What is the Passion Translation?

Posted by Aaron Lewendon  ·  Be the first to comment

Ready for the complete New Testament release, we take a look at the Bible translation that wears its heart on its sleeve. 

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A conductor stands before his orchestra and, after hearing a technically perfect rehearsal, would pause for a moment. He remains silent before a room full of expectant musicians. They are waiting to hear what he has to say, waiting for the grand master to point them towards a greater performance. A cough, chairs creak, but conductor remains silent. Where do you go after a perfect rehearsal? He picks up his thin baton, fixes his posture and scans across the pit.

‘Alright people. Once more, with feeling.’

That’s the Passion Translation. Once more, with feeling. It draws on the heart of the Bible’s text; the pulsing expression of love the beats beneath each page.

The Passion Translation uses the original manuscripts in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic to unite the emotion of the text with the Biblical truths found there also. It has not been made to replace Bibles, but rather, to work alongside them. It serves as an emotional trigger; a way to provoke a deep response to the Bible by showing what it says to you, and where you are right now.

Passion Collection

So it’s dynamic. This isn’t your usual study Bible, whose aim is an investigation into the linguistic nuts and bolts, or theological underpinnings, of God’s word. The lead translator of the Passion Translation, Dr. Brian Simmons, spent years both as a linguist and a missionary. In Panama he co-translated the Bible for the Paya-Kuna people there, and so knows how the Bible can speak to all manner of people. Moved by his mission, he returned for working in South America with a heart for widening the reach and connection of the Bible.

Readers of the Passion Translation will be surprised at just how effusive the text really is. Just take a look at the difference between these different translations of Romans 1:16:

NIV: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

KJV: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Passion Translation: I refuse to be ashamed of sharing the wonderful message of God’s liberating power unleashed in us through Christ! For I am thrilled to preach that everyone who believes is saved—the Jew first, and then people everywhere!

Notice a few things there?

Firstly, yes, it is longer. Almost double in length, actually. The aim was not to just insert modern language into the Bible (especially since that has already been done in The Message Bible), but to really open up the heart of the text. So more often that not, Passion Translation expands the text, rather than rewording it.

Another thing, exclamation marks. Lots of exclamation marks. In just 8 verses (Matthew 5:3-11) there are 8 exclamation marks. This, at first, was a little jarring. That kind of enthusiasm is usually reserved by children’s birthdays and over-zealous store assistants. Often, when we come across an exclamation mark, we may not feel it was warranted, and that could colour a false impression of the Passion Translation effusive punctuation. But think about it. What better news is there than the Bible? What is more worthy of exclamation than the promises of Christianity?

The Passion Translation New Testament

And finally, the language itself. ‘Wonderful’, ‘thrilled’, ‘liberating’, ‘unleashed’. That one verse throws in as many excited modifiers and emotives as possible. All these words create a sense of excitement about what is found between the covers of the Bible. This is the language that grabs you with its, well, passion. Passion is at the heart, and the title, of this Bible translation.

But, for the moment, there is no full translation yet. Every book comes hot off the press, not wanting to keep you waiting for years on end for a full Bible. This year has a big step forward, however. There is now a complete New Testament available to order. Releasing in October 2017, the complete New Testament in the Passion Translation tells the story of salvation with its heart very much on its sleeve, as well on every single page.

Be sure to check out all the other Passion Translation books in the series. 

18th September

September 18th, 2017 - Posted & Written by Aaron Lewendon

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