The Passion Translation is one of the newest translations of the Bible in the market. I’m not very familiar with it but do know it comes with a bit of controversy. I’ve been browsing through a new book called God’s Super Apostles by R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec (Weaver Book Company). Geivett and Pivec have some serious concerns about the movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) (see their book A New Apostolic Reformation?, Weaver Book Company). In the former book they offer a brief critique of the Passion Translation which I offer an abridged version here.
“A disturbing development has occurred in NAR: NAR followers now have produced their own translation of the Bible, the Passion Translation, produced by NAR apostle Brian Simmons of Stairway Ministries in Wichita, Kansas.
This translation is being released in installments; the first, Song of Solomon was released in 2011 (and updated in 2013). Other installments released to date include The Psalms, Proverbs, and Letters from Heaven by the Apostle Paul (including Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Timothy).
Simmons claimed the Lord visited him personally and commissioned him to make this new Bible. He named it the Passion Translation since he saw a need for a translation that restores the Bible’s potency ‘unfiltered and unveiled.’ . . . The popularity of this new translation is due, in no small part, to endorsements by influential apostles and prophets, including Ché Ahn, James Goll, and Bill Johnson.
This is troubling. This NAR Bible contains completely reworded verses, making it appear that the Bible supports NAR teachings. For example, Galatians 6:6, in the Passion Translation, speaks of a ‘transference of anointing’ that occurs between ‘teachers’ (read: apostles and 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.’ [The authors observe in a footnote that this has been changed in the Passion Translation which now reads, a “sharing of wealth takes place between them.’ This change causes them to “wonder what basis Simmons had for shifting his translation in such a substantial way and doing so without explaining the need for a revision. (p. 69n.c)] . . . How did Simmons arrive at his drastically different translation?
He claims he has composed it by working from the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The result, however, suggests that this so-called translation is not the product of careful scholarship at all. Perhaps he would say that prophetic illumination played a part. This certainly seems to be implied in endorsements. Ché Ahn states that Simmons has been ‘given revelation and insight into a deeper meaning of the Scriptures.’ The idea that Christians need an apostle to give them a ‘deeper meaning’ of the Scriptures is not sound. . . . Simmons works as a lone translator. He claims to have five professional editors look at his work, but he has yet to reveal the identities of those individuals. . . . He also admits that he does not claim to be a scholar of the original languages. Though he uses the title ‘Dr.’ before his name, he did not receive his degree from a recognized academic institution, but rather from the Wagner Leadership Institute—an NAR organization that offers course in subjects like dream interpretation and miracle-working.” (pp. 67-68)