Can We Trust The Passion Translation?
...the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
In 2009, Brian Simmons, the single translator of The Passion Translation (TPT), claimed Jesus Himself came into his room, breathed on him, and commissioned him to write a new translation of the Bible. Brian says the breath felt like, "a kiss from heaven. It felt like heaven's wind, the ruah, the breath, the wind of God; it came upon me. And he spoke to me and said, 'I'm commissioning you to translate the Bible into the translation project that I'm giving you to do.' And he promised he would help me; he promised me he would give me secrets of the Hebrew language."
Brian believes when Jesus breathed on him there was an impartation for revelation, but he is careful to point out that in no way does he compare this to the writers of the New Testament. Brian continues, "Jesus breathed on me so I would do the project 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."
When asked if he is finding that when people read the TPT, it's like it does a mind bypass and goes directly to the heart? Brian replies, "I think that's a brilliant way to say it. The poetic language of Hebrew and Aramaic release something inside of us. It's divine; it is full of revelation, there's flavor; it's like thinking with your heart...it's like heart level to heart level, spirit to spirit, deep calling out to deep."
I have been quoting Brian Simmons from a television program, It's Supernatural, where Brian is sharing his experience on the show in 2015. He goes on to give an example of a verse that he believes has possibly been mistranslated. In the NIV, Ephesians 5:22 says, "Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord." Or the version he uses on the program states, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands as unto the Lord." Pretty much the same meaning. But Brian claims that in the Aramaic language it reads, "Wives, be tenderly devoted to your husbands as the church is tenderly devoted to Christ." Now the verse has a different meaning. I remember when I was at Moody Bible Institute students discussing the meaning of the word "submit" which means "to subject or place under". And I remember my dad pointing out to me that v.21 tells us to submit to one another.
PROBLEMS WITH THE PASSION TRANSLATION
Simmons is the only translator, and he is not a scholar. In the preface of my NIV Bible, the first sentence reads, "The New International Version is a completely new translation of the Holy Bible made by over a hundred scholars working directly from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts."
Simmons claims to have used the Aramaic manuscripts to change the meaning of some New Testament verses, but the earliest known Aramaic manuscripts come from the fifth century well after the earliest manuscripts in Greek.
Simmons claims he had a personal visit from Jesus with a commission to write a new translation with a promise to receive secrets of the Hebrew language
Joseph Smith had a similar experience before writing the Book of Mormon. He claimed to have been visited by the angel Moroni who was sent by the presence of God because God had a work he wanted Joseph to do
Simmons agrees that when you read The Passion Translation, it's like bypassing the mind and going straight to the heart...like thinking with your heart. (There is a danger in relying solely on your heart and not using your mind)
Simmons has had other questionable revelations and experiences such as the night he was asleep in bed and was taken out of his body and brought into the library of heaven. The Lord told him that he brought Brian there to take any two books he wanted. After Brian saw the two books he knew he was to have, he saw a third book he wanted. He says in heaven, whatever you think is broadcast over the loudspeaker for everyone to hear and what they heard was his thoughts of "how can I steal this book?" Jesus returns and tells Brian he cannot have this book yet, but that someday he would bring Brian back and give it to him. The third book that Brian wanted was a new book of the Bible, John 22
WHO IS BRIAN SIMMONS?
Brian Simmons is the founder of Stairway Ministries in Wichita, Kansas. He claims to be an apostle and works under the "apostle," Che Ahn, with Harvest International Ministry which is an apostolic network of 25,000 churches and organizations in 65 nations (source). Both he and his wife Candace became believers during the Jesus Movement before they got married. Once married, they both felt called to go to unreached tribal people, and after training with New Tribes Mission, they set off for the jungle village where the Paya-Kuna people lived. (In his 2015 TV appearance on It's Supernatural (referenced above), he tells of his experiences while in the jungle, and the miracles which led to the transformation of the whole village). While there, Brian spent eight years as a linguist in the translation of the New Testament in the Paya-Kuna language.
Soon after the Paya-Kuna people found the Lord, God called Brian and Candace back to the States. They moved to New England and started a church, Gateway Christian Fellowship, where they pastored for eighteen years. They then began to travel all over the world as full-time speakers and teaching churches to grow in Christ. Brian says on his website, "We've had the joy of traveling to over 30 nations, sharing the message of God's greatness and His end time glory that will be revealed through His people."
Brian has written several books and is currently working on The Passion Translation project. He says he is translating the Bible into a "new, dynamic equivalent version that will help breathe life into your Bible reading." He truly believes The Passion Translation has the "potential to shape the spirituality of the English speaking church for generations to come."
For more information, go to Important Facts About The Passion Translation at Spirit of Error.
The Passion Translation is gaining in popularity even among evangelicals, but are they aware of how or why Brian Simmons is writing it? Should Christians be concerned?