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Run Away from The Passion Translation by Pastor Chandler

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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).

Wow.

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,
Chandler

6 comments

  1. says:

    Thank you for your insights. What do I do when my spouse is being wooed by a false Church who endorses this quote translation quote

  2. says:

    Very interesting topic on the passion translation. I have been reading the Passion translation for obvious reasons. I want it more clear to understand as I want to read casually and passionately! If I have a question or when I focus more on tertiary theology then yes! NASB is the way to go! But when I read NASB, I miss so much stuff because of the wording is very confusing in a lot of parts! There’s nothing wrong with tpt version as he adds some passionate words to express the meaning of Love! Everytime I jump to NASB it’s pretty much identical. I believe understanding the context of the book and who it was written to and how it was written is much more important than every single word matching up to the Greek translation! As tpt still holds true to all the context in the passage and the whole book! And people take 1 verse completely out of context all the time and hold it over other verses! Interesting topic of yours but I disagree and don’t like how you tell every person to never touch tpt!

  3. says:

    I visited a church today and the speaker referenced the Passion Bible a few times. I had never heard of this work and so I came home to do research on it. I was very dismayed at what I read because so many people don’t bother to search as we are told to do like the Bereans. I shared my concerns with a friend who also didn’t seem all that concerned at the time. But I told her about another website to look up and see for herself what is said about this book. So hopefully she will also realize that it is not truly a translation, it is just an attempt by this person to make the Bible relevant. Not necessary with all the other modern translations availabe.I also sent a message to the church. It was not the regular Pastor that gave the sermon but another staff members I suppose. I hope that they would take my concerns seriously enough to do their own investigation. But that will be up to them. Thank you for your information. It seems to be a consensus that it is not truly a translation and i believe it to be dangerous to even consider it as such and use it to teach. the teaching he misrepresented was about Lazarus death. He seems to have inserted the emotions of anger in place of sadness or in addition to sadness when it says that Jesus wept. I don’t see anything about anger in that text at all but that’s what Brian Simmons seems to feel should have been the case. That Jesus was mad about death. Or something.

  4. says:

    I agree wholeheartedly, and sense this is the pinnacle of deception in what we call “Church”. You are so right to challenge it head on.

  5. says:

    Im being told that the Mega Church, known as Life Church ( Oklahoma) is now using this translation. Uhhhgggggg.

  6. says:

    Very well said!

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