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Frequently Asked Questions

Ruth Magnusson Davis in her study. Ruth is founder and chief editor of the New Matthew Bible Project. A retired lawyer, she began full time work on the NMB in 2009.
Ruth Soffos may trace her ancestry back to John Rogers. She completed the versification of the entire New Testament for the New Matthew Bible Project and performed preliminary editing.
Ruth's son Buddy and his wife Kathy are taking over from Ruth Soffos, to assist with OT versification.
Jesse Eldred joined the New Matthew Bible Project in the summer of 2016. He is versifying the Old Testament Pentateuch and performing preliminary editing for Ruth.
Rusty is a descendant of John Rogers, who joined us in August 2017. He versifies and pre-edits while on overseas assignments.
Ruth takes a break in the small garden that adjoins her study.
For the New Matthew Bible Project, we are working from this genuine rag paper 1549 edition of the Matthew Bible. It is sturdily bound and fully preserved.

Ruth answers eight frequently asked questions.

Posted June, 2015.

1) What is the Matthew Bible?

It is a little known but important bible, first published in 1537 by a courageous man named John Rogers, who was martyred under Bloody Queen Mary. The Matthew Bible contains the scripture translations of two other brave men: William Tyndale, who translated the New Testament and first part of the Old, and Miles Coverdale, who supplied the balance. John Rogers gathered their work together and added study aids. He also did some minor editing.

All this happened during the Reformation. Religious authorities were strongly opposed to having the scriptures in vernacular languages, and would kill to prevent it. Both Rogers and Tyndale paid with their lives for the work they did, being burned at the stake. The Matthew Bible is therefore the only English Bible purchased with blood.

2) Is the Matthew Bible different?

It is fully Trinitarian and orthodox, subscribing to the catholic doctrine of the faith.

People who are familiar with the King James and New King James bibles are already more than a little familiar with the Matthew Bible. This is because the Matthew Bible formed the basis of the KJV. It is a fact of history that the King James revisers did not credit Tyndale as a source for their work. Computer studies have shown that the King James’ New Testament is about 83% Tyndale. The famous words “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God,” are straight Tyndale.

3) What is the New Matthew Bible Project?

It is a project to give the Matthew Bible back to the world. To do this, we must dust off the linguistic cobwebs. We need not only to put it in modern spelling, but also to update obsolete language: advoutery, assoil, leasings, wot, wist, grece, syth, unlust, etc. Even more important than these obviously outdated words are the ones we still use today, but sometimes differently, such as despise, rejoice, wonder, feel, communication, traditions, know, desire, etc. There are many of these, which can mislead and confuse us.

But we will keep the beautiful and anointed original language, and the archaic words that are still understandable today.

4) When will the New Matthew Bible be published?

Update March 2016: The New Testament is now complete and ready for purchase. We have called it The October Testament. Click Here for more information and to purchase. I have targeted 2020 for completion of the Old Testament, but that might be too ambitious. We will keep our subscribers informed.

5) Why work from the older English, and not the original languages?

The work of translation has already been masterfully done by Tyndale and Coverdale. My goal is to understand and make understandable what they wrote, not make another translation.

6) But given advances in modern biblical scholarship, isn’t this a step backwards?

No. To read the MB scriptures is to recognize them as true and faithful. They speak to the heart in the power of the Holy Spirit. For many reasons, I believe they are better and truer than modern translations. I tell why, and give examples, in articles on the Topics page of my website, and on Scribd (check out my reports to my subscribers on 1 Thessalonians and on Revelation).

But the reader must decide for himself or herself, and can do so only by reading the scriptures.

What is modern “scholarship” compared to the anointing of the Spirit? When I turn from later writers back to Tyndale, Coverdale, and some of the other Reformers, and also to some of the church fathers in the earliest centuries after Christ, the simple fact is that I find more wholesome food for my faith. Our Lord does not change, and the lessons of the heart and of the faith do not change.

That said, however, I do appreciate genuine advances in learning about bible times and customs, which can deepen our understanding of the scriptures.

7) What about Greek manuscript issues? Westcott and Hort vs the Received Text?

God gave the Received Text to his chosen servants. That is enough for me.

8) What are your qualifications for this work?

I understand that people need to and should ask this question. I am a retired lawyer, and also have an undergraduate degree in languages. Through years of study and working with the Matthew Bible, I have become something of a scholar of that Bible, and of the theology of Tyndale, Coverdale, and Rogers. My faith is strong and genuine, and I believe I have been called to this work. But in the end, the proof is in the pudding: I hope people will not judge my work by me, but will judge me by the work.

Sample NMB scriptures are posted for people to read.

I have studied and continue to study early modern English and grammar. As part of my preparation, I do a word study for each obsolete or questionable usage or word, using mainly the online Oxford English Dictionary, but also other references, grammars, and my own analyses of 16th century English.

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Check articles about the project, about the Matthew Bible.

Additional articles, and Ruth’s updates to her subscribers, which contain interesting comparisons of bible versions, are posted on Scribd.

Scribd

This page posted June, 2015. Modified April,2016.

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