Thursday, March 03, 2022

Passion Translation Removed from Bible Gateway

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Here’s a bit of Bible translation news from last month. The very popular translation website Biblegateway.com has removed the Passion Translation from its list of available Bibles. Christianity Today has the story. What is the Passion Translation, you ask?

First released as a New Testament in 2017, The Passion Translation includes additions that do not appear in the source manuscripts, phrases meant to draw out God’s “tone” and “heart” in each passage.

Or, according to the publisher:

The Passion Translation is a modern, easy-to-read Bible translation that unlocks the passion of God’s heart and expresses his fiery love—merging emotion and life-changing truth.

Why was it pulled from Bible Gateway? Mainly, it seems, because its not a translation, but rather one man’s effort to combine his own idiosyncratic interpretations with occasional “insights” and readings from the “Aramaic” (presumably meaning the Syriac). To give you a taste, here is Eph. 6:5–8

5 Those who are employed should listen to their employers and obey their instructions with great respect and honor. Serve them with humility in your hearts as though you were working for the Master. 6 Always do what is right and not only when others are watching, so that you may please Christ as his servants by doing his will. 7 Serve  your employers wholeheartedly and with love, as though you were serving Christ and not men. 8 Be assured that anything you do that is beautiful and excellent will be repaid by our Lord, whether you are an employee or an employer. 9 And to the caretakers of the flock  I say, do what is right with your people by forgiving them when they offend you, for you know there is a Master in heaven that shows no favoritism.

Things do not get better in the footnotes. The first one, following the word “employers” (τοῖς κατὰ σάρκα κυρίοις) in v. 5, reads, “Literally ‘Servants should obey their caretakers.’” The last one, in v. 9, explains “caretakers of the flock” (οἱ κύριοι) with this:

As translated literally from the Aramaic. The “caretakers of the flock” can refer to both leadership in the church and in the workplace. The Greek text states “masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening.”

If you can figure that out, let me know. You can still read it online at bible.com—but I don’t recommend it.

7 comments

  1. I imagine "employers" in v5 is translating τοῖς κατὰ σάρκα κυρίοις, not οἱ δοῦλοι. The "literally from the Aramaic" bit must be above my pay grade. I've heard of this text before, but never taken a close look. Wild stuff.

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  2. Simmons frequently favors various Syriac sources over NA. I can’t think of anyone else who takes this seriously. Mike Winger has a site with scholarly reviews + critiques here:

    https://biblethinker.org/the-passion-project/

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  3. I mentioned some concerns with "The Passion Translation" back in 2018 at https://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2018/03/the-passion-translation-some-problems.html . I concur with BibleGateway's decision to stop promoting/disseminating it.

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  4. The TENT version of Ephesians 6:5-8 has:
    (5) Concerning physical being, you bondservants obey your lords with fear and trembling in sincerity from your mind, (6) not like people-pleasers with [an] appearance of working; instead, as bondservants of [YHWH's-]Anointed One, personally doing the will of The Mighty One, (7) serving as [a] bondservant, meeting needs as for your Lord and not for people, (8) knowing that each one, whether one [is] bondservant or free, if whatever good thing he would do, this thing he will receive from YHWH.

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  5. I do not care whether or not BibleGateway has the Passion Translation. I use BibleGateway regularly, but had never looked at TPT, that I can recall. However, it appears that unless someone has inside info, he or she is only speculating as to why it was pulled. Unless I missed it, the only comment in the article from BibleGateway is “We periodically review our content, making changes as necessary, to align with our business goals.”

    I find their site extremely useful, but not necessarily impressed with their customer service. I contacted them about what I believed was a factual error on the site, and got a reply as if I were looking for spiritual help, “We encourage you to contact someone locally, like a pastor or priest, to help you think through this question.”

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  6. I wonder whether the 'literal' translation of 'lord' has read the root (resh, ayin, aleph) as "to shepherd" as a participle?

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