Field Guide to Bible Translations Part 4

The Message Bible

The Message Bible was created by pastor Eugene H Peterson and published in sections between 1993 to 2002 by NavPress. According to Peterson,

“If there is anything distinctive about The Message, perhaps it is because the text is shaped by the hand of a working pastor. For most of my adult life I have been given a primary responsibility for getting the message of the Bible into the lives of the men and women with whom I worked. I did it from the pulpit and lectern, in-home Bible studies and at mountain retreats, through conversations in hospitals and nursing homes, over coffee in kitchens, and while strolling on an ocean beach. The Message grew from the soil of forty years of pastoral work.” (https://messagebible.com/about/)

 It is scary to me that the text is “shaped by his hand”. Although the website mentions the Old Testament and New Testament scholars that verified his translations, I am very skeptical that they did. See the following link (https://www.doveministries.com/key-issues/dangers-of-the-message-bible/)to see a sampling of verses that compare the New King James Version with The Message. It will be obvious very quickly how bad some of the “translations” are and how that, at least in these verses, sexual sins like homosexuality are glazed over. This makes sense after knowing that in, in an interview, Patterson said he would marry a homosexual couple (https://billmuehlenberg.com/2017/07/14/peterson-homosexuality-just-message/).  Here is a list of other very corrupted verse translations: (https://fortheloveofhistruth.com/2011/10/07/why-is-the-message-bible-not-safe/) . This makes us wonder what other things he would change. That is the problem when a “bible” is paraphrased. The “paraphraser” puts his or her biases into the text.

The Passion Translation

The Passion Translation was “translated” (I explain the quotes in a little bit) by Brian Simmons. According to https://www.thepassiontranslation.com/about-the-lead-translator/:

“The Passion Translation (TPT) is a heart-level translation that uses Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic manuscripts to express God’s fiery heart of love to this generation, merging the emotion and life-changing truth of God’s Word.”

It also says this about Brian Simmons on the same page:

“After a dramatic conversion to Christ in 1971, Brian and Candice answered the call of God to leave everything behind and become missionaries to unreached peoples. Taking their three children to the jungle of Central America, they planted churches for many years with the Paya-Kuna people group. Dr. Simmons established leadership for the churches that Jesus birthed and assisted with the translation of the Paya-Kuna New Testament.”

From these statements, it would seem at face value that Brian Simmons would have the knowledge and the expertise to do a Bible translation. However, that would be a wrong assumption. In audio captured from a podcast that was recently taken down, Brian Simmons admitted that he had “minimal background in biblical languages, so yeah, it was something that, honestly, something the Lord has really helped me with.”. You can listen to the audio yourself at https://videopress.com/v/dDTilIPH. So, how did he do this “translation” if he has minimal background in biblical languages? Well, in an interview on the show “It’s Supernatural”, Brian Simmons explains how that “Jesus” appeared to him, breathed on him, and commissioned him to do the Passion Translation. Then, supposedly, God started giving him supernatural “downloads” of information to help him translate. Also, in this same video, he talks about a vision he supposedly had where he was taken to a library in heaven and shown a 22nd chapter of John that Jesus would reveal to him someday. I hope I don’t have to mention that Jesus would not help someone add to the scripture that He has already prohibited being added to. (Revelation 22:19). You would think that if Jesus truly helped him translate, the translation would be truer to the original manuscript than any others because Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one in the Trinity. Jesus would not corrupt the God-Breathed words that the Holy Spirit supernaturally inspired the Bible authors to write.

The truth of the matter is Brian Simmons is part of a hyper-charismatic group that is called the NAR or New Apostolic Reformation. This group believes that God is raising up apostles today that will lead and govern the churches. These apostles routinely speak of supernatural encounters and visions that they have. However, these visions often contradict and violate the truth of God’s Word. The only apostles that existed were the twelve apostles as well as those that were instrumental in the foundation of the church in the first century. They also claim that there are those that sit in the office of a prophet with the same power and authority as the Old Testament prophets. For more information about the dangerous doctrines coming from those in the New Apostolic Reformation, please see this site which also has extensive links at the bottom with more information.

Why do I have to talk about the fact that Brian Simmons is part of the NAR? I must talk about this fact because the “translations” in the Passion translation are swimming in Jargon that is used by the NAR. Words like realm, activate, supernatural, and several others appear much more often than in any other translation when there is no reason to translate them that way. In this page from gotquestions.org, you can see some of the translation examples compared with the same verses from the standard translations. To give a better and deeper picture of the dangers of this corruption of the word as well as the proof that NAR jargon has been inserted where those words do not belong, please watch the following list of videos from Mike Winger who has done a great deal of work and research. The videos are longer, but I strongly urge you to watch them.

To sum up, Brian Simmons has purposefully corrupted the Bible in his so-called translation by stretching (or breaking) the truth concerning his qualifications. He has also filled in that rather large hole by appealing to a false vision from heaven to give him the supernatural ability to “translate” the Bible. He has created a corrupt Bible whose main purpose is to support and back up a movement that preaches erroneous teachings. This is an extremely dangerous corruption of the Word and no believer should have anything to do with it.

 

In the next article, we will look at an even more dangerous paraphrase called the Mirror Bible. It is so corrupt, it will require a whole separate article to properly warn others.