Reading Time: 6 minutes
The above image by Smiling Pixell from Pixabay

In Part I, I touched on the background of Brian Simmons and what goes into reliable translations. Below I will give you specific examples of The Passion Translation (TPT) compared to the New International Version (NIV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), or the King James Version (KJV), so you can decide for yourself. 

Comparing Translations

Ephesians 6:10.

The NIV saysFinally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

The NASB saysFinally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

The KJV saysFinally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

TPT says: Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you.((Simmons, Brian. “Psalm 57.” The Passion Translation 2020 Edition, BroadStreet Publishing, 2020, p.525))

Andrew Shead, head of the Old Testament department at Moore Theological College, holds a Ph.D. at Cambridge and has earned a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Theology, and Masters of Theology, says, “Brian Simmons has made a new translation of the Psalms (and now the whole New Testament) which aims to ‘re-introduce the passion and fire of the Bible to the English reader.’ He achieves this by abandoning all interest in textual accuracy, playing fast and loose with the original languages, and inserting so much new material into the text that it is at least 50% longer than the original. The result is a strongly sectarian translation that no longer counts as Scripture; by masquerading as a Bible it threatens to bind entire churches in thrall to a false god.”((Shead, Andrew, G. “Burning Scripture with Passion: A Review of The Psalms (The Passion Translation).” The Gospel Coalition, thegospelcoalition.org, April 2018, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/burning-scripture-with-passion-a-review-of-the-psalms-passion-translation/))

Psalm 57:1

The NIV saysHave mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.

The NASB saysBe gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by.

The KJV saysBe merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

TPT saysPlease, God, show me mercy! Open your grace-fountain for me, for you are my soul’s true shelter. I will hide beneath the shadow of your embrace, under the wings of your cherubim, until this terrible trouble is past. 

You use a hyphen to form a compound adjective before a noun. After researching, 

mechon-mamre.org and www.chabad.org

I don’t see anything relating to a grace-fountain. Nor do I see cherubim in the text. 

Brian Simmons may have good intentions (frankly, I find that dubious), but his methods are questionable, to put it mildly. The Passion Translation is not a translation you can trust, consider reliable, or be faithful to the author’s intent to share the word of God. 

Galatians 2:19

The NIV says: For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.

The NASB says: For through the Law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

The KJV says: For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

TPT says: For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God [in heaven’s freedom]1 Note the updated version has changed by dropping, “in heaven’s freedom.” No explanation in the footnotes as to why this newer version has changed. 

Dr. Andrew Wilson, who has ‘real‘ degrees in theology and history from Cambridge, wrote concerning the early editions of The Passion Translation, “…in Galatians 2:19, hina theō zēsō, which simply means ‘that I might live for God’, has been ‘translated’ as ‘so that I can live for God in heaven’s freedom’. To be clear: there is no indication whatsoever in the Greek of that sentence, or the rest of the chapter, that either heaven or its freedom are in view in this text.”2

Wilson continued to explain TPT is not a translation. He said Simmons is adding to Scripture and pointed out what Revelation 22:18-19 has to say about Christians who do this. 

Mark 1:15

The NIV says: “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

The NASB says: and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

The KJV says: And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

TPT says“At last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for the realm of God’s kingdom to be experienced in fullness! Turn your lives back to God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!”

It is clear that Simmons is adding to the original words of Scripture. 

According to Got Questions, “The additions in The Passion Translation are justified with the claim that this translation ‘enhances [the Bible’s] meaning by going beyond a literal translation to magnifying God’s original message.'”3

No Explanations

Psalm 18:1

The NIV saysI love you, Lord, my strength.

The NASB saysI love you, O Lord, my strength.

The KJV saysI will love thee, O Lord, my strength.

TPT saysLord, I passionately love you. I want to embrace you, for now you’ve become my power!

Simmons has made many changes to his first and subsequent editions but has yet to offer any explanations. Consequently, you will find nothing in his footnotes or any online explanations of these changes. 

Dr. Shead also writes, “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.”4

Athanasius, born around 300 AD and an early defender/apologist of orthodox Christianity, wrote a warning about what Simmons does in his Passion Translation, “There is, however, one word of warning needed. No one must allow himself to be persuaded, by any arguments whatever, to decorate the Psalms with extraneous matter or make alterations in their order or change the words themselves.”5

In their book, God’s Super-Apostles, Douglas Geivet, a legitimate professor at Biola University, and Holly Pivic point out The Passion Translation completely rewords verses making them appear to support the New Apolostic Reformation (NAR). For example, in the Passion Translation, Galatians 6:6 says there is a transference of anointing between teachers, prophets, and their followers. It says, “And those who are taught the Word will receive an impartation from their teacher; a transference of anointing takes place between them.”6 This is just one example of a translation Simmons used to correlate with the NAR doctrine where this ‘transference of anointing’ is taught and endorsed. 

“Unfortunately, The Passion Translation (TPT) shows little understanding, either of the process of textual criticism, or of the textual sources themselves.”4

Christians are often sucked in by the experience and led down a path that leads away from the truth. Words like supernatural, explosive, power, flowing, infused, union, victorious, force, grace-fountain, embrace, soul-shelter, experience, and fullness, are littered like breadcrumbs for the wayward traveler to follow. The Passion Translation often resonates with the Christian seeking the ‘next experience,’ but they are being misled. Thinking they have found a way home and a path that sings to their soul, but instead, the course is twisted, and the song is deceptive.

1 John 4:1

2 Peter 1:20-21

Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right. – Charles Spurgeon

This is a time when all of God’s people need to keep their eyes and their Bibles wide open. We must ask God for discernment as never before. – David Jeremiah

 

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

  1. Simmons, Brian. “Psalm 57.” The Passion Translation 2020 Edition, BroadStreet Publishing, 2020, p.503 []
  2. 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 []
  3. “What is the Passion Translation of the Bible?” GotQuestions.org. https://www.gotquestions.org/Passion-Translation.html []
  4. Shead, Andrew, G. “Burning Scripture with Passion: A Review of The Psalms (The Passion Translation).” The Gospel Coalition, thegospelcoalition.org, April 2018, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/burning-scripture-with-passion-a-review-of-the-psalms-passion-translation/ [] []
  5. ‘The Letter of St. Athanasius to Marcellinus on the Interpretation of the Psalms,’ in St. Athanasius on the Incarnation: The Treatise de incarnatione verbi Dei, ed. and trans. A Religious of CSMV, 2nd ed. (London: Mowbray, 1953), 116. []
  6. Geivett, Douglas. Pivec, Holly. “NAR Prophets vs. Prophets in the Bible.” God’s Super-Apostles, Weaver Book, 2014. []

Pin It on Pinterest