The Passion [Anti-]Translation: was Brian Simmons really translating from the Syriac Peshitta?

Brian Simmons, along with BroadStreet Publishing, claimed in early editions of the so-called ‘Passion Translation bible’, that he had ‘translated directly’ from the original text. For example, The Psalms: Poetry on Fire (2015) was said to have been ‘translated directly from the original Hebrew text’:

Likewise, the first edition of ‘Letters from Heaven by the Apostle Paul’ (2014) was claimed to have been translated ‘directly’ from the ‘original Greek and Aramaic texts’ by Simmons:

as was the first edition of Romans: Grace and Glory (2015):

raising first of all a question of logic:

How can a single letter from Paul have both ‘original’ Greek texts and ‘original’ Aramaic texts? Surely he must have written Romans in either one language or the other?

Continue reading The Passion [Anti-]Translation: was Brian Simmons really translating from the Syriac Peshitta?

John 1.11 in Brian Simmons’ ‘Passion Translation’: does τὰ ἴδια mean His ‘own things’ or His ‘own people’?


I am presenting evidence that seems to suggest that the ‘Passion Translation’, so-called, is not in fact a translation from the original languages as it is represented to be. 1  Yesterday, I examined two of the translator’s footnotes to John 1.10 and today I continue with John 1.11 and its footnote.

Continue reading John 1.11 in Brian Simmons’ ‘Passion Translation’: does τὰ ἴδια mean His ‘own things’ or His ‘own people’?


  1. For the record, I have previously presented it to author and publisher, but received no explanation for the errors and blunders in Greek and Hebrew contained in it. I also provided a statement from a named lecturer in Greek at a well-known ministerial training college, to the effect that he had seen my evidence, and had found that the ‘errors seriously erode my confidence in the integrity of the author’s claim to be producing the translation directly from Greek texts.’

John 1.10 in the ‘Passion Translation’: more evidence that Brian Simmons may not be translating from Greek.

In my last post, I asked, in connection with a footnote to John 2.3 in the 2015 edition of John: Eternal Love, whether Brian Simmons, the supposed translator of the ‘Passion Translation’, was even looking at the Greek text at all. Today, I ask the same question with regard to the first footnote to John 1.10 in the 2014 edition. The second footnote also casts some doubt on whether he is really translating from Greek. I take them one at a time. Tomorrow, I plan to look at the following verse and its footnote.

I give both verses together here, since the Greek text of verse 11 helps to explain a blunder in the first footnote to verse 10:

Continue reading John 1.10 in the ‘Passion Translation’: more evidence that Brian Simmons may not be translating from Greek.

Why did Brian Simmons transliterate ἐξηγέομαι (exēgeomai) as ‘hexegeomai’?

I have been considering two closely related questions:

a) Is the so-called ‘Passion Translation’ New Testament actually translated at all, or is it derived from English versions?

b) Does Brian Simmons, who says he is the ‘translator’, lack elementary competence in Greek?

In this post I consider a second example of a mistake in transliteration. Yesterday, I asked how Simmons could have transliterated ἑώρακα (heōraka) in John 1.34 as ophesthe. Today I consider the implications of his transliterating ἐξηγέομαι (exēgēomai) as hexegeomai, as if the first epsilon had a rough breathing  rather than a smooth breathing   . Although this may seem like a relatively minor error, in comparison with the one I examined yesterday, I would like to ask whether it is an error that somebody who has elementary competence in Greek could plausibly make?

Continue reading Why did Brian Simmons transliterate ἐξηγέομαι (exēgeomai) as ‘hexegeomai’?

Why did Brian Simmons transliterate ἑώρακα (heōraka) as ‘ophesthe’?

In my last two posts  I have been presenting evidence (here and here) that Brian Simmons, who calls himself ‘the translator’ of the ‘Passion Translation’ New Testament, is less than familiar with the Greek language. I continue with a surprising mistake in a footnote to John 1.34 in the 2014 edition of John: Eternal Love.

John 1.34

κἀγὼ ἑώρακα καὶ μεμαρτύρηκα ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ [NA 28]

"I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God." [NASB]

In the Passion Translation, 2014 edition, the verse and first footnote read:

ἑώρακα is the first person perfect active indicative of ὁράω, ‘I see’, ‘I perceive’, and means ‘I have seen’ or ‘I have perceived’. This must be the Greek word that Simmons is referring to in his footnote.

ἑώρακα transliterates as heōraka;

ὁράω, the lexical form, transliterates as horaō.

Why then does Simmons transliterate it as ophesthe?

I cannot give a definitive answer, but I do have a possible partial explanation.

Continue reading Why did Brian Simmons transliterate ἑώρακα (heōraka) as ‘ophesthe’?

Is the ‘Passion Translation’ actually a translation? (part 2)

In my last post I began to present evidence that seems to betray a lack of elementary competence in Greek on the part of the supposed translator of the ‘Passion Translation’. I say ‘supposed’, because I have reluctantly come to the provisional conclusion that Brian Simmons is not translating at all, in any meaningful way, but rather is working from English versions, while making some use of lexicons to find novel renderings for individual words. I stand to be corrected. I have written to the author and publisher presenting my evidence and have not received any alternative explanation for the gross blunders in the ‘translator’ footnotes. Yesterday I showed that:

ἐλάλησα αὐτοῖς

cannot mean: 1

spoken these things

but must mean

spoken to them.

Today I draw attention to a similarly glaring error in another footnote just three verses later in John.

Continue reading Is the ‘Passion Translation’ actually a translation? (part 2)


  1. The subject ‘I’ appears earlier in the sentence.

Is the ‘Passion Translation’ actually a translation at all?

I spent most of March this year investigating Brian Simmons’ claims to be translating from Aramaic in certain verses of the holy scriptures. I reluctantly came to the conclusion that he did not know the language and was in fact making use of existing English translations from the Aramaic Peshitta. I did my best to discuss the matter with Brian personally before going public with my conclusions, here and here.  The only response I had from him was on Facebook, where he referred me to an English translation, and made no reference to the Syriac text, which I had included in the question I put to him about his supposed translation of Galatians 3.1.

It dawned on me gradually, as I was working on the Aramaic text of various verses, and examining Brian’s translator footnotes, that he might not know Greek or Hebrew either. There are many mistakes which I do not think that somebody with even elementary competence in these biblical languages could make. In this post, I share one of these and invite responses.

Continue reading Is the ‘Passion Translation’ actually a translation at all?

The Passion [Anti-] Translation: Is Brian Simmons really translating from the Aramaic when he claims to be?

I have been investigating whether Brian Simmons, in his so-called ‘Passion Translation’ of the holy scriptures, has really translated from the Aramaic when he says he has.

Simmons claims to be translating from the original languages. In the FAQs at the ‘Passion Translation’ website, it is stated (FAQ: ‘What process was used…’) that:

Dr. Simmons engaged a three-stage process for bringing the original languages into modern English. First, he analyzed the passage in the original biblical language to establish its meaning.

Further (FAQ: ‘What textual source materials were used…’), it is claimed that this is:

an entirely new, fresh translation from the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic documents.

Continue reading The Passion [Anti-] Translation: Is Brian Simmons really translating from the Aramaic when he claims to be?

Brian Simmons, Sid Roth, the Passion [Anti-] Translation and Ephesians 5.22: ‘submit’ or ‘be tenderly devoted’?

Brian Simmons was interviewed by Sid Roth for an edition of ‘It’s Supernatural’ broadcast on 2 February 2015. At 20.20-59 Simmons says that whereas ‘in the bibles of many men’ Ephesians 5.22 reads:

‘Wives submit yourselves unto your husband as unto the Lord.’

the Aramaic text (still according to Simmons) is:

‘Wives be tenderly devoted to your husband as the church is tenderly devoted to Christ.’

As Roth observed, this is a ‘big difference’:

This claim attracted my attention, and so I endeavoured, despite myself not knowing Syriac (the form of Aramaic that is used in the Peshitta), to test it.

Continue reading Brian Simmons, Sid Roth, the Passion [Anti-] Translation and Ephesians 5.22: ‘submit’ or ‘be tenderly devoted’?

Is Brian Simmons of the ‘Passion Translation’ telling the truth?

In The Passion Translation of sections of the New Testament, Brian Simmons frequently claims in footnotes to have translated from the Aramaic text. For example he renders Romans 1.9 as:

with footnote:

The Greek text (NA 28) reads:

9 μάρτυς γάρ μού ἐστιν ὁ θεός, ᾧ λατρεύω ἐν τῷ πνεύματί μου ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ, ὡς ἀδιαλείπτως μνείαν ὑμῶν ποιοῦμαι

which almost demands to be translated along the lines of the ESV, for example:

‘For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you’

All 36 English translations at Bible Study Tools, including the Message Bible, translate τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ with ‘good news’ or ‘gospel’ or ‘glad tidings’. Simmons has ‘revelation’, which is a different idea. He says that he has translated from the Aramaic, so to the Aramaic we go, expecting to find a word closer to ‘revelation’ than ‘gospel’.

Simmons’ Aramaic text is the Syriac Peshitta. From his web-site:

while incorporating insights from the Syriac (Aramaic) Peshitta, as well as the Roth text.

The ‘Roth text’ Simmons refers to is the ‘Aramaic English New Testament‘ ‘compiled, edited and translated’ by Andrew Roth. It is an edition of the Peshitta, along with an English translation:

It does not make sense for Simmons to say that he incorporates insights from the Roth text in addition to the Peshitta. 1

So it is to the Peshitta we turn for our Aramaic text. I don’t know Aramaic so use the Peshitta tools at First of all, here is the Western UBS text, with transliteration and three English translations, by Etheridge (green), Murdock (navy), and Lamsa (purple):

The first thing most of us (who don’t know Aramaic) will notice is that all three translators have ‘gospel’ and not ‘revelation’. The more observant may be struck by the similarity between the transliterated word ‘bewangelīāwn’ and the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον meaning ‘gospel’. Clicking on the ‘analyze’ tool brings up the meaning of each word. Here are the words for the clause of interest:

Clicking on ‘2:282’ provides confirmation that the word for ‘Gospel’ is indeed the word that looks like εὐαγγέλιον:

The b’ suffix means ‘in’, in much the same way (I think) as בְּ does in Hebrew. The lexeme itself – which corresponds to the form of the word which appears in a lexicon (a dictionary) – is:

Clicking on ’16’ in the table above brings up the entry for this word in Jennings Lexicon to the Syriac New Testament:

It can be seen first that, although this is a Syriac to English lexicon, the meaning is given first in Greek because it is a loan word from Greek; and secondly that the meaning of εὐαγγέλιον, as said before, is ‘Gospel’. It can be seen also that Romans 1.9 is listed among the occurrences of the word, confirming that this is the Aramaic word used there.

Finally, the Peshitta tool at has two alternative Peshitta text types, the Eastern and the Khabouris. I have checked these for Romans 1.9 and they both have the same word ܒܸ݁ܐܘܲܢܓܸ݁ܠܝܼܘܿ (bewangelīāwn), ‘in the gospel’.

My provisional conclusion then, subject to correction, is that Simmons’ rendering of Romans 1.9 is not in reality translated from the Aramaic as he claims. I have written to him for an explanation but not received one as yet.

Romans 1.11

Two verses later, there is an example of Simmons giving a rendition which actually does seem to derive from the Aramaic, as he claims. The Greek text (NA 28) of Romans 1.11 reads:

ἐπιποθῶ γὰρ ἰδεῖν ὑμᾶς, ἵνα τι μεταδῶ χάρισμα ὑμῖν πνευματικὸν εἰς τὸ στηριχθῆναι ὑμᾶς,

The ESV, as a typical example, has:

‘For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you’

and most versions (KJV, ASV, RSV, NIV, NASB etc) translate χάρισμα … πνευματικὸν (charisma pneumatikon) as ‘spiritual gift’, πνευματικός being the adjective from πνεῦμα, meaning ‘spirit’.

Simmons’ text however has ‘the gift of the Spirit’ instead of ‘some spiritual gift’:

He explains in a footnote that he has translated from the Aramaic:

The Peshitta tool shows that all three English translations have ‘gift of the Spirit’ rather than ‘spiritual gift’:

The analysis tool confirms that the Aramaic text has a noun meaning ‘spirit, wind, breath’ rather than an adjective:

It is not that Aramaic lacked an adjective meaning ‘spiritual’, as one such was used in 1 Corinthians 2.13, 15 and elsewhere, as can be seen from the definitions in Jennings:

It just seems to have been a change made by in the translation process from the Greek original to the Peshitta.

In this case, therefore Simmons seems to be justified in saying that he has translated from the Aramaic. As I said above, I am not here examining the question of why he would prefer the Peshitta reading to the original Greek text. (I have written to him twice on that point and not received a reply so far.)

What remains is to investigate whether Simmons’ apparently mistaken claim in Romans 1.9 is a one-off and so probably an inadvertent error, or whether there are more such claims which turn out to be apparently unfounded. In my next post I give further cases where Simmons’ text differs from normal versions, with no possible basis from the Greek text, and where he has claimed to be translating from the Aramaic, but where this claim turns out to be false, so far as I have been able to ascertain, to the best of my endeavour.







  1. On the basis of what I now know (June 2020), I am inclined to think that he was consulting Roth’s English translation. The current FAQs omit reference to the Roth text.