Problematic Bibles: The Passion Bible

HomeFalse TeachingsProblematic Bibles: The Passion Bible

This is not a full article. It’s taken from a question in the comments section, and will be expanded and cleaned up at a later date. Thanks for your patience.

The Passion was created by Brian Simmons. He’s part of the unbiblical New Apostolic Reformation, and TPT (The Passion Translation) was written to promote their principles. It’s not a translation in the traditional sense of biblical translation. Typically, Bible translation teams have a goal in mind, and that goal drives their methodology. A stricter, word-for-word kind of translation like the NASB is primarily concerned with accurately reflecting what the ancient manuscripts actually say. An idiomatic kind of translation, like the NIV, is primarily concerned with accurately translating ideas for readability and comprehension.

To compare, use the Spanish phrase “casa blanca.” English doesn’t work exactly like Spanish, so English speakers would say “white house,” rather than “house white.” The NASB would more likely translate that as “house white” and the NIV would more likely say “white house.” I don’t know if that overly-simplistic example makes sense, but that’s the difference between formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence. Both are entirely valid methods of translation, and they serve their purposes very well.

The Passion is less of a translation and more of a commentary, where Simmons inserts his own words and ideas into the text. Here’s 2 Timothy 4:2 from the NIV and from the Passion:

NIV: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.

TPT: Proclaim the Word of God and stand upon it no matter what! Rise to the occasion and preach when it is convenient and when it is not. Preach in the full expression of the Holy Spirit—with wisdom and patience as you instruct and teach the people.

Notice the differences. We might explain the significant difference in the number of words if Simmons was helping us understand some very complex concepts. Instead, his stated goal is to produce passion in the reader… so he feels he must “translate” God’s Word in a way that causes people to feel more deeply. Notice also the inclusion of the Holy Spirit. There’s (obviously) nothing wrong with the Holy Spirit, but Paul said nothing about Him in that verse. It’s simply not a translation. It’s a personal commentary.

Finally, and I’ll give quoted examples when I write the full article about this ‘bible,’ Simmons makes some hard-to-swallow claims about the whole process. He claims to have been brought to Heaven to see Jesus, who showed him an extra chapter for the Bible that nobody knows about, and that Jesus told him that one day it would be given to him. He claims, contrary to the evidence, that the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic, and so he used Aramaic manuscripts for his work. Trouble is that the oldest Aramaic manuscripts we have are from the 5th century, far newer than most of the almost 6000 Greek manuscripts we’ve found. He also claims to have been given secret knowledge by God, which is a gigantic red flag.

The Bible is important, and people should know that The Passion “Translation” is not a reliable Bible. As with anything related to the New Apostolic Reformation, the contents do not match what God has already said.

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