Many wonderful versions of the Bible grace our bookshelves, bookstores, software programs, even apps on our phones. In fact 88 percent of households own an average of nearly five Bibles! So why add one more?
The reason is simple: God wants His message of love to be received in every culture, every community, and every language. About every hundred years or so the vocabulary of people undergoes a dramatic change. In this era of modern technology we find an even more rapid shift. Therefore, it is important to keep translations of the Bible in step with changes in the English language. That’s where The Passion Translation comes in. The goal of The Passion Translation is to bring God’s fiery heart of love and truth to this generation, merging the emotion and truth of God’s Word, resulting in a clear, accurate, readable translation for modern English readers.
God refuses to meet us only in an intellectual way. God also wants to meet us heart level, so we must let the words go heart deep—which is what we’re trying to do with this project. There is a language of the heart that must express the passion of this love-theology. That’s why The Passion Translation is an important addition to peoples’ devotional and spiritual life with Christ.
To see the differences between The Passion Translation and other versions of the bible, click here!
Bible translations give us the words God spoke through his servants, but words can become very poor containers for revelation. Over time the words change from one generation to the next. Meaning is influenced by culture, background, and many other details. You can imagine how differently the Hebrew authors of the Old Testament saw the world three thousand years ago!
There are many excellent translations of God’s Word that grace our shelves. Some versions translate the original form of words in the biblical languages to their new form in English (formal equivalence), believing the word-for-word rendering of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek should have priority. Other versions translate the function of the original biblical words in English (functional equivalence), believing the thought-for-thought message should have priority.
There is no such thing as a truly literal translation of the Bible, for there is not an equivalent language that perfectly conveys the meaning of the biblical text except as it is understood in its original cultural and linguistic setting. Yet, to transfer the meaning of the biblical narrative from one language to another requires interpretation. As Gordon Fee and Mark Strauss explain, “If the goal of translations is to reproduce the meaning of the text, then it follows that all translations involve interpretation.” Since every translation interposes a fallible human interpretation between the reader and an infallible text, a translation can be a problem. However, the problem is solved when we seek to transfer meaning, and not merely words, from the original text to the receptor language.
That’s the governing philosophy behind The Passion Translation: to transfer the essential meaning of God’s original message found in the biblical languages to modern English. We believe that the essential meaning of a passage should take priority over the literal form of the original words, while still ensuring the essence of those words is conveyed, so that every English speaker can clearly and naturally encounter the heart of God through his message of truth and love.
The Passion Translation is an essential equivalence translation. TPT maintains the essential form and essential function of the original words. It is a meaning-for-meaning translation, translating the essence of God’s original message and heart into modern English. We agree with Fee and Strauss: “Accuracy in a translation relates to equivalent meaning.”
This was the basic philosophy Martin Luther used when he translated God’s Word into German for his people: “I must let the literal words go and try to learn how the German says that which the Hebrew expresses. . . . Whoever would speak German must not use Hebrew style. Rather he must see to it—once he understands the Hebrew author—that he concentrates on the sense of the text, asking himself ‘Pray tell, what do the Germans say in such a situation?’ . . . Let him drop the Hebrew words and express the meaning freely in the best German he knows.”
We have prayerfully followed the same model, seeking to understand the essence of the text and express and reproduce its meaning in the best English we know. We have worked to remain faithful to the original biblical languages by preserving the essence of their meaning, going further at times than “literal” translations to capture ancient idioms and definitions. Yet we remain flexible to convey the essence of God’s original message in a way that expands its understanding for English readers. TPT is a balanced translation that tries to hold both the essence of Scripture’s literal meaning and original message in proper tension, resulting in an expansive, fresh, fiery translation of God’s Word.
The purpose of The Passion Translation is to re-introduce the passion and fire of the Bible to the English reader. It doesn’t merely convey the original, literal meaning of words. It expresses God’s passion for people and his world by translating the essential original, life-changing message of God’s Word for modern readers in a way that is clear and readable.
You will notice at times we have italicized certain words or phrases. These highlighted portions are not in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts, but are implied from the context and their essential meaning. They expand the essential meaning of the original language by highlighting the essence of God’s original message. This practice is a common one, used by many mainstream translations including the King James Version and New American Standard Bible. Where the original language requires clarification, such translations have added English words.
Following in this translation tradition and mainstream practice, we have made implications explicit for the sake of narrative clarity and to better convey the essential meaning of the Bible’s message. Without distorting or detracting from the Word of God, expanding upon the original text serves the reader by clarifying the original language and making God’s original message more understandable. In this way The Passion Translation is an expansive translation, expanding the essential meaning of God’s original Word in order to make God’s essential message to you and the world clear and readable.
Every translation rests on a set of standards, criteria, and principles, and embraces a certain process for expressing God’s originally inspired texts in another language. Brian Simmons engaged a three-stage process for bringing the original languages into modern English. First, he analyzed the passage in the original biblical language to establish its essential meaning. Next, he conveyed the meaning of the original words in English. Finally, he converted the meaning in a way that expressed the language of the English world while preserving the original message meaning.
Fee and Stuart in their book How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth say:
Our view is that the best theory of translation is the one that remains as faithful as possible to both the original and receptor languages, but that when something has to “give,” it should be in favor of the receptor language—without losing the meaning of the original language, of course—since the very reason for translation is to make these ancient texts accessible to the English-speaking person who does not know the original languages.
Furthermore, Brian Simmons used the same widely-used standards marked by mainstream Evangelical translations to make The Passion Translation an accurate, faithful, clear, and readable translation for twenty-first century English readers. A passage was adjusted if required by grammar, correct meaning, clarity, and readability.
First, grammatical correctness had priority over literalness of form, given the differences between Hebrew and Greek and English grammar. Second, the essential meaning of a passage took priority over the form of the original words. Third, while correct meaning is important, so is clarity. Every translation makes frequent adjustments to not only ensure a passage’s meaning is correct, but that it is also clearly understood. Brian Simmons made the same adjustments in favor of clarity. Fourth, adjustments were often necessary for the sake of readability, or naturalness. Like other translators, Brian Simmons made adjustments to make a passage or verse reflect more of the way we speak modern English. These four criteria are standard for the process of converting the essential meaning of God’s original words so that people can understand the essence of God’s original message.
The resulting translation is one that remains faithful to both the original form of the ancient biblical languages, while functioning in a way that preserves the essential meaning of God’s original message for English readers. It follows in the tradition of mainstream functional, dynamic equivalent translations, while also transferring the essential meaning of God’s original message found in the biblical languages to modern-day English. We believe that the essential meaning of a passage should take priority over the form of the original words, so that every English speaker can clearly and naturally encounter the heart of God through his message of truth and love.
The Passion Translation is not a revision or paraphrase of another existing version of the Bible. It is an entirely new, fresh translation using the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic documents. For the Old Testament, Brian Simmons consulted the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible and Aramaic texts, in conjunction with the Septuagint. A number of Hebrew texts were used, especially the edition known as Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (1977). For the New Testament, he used Novum Testamentum Graece, edited by Nestle and Aland (currently the 28th edition) as his Greek base text from which to work, while incorporating insights from the Syriac (Aramaic) Peshitta.
Over the past several decades there have been many new discoveries regarding the original documents and manuscripts that have been compiled to form our Bible, especially the Aramaic manuscripts of the New Testament. Aramaic and Hebrew are related linguistically and both are considered to be emotional and poetic. Greek speaks to the mind while Aramaic and Hebrew speak powerfully to the heart.
It is widely known that Aramaic was the language Jesus, the apostles, and the earliest Christians spoke. It was the dominant language in most settings Jesus taught, probably the first language of most Galileans outside urban areas and the common tongue of most Judeans. It was the lingua franca of the Middle East until around the third century. Recent biblical scholarship has begun tracing many of Jesus’ teachings back to an original Aramaic source. Some even argue the original Greek manuscripts were translations of even more original Aramaic sources. For instance, Jesus’ famous “Son of Man” reference doesn’t make sense in the Greek; it’s a downright Semitic, non-Hellenized, Aramaic figure of speech if there ever was one. And an ironic wordplay can be discerned in Matthew 23:24, where “gnat” (qamla) and “camel” (gamla) are in obvious parallelism, signifying an Aramaic layer beneath the Bible. In order to fully utilize this layer and the recent developments in biblical textual and source criticism, Brian Simmons compared both Greek and Aramaic translations throughout this monumental project. You may consider The Passion Translation as a synthesis of the two. When he has resorted to using the alternative Aramaic text, which may vary minimally from the Greek, you will notice an explanatory footnote to let you know. We believe using the original ancient Aramaic sources in addition to the original Greek ones adds an important lens through which to read God’s Word and understand His revelation of truth and love. We trust you will find the nuance added by the Aramaic to bring a greater clarity to the inspired text.
While it is generally agreed upon that Greek was the language in which the New Testament was written, for several decades there has been a debate surrounding the primacy of Greek versus Aramaic as original texts for the New Testament. There is a growing interest in an apparent Aramaic layer undergirding much of the New Testament, particularly the Gospels. Some believe Aramaic Christian texts may have circulated in the years leading up to the transmission of the Gospels.
Craig Keener notes, “the bilingual milieu of the Syrian and Palestinian churches undoubtedly facilitated the ready translation on a popular level of Jesus’ sayings from Aramaic to Greek…” [Craig Keener, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2009), 159] Likewise, Michael Bird argues that large sections of the Gospels “are capable of being retroverted back into Aramaic,” suggesting Aramaic sources have a place in the Jesus tradition. [Michael Bird, The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus (Eerdmans Publishing, 2014), 44]. Given these recent advances in textual criticism in regards to the Aramaic of the Bible, Brian Simmons believes it’s time to bring this forgotten, neglected language into the translation equation because of how influential the language was during the first and second centuries on the biblical world and the Bible itself. A growing chorus of scholars is recognizing certain idioms and phrases are better understood by referring to the Aramaic behind them. Therefore, where appropriate, Brian Simmons has applied the lens of this language to better capture the original cultural and historical context of God’s Word. It is also meant to act as sort of a prism through which to further illuminate the meaning of God’s original message, acting as an alternative perspective to the typical Greek-centric one.
Brian Simmons is the lead translator for The Passion Translation. His background in translating the Bible originated as a co-translator for the Kuna New Testament with New Tribes Mission, providing the unreached Paya-Kuna people group of Panama with a copy of God’s Word for the first time. Since then he has leveraged this linguistic and biblical-languages background to translate the entire New Testament and four books of the Old Testament into modern English.
Single-author translations have deep, historical roots. In the early church Jerome composed the Latin Vulgate; during the Reformation Martin Luther translated the original biblical languages into German; William Tyndale’s English translation later impacted the King James Version. There have been many single-person translations in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including the translation of J. B. Phillips, J. N. Darby’s Darby Bible, The Complete Jewish Bible by Dr. David H. Stern, Robert Young’s Literal Translation, Kenneth Wuest’s The New Testament: An Expanded Translation, The Kingdom New Testament by British New Testament scholar N. T. Wright, a translation of the New Testament by American philosophical theologian David Bentley Hart, and more.
Although Brian Simmons is the lead translator of The Passion Translation, he is part of a team that gives oversight and accountability to the translation project in the historical missionary translation tradition. Working with New Tribes Mission in Panama, Brian’s skills were shaped according to this missionary tradition. Unlike the committee translation tradition of many Western Bible versions of the Christianized developed world, by necessity new translations of God’s Word in the unreached majority world are undertaken by either single individuals or small teams of people who are skilled in biblical languages and linguistics. They also go beyond translation to transculturation, where the goal is transferring the essential meaning of God’s message into contemporary relevance for the people group.
Relying on these same skills with the biblical language, linguistics, and transculturation that were honed during his time with New Tribes Missions, Brian has sought to faithfully translate the essential message of God’s Word into the contemporary, relevant language of today. And adopting the same stringent guidelines used through his missionary work, including teamwork and accountability, his work has been theologically reviewed by professionals such as Rick Wadholm Jr. (PhD), Gary S. Greig (PhD), Jacqueline Grey (BTh, PhD) Jeremy Bouma (ThM), and others.
Although some Bible readers might assume making a translation permanent and unchanging is a good thing, Bible scholar Tremper Longman III explains why this is unwise: “Most translators and linguists would say that such an approach to translation is actually less accurate in terms of communicating the thought of the ancient writer to a modern audience” (Christianity Today, 9/28/2016). The reason why is because our knowledge of the Bible’s language and culture increases, and English language usage changes over time.
The Passion Translation affirms this position, believing that advances in our understanding of the original biblical languages, discoveries in biblical scholarship, and continued developments of English usage necessitate regularly assessing the translation and its notes to ensure faithfulness, accuracy, readability, and clarity.
It is a common practice for modern, mainstream translations to make minor or even significant revisions and updates to the translation. In 2011, the Committee on Bible Translation updated the New International Version, unlocking the 1984 edition and revising around 5 percent of its content. They continue to meet yearly to assess the translation and make necessary changes and adjustments. Similarly, in 2017 the Holman Christian Standard Bible was revised to the Christian Standard Bible, updating translation and word choices.
Such translating committees constantly monitor developments in biblical scholarship and changes in how English is used. Brian Simmons and translation partners pledge to regularly review The Passion Translation and its notes for its faithfulness and accuracy in light of the latest biblical scholarship, and its readability and clarity in light of modern English usage. The Passion Translation conducts a full, formal review of the text every two years, but makes critical updates to biblical text or footnotes on the next print run so readers can have the latest and best translation of the Bible text.
The Passion Translation is an attempt to bring God’s fiery heart of love and truth to this generation, merging the emotion and truth of God’s Word. The result is a clear, accurate, readable translation for modern English readers, permeated by the heart of God and the emotion of his Word.
A goal of The Passion Translation is to recapture the emotion of God’s Word, for emotion is vital to God’s message. As Gregory Clapper rhetorically asked: “Is the great range of scriptural language about the ‘heart’ dispensable ornamentation which only clouds the real message of the Gospel, or does this emotion-language itself convey and constitute, in large measure, the real message?” Brian Simmons believes Scripture’s emotion-language is at the heart of God’s Word, because it fully manifests the heart of God.
The heart and mind are not opponents in God’s Word, but allies and supporters of each other. If we want to grasp the fullness of God’s character and his passion for our lives, we must recapture this lost language. The genuine message and fullness of God’s good news in Christ is laid bare in and through the Bible’s emotion-language.
God refuses to meet us in a merely intellectual way. God wants to meet us heart level, so we must let the words go heart deep—which is what we’re trying to do with this translation project: To bring words that go through the human soul and into our spirits. There is a language of the heart that must express the passion of this love-theology. That’s why The Passion Translation focuses on drawing out Scripture’s heart and emotion language—to benefit peoples’ devotional and spiritual lives with Christ.
Throughout the process of writing the The Passion Translation, we took great pains to faithfully express God’s message from the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic manuscripts into modern English. We wanted to hold both the literal meaning and original message in proper tension. One area that challenged us was translating the original male-oriented pronouns and terms from the ancient biblical text in away that was clear and readable in our twenty-first century context. Our translation philosophy is to transfer meaning, and not merely words, from the original biblical text to English. We believe that the meaning of a passage takes priority over the form of the original words. Therefore, where appropriate, we translated male-oriented pronouns and terms in a gender-neutral way when it was clear God’s message applied not merely to men, but to men and women collectively. For example, in Galatians 4:12, Paul pleads with the church of Galatia to become like him. It is clear in the context that his message is to both brothers and sisters in the faith, to the “beloved ones,” as The Passion Translation says. Therefore, the passage is translated like this: “Beloved ones, I plead with you, follow my example and become free from the bondage of religion…” This example represents several instances where it was clear God’s original message wasn’t merely for men, but for every person—every “beloved one.” Where we didn’t convert male-oriented pronouns and terms, however, is when they referred to God. So when Jesus said, “I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life. No one comes next to the Father except through union with me. To know me is to know my Father too. And from now on you will realize that you have seen him and experienced him,” we clearly maintained the proper terms to refer to God in the masculine—just as God’s original message communicates.
The Word of God was never meant to be studied in personal isolation, but proclaimed and preached in community. From Israel to the Church, God’s people have read aloud the Holy Scriptures, a tradition that Jesus mirrored and modeled in the temple (See Luke 4:16–20). Given that it was meant to be read aloud, it is vital that the Bible is clearly spoken when read and easily understood when listened to.
The Passion Translation has been crafted with modern English readers and listeners in mind, which is why it is ideal for modern English churches. The cadence and word choices, sentence structure and emotive language all lend a hand in helping readers easily proclaim passages, pastors clearly communicate God’s Word, and listeners understand the specific message God wants them to hear. Whatever your role in the church today, The Passion Translation will help your messages come alive with the fiery passion of God and help your listeners encounter the heart of God.
Both the New International Version and The Passion Translation have the goal of accurately and clearly conveying God’s Word in contemporary language. The two also seek to balance the original meaning of words and God’s original message; yet The Passion Translation is more in favor of prioritizing God’s original message over the words’ literal meaning. Where the NIV often favors a word-for-word rendition of the text, The Passion Translation consistently favors a more expansive, natural thought-for-thought expression of God’s Word. Consider this example from Galatians 2:15–21, in which you’ll notice the difference between the two: From the NIV:
We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Although we’re Jews by birth and not non-Jewish “sinners,” we know full well that we don’t receive God’s perfect righteousness as a reward for keeping the law, but by the faith of Jesus the Messiah! His faithfulness, not ours, has saved us, and we have received God’s perfect righteousness. Now we know that God accepts no one by the keeping of religious laws, but by the gift of grace! If we are those who desire to be saved from our sins through our union with Christ, does that mean Christ promotes our sins if we still acknowledge that we are sinners? How absurd! For if I start over and reconstruct the old religious system that I have torn down with the message of grace, I will appear to be one who turns his back on the truth. It was when I tried to obey the law that I was condemned with a curse, because I’m not able to fulfill every single detail of it. But because Christ lives in me, I’ve now died to the law’s dominion over me so that I can live for God in heaven’s freedom! My old identity has been crucified with Christ and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for Christ lives his life through me—we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, and dispenses his life into mine! So that is why I don’t view God’s grace as something minor or peripheral. For if keeping the law could release God’s righteousness to us, the Anointed One would have died for nothing.
You can see how The Passion Translation takes this complicated passage and enhances its meaning by going beyond a literal translation to magnifying God’s original message. The section of Galatians from the TPT Bible brings greater clarity and understanding by translating the original Greek in a way that’s faithful and fresh, reliable and readable. That’s why this section from Paul’s letter in the TPT Bible reads as if he wrote it to contemporary English readers! To see the differences between The Passion Translation and NIV, as well as other versions of the Bible, click here!
The King James Version of the Bible has been the most well-known, well-loved Bible translation in the English-speaking world for centuries. In fact, for 55 percent of Americans—and perhaps for you—it’s their translation of choice. While the legacy and impact of the KJV is rich and deep, many do not see it as an ideal translation for your personal devotional life for two important reasons, both having to do with language.
First, the forty-seven scribes who translated the King James Bible didn’t know all we know today about the Bible’s original languages. While the original Hebrew text was adequate, their understanding of it wasn’t. They also relied upon what we now know to be inferior original texts, particularly the Greek one of the New Testament known as Textus Receptus. Originally created by Erasmus of Rotterdam and updated by French scholar Stephanus, it was an improvement over previous New Testament Greek sources, but marked by several problems. It was based upon few Greek manuscripts largely representing the Byzantine type of text dating from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, which most scholars believe was a revision, even expansion, of the originals. And in places where no Greek text was available, the Latin Vulgate was translated back into Greek. Since then, we’ve discovered many earlier Greek manuscripts dating far closer to the original transcription of the New Testament than those composing Textus Receptus. The most significant and accurate of these include Codex Alexandrinus (dated AD 400), Codex Sinaiticus (AD 350), and Codex Vaticanus (AD 325)—all found after the composition and publication of the KJV. Now most modern translations use the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament as a translation source, which incorporates these and other important manuscripts, and which The Passion Translation references. To accompany original language concerns with the KJV, it also does not reflect our modern language. Words such as “thou art,” “ye shall,” “thus saith,” or “thou knowest not” are not commonly used today. If we don’t speak like English speakers from the days of Shakespeare, why read or preach from God’s Word in a language from the seventeenth century? While there are undoubted literary qualities of the KJV that marvelously express the English language, it is no longer a living language. It’s a language that spoke God’s message of love to people then in the language of their day; we need that same message right now in today’s language. Aside from the language difference, another difference between the KJV and TPT is the absence of several verses. The KJV includes several passages most Bible scholars believe were not in the original text, reflecting the inferior manuscript Textus Receptus. Those extra verses include the following: Matthew 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; 27:35b; Mark 7:16; 9:44, 46; 11:26; 15:28; Luke 9:55b–56a; 17:36; 23:17; John 5:3b–4; Acts 8:37; 15:34; 24:6b–8a; 28:29; Romans 16:24; 1 John 5:7b–8a. Most modern versions exclude these verses, while including a note of explanation in deference to the KJV tradition. The Passion Translation also follows this practice. The Passion Translation is designed to help you encounter the heart of God in your day, just like the KJV did in its day. We respect the legacy of the KJV and are indebted to its impact and influence. We also appreciate that it has been a trusted, cherished source of spiritual encouragement for many, nourishing their faith for years. Yet, because of the language issues of the KJV, we encourage people to find a translation based on the latest manuscript scholarship and one that communicates God’s original message in contemporary English. To see the differences between The Passion Translation and KJV, as well as other versions of the Bible, click here!
The New Apostolic Reformation, commonly known as NAR, is a name used by some Internet apologists and critics to identify leaders mostly in the Pentecostal and charismatic traditions who affirm (or seem to affirm in part or full) a group of beliefs the critics oppose. Brian Simmons has been unfairly identified with this non-movement because of his association with some of these leaders and affinity with Pentecostalism. Further, such critics have falsely accused Simmons of writing The Passion Translation as a stealth maneuver in support of the non-movement’s agenda and to bolster it theologically through translation renderings. Neither of these accusations are fair or accurate. Although his audience includes the Pentecostal reader and worshiper, he affirms historic Christian orthodoxy and stands within the broad evangelical theological tradition.
Simmons undertook this translation project because he felt a calling from God, and because he has always wanted to bring people into a greater understanding of the wealth and treasure contained in the Bible.
There is often some confusion in the Christian community when it comes to various versions of the Bible, particularly the differences between “translation” and “paraphrase.”
A paraphrase version of the Bible utilizes an existing English-language translation as its base text. It paraphrases one version into more contemporary language. For instance, in 1971 the creator of The Living Bible paraphrased the existing American Standard Version of 1901 to create a new English-language Bible version.
A translation, however, uses the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts as the base text for a new version of the Bible. It translates these original languages into a modern language. For example, the translators of the New International Version in 1978 worked off the original ancient-language manuscripts to produce a new English Bible by translating those ancient languages into the modern language.
Similar to such functional or dynamic equivalent translations as the New International Version and the New Living Translation Bible versions, The Passion Translation is a new version of God’s Word that is considered a translation because it uses the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts to translate the essential message of the Scriptures into contemporary English.
The Passion Translation is an excellent translation you can use as your primary text to seriously study God’s Word because it combines the best aspects of what is called formal and functional equivalence Bibles. It is a balanced translation that tries to hold both the Word’s literal meaning and original message in proper tension, resulting in an entirely new, fresh, fiery translation of God’s Word. Furthermore, this is the first modern English translation to use Aramaic, the language of Jesus and the disciples, as a lens through which to view God’s original Word to us, a word of truth and love.
This translation philosophy will benefit your serious study of Scripture in several ways.
- The text was interpreted from the original language, carrying its original meaning and giving you an accurate, reliable expression of God’s original message.
- The meaning of a passage takes priority over the form of the original words, so that every English speaker can encounter the heart of God through His Word in a way that’s natural and readable.
- This translation keeps the Bible in step with changes in modern English, helping you clearly understand God’s original message and how it applies to your life in the twenty-first century.
- This translation reclaims lost Aramaic texts, bringing the full texture of God’s Word to the surface, and helping you recapture the original essence of the teachings of Jesus and His disciples.
- This version taps into the love language of God, letting the words of Scripture go through the human soul, past the defenses of our mind, and into our spirit. Countless people have told us how The Passion Translation has helped them freshly discover intimacy with Christ in their journey through Scripture, and that it has rapidly become their favorite translation of choice for Bible study. We are thrilled to offer this accurate, faithful, clear, and readable translation for your serious study of God’s Word, and look forward to hearing how it helps you encounter the heart of God anew.
One of the benefits of The Passion Translation is the generous notes, which further highlight and explain key verses and passages. To aid you in your study of God’s Word, Brian made several kinds of footnote comments:
- cultural and historical aspects lost to modern readers;
- important readings of Old Testament verses in light of Jesus Christ;
- variations in ancient manuscripts;
- alternative translations;
- cross references to other Scriptures in the Bible;
- renderings which depart from traditional expressions;
- contextual implications;
- and verses which use the lens of Aramaic for greater insight.
The copyright policy can be found on the copyright page inside each book. You may also view www.broadstreetpublishing.com/permissions to find out more information about how you can use The Passion Translation for your projects.
We understand that for many Christians, deity pronoun capitalization is an important issue. For some, the decision not to capitalize words such as him, he, his, you, your, my, and mine when they refer to God shows dishonor for the Almighty and is another sign Christians are allowing a godless society to affect our respect for God.
Yet after much prayer, thought, and conversation, we made the decision not to capitalize deity pronouns. Because this is such an important issue for some of our readers, we have listed the reasons why we have made this decision:
- Original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts do not capitalize deity pronouns. To capitalize these pronouns would be adding something to the original text that does not otherwise exist.
- Because of that, in some cases the capitalization is a call on the part of the translator, who must interpret whether the pronoun is referring to God or another person in the text. Thus, in those cases, capitalization of deity pronouns can actually cause a misreading of the text and limit the meaning the Holy Spirit may want to convey to the reader.
- The practice did not begin until the time of King James, when they capitalized all words relating to royalty. This carried over into the King James Version translation of the Bible and into a few other translations such as the NKJV and NASB, but capitalization is not a standard practice in most translations available today.
- There is a very difficult consistency challenge when you begin to capitalize these pronouns and other words. For example, if you capitalize He, Him, His, My, and Mine, why not capitalize you and who, or other indefinite and relative pronouns, which is not done in other translations.
- We (as does most other publishers) follow the Chicago Manual of Style and The Christian Writers Manual of Style. Neither recommend this practice.
- Other highly-respected Christian authors have made a similar decision, so we are not alone. (Max Lucado made a statement online of this decision.)
- Since The Passion Translation is being distributed internationally, we sought to consider other audiences in this decision. Capitalization of deity pronouns is much less of an issue outside the U.S. and in many cases is not desired.
- Once you start, it’s very easy to get lost in all the words that should be capitalized due to a direct or indirect reference to God or any spiritually significant person, place, or thing.
This explanation may not be satisfactory to some, but we want readers to know this decision was made after much thought and prayer. We trust you can see it is not a simple issue. We also trust that this heart-level translation of the Bible will deepen your passion for God as you experience God’s passionate heart for you.
The Bible: We believe the Bible is the only inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God, inerrant in its original manuscripts, communicating exactly what God desired to communicate to us about himself and his redemptive plan for humankind. The Bible has all authority over issues of faith and life. We believe the canon of Scripture is closed and complete. (2 Tim. 3:16–17; 2 Pet. 1:20–21; Heb. 4:12; Ps. 19:7–11)
Trinitarian God: We believe that there is one God, eternally existing in three persons and in one essential unity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Deut. 6:4; Mt. 28:19; Jn. 10:30)
Jesus Christ: We believe in the full deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, eternally begotten of the Father and of one being with the Father, who is coequal in power, glory, authority, and dominion with the Godhead; his virgin birth by the power of the Holy Spirit, taking upon himself the flesh and blood of full humanity; his sinless life, who was himself tempted in every way just as we are, yet conquered sin; his miracles, displaying his power and authority over creation, while offering a foretaste of the kingdom of God; his vicarious and substitutionary atoning death through the shedding of his blood on the cross for the forgiveness of sins; his bodily resurrection from the dead after three days as foretold in the Scriptures, the firstfruits of a great resurrection harvest of those who have died; his ascension to the right hand of the Father, where he sits in full glory and power having all things placed in subjection under his feet by the Father; and his bodily return in power and glory. (Jn. 1:1, 14; Lk. 2:1–21; Acts 2:22–36; Heb. 1:1–4; Heb. 2:9–15; Heb. 4:4–5:2; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:5–10; Col. 1:13–20, 2:8–12; Jn. 19–20; Acts 1:9–11; Rev. 20:1–6)
Holy Spirit: We believe in the Holy Spirit, who is fully divine and proceeds from the Father and the Son, co-equal and co-eternal with the Godhead; his full participation in the activity of the Godhead, from creation to salvation-history to the consummation of all things; his present, ongoing ministry through God’s people after having been given to the church at Pentecost; his indwelling and empowering of Christians, enabling them to live a life of godliness and effective service for Christ. (Jn. 14:15–27; Jn. 16:7–15; Rom. 8:1–27; Gal. 4:16–26)
Humankind: We believe that God created humans male and female in his own image and likeness, creating them as free and responsible moral agents with the choice to faithfully serve, follow, and obey the Creator God. However, everyone has sinned against God, and primarily God, and has fallen short of God’s glory and intended purpose. Everyone is dead in their sins and offenses. (Gen. 1–3; Rom. 3:23; Rom. 5:12–14, 17-21; Rom. 6:23; Ps. 51:3–6; Ps. 139:13–16)
Salvation: We believe the Son of God, Jesus Christ, willingly offered once and for all the one supreme sacrifice for the sins of the world—a perfect sacrifice through which he has made us perfectly holy and complete in justification, sanctification, and glorification. Salvation is found in his name alone, for there is no one else who has the power to save us; there is no other name by which people can be eternally saved from sin and death, and restored to relationship with God. We believe that personal repentance, faith in Jesus Christ, and the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit are absolutely essential for the eternal salvation of sinful and lost humans. (Jn. 1:12; Jn. 3:16; Acts 17:30; 2 Pet. 3:9; Eph. 1:7–8; Eph. 2:8–9; 1 Cor. 15:20–22; 2 Cor. 5:17–21; Rom. 6:23; Heb. 10:1–18; 1 Jn. 5:11–13)
Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Given at Pentecost, we believe the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the promise of the Father, sent by Jesus after his ascension, to empower the church to preach the gospel throughout the whole earth, and to live holy lives through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:22–24; Rom. 12:1–2; 1 Pet. 1:13–2:3; Rom. 8:5–17; Gal. 5:13–25; Phil. 3:7–14)
Sanctification: We believe that God in his great love has called us through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be saved from the power of sin and to live lives for him in holiness and effective service for Christ. We believe that through the cross of Christ we can be freed from sin’s control and from selfish desires. Through personal repentance and faith, we can enter into a living, vibrant relationship with Christ by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is given to fill us, is effective in working Christ’s character within us, and is revealed through us. This experience, which we call sanctification, is initiated by an act of faith and full surrender to God. Sanctification is not the result of human effort, self-initiated works, acts of willpower, or modified behavior. It continues as a process in which we mature in grace, truth, love, understanding, and power. (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:22–24; Rom. 12:1–2; 1 Pet. 1:13–2:3; Rom. 8:5–17; Gal. 5:13–25; Phil. 3:7–14)
Gifts of the Holy Spirit: We believe the Holy Spirit is manifested in the lives of all believers through the continuation of a variety of spiritual grace-gifts, graciously given by God to build up, sanctify, and edify the church, and advance the gospel-mission of the kingdom of God. All believers are commanded to earnestly desire and seek the manifestation of these grace-gifts in their lives. It is the Holy Spirit who determines their distribution, activation, and operation in the body of Christ as he chooses for each believer. These grace-gifts always operate in harmony with Scripture and should never be used in violation of the biblical parameters outlined in the New Testament. (Acts 1:8, 2:1–4; 1 Cor. 12:1–6; 1 Cor. 14:1–25)
Continuation of Spiritual Grace-Gifts: Since there is no scriptural reason to believe otherwise, we believe the spiritual grace-gifts outlined in the New Testament and portrayed during the life of Jesus and the apostles continue to be operative today, just as they were in operation during the earliest days of the church from the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit has graciously filled every believer with these supernatural gifts for the purpose of serving God in power and ability, building up and strengthening the entire church, and bearing witness to the gospel of Christ and kingdom of God. These continued grace-gifts include such abilities as revelation-knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, leadership, and the speaking in and interpretation of tongues. (Rom. 12:3–8; 1 Cor 12:4–11, 27–30; 1 Cor 14:26–39; 1 Pet. 4:11)
The Church: We believe in the spiritual unity of the communion of saints in our Lord Jesus Christ. Every person who is born of the Spirit is an integral part of the church as a member of the body of Jesus Christ, who is the head over the universal church. (Matt. 16:18–19; 1 Cor. 12:12–26; Col. 1:18)
Resurrection: We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost. Those who are saved are raised unto the resurrection of life, ruling and reigning with Christ on the new earth. Those who are lost are raised unto the resurrection of eternal torment in the lake of fire with the devil and the fallen angels. (1 Cor. 15:1–50; 2 Cor. 5:1–8; Rev. 20:11–15, 21:1–8)