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KJV vs. NKJV: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 20, 2024
KJV (King James Version) is a classic English translation of the Bible from 1611, known for its literary quality. NKJV (New King James Version) is a modern English update of the KJV, maintaining its style while using contemporary language.

Key Differences

The KJV, or King James Version, is a historic Bible translation completed in 1611, renowned for its majestic language and literary merit. The NKJV, or New King James Version, is a 20th-century revision of the KJV, aimed at preserving its stylistic beauty while updating the language for modern readers.
The KJV was translated by a committee of scholars in the early 17th century and has significantly influenced English literature. In contrast, the NKJV, completed in 1982, was translated to align the archaic language of the KJV with contemporary English, making it more accessible.
Language in the KJV includes many archaic words and phrases, reflecting the early modern English of its time. The NKJV updates these archaic elements, offering clearer understanding while retaining the poetic rhythm of the original.
The KJV is often praised for its literary and poetic quality, making it a favorite for traditionalists. However, the NKJV provides a balance between the traditional style and modern readability, making it suitable for both study and devotional reading.
In terms of theological impact, the KJV has had a profound influence on Christian thought and culture. The NKJV, while maintaining theological consistency with the KJV, brings the text into a modern context, aiding contemporary interpretation and study.

Comparison Chart

Year of Completion


Language Style

Early modern English, archaic
Modern English, updated from KJV


Challenging for modern readers
More accessible to contemporary readers

Literary Quality

Highly regarded for poetic and literary merit
Maintains literary style with modern language


Standard Bible translation for centuries
To update the language while retaining KJV's essence

KJV and NKJV Definitions


Revered for its literary merit and cultural impact.
Scholars often study the KJV for its literary qualities.


Maintains the traditional style of the KJV with clearer language.
The NKJV makes the poetic style of the KJV more accessible.


A historic English Bible translation completed in 1611.
The KJV is often cited for its influential role in English literature.


Aims to preserve the original intent and beauty of the KJV.
The NKJV is faithful to the original KJV's theological perspectives.


A foundational text in Christian religious study and thought.
The KJV has been a key Bible version in Christian history.


Ideal for those who appreciate KJV's style but seek modern readability.
The NKJV is my choice for easier comprehension without losing the KJV's essence.


Uses early modern English, with archaic words and grammar.
The KJV's language can be difficult to understand for modern readers.


A modern English revision of the King James Version.
The NKJV updates the language of the KJV for today's readers.


Known for its majestic and poetic language.
Many famous phrases in English come from the KJV.


Completed in 1982 to update the archaic English of the KJV.
The NKJV was a major project to bring the KJV into the modern era.


What does NKJV stand for?

New King James Version.

When was the KJV Bible published?

In 1611.

Is the KJV language easy to understand today?

It can be challenging due to its archaic English.

When was the NKJV Bible completed?

In 1982.

What does KJV stand for?

King James Version.

Who translated the NKJV?

A group of scholars aiming to modernize the KJV's language.

What makes the NKJV different from other modern translations?

Its specific aim to update the KJV while keeping its style.

Who translated the KJV?

A committee of scholars in the early 17th century.

Is the NKJV as poetic as the KJV?

Yes, it maintains the poetic rhythm of the KJV.

Does the NKJV use the same theological framework as the KJV?

Yes, it stays true to the KJV's theological concepts.

Can the NKJV be used for academic study?

Yes, it is suitable for both academic and personal study.

How does the NKJV update the KJV?

By using modern English while retaining the original style.

Are there major differences in content between KJV and NKJV?

No, the NKJV primarily updates the language, not the content.

Is the KJV considered difficult for modern readers?

Yes, due to its use of early modern English.

What is the main reason to choose KJV over NKJV?

Preference for the historical and literary qualities of the KJV.

What is the main reason to choose NKJV over KJV?

Desire for the KJV's style with easier-to-understand language.

Why is the KJV historically significant?

It has greatly influenced English literature and Christian theology.

Does the NKJV change the original message of the KJV?

No, it aims to preserve the original message in modern language.

Is the KJV still widely used?

Yes, especially among traditionalists and for literary study.

Why was the NKJV created?

To make the KJV accessible to contemporary readers.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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