The Real Reason They Made the NKJV

The following is an interview with Dr. Kirk DiVietro at the 41st Dean Burgon Society Conference in Garland, Texas, on July 24th, 2019.

Dr. DiVietro has been an independent Baptist pastor for 40+ years and staunch advocate of the King James Bible, as well as the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts from which it comes. He has pastored in Massachusetts for many years, and was in Chris Pinto's "Bridge to Babylon" movie.

Transcript of the video:

Dr. Kirk DiVietro: New King James?

David Daniels: Yeah, New King James. Now you're from Massachusetts, correct?

Kirk: I'm originally from Pennsylvania. But I've pastored in Massachusetts now for 27 years.

David: Okay. So tell me now, what is it that happened regarding the New King James? We are talking the late 1970s, right?

Kirk: Yeah.

David: 1976,77?

Kirk: Yes, I started a church in New Jersey in '77.

David: Okay.

Kirk: So it was back then. And my dad and then me were friends with the owners of the largest Independent Christian Bookstore east of the Mississippi.

David: What was that called?

Kirk: Hackman's Bible Bookstore. It just went out of business in June. People don't buy books anymore.

David: Okay.

Kirk: Anyway, they sponsored a conference. And they brought in the Vice President of some sort, I don't know of what level, but a Vice President of Thomas Nelson, in a pre-publication meeting for the New King James Version.

David: Uh, huh.

Kirk: And they showed us a series of film strips, and mini-lectures, and ultimately came to this decision.

Now it's been 30-40 years. So I'm paraphrasing, but being as literal as I can.

David: Okay.

Kirk: They said, "We're educators here." There were about 300 teachers, pastors, etc. "We're educators, and we would never admit this to our people or congregations: But we all know that the King James Bible is an inferior translation, coming from inferior manuscripts. But every time we've tried to give your people a better Bible, they've just refused to take it. So what we've done is we've taken the King James Bible, and we've revised it as little as we could, changed it here and there, to give you," and they used the phrase, "'a transitional bridge,' to get your people away from the King James Bible, so that ultimately you can move them to a better, more accurate Bible." And at that point, I'm done with the New King James.

David: And that's the end of the thing for you? What happened after that? What did the other people do?

Kirk: They handed out promotional copies and things. Most of them were no big deal. They took it as it was. I don't know how many were pro-King James people at the meeting. Like I told you a minute ago, they sat me next to John Kohlenberger's brother, to try to provoke me, provoke an argument between us. And their goal was always to move me to a different Bible.

David: So John R. Kohlenberger III, He's the guy who--

Kirk: --writes a lot of commentaries

David: --edited the New International Greek-English New Testament, Hebrew-English Old Testament, his name is all over everything.

Kirk: Right. They put me next to his brother, and introduced him. I didn't know who he was at the time, but... thinking that we'd get into a discussion and they could move me. And ... It just didn't work, obviously.

David: You were obviously unmoved.

Kirk: Yeah.

David: So you just stick with the King James to this day?

Kirk: To this day.

David: Thank you very much.

Kirk: I have in my bedroom my mom's Bible.

David: Uh, huh.

Kirk: Just a second. The one she used to wave in my face and say, "This is the word of God. Don't you ever let anybody tell you it's not." That's where I stand.

David: Amen. Thank you so much.

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