When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
The traditional rule is that shall is used with first person pronouns (i.e. I and we) to form the future tense, while will is used with second and third person forms (i.e. you, he, she, it, they). For example:
I shall be late.
They will not have enough food.
I will not tolerate such behaviour.
You shall go to the ball!
In practice, though, the two words are used more or less interchangeably, and this is now an acceptable part of standard British and American English; however, the word shall is now seldom used in any normal context in American English. (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/usage/shall-or-will)
The next question that came to mind was “what is the history behind shall and will?”
“From the reams of pronouncements written about the distinction between shall and will—dating back as far as the 17th century—it is clear that the rules laid down have never very accurately reflected actual usage. The nationalistic statements of 18th and 19th century British grammarians, who commonly cited the misuses of the Irish, the Scots, and occasionally the Americans, suggest that the traditional rules may have come closest to the usage of southern England. Some modern commentators believe that English usage is still the closest to the traditionally prescribed norms. Most modern commentators allow that will is more common in nearly all uses. The entries for shall and will in this dictionary show current usage.” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/usage/shall-or-will)
It would seem the change has been made to “will” from “shall” in the NKJV based on the understanding that will is the more commonly used of the two words in modern times. Both have almost similar meanings in the dictionary in every age. The NKJV’s purpose was to update the language of the KJV to fit the modern man’s common language without losing the text nor the beauty of the KJV. The following is clipping from the book, “The New King James Version: In the Great Tradition,” written by Arthur Farstad, the Executive Editor of the New King James translation of the Bible. In it, he describes that the main desire in this translation was to update the language to the modern without losing the text.
Whether shall or will is a needed change, I will leave to the opinion of the reader, but, I think it is clear that the NKJV chose this change because of the falling out of use of the word shall in the late twentieth century. They desired to make the translation as contemporary as possible using modern translation methods without losing the original in the process. Do you think that they did well? Leave me a comment wherever you found this on social media and we will discuss.