Philippians 3:8 KJB - "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but DUNG, that I may win Christ"
NKJV (NIV, NASB, ESV) - "...and count them as RUBBISH, that I may win Christ"
A man by the name of Reese Currie writes concerning the NKJV and Philippians 3:8
KJV: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but DUNG, that I may win Christ”
NKJV: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as RUBBISH, that I may gain Christ.”
Mr. Curries comments: “The Greek word translated "dung" in the KJV is skubalon which literally means, "that which is thrown to the dogs," meaning refuse or garbage. Certainly we don’t throw dung to the dogs. The KJV is blatantly inaccurate and the NKJV wins again.” (End of Mr. Currie's comments)
Not so fast, Mr. Bible Corrector. Let’s take a closer look at this Greek word and how other Bibles have translated it.
The phrase “I do count them but DUNG that I may win Christ” looks like this - ηγουμαι σκυβαλα ειναι ινα χριστον κερδησω. The Greek word σκυβαλα has several meanings, and the primary one is DUNG.
The Greek-English Lexicon of Liddell and Scott, page 1616 tells us very plainly that the word means: DUNG, EXCREMENT, and references early church writers who used it with this meaning. It also means MANURE. Then, after these primary meanings, we find that it can also have a general meaning of REFUSE, or OFFAL.
Kittle’s massive Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume VII, page 445 tells us that the Greek word skubalon means: Number 1. DUNG, muck, BOTH AS EXCREMENT. Number 2. scraps, leavings. and Number 3. refuse.
Likewise the Greek-English Lexicon of Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich on page 765 list the various meanings of the word skubalon as being: “refuse, rubbish, leavings, dirt, DUNG.”
Thayer’s Greek-English lexicon defines the word on page 580 as “any refuse, AS THE EXCREMENT OF ANIMALS, offscouring, rubbish, dregs, etc.”
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, on page 345 tells us the word skubalon means: “refuse, whether EXCREMENT, that which is cast out of the body, or the leavings of a feast, that which is thrown away from the table.”
Other Bible Translations
Agreeing with the King James Bible in saying “I count all things but DUNG that I may win Christ” in Phillipians 3:8 are Tyndale 1525 - “do iudge them but DONGE that I myght wynne Christ”, Coverdale 1535 - “and do iudge them but DONGE, that I mighte wynne Christ”, the Douay-Rheims 1582, the Geneva Bible 1587 - “and doe iudge them to bee DONGUE, that I might winne Christ”, Whiston’s N.T. 1745, John Wesley’s N.T. 1755, Worsley Version 1770 “do count them but DUNG”, Webster’s translation 1833, Etheridge 1849 and Murdock’s 1852 translations of the Syraic - “and have reckoned as DUNG”, the Revised Version 1881 - “and do count them but DUNG, that I may gain Christ”,and do count them but dung, that I may gain Christ”, Godbey’s N.T. 1902 - “and I consider them but EXCREMENTS, that I may gain Christ”, Douay Version 1950, the Aramaic Bible in Plain English, Third Millennium Bible 1998, Wycliffe Bible update 2001 “and I deem as TURDS”, Dan Wallaces NET Version 2006 - “I regard them as DUNG”, Lexham English Bible 2010 - “consider them DUNG”, and the English Jubilee Bible 2010 - “I do count them but DUNG”.
Many foreign language bibles also have DUNG, including the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, the Cipriano de Valera 1602, the Reina Valera 1909, Reina Valera Gómez 2010 AND The NIV Spanish Nueva Versión Internacional 1999 - “y lo tengo por estiércol, para ganar al Cristo”, the Italian Diodati 1649 - “e le reputo tanti sterchi”, Luther’s German Bible 1545 - “ und achte es für Kot, auf daß ich Christum gewinne” = “and do count them but DUNG (Kot) that I may win Christ”, the 2000 German Schlachter bible - “und ich achte es für Dreck, damit ich Christus gewinne” = “and do count them but DUNG (Dreck = dung, excrement, trash), that I may win Christ”, the Italian Nuova Diodati 1991, and the Nuova Riveduta 2006 - “e le ritengo come tanta spazzatura per guadagnare Cristo”, the 2013 Polish Updated Gdansk Bible - “dla którego wszystko utraciłem i uznaję to za gnój, aby zyskać Chrystusa”, the French Martin Bible 1744 - “et je les estime comme du fumier, afin que je gagne Christ”, the Russian Synodal Version - “и все почитаю за сор, чтобы приобрести Христа”, the Portuguese A Biblia Sagrada em Portugués -“e as considero como esterco”, and the 2014 Romanian Fidela Bible - “şi le socotesc a fi gunoi, ca să câştig pe Cristos”
Clearly our Bible correcting friend, Reese Currie, has no idea what he is talking about. Anybody that tries to defend the constantly changing NKJVs as God’s complete and infallible words in on a fool’s errand.
You can see many examples of the corruptions of this poor imitation of the real deal here in my article “Is the NKJV the inerrant words of God? Not a Chance!”
All of grace, believing the Book, the Authorized King James Holy Bible - “There is none like that; give it me.” 1 Samuel 21:9
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Notes from the Internet
After I wrote this study, a brother sent me a link to an article showing the historic meaning of the Greek word skubalon. You can see it here. The KJB got it right, as always.