Not Good News: The New NAR “Passion Translation” of the Bible

This just popped into my In box. I apologize for being so behind the curve on this but, as I noted on my “About” page, I don’t follow the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) nor do I think its distinctive teachings are scriptural. But lots of movements have those sorts of problems . . . but not all movements produce their own translation of the Bible to prop up their teachings. The NAR has moved down that road.

As Holly Pivec writes:

Simmons has taken verses of Scripture that have nothing to do with NAR teachings or practices and reworded them so they appear to support those very teachings and practices , such as  “prophetic singing,” the “transference of an anointing,”  and the issuing of “apostolic decrees.” In other words, despite his claim to unveil the truth of the Bible “unfiltered by religious jargon,” he’s actually exploiting his audience’s ignorance of sound textual criticism to smuggle in a heterodox theology along with a good measure of NAR jargon. . . . But, for now, I want to point out that this translation is potentially one of the most disturbing developments in the NAR movement. Simmons is following in the footsteps of the major cults of Christianity who have released their own translations of the Bible, including the New World Translation used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Joseph Smith Translation used by some groups of Mormons.

Readers can read through her series on this translation here.

The entire NAR New Testament is supposed to be complete this year. Maybe it already is. The project passes itself off as a careful translation from the original languages, but when I read (on its FAQ) that they’re following “Aramaic manuscripts” of the New Testament in places, the radar in my head goes off. The idea is to bias readers to think they’ve discovered something new or not used to this point in producing an English translation. There are NO (as in zero) Aramaic manuscripts of the New Testament that predate the Greek material. Nor would it make sense to have the New Testament written in Aramaic in the first place, save for perhaps one of the gospels. Why? Half of it was written to Gentiles for starters, not Jews whose native language was Aramaic. But I digress — there are no Aramaic manuscripts of the New Testament that compete for primacy. The page must therefore be referring to Aramaic TRANSLATIONS of the New Testament (Syriac, for example, an Aramaic dialect), all of which are much later than the Greek New Testament material.

In addition, here’s the answer to the question of who is doing the translation and what credentials does the translator have:

Dr. Simmons is a former missionary, linguist, minister, and Bible teacher. As a missionary, he and his wife, Candice, pioneered church plants in Central America. As a linguist, Brian co-translated the Paya-Kuna New Testament for the Paya-Kuna people of Panama. He and his wife have birthed numerous ministries, including a dynamic church, Gateway Christian Fellowship, in West Haven, Connecticut. He is also a gifted teacher of the Bible who has authored several books and serves churches worldwide through his teaching ministry.

Brian began his biblical studies with The New Tribes Bible Institute and continued on to earn his doctorate with Wagner Leadership Institute, with a specialization on prayer. His doctoral thesis is now published, Prayer Partners with Jesus, available on Amazon.com.

Pardon me, but a dissertation on prayer has nothing to do with being able to work well in Hebrew and Greek. Neither does being a linguist or missionary. Using the word “linguist” will mesmerize many who inquire. Don’t be fooled. Many missionaries who do this sort of work translate the Bible from English into the new language. My guess is that’s what’s going on here for the most part, with periodic forays into a Hebrew or Greek lexicon (keyed to Strong’s numbers). What you want for translation work is a team, first of all. Pivec’s quotation above about single-translator translations being a hallmark of weird, peripheral movements is on target. Team (committee) translations are the way serious projects are done — and everyone at every stage has extensive knowledge of Hebrew and Greek so they can intelligently review the work of team members.

There are other red flags for me on the FAQ page, but you can read through it if you’re interested.

Related Articles

Read More

Leave a Reply