Frequently Asked Questions

Ruth Magnusson Davis in her study, about 2011. 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.
Jesse Eldred joined the New Matthew Bible Project in the summer of 2016. He is versifying the Old Testament and performing preliminary editing for Ruth.
Jim Eldred, Jesse Eldred's father, joined the team in 2023 after he retired. He is versifying the Old Testament and doing preliminary editing.
Rusty is a descendant of John Rogers, who worked for the Project during 2017-2018. He versified early parts of the Old Testament while on overseas assignments.
Larry Hoyt, possibly descended from John Rogers on his mother's side of the family, joined the NMB Project in May 2023. He assists with versifying the Old Testament and preliminary editing.
Janell Rutten joined the New Matthew Bible Project in 2021. She proof checks versification and initial drafts of each Bible book.
Jeff Otto, shown here with his wife Jeannie, joined the project in 2020. He assists with editorial comments, including for the Coverdale Book series and academic articles.
Clark Wade, of the USA, joined the project in Spring 2024. He is assisting with proofreading the Old Testament.
Ken Smith, of England, joined the project in Spring 2024. He is assisting with proofreading the Old Testament.
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 seven frequently asked questions.

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 the only English Bible that was 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 Bible are already more than a little familiar with the Matthew Bible. This is because the Matthew Bible formed the basis of the KJV. 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. The updated version will be called the New Matthew Bible (NMB).

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

4) When will the New Matthew Bible be published?

The New Testament was completed in 2016 and published under the name "The October Testament." Click Here for information and to purchase. Work on the Old Testament is underway and going well. I have targeted 2025-26 for completion of the Old Testament, God willing. And if he provides, we will also update the Apocrypha of the Matthew Bible. We will keep our subscribers informed of our progress from time to time.

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 good reasons, I believe they are better and truer than modern translations. I tell why and show why in my 2-volume Story of the Matthew Bible, Click Here for information.. There are also articles on the Topics page of my website, and on Academia.edu

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

7) What are your qualifications for this work?

I understand that people need to and should ask this question. I am a retired lawyer, and have an undergraduate degree in languages. I briefly worked as a translator of French legal documents into English. 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, I hope people will not judge my work by me, but will judge the work on its own merits.

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.


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 Academia.edu.

This page posted June, 2015. Last updated November, 2023.

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