In Daniel 12:4, it says in the Old King James version:

...many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

But in the New International Version it reads:

Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.

These are two different statements. The former indicates a lot of travel will occur and possibly, independently knowledge shall increase. In other words some Knowledge will increase without any travel necessarily taking place. The second version seems to link travel with the increase in knowledge. Does this imply travel is necessary for any increase in knowledge? Or that travelling might 'automatically' cause an increase in knowledge? So each version has different implications.

However any Biblical prophecy had to be 100% accurate to be considered valid. A prophecy couldn't have had two slightly different versions. Could the effort to find a 'better' translation have introduced a different meaning?

  • If a 'newer'translation of the Bible is supposedly better or more accurately describes what the Bible Writers meant that would imply the previous versions were not good enough to present what messages the Lord God wants us to live by. YET in the time of King James I think Modern society was not DOMINATED by messages of materialism ( Mammon) and non-morality as it is today so translators then might have been more zealous at maintaining the 'integrity' of the Bible's messages than translators today.
    – user128932
    Sep 6, 2014 at 5:53
  • Doesn't it say in the Bible itself biblical prophesy has to be correct all the times it is given.
    – user128932
    Sep 6, 2014 at 5:55
  • Does a prophesy being correct but vague allow for the two versions of what was said in the book of Daniel about ' many shall travel'?
    – user128932
    Sep 6, 2014 at 5:59
  • 1
    @user128932 To use my 'native' vernacular-"You betcha!" I edited your question to clean up spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and to attempt to convey your question more succinctly.
    – Tau
    Sep 6, 2014 at 6:47
  • 1
    @user128932 You don't have sufficient 'rep' to get a chat room. I looked up your verse(Dan. 12:4), and I saw that the KJV and NKJV are almost identical. Your point of contention is with the NIV(New International Version) which uses the ending you attribute to the NKJV.
    – Tau
    Sep 6, 2014 at 6:56

2 Answers 2


First of all, the argument doesn't exist between the KJV and the NKJV, but between the NIV and all the other translations. The NIV IS a translation, and not a 'paraphrase', although biblical scholars(including Daniel Wallace) argue that ANY translation is a paraphrase, as idioms and meanings have to 'make sense' in the vernacular they are written in. Daniel Wallace says,

At bottom, the best translation is one that is faithful to the meaning of the original text. That does not always, nor even usually, mean a literal translation(Taken from here)

One important fact that stands out about the NIV, is that

The NIV was one of the first English translations of the modern era to consciously depart from the King James Bible tradition. (Daniel Wallace-taken from here)

The KJV was translated from the Textus Receptus, compiled by Erasmus in 1516 from Greek texts which were in existence during that time. Robert Estienne, a printer, printed his 3rd revision in 1551, and that became the basis for the New Testament. Since the Greek Text was seen as the means by which the original meanings were derived, the Septuagint was primarily used, although the Vulgate and other Hebrew sources were used.

The NIV sought to remain true to the text, and yet use the sources not available to the KJV translators.

As to the disparity between the KJV and the NIV, the following argument was made:

The most literal reading of the Hebrew gives us "and knowledge shall be increased" which means exactly the same thing as "to increase knowledge." Cranston has made this error several times before, usually in connection with the so-called "Granville Sharp rule" in the NT. The word "and" is a conjunction. It can serve as a connective or as an appositive. In this case it is a connective, connecting cause, travel, with effect, increase of knowledge. Both mean the same thing. I have often stated that the problem most people have understanding the bible is not that they don't understand Hebrew and Greek but that they don't understand English!

This argument was made on "Baptist Board"(taken from here). I will leave others more skilled in deciphering the language, but it appears that a phrase which from Hebrew can be translated more than 1 way, yet mean the same thing, was rendered into English and it's meaning changed. While it is true that as people travel, the interchange of knowledge is more, therefore knowledge is increased, the normal reading of the passage would indicate "travel is increased, and knowledge is increased", which are 2 separate statements.

There are a number of scriptures in which the meaning is 'obscured' by the translation, hence it is necessary to seek the original intent before drawing conclusions.

  • I think some clarification is needed on the mention of the Textus Receptus, since this question deals with an Old Testament verse, and that issues is moot here. Both the KJV and NIV use the Massoretic Hebrew text primarily in the Old Testament, although each departs from it to use the Vulgate, LXX, or Syriac in a few places where the Hebrew is obscure. Sep 6, 2014 at 23:46
  • If various translation can be justified by possible errors of earlier translators or that such efforts not having sufficient resources or there being misprintings or a mixed usage of source texts THEN couldn't the assumption of such reasons for error or distortion be 'projected' onto modern translators 'doing' different types of errors , possibly subtle ones. Like translations that are really re-interpretations or 'paraphrases' put in 'modern language'. Any subtle bias , like a translator who is Laodicean or (in modern parlance) wishy-washy as a Christian might not be that great a translator.
    – user128932
    Sep 7, 2014 at 3:55
  • @user128932, We don't live in the days where kings impose a translation on you so just choose the translation you think is best. Really its pointless to argue this point as if somehow you're going to get everyone onto one translation. Sep 7, 2014 at 4:17
  • I'm not arguing .I'm just trying to promote my ideas. The way the Stack Exchange websites are designed , if I put forward various ideas and $ALOT$ of them get 'shot' down any normal person will want to respond to defend oneself if one recieves negative responses.So these websites can be forums of negativity directed at any writer with contraversial ideas ( or poorly worded arguments)..
    – user128932
    Sep 7, 2014 at 4:36
  • What do you think about this?
    – user128932
    Sep 10, 2014 at 6:43

This is the verse:

"Dan 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."

I think the point is being missed. Consider: What are we doing on this site and numerous other sites on the internet?

(1) - I am learning from you and you are learning from me, from our various and different views of what we read and study, our different and varied research on many topics. As a result our knowledge base and experience is growing at a tremendous rate, and we can and do it instantly.

(2) - Within the Bible itself we can go "to and fro" in various books and chapters and do it very rapidly. It never has been possible before the internet and the computer. We now can do more in an hour than someone previously could do in a lifetime! That's going "to and fro" pretty fast, and "knowledge is being increased" at a tremendous rate.

...And I can get your input instantly and you can get mine, and we can share it with anyone who wants it on planet Earth.

Jeron Hanson

  • Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics StackExchange! Be sure to take the tour in order to learn more about this site. Due to the nature of this site, references may be required in order to support your conclusions. Sep 11, 2014 at 2:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.