For those who have read the Bible many times and are seeking a fresh inspiring version, I recommend The Passion Translation (TPT). I personally describe it as a paraphrase with a revelation of the workings of the Holy Spirit. This means it includes expanded descriptions of the intent of the verses by expounding on the revelation of the Holy Spirit’s power within each believer. My go-to Bible will continue to be the NASB as theological precision is key to me, but for devotional reading, I am glad to refer to The Passion Translation/paraphrase.
Brian Simmons, the primary translator, is deliberate about making TPT passionate and readable. In a promotional video, he calls it “a dynamic new version of the Bible that is easy to read, unlocking the mystery of God’s heart, the passions He has for you, deep emotions that will evoke an overwhelming response of love as He unfolds the Scriptures before your very eyes.”
One critique of TPT says: It brings in “large amounts of material that really have no presence in the Greek or Hebrew … and the words he’s adding are particular words that are part of a hyper-charismatic, signs and wonders movement, words that are about imparting and triggering and unleashing and releasing.”
My comment on the above critique is, I LOVE these words and use them all the time in my writings as I believe they express the heart of Christian experience! I do believe this is the key revelation Jesus sought to impart to His disciples. It is the key revelation God has asked me to impart in my writings and teaching to the body of Christ, which is what I have done through 40 years of preaching, teaching and writing.
Bill Johnson of Bethel Church still uses the New American Standard Bible (NASB) in most of his writing and preaching due to familiarity. He uses TPT for devotional reading, as he did with paraphrases before it. He believes they are particularly helpful for new believers, too, and Bethel sells a branded TPT in its bookstore.
“For inspiration, I love The Passion Translation,” the Bethel founder said. “Every time he (Simmons TPT) deviates from what would be a traditional approach to a verse, he explains it so powerfully that even if you don’t agree with him, you at least understand where he’s coming from.”
Another quote: “Once you know God’s word through a standard translation, I love how paraphrases can yank you out of your Bible-reading rut and provide fresh insight into Scripture. The one thing I have liked the most about TPT were those moments when I felt like I got to read a familiar phrase again for the first time, because Simmons just put it a little differently.”
An Example of TPT
Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm has already been lavished upon us as a love gift from our wonderful heavenly Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus—all because he sees us wrapped into Christ. This is why we celebrate him with all our hearts! And he chose us to be his very own, joining us to himself even before he laid the foundation of the universe! Because of his great love, he ordained us, so that we would be seen as holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence. For it was always in his perfect plan to adopt us as, his delightful children through our union with Jesus, the Anointed One, so that his tremendous love that cascades over us would glorify his grace—for the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us. And this unfolding plan brings him great pleasure! Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by his blood—the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of his grace. This superabundant grace is already powerfully working in us, releasing within us all forms of wisdom and practical understanding. (Eph. 1:3-8)
Here are examples of footnotes that expand the revelation of the Holy Spirit's power
In my opinion the footnotes added below from TPT inspire faith for miracle-filled Christianity. See if you would agree.
Matthew 14:34 So they brought him all their sick, begging him to let them touch the fringe of his cloak. And everyone who touched it was instantly healed.
Footnote: The power of God exuding from Jesus was so incredible that merely touching his prayer shawl (or cloak) would bring instant healing. This same power is available to the church today, for Christ, the healer, lives in every believer. (See also Acts 19:12).
His disciples asked him, “Why do all the religious scholars insist that Elijah must first appear before the Anointed One comes?” He answered them, “They’re right. Elijah must come first and restore all things. But Elijah has already appeared. And yet they didn’t recognize him, so they did to him whatever they pleased. And the Son of Man is destined to suffer the same abuse as what they did to him.” Then the disciples realized that Jesus was referring to John the Baptizer all along. (Matt. 17:10-13)
Footnote: Jesus was comparing Elijah with John the Baptist. John was not Elijah reincarnated, but the Spirit upon Elijah was the Spirit upon John. John, the forerunner, ministered in the spirit and power of Elijah. The same anointing of Elijah is present today to restore all things. (See Acts 3:21). The Bible scholars had properly concluded that Elijah must come first, but failed to interpret it figuratively. This is often repeated today with biblical prophecies. We need the Spirit of Christ to help us understand even the basic truths of the Bible.
For dedicated readers of TPT the new phrasing and the emotive power of the text are major draws.
- Brian Simmons discussing the Book of Genesis on The Shaun Tabatt Show
- Endorsement from Bill Johnson, Bill Johnson Ministries
- The Passion Translation - Passionate Life Bible Study Series
- Brian Simmons teaching through The Passion Translation – free online videos
- Free access to an electronic version of The Passion Translation online
Other blogs in this series
Related Resources:How to Hear God's Voice!