Run Away from The Passion Translation by Pastor Chandler
Brian Simmons, the sole translator of the newly released Passion Translation of the Bible, said, “If you’re hungry for God, if you want to know him on another level than what you’ve been given so far, there is something waiting for you – there are some secrets that He wants to unveil to you and me” (Simmons, The Passion Translation Teaser). That’s a bold claim and an incredibly daring endorsement from the translator. One reader of this translation said, “I’ve never read a translation that I sensed such a powerful anointing of God” (Simmons, The Passion Translation Teaser).
But is it true? Does The Passion Translation have something new to offer the reader of God’s Word today? Does it unlock mysteries hidden for centuries now finally revealed to us in 2018? Is it anointed by God Himself – as He anointed David to write the Psalms or Jesus to be the Holy One, the Word incarnate?
As you might guess based on the title of this article, no. And before I build a case, I’ll just state it plainly – run away from The Passion Translation.
Now, let me share why in several points.
First, Brian Simmons is the sole translator of this new Bible. Rather than gathering a group of well-educated, linguistic-masters to take the ancient languages of Hebrew and Greek and translate them into modern English, Simmons worked alone to convey what he thought the text was saying. This is a careless practice.
Second, Brian Simmons seems to have zero regard for the ancient language in which the Scriptures were originally authored. The original text, with the original language, is the inspired text. Therefore, when translators seek to capture God’s message to the world, they should endeavor to capture the intent of the original author in the original language. Andrew G. Shead, head of Old Testament and Hebrew at Moore Theological College, Sydney, and a member of the NIV Committee on Bible Translation, explained that Simmons, “seems…to be looking around in ancient sources for changes and additions that he can use as he himself changes and adds to the text” (Shead, “Burning Scripture with Passion: A Review of The Psalms (The Passion Translation).
Third, Simmons’ translation of individual words is often simply wrong. Again, Shead summarizes, “Simmons seems as uninterested in linguistic accuracy as he is in textual accuracy. He searches the dictionary, and sometimes apparently his imagination, for ways to insert new ideas that happen to align with his goals, regardless of their truthfulness” (Shead).
Fourth, throughout Simmons’ translation, especially of the Psalms, he adds amazing amounts of words and ideas that are totally foreign to the original language, and he constantly omits the message of the original language. He is guilty of placing his own ideas in order to try and present some passionate message to contemporary readers.
As a case study, let’s examine Psalm 18. In Psalm 18:1, the NASB, an excellent word-for-word translation of the entire Bible, translates, “I love You, O Lord, my strength.” That’s as much as the Hebrew allows. Originally, there were three Hebrew words. Yet Simmons translates Psalm 18 according to his own mystic wisdom, Psalm 18:1, “Lord, I passionately love you and I’m bonded to you! I want to embrace you, for now, you’ve become my power” (TPT). The addition to the text takes Simmons’ own ideas and embeds them into God’s holy Word as the inspired meaning. Basically, Simmons practices “double translation” in almost every verse in order to give his own understanding of the text. Double translation is simply taking a word that means one thing and making it mean two things. For example, “I love you,” according to the NASB is changed to, “I passionately love you and I’m bounded to you,” in the PTP.
Simply, The Passion Translation is terrible and dangerous to the Christian community. Simmons claims to offer something new to the church community, and that is exactly what he has done. He has offered a new text, not God’s Word. There may be mysteries in it, but they are mysteries from the author, not from God. It is hailed as a translation of God’s inerrant Word. Simmons says that it is a text that can “help you discover more of what God has for your life,” but in reality, it will lead you away from the true Word, further from the original manuscripts, and away from a true knowledge of God (Simmons). Shead concluded, “The Passion Translation is not just a new translation; it is a new text, and its authority derives solely from its creator” (Shead).
Please do not purchase or read or recommend this translation. If you hear of anyone reading it, please caution them that they are not reading God’s Word – they are reading the words of Brian Simmons.
Sticking to the Word with you,