Monday, July 29, 2013
The "Passion Translation" of the Bible
This article is from the August 2013 issue of The Berean Call. I think it is a very important report on the false teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation, with their own cultic Bible version.
One More Translation: One More Step Away From The Truth
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God (Latter Day Saints article of faith, No. 8).
While I do believe that the Holy Bible is Divinely inspired and written by men, I do not necessarily hold to the idea that only the 66 books we now have in our (Protestant) bibles are the sole Divinely inspired books of antiquity (http://www.seedtheseries.com/blog/Intro.html).
In the words of Dallas Theological Seminary president Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952), "All heresy is either the Bible plus, or the Bible minus." The quotes above are examples of adding to the Word of God. In the case of the Mormons, the Bible specifically contradicts LDS teaching. Consequently, and not surprisingly (according to the LDS Church), the Bible is "incorrectly translated" in those verses.
The second quote by "Nephilim" teacher Rob Skiba is actually an admission that his view of the Genesis 6 "sons of God" lacks support from the Bible alone. He therefore adds to the Bible to support his case by using apocryphal books to fill the "void" left by Scripture. Though the New Testament writers on a few occasions referred to apocryphal books, there is no certainty that the ones available today are the same as when quoted.
Another example of "adding" to the Scriptures is seen in the explosion of Bible translations and paraphrases today. From the "Queen James Version" published by homosexuals to the Passion Translation, the "agenda" is plain to see.
Former missionary and now New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) pastor Brian Simmons is producing the Passion Translation (PT). It wrests the Scriptures as blatantly as Eugene Peterson's The Message. The portions translated so far furnish ample evidence of his need to alter Scripture in order to support NAR doctrinal teaching.
Not surprisingly, his translation has been endorsed by NAR leaders such as Dr. Che Ahn, Senior Pastor Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena, CA: "Brian Simmons is a brilliant man that has been given fresh revelation and insight into the deeper meaning of the Scriptures...." Or Katherine Ruonala, Senior Minister, Glory City Church, Brisbane, Australia: "I pray that as you read these sacred works, the fire of God will awaken you to a fresh hunger. It was through a life-changing encounter with God that Brian was commissioned to do this translation and I believe that an impartation for Holy Spirit encounters is released through his ministry" [our emphasis].
Simmons was "commissioned" to do this translation? Professing "the anointing" of the Lord, Simmons forsook the manuscripts that previous translators have used and opted for Aramaic versions no earlier than the fifth century. As a consequence, the wording of many verses runs quite contrary to those derived from the Greek.
Simmons writes, "For centuries, it has been believed that the New Testament was first written in Greek. [But,] some scholars now lean increasingly towards the thought that Aramaic and Hebrew texts of the New Testament are the original manuscripts, and that many of the Greek texts are copies, and a second generation from the originals! This is radically changing translation concepts, and will result in many new translations of the New Testament based on Aramaic" [Excerpt taken from the "Translator's Introduction" to Letters from Heaven by the Apostle Paul, Simmon's fourth release of The Passion Translation.] Mind you, he doesn't tell us who those scholars are.
Further, Simmons seems to echo the opinion of some Hebrew Roots teachers--an opinion without proof. Fragments of New Testament manuscripts from the second century written in Greek exist. And, more recently a first century Greek fragment of Mark's Gospel has been found.
Simmons relies upon the Aramaic translation. But the readers of Paul's letters were not Aramaic speakers. Rome, Greece, and western Asia Minor were Greek speaking. Paul would naturally have written to them in Greek.
The oldest Aramaic bible manuscripts are written in a different dialect than the Aramaic spoken by Jesus and his disciples in Galilee.
Also, the synoptic gospels have long been said to have "large overlaps in Greek" (for example, similarities between Matthew and Mark). This simply means that some writers of the Gospels were familiar with other gospels already written in Greek.
Concerning the PT, it is instructive that another commentator notes, "I must mention that even those verses he claims to translate from the Greek are still drastically different" (http://www.spiritoferror.org/2013/05/a-new-nar-bible-part-3-wheres-the-manuscript-evidence/3153). They are different because the human bias of Simmons drives this work.
For example, consider his translation of Galatians 6:6. The KJV reads, "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." To "communicate" means to "share" (as translated in other English translations) material things with those whose full time job is to teach the Word of God. Compare it to the Passion Translation:
“And those who are taught the Word will receive an impartation from their teacher; a transference of anointing takes place between them.”
The meaning given by Simmons is supportive of NAR teaching regarding the "anointing" but has nothing to do with what the verse says. Again we see the NAR bias imposing itself upon Simmon's translation.
Even Paul's greeting to the Philippians is corrupted by Simmons. The KJV reads, "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:2). In the PT Paul's greeting becomes,
“We decree over your lives the blessings of divine grace and supernatural peace that flow from God our wonderful Father, and our Anointed Messiah, the Lord Jesus.”
Inspired by positive confession, NAR folks are not afraid to make "decrees," believing that they are speaking for or in the place of God. Simmons is adding to and departing from the Scriptures and most of all distorting God's Word for the sake of his movement. As noted, so do the LDS and other groups.
A critical passage for perilous times (2 Timothy 3:1-9) is 2 Timothy 4:2-4. In the KJV the exhortation is to "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." Doctrine is specifically mentioned twice in this passage.
The point of the passage and the protection for the sheep is removed by the PT:
“Proclaim the Word of God and never give up! Rise to the occasion and preach when it is convenient and when it is not, with all the outpouring of the Spirit--with wisdom and patience as you instruct and teach the people. For the time is coming when they will no longer listen and respond to the healing words, but because they are selfish and proud they will seek out teachers with soothing words that line up with their desires, saying just what they wanted to hear. They will close their ears to the truth and believe nothing but fables and myths.” [our emphasis]
Finally, the book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom. The PT does much to subtract from that wisdom. Consider just one verse--Proverbs 1:7:
“How then does a man gain the essence of wisdom? It starts with God, For the first rays of revelation-light come from Him. So trust Him and live in awe and adoration of Him! Careless ones will never stop to do this, For they scorn true wisdom and knowledge.”
In truth, Proverbs 1:7 tells us that, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." As A. W. Tozer points out, "No one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God."
In Psalm 119:105, the inspired writer of Scripture tells us, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." The Passion Translation does much to obscure and turn off that light.