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NKJV: Theological Changes to the Text

The Censoring of Belial

The word, "Belial" appears 17 times in the King James Bible. Lawless, rebellious people are referred to as "men of Belial," "son[s] of Belial," "daughter of Belial," "children of Belial" and "man of Belial." Since the identity of Belial is revealed as Satan in 2nd Corinthians 6:15, the removal of Belial from the New King James Version is a theological change to the text. The new version translators are perfectly aware of this and hope the reader will settle for a paraphrase such as "rebels" (1) as a substitute for the true translation that points out Satan and his followers: "children of Belial."

The New King James translators, following the lead of modern Bible versions such as the New International Version, the Amplified Bible, the Message, the American Standard and the New American Standard, virtually censored the proper name, "Belial" from the NKJV text. They retained the proper name, "Belial" only once in the main body of the translation and included footnotes that reveal they are aware that the removal of  "Belial" is not in keeping with a literal translation.

Below are the sixteen verses in the King James Bible that contain phrases containing the word, "Belial." Notice that the New King James Version translators censored the word, "Belial" fifteen times and inserted phrases that are clearly dynamic equivalents.

 

KJV: Deu 13:13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; 

NKJV: Deu 13:13 Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods”’—which you have not known—


KJV: Jdg 19:22 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, [and] beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.

NKJV: Jdg 19:22 As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men,[a] surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!

  1. Judges 19:22 Literally sons of Belial

KJV: Jdg 20:13 Now therefore deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel:

NKJV Jdg 20:13 Now therefore, deliver up the men, the perverted men[a] who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove the evil from Israel!” But the children of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brethren, the children of Israel.

  1. Judges 20:13 Literally sons of Belial

KJV: 1Sa 1:16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.

NKJV: 1Sa 1:16 Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman,[a] for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.”

  1. 1 Samuel 1:16 Literally daughter of Belial

KJV: 1Sa 2:12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.

NKJV: 1Sa 2:12 Now the sons of Eli were corrupt;[a] they did not know the LORD.

  1. 1 Samuel 2:12 Literally sons of Belial

KJV: 1Sa 10:27: But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.

KJV: 1Sa 10:27: But some rebels said, “How can this man save us?” So they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.


KJV: 1Sa 25:17 Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.

NKJV: 1Sa 25:17 Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household. For he is such a scoundrel [a] that one cannot speak to him.”

  1. 1 Samuel 25:17 Literally son of Belial

KJV: 1Sa 25:25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.

NKJV: 1Sa 25:25 Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: Nabal [a] is his name, and folly is with him! But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.


KJV: 1Sa 30:22 Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.

NKJV: 1Sa 30:22Then all the wicked and worthless men [a] of those who went with David answered and said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man’s wife and children, that they may lead them away and depart.”

  1. 1 Samuel 30:22 Literally men of Belial

KJV: 2Sa 16:7 And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:

NKJV: 2Sa 16:7 Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue!


KJV: 2Sa 20:1 And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel.

NKJV: 2Sa 20:1 And there happened to be there a rebel,[a] whose name was Sheba the son of Bichri, a Benjamite. And he blew a trumpet, and said:

      “We have no share in David,
      Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse;
      Every man to his tents, O Israel!”

  1. 2 Samuel 20:1 Literally man of Belial

KJV: 2Sa 23:6 But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:

NKJV: 2Sa 23:6 But the sons of rebellion shall all be as thorns thrust away, Because they cannot be taken with hands.


KJV: 1Ki 21:10 And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And [then] carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.

NKJV: 1Ki 21:10 and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, “You have blasphemed God and the king.” Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die.


KJV: 1Ki 21:13 And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died.

NKJV: 1Ki 21:13 And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!” Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died.


KJV: 2Ch 13:7 And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them.

NKJV: 2Ch 13:7 Then worthless rogues gathered to him, and strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and inexperienced and could not withstand them.


Below is the single instance in which the NKJV translators chose to include the word "Belial" in the text of their transitional bible version.

KJV: 2Cr 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

NKJV: 2Cr 6:15: And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

You are bound to find modern commentaries that contain clever arguments that supposedly substantiate the removal of the word, "Belial", as well as other theological changes the NKJV translators made to the text but do not allow yourself to be swayed by men who will not stand in the believer's judgment in your stead. (See 1 Cor 3:11-15) Let God be true but every man a liar. (Romans 3:4)

Footnotes:

(1) It is an ominous "coincidence" that the authors of the Left Behind Series called Christians the same name the NKJV translators used as a synonym for the "children of Belial": rebels. While it is true the NWO regime regards true Christians as rebels, it was grievously inappropriate for Jerry B. Jenkins, who was supposedly writing from a Christian perspective, to refer to saints of God as rebels in the series and to have Christian characters refer to each other as rebels! Since God's people are not rebels, (The NKJV translators refer to "children of Belial" as rebels) it is all the more imperative to cling to the engrafted word which is able to save our souls: the King James Bible.

 

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