Errors: The Message & The Passion Translation

Dear Christians, be careful. There are some serious concerns with The Message and The Passion Translation.


Paraphrases versus Translations

Paraphrases of the Bible are not translations. Translations are done by a team of Bible scholars who are experts in biblical languages. The various books of the Bible are assigned to scholars who have done in depth study of those books and they go through a series of checks and balances to assure accuracy.

Paraphrases are written by a single author who is attempting to put the Bible into words that he feels a particular group will easily understand. He may or may not consult the original languages of Scripture. 

Paraphrases should not be studied as your main source of Scripture and everything in them should be tested against a genuine translation because sometimes the author has an agenda. Popular paraphrases include The Message, The Living Bible (not the same as the New Living Translation), and The Passion Translation (not really a translation). I see no serious problems with the Living Bible, but the other two should be examined:

The Message Paraphrase

In 2017, Eugene Peterson publicly shared ideas that were not Scriptural in regard to homosexuality. He later retracted his statements when Lifeway Publishers prepared to stop selling his books (source, source). However, Peterson's attitudes toward homosexuality are reflected in passages about homosexuality in The Message

For example,1 Corinthians 6:9-1:

The Greek word arsenokoites in verse 9 is translated "a male engaging in same-gender sexual activity; a sodomite, pederast." It is accurately translated as "homosexuals" or "men who have sex with men" in legitimate Bible translations.

The New International Version

1 Corinthians 6:9-11: Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Dear Christians, be careful. There are some serious concerns with The Message and The Passion Translation.

The Message (MSG)

1 Corinthians 6:9-11: Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit. 

Petersen does not directly mention homosexuals, and he adds his opinion that only good environmentalists can be part of God's kingdom.

I do not recommend using The Message unless you are extremely careful to compare it with legitimate translations.

The Passion Translation:

Brian Simmons claims that God gave him new revelations for The Passion Translation. He has no formal education in Bible languages, nor is he an expert in any particular books of the Bible. Nor did he work with a team of Bible scholars. The Passion Translation is not a legitimate translation. It is a paraphrase with a heavy agenda, filled with words not found in the original languages but found in Simmons' other teachings.

For example, Galatians 4:12:

The New International Version

Galatians 4:12: I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong.

The Passion Translation

Galatians 4:12: Beloved ones, I plead with you, follow my example and become free from the bondage of religion. I once became as one of you, a gentile, when I lived among you—now become free like me. When I first came to minister to you, you did me no wrong. I can’t believe you would do wrong to me now!

For a full explanation of concerns:

My Concerns About The Passion Translation and Brian Simmons

Is Brian Simmons Qualified?

A Scholar Reviews the Passion Translations.

 I do not recommend using The Passion "Translation."


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