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Brief Outline of the New Matthew Bible Project

Baruch House, a small Canadian publisher, has undertaken to republish the 1537 Matthew Bible, minimally edited for today’s readers. The new version will be known as the New Matthew Bible (NMB). It will, we pray, be a true and outstanding monument to the work and faith of the three men who produced it: the translators William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale, and the editor, John Rogers, who compiled their work, added study helps and notes, and spearheaded publication. These men spent years in exile from England so that they could pursue their work with Scriptures, and Tyndale and Rogers paid for their labour with their lives, in fire at the stake.

The Matthew Bible is a martyrs’ Bible. It is God’s word purchased with blood during the great tribulation of the Reformation years, and is, in fact, the only English Bible bought with blood. It is also the real, though often unacknowledged, primary version of our King James Version. Many of the turns of phrase and expressions of the KJV are straight from the Matthew Bible, such as "I am the vine, and ye are the branches," and "The Dayspring from on high hath visited us."

 


We are working from this original 1549 Matthew Bible
(a 2nd edition of the 1537 Matthew Bible).

Estimated Completion
THE NEW TESTAMENT IS COMPLETE! The New Testament was published in 2016 under the name "The October Testament" (following Martin Luther's "September Testament," as it was known.) Sample Scriptures are available at the link above. The October Testament can be purchased at our hub website, Baruch House Publishing. Click Here for information and to purchase.

OLD TESTAMENT: It is difficult to anticipate with certainty when the Old Testament will be complete, but are aiming for 2026. After publishing the October Testament in 2016, Ruth worked for several years on The Story of the Matthew Bible, which is now published in two volumes Click Here for information. Work on the Old Testament began in late 2020. Sign up on our "Home" page or "Sample Scriptures" page for updates.

APOCRYPHAL BOOKS: If time and resources permit, we will publish the complete Apocrypha of the Matthew Bible.

Style and Tone of the New Matthew Bible: Faithful to the Original
The goal is not to make a modern bible from an old one, but to keep as much of the old as possible and make it understandable for today. Eccentric spelling, together with syntax and grammar that obscure the meaning, must be updated. Obsolete words (“advoutry,” “assoil”) must be replaced. Words that have changed their meaning and are therefore misleading (“conceits,” “ghostly minded”) need to be replaced. However we will keep certain archaic constructions, and words that are still understandable, such as the preposition “unto” which we will selectively retain. “Unto” is within the passive competence of native English speakers and is able to express some concepts in a way that no modern preposition can. We will keep “beseech,” “brethren,” “heathen,” “the flesh,” and “Abraham’s seed.”

There are good reasons to stay close to the original Matthew Bible besides the fidelity that is called for by the name "New Matthew Bible." The MB is a faithful and uncompromised translation, true, clear, and holy. To depart from its meaning would be to depart from truth. Also, because the Matthew Bible formed the base of the King James Bible, a body of theological and devotional works and hymns has been developed over the centuries using its language and turns of phrase, and those resources will remain accessible and relevant. The influence of Tyndale and Coverdale is also seen in Thomas Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer, which is still in use today in traditional Anglican congregations. We believe people will find the language of these Scriptures, once brought to light again, and with the linguistic cobwebs dusted off, to be the real and the most pleasing language of the faith.

People and Resources
The New Matthew Bible project is primarily the labour and passion of one person, who is author, student, researcher, and chief editor: Ruth Magnusson Davis. Ruth’s mother Joan Davis has given long hours reading aloud to compare texts. Two special volunteers joined us in the spring of 2012: Ruth Soffos is the daughter of one Thomas Rogers, and traces her ancestry back to our John Rogers who first compiled the Matthew Bible. Mrs. Soffos, with help from her daughter-in-law Kathy, versified and prepared the entire New Testament text for the editor’s pen. It was most fitting to have Rogers’ own descendants helping to restore his great work. Ruth was an invaluable help and great blessing to the project. Jesse Eldred joined us in the summer of 2016 to take over from Ruth Soffos, when her eyes began to fail her. Then in September 2017, Rusty Myers also joined us, and did excellent work. Rusty is a 17th generation descendant of John Rogers, and it is wonderful to again have one of Rogers' descendants sharing in this work.

Our chief scriptural resource in the NMB Project is the 1549 Matthew Bible, of which we have a rare, original copy. It is very close to the 1537, with some added prologues from William Tyndale. Rebound in 1887, it is sturdy and complete, and the rag paper pages are clean and legible. The prologues, notes, and commentaries of the Matthew Bible will for the most part be reproduced, with the English also gently updated as required. All told, we pray and trust that the New Matthew Bible will be a reverent, complete, and faithful resource.

Biographical Note: Ruth M. Davis
Ruth, who lives in Canada, received a B.A. in French language studies with a German minor, and then a Bachelor of Laws degree. She practiced law for 28 years until retiring to study for the New Matthew Bible project, and is a student of Early Modern English, Tyndale, Coverdale, and the English Reformation.  She calls herself a Lutheran Anglican.

Ruth Magnusson DavisA number of things led Ruth to believe she was called to this work, including her deep appreciation of the Scripture translations of William Tyndale. The Lord's guidance and provision was compelling. Her decision to retire from law and undertake this project was not made quickly, but only after several years of prayer.

Ruth founded Baruch House to publish a book she wrote as a young believer, True to His Ways: Purity and Safety in Christian Spiritual Practice, which examines problems in the Charismatic Church. It is sold in the Baruch House Book Store Book Store. Ruth is a member of the Tyndale Society, and some of her articles regarding Tyndale have been published in the Tyndale Society Journal.

The untold history of the Matthew Bible - Now Available

Page last updated May 2020.


Baruch House Publishing and the New Matthew Bible Project: Remembering that which we first received, before it passes away.


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