In today's episode of KJV Only Nonsense we come to Matthew 20:20. There really are no lengths that someone involved in this type of radical Onlyism will go to cast a bad light on modern versions and increase their worship of the KJV, but in this case we get a pretty sad attempt to do so.
As always you will hear no issue from me or anyone else that takes my position against Onlyism with those who either prefer the KJV or even choose to use it exclusively; as long as they don't take the position that everyone must use it exclusively. The only thing my position is against is radical KJV Onlyism.
Most of the time the issues are involved in the textual criticism area of the Onlyist stating that all modern versions are based on corrupt texts which is complete nonsense. The only reason they stand in opposition to the underlying texts that were included in the translation of the modern versions is because the English doesn't match the KJV, not because of anything actually wrong with the texts themselves.
The modern versions simply take into consideration the dead sea scrolls and other texts that we have in our possession that date earlier than the byzantine line that would come to form the Textus Receptus underlying the KJV; which went through many revisions itself first under the care of Erasmus then others. This doesn't mean that the manuscripts that made up the TR are ignored, it simply means that all manuscript evidence is taken into consideration.
However, in this instance textual issues are not at work as the greek word is the same for both critical texts for the KJV and NKJV as the NKJV utilized the same critical text for its translation that the KJV did. The issue is one of translation into English. This ultimately is the heart of the issue with KJV Onlyism as it has nothing really to do with any honest approach or critique of a translation or textual criticism but has to do with the circular reasoning that the Onlyists engage in.
They start with the KJV as the standard. For them it is: The KJV Alone = The Word of God Alone, and then they argue from that standard. So anything that doesn't match is considered to be wrong or heretical without considering anything else that may have been involved. They also simply do not and will not hold the KJV to the same standards that they hold all modern versions to. What is sad is when you interview an Onlyist that is this blinded by their viewpoint they can't even articulate for you any rational reason or give any concrete arguments for how or why the KJV becamed the "standard" in the first place, and they completely ignore the fact that the translators themselves of the KJV if alive today would not hold to the KJV exclusively.
The issue we find here in Matthew 20:20 is a really sad attempt to discredit a very good translation that is the New King James Version. There is no issue here in this verse as outlined by the KJV Only Facebook Page in the image used above. However, since for them the KJV Alone = The Word of God Alone then anything that is not the same is automatically considered to be wrong even if the other translation is more accurate.
This isn't always the case. There are for sure instances where the KJV is not only accurate but would be the best translation choice. Such is the nature of translation work. We should grow and develop over time in our knowledge of things like translation work just like we do in anything else. In this case I would side with the NKJV's translation over the KJV, but I wouldn't say the KJV is completely wrong.
In most cases when the greek word or some variant of it is used it is referring to worship or the act of worshiping someone or something. In Matthew 2:2 a form of the word is used where most versions even the KJV translate it "worship" as you can see here at Bible Hub. However, in verse 20 of chapter 20 in Matthew the form of the word in the greek simply means to bow or kneel with reverence or respect which certainly can be interpreted as a means of worship but it doesn't have to mean that. In this case when the woman kneels before Jesus to ask a question while it is most likely certain that she viewed it as an act of worship to reverence Jesus in this way to ask Him a question, it does not require for the word to be translated in this way.
The most important effort one can make in translation work is to be true and accurate to the original and translate it as much as one can into its literal counterpart in another language. It is not the job of the translator to make interpretive decisions with the text. There are certainly times when this might arise as a need since no two languages are alike and there are times when some words won't translate as easily into other languages as others. However, in this case there is no need for any interpretive measures. The word can be simply translated in a straightforward manner and then allow the reader based on the context of the passage to make the appropriate interpretive decisions.
When one is teaching the passage if they choose they can stop and mention the fact that this act of kneeling or bowing down in reverence for the simple task of asking a question in that culture could be viewed as an act of worship, but that does not in any way require that the translation of the greek word be translated as "worship" in the translation itself. So, for the KJV Onlyist to insist that this verse is just another indication of the corruption and heretical nature of the modern versions, the NKJV specifically here is complete and utter nonsense. The KJV is not wrong with the translation their translators chose, and the NKJV is certainly not wrong either.
The key in any translation choice whether it is KJV, NKJV, ESV, NASB, NLT, or NIV is to make sure you understand what the goal of the translation team was and have more than one for comparison so that you can make determinations for yourself as to what the accurate rendering would be. One does not have to be a Greek scholar to do this as I certainly am not, but utilizing something like Bible Hub which is an excellent resource for this type of thing is something I do so that when I choose to I can quickly load up the interlinear function and see the definition of any Greek word I choose to and also see which English words are used to translate that Greek word.
One of the weakest arguments from the KJV Only camp is that the ones who back the modern versions think everyone has to learn how to speak Greek. This just simply is not the case. Nobody that takes my position is even remotely suggesting that everyone be a Greek scholar, but that does not mean that we as Christians should not take advantage of the immense amount of technology at our disposal that was not available to previous generations. We have such a wealth of ability and availability of information and technology so that we can gain a much better understanding of biblical languages and how they are translated into English. To not use what is at our fingertips is really the height of laziness.
We wasted so much time on so many things that have zero eternal value that to take just a few minutes to a half hour once a week to look at some information on Bible Hub or some other source would not kill anyone. In fact, my bet is that it would have the same impact on you that it has on me and that is a better understanding of God's Word and a deeper appreciation for the inerrancy of it. So, take a few minutes for yourself, begin to open up a whole new world of Bible study for yourself and let God take you deeper into His Word than you have ever been before!