2.2.4. New King James Version

This commentary utilizes the New King James Version (NKJV) English text based upon the Greek Textus Receptus (TR) which stands in the line of the Majority Text (MT).1 We feel this text has several advantages:2

  • The NKJV text provides a readable, modern text.
  • Because of its close affinity with the historic King James Version (KJV), the NKJV indirectly benefits from the many historic reference works based on the KJV.3
  • We are unconvinced by arguments that the Critical Text (NU)4 necessarily represents an improvement over the traditional text.5
  • The NKJV text provides helpful footnotes where the Critical Text (NU) and the Majority Text (MT) differ from the Textus Receptus (TR).

Although there are many variations in the Greek Text of the book of Revelation, they are mainly associated with minor aspects of the text and do not present undue difficulty in understanding the message.6


1 Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 [Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad, The Greek New Testament According To The Majority Text (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing, 1985)]. We are aware that many prefer the KJV text. We have neither the mandate nor opportunity here to consider the arguments for and against the KJV text.

3 e.g., [James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1996)], [R. Torrey, The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1995)].

4 Kurt Aland and Bruce M. Metzger, The Greek New Testament (Stuttgart, Germany: German Bible Society, 1983).

5 Neither space nor subject permit a more elaborate treatment of the relative merits and weaknesses of the heuristics upon which the critical Greek text depends. It is evident that many of the textual decisions underlying the Critical Text hinge upon unproven generalizations which are essentially unknowable on a case-by-case basis. In essence, the “algorithm” by which the textual variations are transformed into the “best” text is non-determinative and subjective. For an example which reveals these problems, see the commentary on Revelation 5:9. Also see [Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994)] for additional details. The book of Revelation has fewer extant manuscripts than other books of the NT. “The MSS of Revelation are few compared to those of other NT literature. Thus, of the important early witnesses, only three papyri and scarcely half a dozen uncials of the Apocalypse are extant. While there are over a thousand minuscule MSS for each of most of the other books, Revelation has a total of only about 250.”—Alan F. Johnson, Revelation: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 12.

6 “It should, however, be observed that the variants relate very largely to differences in the order of words, to the use or omission of the article or a connective, and to syntactical construction. Numerous as the variants are, they are not of a kind to cause uncertainty in a single paragraph taken as a whole.”—Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001), 411.