Passion Translation: Commissioned by Christ
A new version of the Bible is making waves across Christendom as testimonies continue pouring in from The Passion Translation, a revised, contemporary English translation started in 2009 with plans to translate all 66 books of the Bible from original Hebrew and Greek into today's contemporary English. "I love hearing stories of how God is using this work to reignite hearts and make the Bible come alive again to believers around the world," said lead translator and founder Dr. Brian Simmons.
The work, according to Simmons, was commissioned directly by the Lord in a spiritual encounter. Simmons explained that in the encounter, God breathed upon him and spoke to him, clearly commissioning him to do this work. Jesus promised Simmons he would help him, there would be persecutions and misunderstandings because of the work, but he would be with him.
God has been faithful to him and his team, with the New Testament nearing completion at the time of this article. Today, individual and groups of books are available in print to purchase including the 4 Gospels, Paul's Epistles, 1, 2, 3 John, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude. In 6-8 weeks the book of Revelation will be completed and with that the entire New Testament. By Christmas a leather bound New Testament is scheduled to be available for purchase. Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Solomon are also available today as individual books.
Simmons, along with his wife and three children formerly worked as missionaries to unreached jungle tribes of South America. While serving as missionaries, Dr. Simmons, a trained Bible translator and linguist, was the co-translator for the Kuna New Testament, while planting churches and equipping leaders.
After returning to the States and leading a church in Connecticut, God began stirring a desire in Simmons to begin translating the Bible again. This time though, it was to spark renewed love for Jesus in English speaking nations, specifically the United States. Today, Simmons and a team of up to 20 full time people at any given time are hard at work producing The Passion Translation.
"Nobody would do this in their right mind unless God had really inspired it," admitted Simmons who after 7 years is closing in on finishing the New Testament.
"This (translating the Bible into English) is really crazy, why would I even want to do this?," is what came to mind when he began having a desire to get back into translating. "So I asked the Lord to confirm it. And he did in a very dramatic way," explained Simmons.
Simmons shared how the Lord made himself very real and the commission to translate a calling he could not deny.
"Jesus walked into my room, early in the morning, I am at the side of my bed. He breathes on me, he blew his breathe on me. He promised to give me secrets and give me untold things from the Scripture that he would divinely give to me. I know that is a very bold claim. I don't want it to come across in any other way then how it happened. I am telling the truth, I would be lying not to say these things. But at the same time, an encounter and his breath was wonderful and empowered me to do this translation."
That was in 2009, so for the last 7 years he has been faithful to carry on this work.
"I have been working just about everyday on the project. So it has a supernatural origin, but that doesn't mean everything I do is perfect or all of my translation work is above scrutiny, or not to be challenged. That's fine. I know as a human being, what I produce is going to have the flaws of humanity."
The important thing for Simmons and his team though is knowing who they are working for.
"I know God is with me and his Spirit is helping me, the Presence of heaven on my life, I have never doubted that. Life is too short to do things that are good ideas but not God. In 2009, I knew it was the Lord commissioning me to do it."
Simmons maintains humility and is open to his team challenging his work and staying true to the original text, "I am constantly revising it, it is a work in progress," he said.
A Year of Fullness
Having the opportunity to talk with Simmons, I asked what he believes God is saying in 2017. His response was fullness. God is bringing his Church into fullness and that means love.
"I really feel the word fullness is a word I am speaking on this year. We have the Reformation coming into fullness, 500 years ago. We have a fullness of the Spirit, a fullness of Christ, a new level of maturity is going to be seen in the leaders and the people in the body of Christ. Character matters, fullness of the Spirit means fruit. And the fruit of the Spirit is love. To have a new outpouring of the Spirit is coming this year is going to be a love revival, outcasts will be swept into the kingdom of God. The predominant theme is going love. The fullness of the love of God, the fullness of the love of God. The height, the width, the length of the love of God is going to be coming up this year."
Simmons says seeing people reconnecting with Scripture and finding a renewed love for the Bible is what encourages him and his team.
"I think this is a time for the word of God to connect with Christians like never before, It’s been so cool to watch people who have almost given up on reading their Bibles, reconnecting with Scripture, studying it, finding fascinating truth in the Passion translation, in the footnotes. That’s encouraging to us. I have seen pastors and leaders using it and affirming it, it’s just wonderful."
Simmons believes what has started is something that will live on long after he is gone.
"I think this is a movement to be honest, even after we are gone, the Passion Translation will still be speaking to the generations, into the heart of people."
For those wanting to connect further with Simmons and his work can order copies of the translation, connect at their regional Bible schools, hosted in various locations around the country and soon you'll be able to join the ministry on trips to Israel.