used in Rev. 19:8 or in Romans 5:16,18. There law is in view.

In Romans 5:18, we read, in part: "even so, through one's Man's righteousness, the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life". Now the "righteousness" of the "one Man" is the same word as the "righteousness" in 5:16, where it is attributed to the saved or justified sinner. It is a case of meeting all that could be required by the moral, spiritual, divine law; and this He did. It is here in the singular.

Now however, later in Romans 5:18, we find what happens to us who are redeemed sinners: the free gift which reaches to, and is indeed received in this case of the believer, is "justification of life"... A different word occurs (dikaiwsis). It means "justification", acquittal (B). Just judgment is involved, and the grounds for acquittal are stated to have devolved upon one thing and one thing only: the righteousness of the One of whom it is written (5:8) that we are "justified" through His blood. Hence there is this righteous attribution, which includes the decree nisi on the guilt on sin. If now you are saved by His death, how much more will you be kept by His life (Romans 5:9), says Paul, grace reigning by righteousness to eternal life, the gift (Romans 6:23), by grace (Romans 5:15).

The point is this: BOTH words, A and B, are used in a similar sense but with a different emphasis, where noted in verses 16 and 18. In one verse, Romans - 5:18 both are used. There, HIS is the righteous virtue, ours is the vicarious acquittal. In Romans 5:16, however, the contrast is "many offences" with "righteousness", the errors which we performed, and the righteousness which we are given, with which we are garlanded; but of that more anon.

In verse 16, it is a case of emphasis on the wonder of what is gained, on the righteous purity of what is attributed to us on Christ's behalf. It is however, for all that, though this is implicit, used in the sense that we are forensically forgiven, in that context. Assuredly, the contrast is intense between OUR negative contribution and HIS positive contribution, and the efficacy of His work, DESPITE the negativity of our own.

Hence in Revelation 19:8, where the term used is that marked above as "A", found in Romans 5:16, we therefore have the option to take it to mean imputed righteousness, with emphasis on the wonder and glory, the exactitude and thoroughness of the thing imputed, that is, Christ's own righteousness, exactly as in Romans 5:16. Since the emphasis is on the entire cleanness, not at all attributable to sinners, this word choice is very understandable, mirroring that of Paul for precisely the same impact entirely.

The "linen is the righteousnesses of the saints", says Rev. 19:8. Yours and mine, distributively, these are the multitudinous tokens of righteousness, entire righteousness without which no one so much as enters heaven (James 2:10, Romans 1-3, esp. 3:19-20, John 3:17-19). They are in the scene in Revelation 19, seen to be GIVEN, not brought with them. It is "GRANTED" to the bride to be "ARRAYED" in these fine clothes. They are befitting to such people in such a place. They are celestial vestments, given to the choir of the elect, as it were, in their choir stalls, to the bride in her marriage. The array is bought, not wrought.

The wonder of these "righteousnesses" is then either distributive, or it is a multi-faceted thing - the righteousness of sanctification, performance, atmosphere, attitude, spirit, heart, all in Christ, from Christ, and as perfected in Him (cf. The Biblical  Workman Appendix 4, Love of Righteousness), for even LOVE TO GOD is required by God's law! All are attributed, all "granted", conferred, all conveyed, all making the party NOT to be THROWN OUT as occurred in the parable of the unclad wedding guest, as told by Christ Himself (Matthew 22:12-13)... The clothing then expressly is what makes the difference between ENTIRE acceptability and ENTIRE unacceptability; wrath and punishment, and grace and acceptance (cf. Ephesians 1:6). In this last verse, the Greek sense is this, that we are engraced in the beloved, surrounded with gracious acceptance in Him.

That is the kind of surround which is Biblically exclusive in such settings of acceptation, Biblically required, required in the book of Revelation, in the Gospel, in the parable of Christ. There is no other name by which we must be saved; and salvation as distinct from damnation is the issue. Let us then revert to the Parable of Matthew 22.

Now in that parable, if one thing is clear, it is this: the guests were not those notable by moral expectation; they were lying about, or in odd places, undistinguished, and they included positively bad people, explicitly. Their robes are not secured by righteous deeds. Neither are they made white except in the blood of the Lamb (I John 1:17-2:2, Revelation 1:5, Isaiah 61:10). Indeed in the classic base to these images in Isaiah 61:10, the robe of righteousness with which the redeemed are covered is paralleled by the garments of salvation.

Hence we choose not to deny the teaching of the Bible by using a translation which ignores all the imagery to which Revelation is so constantly sensitive in other scriptures; which ignores the teaching of the book of Revelation in other parts, and that of the Bible in other parts; departs from the parable, the theology and the situation. We instead are required to choose as in Romans 5:16, the sense of righteous emphasis without pre-empting the source of it in such a contrary way.

Righteousnesses these certainly represent; pure performance of law: certainly that. But whose ? Whose are those gifts of righteousness which we are explicitly told are attributed to us, though here the righteousnesses themselves, as in Romans 5:16 in precisely this sense, are in focus ? Why they are His in whose blood the saints have washed their garments, He who confers the garments of salvation.

It is, as Revelation 7:14 states, "these are they who have come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. THEREFORE they are before the throne of God..." (Capitals added.) John tells us HOW they got that whiteness, better than any fuller can make; and how they can stand: it is a case of washing and "THEREFORE". Let us not therefore choose this translation option, but accept that of Paul in Romans 5:16. These are the righteousnesses of the saints indeed, but their righteousnesses, precisely because they are saints, by which and in which stand and are arrayed, so that it is this which meets the eye and declares the status and acceptability: they are His. The Greek allows attribution to whomever; the translation resolves the point contrary to text, context and multitudes of scriptures. It is unnecessary, intrusive and excluded.

There is more that might be said on this, but this will for now suffice.

This one major error however does not mean that the NKJV is not a good translation. If other things of the type or of any type were to be found of this appalling kind, such could not be said. Other things are found, but not of this significance; and MANY things are found which are excellent, many common mistakes are avoided, and as far as a sound and useful modern English text is concerned, it is very valuable.

Actually, it is almost amusing that each of the two, the AV and the NKJV make ONE almost incredible mistake. Their general standard however is cause for some rejoicing.

Let us then avoid idolatry and TEST all things carefully, holding fast to what is good in the faith of the Lord who has not left us in any doubt about His word, but who requires diligence*3. The general advice given about the practical use of these two versions for those not scholars, is simple and leaves no danger. Practising what the Bible calls "moderation", not the subtle evasion of His teaching and truth, but the awareness of seemly circumspection and apt assiduity, rather than carnal strife, it is well to grow in grace and in knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, apprehending that for which we are apprehended, and having it finished. (Cf. QAA 11, pp. 136ff.,TBW 1, p. 20, BB 3, Endnote 1, A Just Balance .)