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Brian Simmons is the founder of Stairway Ministries in Wichita, Kansas, and also an ‘apostle’ under the apostle Che’ Ahn with Harvest International Ministry. And you thought there were only 12 apostles. Simmons also worked for eight years in Panama as a church planter and Bible Translator, but is now the lead translator and author of the Passion Translation.((Pivec, Holly. “Important facts about The Passion Translation.” Holly Pivec, hollypivec.com, 23 June 2018, https://www.hollypivec.com/blog/2018/06/important-facts-about-the-passion-translation/7962))

Presently Simmons has translated the entire New Testament along with Psalms, Proverbs, and Son of Songs. He earned his doctorate with the Wagner Leadership Institute specializing in prayer. That’s who I want to pray for me! However, I’ll point out the Wagner Leadership Institute (now called Wagner University) is not an accredited seminary or Bible college that offers academic courses on the Bible or Theology. But this so-called university teaches courses on being apostles, prophets, and miracle workers. That is a red flag for me!((Pivec, Holly. “Important facts about The Passion Translation.” Holly Pivec, hollypivec.com, 23 June 2018, https://www.hollypivec.com/blog/2018/06/important-facts-about-the-passion-translation/7962))

A God-Given Mission

This duty, mission, and assignment to write the Passion Translation, he claims, came directly from God. View this 40-second clip where he claims on the Sid Roth show that Jesus commissioned him to write the Passion Translation.  That should raise some concerns. 

Brian Simmons said, “Jesus Christ came into my room. He breathed on me. And he spoke to me and said, ‘I’m commissioning you to translate the Bible into the translation project I am giving you to do.’ And he promised he would help me, and he promised me he would give me secrets of the Hebrew language. And I felt downloads coming; instantly I received downloads. It was like I got a chip put inside of me. I got a connection inside of me to hear him better. To understand the scriptures better, and hopefully to translate.”((Alisa Childers. “3 Things Christians Should Know About The Passion Translation.” Online video clip. Alisa Childers, 25 October 2020. Web. 24 February 2023.))

In the same interview, Simmons claims that Jesus showed him a new book of the Bible titled John 22. I can only imagine when he and his team of experts have completed translating the Bible, they will then be adding the new book to Scripture, which has been ‘endorsed’ by Jesus himself. Revelation 22:18-19

For the full 30-minute interview with Sid Roth, go here

Adding To Scripture

It is not a translation, and to suggest it, is misleading. When scholars work on translating, they convey the information as best they can to the original meaning. Some translations work toward accurate word-for-word translations (KJV or the NASB). In contrast, others work toward a thought-for-thought and look to share the sense of what the author wanted to communicate in the current language and culture (NIV).

Another point, the Passion Translation inserts and adds words, ideas, and concepts that have no attachment to the original Greek. Brian Simmons, the author of the Passion Translation, inserts the footnote, “implied by the context.” throughout his translation to cover his bases.((Wilson, Andrew. “What’s Wrong With The Passion ‘Translation’?” Think Theology, thinktheology.co.uk, 6 Wednesday, 2016, https://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/whats_wrong_with_the_passion_translation))

The NIV translation took over ten years and had over 100 scholars to complete. “…another team of five Bible scholars reviewed their work, carefully comparing it to the original biblical text and assessing its readability. From there, each book [of the Bible] went to a general committee of 8 to 12 scholars. As part of the final review, outside critics gave feedback. Samples were tested with pastors, students, and laypeople. Perhaps no other Bible translation has gone through a more thorough process to ensure accuracy and readability.”((“About The NIV.” The NIV Bible, thenivbible.com, 2023, https://www.thenivbible.com/about-the-niv/history-of-the-niv/))

The Passion Translation has Brian Simmons and his “team” of experts. 

Legitimate Translations

Textual criticism is the process used by scholars to determine what the original manuscripts of the Bible said. The standard among scholars is to use the earliest or most reliable manuscripts when translating Scripture. Sometimes the earliest may not be the most reliable, but those who study textual criticism understand what is needed to properly translate the passages because of their expertise and experience. 

Simmons claims the New Testament may have been written in Aramaic and not in Greek. So much of what Simmons translates is from Aramaic rather than the earlier and more reliable Greek manuscripts. In fact, the earliest Aramaic texts date 500 A.D., while Greek manuscripts date from the first century A.D. Dr. Lional Winsor wrote, “Aramaic was a language spoken in the Eastern Medeterrian. It was common in Seria, Judia, etc. Jesus probably spoke it, and Paul probably knew it too. But nobody thinks that Paul actually wrote Romans in Aramaic. Why would he? Very few people in Rome would have understood it.”((Alisa Childers. “3 Things Christians Should Know About The Passion Translation.” Online video clip. Alisa Childers, 25 October 2020. Web. 24 February 2023.))

Simmons has received substantial criticism from respected scholars and theologians concerning his ‘Passion Translation’ and has revised some of his verses. For example, later editions of Galatians 6:6 leave out the ‘transference of anointing.’ Yet, Simmons needs to explain his rewording of multiple passages in such a significant way. Such revisions would at least garner some explanation to his readers, but Simmons offers no justification. 

Is It a Translation?

I know several people who read The Passion Translation, but thankfully, I don’t know anyone who considers it their primary source for Biblical study. I would not recommend it to anyone; if asked, I would suggest they set it aside for a more accurate translation of God’s word. 

Despite the title of ‘The Passion Translation,’ it is not a translation; Simmons admitted he was not a scholar of the original languages.((Geivett, Douglas. Pivec, Holly. “NAR Prophets vs. Prophets in the Bible.” God’s Super-Apostles, Weaver Book, 2014.)) So I have to ask, how are you translating if you are not skilled in the languages? Like his revisions, he offers no reasons and Simmons removed this quoted admission on Amazon. Still, the authors of God’s Super-Apostles have a copy of his admission in their possession. And why have subsequent editions of The Passion Translation yet to include any footnotes regarding the changes in the text? And there have been numerous, which I will point out in Part II. 

As a result, in 2022 Biblegateway.com removed the ‘Passion Translation.’ Biblegateway has over a million monthly visits and is the number one site visited when referencing the Bible. That should tell you something. Bible scholars, including those who translated the NIV, use a more rigorous standard. A new version must closely adhere to its source’s wording, syntax, and structure. Critics of The Passion Translation say it doesn’t meet those standards and functions as a paraphrase while presenting itself as a translation.((Shellnutt, Kate. “Bible Gateway Removes The Passion Translation.” Christianity Today, christianitytoday.com, 9 February 2022, https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/february/passion-translation-tpt-bible-gateway-remove-charismatic-pa.html))

Despite the severe shortcomings of The Passion Translation, it is endorsed by Bill Johnson, Michael W. Smith, John Bevere, and a host of others within the New Apostolic Reformation circles. If you read The Passion Translation, you should be aware it is not a translation, despite claims it is. In Part II, I will give you multiple examples of his translations which should raise some red flags if the above information has not. 

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Stop! Consider What Is Wrong With The Passion Translation by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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