This week I’m privileged to talk with Brian Simmons, lead translator for The Passion Translation of the Bible. Sometimes a publisher contacts me asking if I’d like to interview authors of theirs who have new books coming out. Other times I just know somebody and ask them if them if they can reach out to a guest I’d like to talk to. That was the case this time. Special thanks and shout out to Tim Austin for making this happen!
Brian has been on my radar since I first heard of the TPT over 3 years ago (I believe it was on this episode with Dave Edwards), and I started reading the books he’s translated, starting with Song of Songs.
About Our Guest
Dr. Brian Simmons is a former missionary, linguist, minister, and Bible teacher. As a missionary, he and his wife, Candice, pioneered church plants in Central America. As a linguist, Brian co-translated the Kuna New Testament for the Paya-Kuna people of Panama.
After a dramatic conversion to Christ in 1971, Brian answered a calling from God to leave everything behind, become a missionary, and bring the gospel to unreached tribes. Taking their family of three children to the jungles of Central America, he and his wife pioneered and shepherded church plants among the Kuna people group for many years. While serving as missionaries Brian witnessed firsthand God’s powerful gospel-movement among the nations through spiritual revival. As a linguist, Brian also served as a co-translator for the Kuna New Testament, providing this unreached people group with a copy of God’s Word for the first time.
After their ministry abroad, Brian and Candice returned to North America where Brian began to passionately work toward helping people encounter the risen Christ and His story of redemption. Brian and Candice birthed numerous ministries, including a dynamic church in Connecticut. They also established Stairway Ministries under which they travel full-time as Bible teachers in service of local churches throughout the world with the Gospel. Brian serves as U.S. director for Harvest International Ministries, which oversees a network of nearly 20,000 churches and ministries worldwide.
Brian is the author of numerous books that promote the redemption and reconciliation of the nations through Christ and extension of His kingdom. His best-selling book, The Journey of the Bride, has been translated into Korean and French and has now been reprinted as The Sacred Journey. Other titles include The Wilderness: Where Miracles are Born, Prayer Partners with Jesus, The Dreamer, The Stairway, The Prophet of Zion, Moses the Deliverer, I Hear His Whisper volumes 1 and 2, and The Image-Maker.
Brian and Candice have been married for over forty-five years and have three children, six grandchildren, and two precious great-granddaughters. Their passion is to be loving examples of a spiritual father and mother to this generation.
In our discussion we cover:
- How he handles people’s criticism that he’s a “lone ranger” translating the Bible; and how he learns to listen to critics in case God is speaking to him through them
- Epiphanies he had while discovering the appropriate words in the text while translating the Bible into a tribal dialect as a missionary
- How his translation work has helped him see more than a few popular Bible passages we’ve been misunderstanding in English
- We also discuss our mutual favorite book of the book, Song of Songs. I personally glean a lot of insights from this short discussion, including the way this particular book helps us understand allegory and unlocks the rest of Scripture.
- I also ask Brian if Jesus spoke in tongues (a question I’ve been asked since releasing my book on Lies People Believe About Speaking in Tongues.
- The importance of translating meanings not just words
- And much more…
Tweetable Quotes:Song of Songs is the heart of the Bible, and Paul's letters are the arteries. @BrianWSimmons Click To Tweet If one word in the original text of the Bible is better understood in English using 5 words and not just one, then I'm going to use 5 words to translate it. @BrianWSimmons Click To Tweet The Shulamite Bride asked for a kiss of intimacy, not a book or a written message. @BrianWSimmons Click To Tweet
Relevant Links and books mentioned in today’s show:
What’s God Really Like? by SJ Hill, audiobook narrated by yours truly.
The Passion Translation to buy a copy directly from Brian’s ministry.
The Passion Movement to support the translation work and become a monthly partner.
Get a copy of The Passion Translation on Amazon.
Before I let you go I need to ask you a quick favor. Please jump over to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your podcatcher of choice and give this show a rating, a review, leave a comment or do all three. It would mean a lot to me and help people find us!
Thank you so much, and I look forward to talking to you in the next episode of Fire On Your Head.