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Learn About the Matthew Bible

Is this a red letter edition

It is our intention to show the words of Christ in red and to distinguish the Old Testament quotes used in the New Testament. This will be finalized when it is time to go to print.


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What numbering system does this Bible use

The Matthew Bible: Modern Spelling Edition uses European digits (Hindu-Arabic), which is the standard United States placeholder numbering system (0123456789). It does not use Roman numerals.

What lettering does this Bible use

The Matthew Bible: Modern Spelling Edition uses a Roman font (type).


Examples:
  • This is Roman type
  • This is Black letter Type (The original type)

  • This is Italics type

Can I donate towards the translation?

Yes. We are a charitable 501(3)c corporation. You may donate online by visiting our donation page . Mention the Matthew Bible in the memo line. Thank you.

Does this Bible include the Apocrypha

It will not retain the Apocrypha. Because of this, The Matthew Bible: Modern Spelling has to be listed as an  edition  instead of simply a  revision.  The Apocrypha was added by Miles Coverdale when he assembled the works of Tyndale into what is known as The Coverdale Bible. He did this right after Brother William Tyndale's murder by the Roman Catholic religious system 1 . For some reason, Miles Coverdale did not use the latest revision of Tyndale's New Testament, he failed to include any of Tyndale's 14 plus translations from the Old Testament, translated from the Latin (possibly corrupted versions) 2 and German texts, and added the Apocrypha. 

John Rogers quickly (in a matter of months)  took the project away from Miles Coverdale and used all of Tyndale's latest translations (including work on about 14 books in the Old Testament). Unfortunately, the decision was made to leave the Apocrypha in place. It should be noted that this had something to do with a license to print the Bible. The King is reported to have refused to print any Bible that did not include the Apocrypha.

When the Bible was first printed, the printer had to receive a license to print from the Kingdom. Often, the ruler would place stipulations on what could and could not be published. King James is reported to have declared that if anyone printed the Bible without the Apocrypha he or she would be charged large fines and sentenced to one year in prison. This inclusion of external literature is also observed in the separate readings that were included in Tyndale's New Testament. This insertion of external material cannot be viewed as an endorsement by the writer because of the printing license requirements of that time. We must try to discover what God thinks and not man.

John Rogers grouped these books of the Apocrypha together into one volume (separate from the Old and New Testament) and then made it clear that they should not be relied on or publicly read.

What is the Apocrypha?

Apocrypha means  hidden -as in hidden from public view-and not to be used for teaching or studying God's word.  The Apocrypha is a group of about 14 books (or letters) that are not recognized as legitimate, inspired or authoritative enough to be placed in the Holy Bible. One source estimated that they were written sometime after 400 B.C. and up to the time of Jesus' walk here on Earth. About the only ones who use these books (or include them in their bibles) are the Roman Catholic Religious System.

These books were not included in the majority of Bibles because they either failed to align doctrinally or because there was not enough historical support to include them. Jesus quoted from the Old Testament books all of the time but never once referenced the books now called the Apocrypha. In the book of Romans (3:2) we are told that unto the Jews "were committed the oracles of God". This means that they were in charge of keeping and preserving the scriptures. These scriptures were completed about 400 B.C. 

Later,  Jesus  makes the comment, "From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias". This is a reference from the first blood shed, to the last mentioned in the scriptures. To understand this, one must know that the Jewish Bible (Old testament Scriptures) was laid out differently then ours today (see the Jewish Scriptures chart below). It began with Genesis and ended with Chronicles. The first blood spilled was that of Abel (Genesis 4:8) and the last was that of the Prophet  Zacharias ( 2Ch 24:21).  This means that Jesus accepted the Jewish Scriptures 3 (Genesis - Chronicles) but did not accept the books of the Apocrypha.

Jewish Scriptures:

Law Prophets Writings
Genesis Joshua Psalms
Exodus Judges Proverbs
Leviticus Samuel Job
Numbers Kings Song of Songs
Deuteronomy The Twelve
Ruth
  Isaiah Lamentations
  Jeremiah Ecclesiastes
  Ezekiel Esther
  Daniel Ezra-Nehemiah
    Chronicles

The 24 Books of Jewish Scriptures are the same as the 39 books in today's Old Testament. The only thing  that has changed is they have been divided up into more books.



Why is the Apocrypha not included?

Although John Rogers decided to leave the Apocrypha in the Bible, he placed these 14 books into a separate volume and made sure to note that they were not considered an actual part of the Bible. This is the introduction to that volume as found in the first edition (1537) of The Matthew Bible:

The volume of the books called Apocrypha: 
Contained in the common Trans. in Latin, 
which are not found in Hebrew nor the Chaldee. 

John Rogers goes on to say that he laid the books aside so that they would not be perceived as "legitimate". He said he decided to include them (in a separate volume) so that men could see the difference between the anointed and that which was not anointed. He said they were meant to be read in private and not in public. He continued by telling us that they were not to be esteemed or used to "confirm a strengthening of the doctrine". 

John Rogers wrote that they had been flawed and corrupted in many places and must be read with caution. Because of the great caution that Brother John Rogers has placed on us, and the clear lack of credibility that he placed in these books (which is supported by modern scholars, historians, and indeed Scripture itself), the decision was prayerfully made not to include them. This lowers the cost for publication and removes any possible confusion in reading the scriptures.


End Notes

1. History records that the Roman Catholic religious system sought William Tyndale's death. They succeeded in 1536. William Tyndale was arrested and taken to Vilvoorde, Belgium (This fell under the Holy Roman Empire.) The Emperor, of the Holy Roman Empire, was Charles V (5th). After nearly a year and a half of imprisonment, he ordered William Tyndale tried by a religious court and then turned him over to secular authorities. The religious court found that Tyndale was guilty of spreading dangerous doctrines, through his interpretation of the Bible into English, and they determined that if the people would read the Bible, it would incite them to revolt against the Roman Catholic religious system. After finding William Tyndale guilty, they strangled and then burned him at a stake.

2. Because of the Latin translation (among a smattering of other languages) Coverdale's Bible is NOT considered the first original languages-to-English translation. In all fairness, he did not have access to Tyndale's additional translations or an advanced understanding of the Bible languages; whereas John Rogers had both. Coverdale seemed to have been in a hurry to get the Bible to press any way possible and it appears he and Rogers were working together and not against one another, just as they reportedly did with Tyndale. Both Coverdale and Rogers are well reported to be friends of William Tyndale. Rogers is also suspicioned of secreting away the latest works of Tyndale when the house he was living at was raided. He did not reveal that he had these until things had calmed down. Even then, he released them under the name Thomas Matthew.

3. (Luke 24:44) "And [Jesus] said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."

 Where can I order The Matthew Bible

The Matthew Bible: Modern Spelling Edition will be made available from this website and from the publishers/printers website. We will provide the information as it becomes available. 

This Bible is being offered in several different bindings that range from economy to top grain leather. There will even be a collectors edition to accentuate the facsimile edition that so many already own and enjoy.


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 What does "Modern Spelling" mean

The Matthew Bible: Modern Spelling Edition means that the Early Modern British English  spelling has been updated to Modern American English. It does not mean that archaic (old and no longer used) or British words have been replaced. This is an orthographic translation. The vocabulary will read much like The King James Version that you are used to reading, (especially since the KJV incorporates nearly 77%  of The Matthew Bible. 

Words like thee and thou ( and such like) have not been taken out. The goal is not to update the language or grammar (in the Modern Spelling Edition) but to update the spelling and font so that The Matthew Bible can be read by the average English speaking person of today. This is truly more of a revision then it is a new edition. The goal is to  make corrections that reflect today's American spelling and  not to replace any words from the original.


*  Early Modern English   (c.1440 - 1800)
** Modern English            (c.1800 - Present) 

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 What version is being translated & will there be notes?

We are using one of the 1549 printings (It is the 1537 revision) which is an almost identical reprinting of the original. We chose this print because it is better preserved but has the same writing as the original.

There were only a few total printings of the Thomas Matthew Bible. The known printings were in 1537 (First Edition), at least two in 1549 (one was almost identical to the original, the other one updated the notes) and up to four in 1551. Although we will be adding a section called "The Notes", our main interest is in preserving the word of God as translated by William Tyndale and John Rogers in the Matthew Bible.



Special Acknowledgements:
  • Pastor Bayless of the Lawton Church of God for giving permission to use an electronic copy of The Matthew Bible in Early Modern British English (Serif font, roman numeral numbering, original Geneva verse divisions).

 Does this Bible have verses

Yes. We are capturing the original text and converting it to modern font and spelling. Our burden is to maintain the precious words of this Holy Writ. The verse numbering system is the Oxford Standard.

We have chosen to use the familiar verse numbering system of the King James Bible. Note that although the original Matthew Bible did not have "numbered" verse divisions, it did have paragraph separations.



 Why is it called The Matthew Bible

It is called The Matthew Bible (or The Thomas Matthew Bible ) because it was originally published under the pseudonym "Thomas Mathew". It is its name and is not referring to being owned by Matthew so therefor it does not have an s or apostrophe s . Note that  The King James Bible does not have an apostrophe in its title either.


The title page of The Matthew Bible is where the name "Thomas Matthew" was first used. It is also used to sign the introduction. Below are photos which show the use of this name on the original title pages of the first original language-to-English Bible.

 
1537 first edition

The Bible, 
which is all the holy Scrip-
ture: In which are contained the 
Old and New Testament truly 
and purely translated into En-
glish by Thomas 
Matthew. 


Isaiah 1
Hearkento ye heavens and 
thou earth give ear: For the 
Lord speaketh.

1537

 

1549 reprint







The  Bible, 
which is all the holy Scrip
ture: In which are contained the  Old 
and New Testament, truly  and, 
purely translated into En glish 
By Thomas  Matthew. 

1537

And now Imprinted in
the Year of our Lord
1549

*Photos are screen shots taken for religious and educational purposes from the The Bible Museum, Inc's Bible-Online.net website.


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 Will you change anything?


  • Early Modern English did not have standardized spelling. They spelled (and read) phonetically. We are standardizing the spelling. As an example, the word "drink" might be spelled Drynk, Drynke or Drinke. Even in the same paragraph some words will fail to maintain the same spelling. 
  • The Matthew Bible often used a double L when only one is needed. We are removing the LL and making it one L. The name "Abell" would become "Abel"
  • Often the early English used "ea" instead of a single "e". It also added an "e" to the end of many words. We are working on changing this. In early English, the word "rest" would be spelled "reaste".
  • The Matthew Bible uses a combination of Roman numerals and written words to express dates, numbers and times. We must update these to European digits (Hindu-Arabic) which is the standard United States numbering system (0123456789).

    For example:
    The date that The Matthew Bible was first published is M, D, xxxvij in Roman numerals. This would be translated to 1000, 500, 37 and then added together. In modern spelling (numbering) this date would be written as 1537.

    (M means 1000, D is 500, xxx is 30, and vij is 7)
  • The Early Modern English still used the letter "Thorn" which looks like this: Þ or this, þ. We jokingly call them the "pea-bee" letters since they look like the letter p and b combined. Thorn actually carries the same sound as "th". We are working on changing the Thorn to the "th". This means the early modern word "þe" is often translated to "the", "thee", or "that".

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