New King James Version of the Bible

In the mid-1970s, Bible publisher Thomas Nelson found itself with extra capital and decided to channel these profits into the New King James Version of the Bible.

The new version strove to revise the King James Version (KJV) with updated language. The seven-year project drew on the skills of 130 respected Bible scholars and church leaders. The New Testament was released in 1979, and the entire Bible followed in 1982. The NKJV went on to become one of the top three bestselling Bibles, alongside the NIV and the KJV.

Harper & Row acquired Zondervan and the NIV in 1988, and 23 years later, HarperCollins purchased Thomas Nelson and with it, the NKJV. The move shocked many in the industry because Nelson and Zondervan, the two largest Christian publishers in the world, had long been direct competitors. Despite initial concerns about the viability of the transaction, the two Bible versions continue to flourish as part of what is now HarperCollins Christian Publishing.