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Problematic Bibles: The Passion Bible

HomeFalse TeachingsProblematic Bibles: The Passion Bible

I’m often asked to assess what others teach. I do not do this lightly, but it is necessary. Before reading this page, or any of the pages about specific people, I recommend that you read What is a False Teacher?, which explains what the Bible says about false teachers, and why I would bother to research who they are and what they say. You may also want to check out a list of Bible Teachers I Can Recommend.

Translation Basics

The Passion Bible 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 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 a lot 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.


One could claim that anyone who knows ancient Hebrew and Greek could, in theory, translate publicly-available copies of ancient manuscripts into English. In this sense, Brian Simmons and you and I could, in theory, create a reliable Bible. Is that what happened with The Passion Bible?

Brian Simmons claims to have credentials that he apparently does not actually have. If his claims are false, he is a liar and should be disqualified from serious consideration as a Bible translator. That doesn’t mean that I think he’s not a Christian. Christians can lie, certainly. What it would mean is that someone who would lie about their translation credential shouldn’t be trusted to actually translate God’s Word reliably.

Claims / Counterclaims

Brian Simmons worked with New Tribes (now Ethnos360), a ministry to plant churches and provide Bible translations for unreached people groups. According to those who worked with him, Simmons was a church planter with the Paya-Kuna people. A few quotes:

Brian is not a linguist of any sort.

Don Pederson, Ethnos360/NTM

He was a church planter… not a translator… Nobody in our mission would ever say that he’s a Bible translator or was ever approved as a Bible translator.

Jerry McDaniels, Paya missionary and International Literacy Coordinator with Ethnos360/NTM

Simmons claims to have been the co-translator on the Paya-Kuna translation. However: the Paya-Kuna translation was not done while he was serving with NTM. He claims they were able to hand a completed New Testament to the people in the late 80s, but Moody Bible Institute explains that the translation was published in 1995. It’s unfortunate to learn that Brian Simmons may not be telling the truth:

… Brian was not what he claimed and NTM/Ethnos360 did not agree with his doctrinal positions nor did we follow his approach to translation.

Don Pederson, Ethnos360/NTM

A noteworthy fact: the website for The Passion Translation has a page about the ‘Lead Translator,’ Brian Simmons. Nothing on that page (at this writing) mentions his credentials or experience in Bible translation.

The Details

[This section will be updated soon]

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.


Not a Bible translator: YouTube video

See the complete but incomplete False Teachers List


Don’t bother commenting or emailing me about how I’m just wrong. It’s a waste of your time and mine. If you have something to say, include Scripture. I am far from perfect, and I can be wrong… so I don’t do any of this lightly, and I’m open to correction.

Don’t bother telling me how this person or that person helped you. It’s a waste of your time and mine. Nobody teaches lies and falsehoods all the time. In researching these topics, I’ve heard a LOT that I appreciated, and have been inspired by even those who are otherwise far from the truth. The number of times someone is right is irrelevant to the question of whether they also teach false things. We should appreciate anyone who teaches us the truth, but that doesn’t mean we should uncritically follow them when we see significant problems in their lives, in their ministries, and in their teaching. Neither your opinion nor mine matter here. What matters is what the Bible teaches, and whether those who preach and teach in Jesus’ name are teaching falsely.

If you can provide evidence that one of these people has recanted their false teaching, please let me know. I would love to amend their article to show that they have changed what they teach.

Finally: we who follow Jesus should not consider false teachers our enemies. If they’re not saved, we should pray for their salvation. If they are saved, we should pray that God will lead them to teach only the truth.

See also: a list of Bible Teachers I Can Recommend

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14 responses to “Problematic Bibles: The Passion Bible”

  1. Crystal Layel says:

    God also said out with the old in with the new! Hebrew 8:13. Cause God is telling me secrets of things in life and I believe them to be true cause there coming from him.And the trinity is of 3 beings but here on earth he can be one in the people he chooses.People don’t want to believe what they can’t see and no one has ever seen God until the new Heaven and earth are completed, then there will be a new law by God.

    • Tony says:


      Um… no.

      You are, of course, free to believe whatever you want. However: it’s not right to pretend that what you have written matches what God has already revealed to everyone. The idea that God would personally tell you things that apply to everyone, but not tell everyone, is unbiblical. The trinity is most definitely not “of 3 beings but here on earth he can be one in the people he chooses.” Either you’re making that up, or you’re repeating what someone else made up.

      • The trinity is not 3 beings. God, who is triune, is three PERSONS but ONE being. The Bible is clear that there is only one God, not three.
      • God could, of course, do whatever He chooses to do. However: He will not “be one in the people he chooses.” First, God has never been “in” anyone in that way. Second, the plan for God to become a human named Jesus was set from the very beginning, and won’t be repeated. The fact that God could do something is no indication that He would.
      • You’re right: people usually don’t want to believe what they can’t see. Unfortunately, on this particular topic, you seem to believe something that nobody can see… in the Bible.
      • We already have that new law. Paul describes this as “the law of Christ.” It’s what Jesus taught. We don’t have to wait for it, and we have no indication from Scripture that there will be yet another law in the new Heaven and the new Earth.

      I hope you don’t take this message in the wrong way, Crystal. My point isn’t that you’re wrong, but that you and I and everybody else should examine what we believe very carefully. I don’t know where you heard these things, but they simply don’t match what the Bible says. Let me encourage you to begin some serious study of what the New Testament teaches. It’s very rewarding, and helps us better understand who God is. Let me know if there’s some way I can help.

      Have a great day!

  2. Stefani says:

    This sounds like how Joseph Smith created Mormonism. Also the same with Mohammed. They were all met in secret and only they were revealed something.

  3. James (Ronald) Yarnall says:

    Hello Tony,

    I found your posting with DuckDuckGo, after hearing (on TV) about the Passion version. I just offer comment about Trinity – and the old practice of saying Three “PERSONS”. Without declaring error, in my heart I am more “comfortable” with Three “REVELATIONS”. After the Great Flood, God revealed himself to Abraham and later to Moses; and others. Following a famous birth in Bethlehem, he revealed himself as Son of Man – who spoke of Father. Just before his post-resurrection departure from Earth, he foretold the coming of “another Comforter” (John 14:16, KJV). “Father”, and “Son”, and “Comforter”. Three Revelations. Many other descriptive names and titles. But, is our creator (and owner) actually described (anywhere in those 66 books) as three “Persons”?

    I “read” you as a man who regards words as important. We share that!


    • Tony says:


      Discussions of the trinity ARE sometimes difficult, aren’t they? There is nothing like God. He made no other trinities, so we have nothing to compare Him to. All analogies fall short, and – as you point out – so do words. I’m not uncomfortable with “revelations,” other than the fact that it might be confusing to others. As long as we don’t contradict Scripture, we’re doing okay. Thanks for weighing in!

  4. James (called “Ron”) Yarnall says:


    Thanks for your reply. Just offering more thoughts: the Bible offers the astonishing idea that we, humans, are made in the “image” and “likeness” of our Creator (Genesis 1:6, KJV). In another place (1 Thes. 5:23), we are described as “spirit and soul and body”. Now, I have no desire to “add” to holy scripture — but rather to just understand it … BETTER!

    The Creator: SPIRIT and FATHER and SON … three elements or “parts”.
    A creature: spirit plus soul plus body … also; with three elements or parts.

    Big conclusion? New religion? Not from this old man (85 y). Just sharing a few thoughts with my brother-in-Christ; and fellow Bible student….

    FYI: I like to write, as a hobby, about “Biblical topics” … and this “three-ness” property (of humans) links in with my current “writing project”. Our “three (human) parts” are linked together by messages; by information. Our soul is NOT just another name for spirit. They differ. Our soul analyzes and evaluates information from the body AND information from the spirit, while developing its beliefs and planning its actions. The Bible agrees that soul and spirit differ, but that is too much to “get into” via these (brief) comments….

    • Tony says:

      James called Ron:

      While we ARE made in God’s image, that doesn’t mean we’re just like Him. Clearly, we’re not. The debates that have raged over the centuries is to what extent we’re like Him, and in which ways. After all: how many verses also say “there is no one like Him”? I don’t take Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians to be a strict explanation of what it means to be human. It may be more colloquial. In Genesis we see that God created Adam’s physical body, then breathed into it, and he “became a living soul.” That’s certainly more clear. I don’t believe humans are trinitarian in nature, as – but one example – I’m just me. I’m not able to sanely interact with myself in the ways that God interacts with Himself in Scripture. The Son came from the Father. The Son obeys the Father. The Father sends the Spirit… and so on. For me to do that, I’ve have to take some really strong and probably dangerous medication.

      The problem with theories about our souls and spirits is that we have no way to adequately identify them. We can speculate, but in the end we’re pretty much making things up. What’s the difference between my mind and my spirit? How can I know? Can they conflict? How can I know, and which should win? My body is easy to spot, but the rest of me – what Scripture describes as heart, soul, spirit, mind… I know precious little about.

      At the risk of being annoying, I’ll go ahead and ask two questions that I think are important:

      1. In what reliable source(s) could I find factual information about my soul and spirit?
      2. Is is possible that you should be studying and writing about the gospel? I’m not in a position to judge, but a lot of people get caught in tangential stuff because they find it interesting… and, too often, we end up trading something great for something only good.

      I mean no disrespect, of course… just wondering whether your work will actually grow the kingdom, or mature any disciples. What do you think, my friend?

  5. James (called “Ron”) Yarnall says:

    My Brother Tony: ( Is it Okay to call you “My Brother”? )

    For this reply, let me begin at the END of your last message. I see nothing “disrespectful” or “annoying” in your words; only clear evidence of need for expansion and more clarity in MY words. Tony, I have right here, next to my hand, my last copy of a four-page document with NINE embedded graphics. Calling it my “odd Christmas card”, I mailed out 50 copies in December … and one copy was returned to me. This “card” introduces what I called “BIBLICAL COSMOLOGY”. I think, with its graphics, most of your questions (about my views on the topics of “soul” and “spirit”) can be fully resolved. All I need is a postal mailing address, and this can soon be in YOUR hand! (Just email your “snail mail” address; if you are curious.) Since Christmas it came (into my spirit) that “more” could be said. The plan now involves two “followup” four-pagers … which are not yet completed or offered. I would greatly enjoy your “feedback” … to that which, if the Lord allows, will soon become “Part 1” … of 3 parts.

    Best regards,

    Suggestion: the above “comment” is not likely to interest your other readers. If you agree, just let me know by quick email….

    • Tony says:

      James called Ron:

      Yes, you can call me brother. If you’re born again, it’s true that we are brothers, having been adopted into God’s family by faith. I appreciate the offer, of course… but if I took the time to read everything that people offer me, I wouldn’t have any time to write (or sleep, or exercise, or go on dates with my wife). I’d love to see a synopsis if you’re willing to share it. Is it based in Scripture?

      Thanks for your generosity, my friend!

  6. James ( Yarnall says:

    This is a second reply, to your previous note…


    I like the word “triune” (NEVER “trinitarian”) when thinking about our 3 human “parts” (flesh+soul+spirit) …or… (body+mind+heart). And I never think (nor suggest) that we are “just like” our Creator. I read in the KJV Bible the words “image and likeness”. Inserting the word “just” makes quick problems, as you noted immediately.

    I have an illustrated four-pager that will clarify much. All I need is a postal address to put a copy in your hand….

  7. James Ronald Yarnall says:

    Hey Tony,

    In the paragraph where I described the four-page essay as my introduction to “BIBLICAL COSMOLOGY” … especially those two words … that IS a “synopsis”. You are too busy to read (or even scan) the essay? I can understand that. I am pretty busy myself. My primary work? Watching for Jesus! (ref: Mark 13:37)

    Stay well, my brother. We shall meet “upstairs” … in that place that Jesus called “My Father’s house”, where “time” is NEVER in short supply! ⏳ ⏳ ⌛️ 👀 😳 😃


    • Tony says:

      Ron (sometimes known as James):

      I appreciate your response. It’s not that I couldn’t scan it… it’s that I’ve received pamphlets, articles, doctoral dissertations, special editions of particular Bibles, and even entire books from readers. There’s simply not enough hours in the day to process them all. I appreciate everyone’s generosity, but sometimes I’m in the awkward position of wondering what do DO with it all. I’m looking forward to meeting you in person, either here or in the air. Have a great day!

  8. James Ronald Yarnall says:


    Re: Your subtitle — “THEOLOGY AND OTHER GOOD STUFF”

    Well-done! It has been a personal pleasure “swapping words” with you. Your thoughtful and informative replies to comments surely deserve the “GOOD STUFF” rating.


    ( A Great Day is here in progress … Thank you! )

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