Thomas Nelson has signed an agreement with B&H Publishing granting B&H “certain publication rights” to the New King James Version of the Bible, according to a company spokesperson. The NKJV is Nelson’s proprietary translation and is ranked third in both dollar and unit sales by CBA (the association of Christian retailers). Number one is the NIV (New International Version), which Zondervan licenses from Biblica (previously known as the International Bible Society); second is the King James Version, which is in the public domain and published in many editions by numerous companies.

Nelson has granted limited licenses for the NKJV to other publishers in the past, including B&H and Tyndale House. B&H, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist denomination, has its own translation, the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible), which CBA ranks seventh in dollar and unit sales.

The NKJV was commissioned in 1975 and published in its complete form in 1982. The translation was designed to update the language of the 1611 King James Version, while retaining its beauty and literary quality.

Nelson stated that the terms and conditions of the agreement are confidential, and B&H did not respond to queries by press time.