For the first thirty years of my life I used the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, but then about thirty years ago a strong western wind of change blew through the church leading many, myself included, to use the New International Version (NIV). I used the NIV for the next twenty years until the Spirit convicted my heart against the use of the NIV and I returned, not to the KJV, but the more modern vernacular-friendly, New King James Version (NKJV). Here’s why: the NIV greatly dulls and reduces truth and on many fronts boldly changes profound truths that must never be changed, truths that are retained by the NKJV from the original language. Here are just two examples of such reduced, covert change.
Romans 8:1 in the NIV, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ“, and moves on to verse two entirely liberating the reader from what might otherwise be conviction. But note the dramatic difference of Romans 8:1 from the NKJV, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” While the NIV, verses later, tries to recover this immediate impact and contrast, it omitted half the verse whereby is lost the Spirit-punch of life-changing conviction! The NIV makes the truth far less convicting to the fallen mind of flesh.
Again, from 1 Corinthians 6:9b-10 from the NIV, “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders…will inherit the kingdom of God.” Here, now, is the whole truth from the original which says, “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…will inherit the kingdom of God.” The NIV obscures truth by adding the false qualifier of homosexual “offenders” and deleting the word and imagery of “sodomites“, overtly insinuating that its okay to be a homosexual just so long as you’re not an “offending” homosexual, in other words liberating those who in adult like-minded agreement practice such abominable lifestyles, to yet feel included as the bride of Christ. God forbid!
Time and space prohibit me from disclosing the many, many other examples wherein the NIV reduces the sharp dividing asunder God’s Word truly brings to the unbeliever, that is if he/she is confronted with whole truth. God’s Word strongly warns of adding to or subtracting from God’s Word, but we live in a day when men boldly move against God with that original deception of, “Has God indeed said…” Genesis 3:1. For these reasons, for the past ten years I have elected the safety of the NKJV as my personal default Bible from which to study and learn.
Marlin J. Yoder