The Story of The Matthew Bible

The Story of the Matthew Bible: the untold history of the Scriptures that formed the basis of the King James Version.

This book will appeal to readers at all levels. Passionate, well-sourced, illustrated, it refers frequently to original (and in some cases, lost) documents, so readers may be sure they are receiving the true history. This is a book that touches the heart and informs the mind.

When you reach the last page of The Story of the Matthew Bible, you will have a much deeper understanding of the history of the English Bible and the men who gave it to us – men who gave their lives in the Reformation, for our sakes, that we might have the light of God’s word.

“The Story” is available in hardcover, paperback, and kindle editions world-wide:

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Have a listen here to an informative radio interview Ruth had with Pledge Radio hosts Gene Parker and Cynthia Palmer of Holland, Michigan:


Reviews on Amazon:

“Having read many books on this subject, I can unequivocally state that this is the best yet. This book isn’t filled with trivia, instead it presents the important details regarding the arrival of the Bible in the English language to our shores. It is a fascinating read, one which highlights the fact that the English Bible was thoroughly and truly inspired by the Holy Spirit, even though circumstances, good and bad, were at play.

As an ex-Roman Catholic I find myself opposed to ritualism, be it in the form of ceremonies, sacraments and feast days. Nevertheless, I fully appreciate that the early reformers adhered to some of the old ways they had learned from Rome. Whilst I may not agree with the author on the level of Lutheranism, I can without hesitation stand firmly alongside her regarding the sacredness of Scripture.

I own over 200 English Bible versions (full Bibles or New Testament), but it is the King James Bible I believe triumphs over them all. I read the Geneva 1599 too (as a non- Calvinist). The modern versions of the Bible are not too helpful in bring God’s Word to us, but the KJV and it’s predecessors, take us back to the true understanding of Scripture. I have a copy of the Matthews Bible (available on Amazon), but being a facsimile print, it is not easy to read. I am delighted to learn that Ruth has produced an up-to-date rendering of this, and I look forward to reading it.”


“I found this book gripping. There were parts which I initially thought were going into too much detail, but as I kept reading I saw how vital all the parts were and how they hung and fitted together to make the whole story really exciting.

While reading it I became more and more immersed in and able to appreciate the cultural/spiritual atmosphere of that period in the 1500s. My previous studies of Christian history had never given me such a close sense of that atmosphere.

I think because I’ve suffered spiritual abuse and interpersonal abuse, I was able to somewhat relate to what Tyndale, Coverdale, Rogers, Cromwell and Cranmer had to deal with – the machinations of all the various forces of darkness.”


“I found this book incredibly informative and interesting. I understand the reasons for the Reformation and the history of the bible so much better. We have no experience of the kind of suffering these men went through. It’s actually impossible to imagine what they went through. I am not a Christian, so I found some of the theological parts heavy going, but it was well-written and very moving.”


“As far as,.. “the heroes who struggled and suffered to produce our seminal English Bible of 1537″… I know that Ruth Magnusson Davis relied heavily upon her own faith to not only produce this fine work of The Story of the Matthew Bible, but also the OUTSTANDING modern spelling and punctuation of the actual original 1537 Matthew Bible New Testament known as The October Testament recruiting involvement from the actual descendants of the martyred saint John Rogers himself. I believe that there is a very special place in heaven for those who God calls upon to provide for His Word to be heard. In the original way that it was meant to be spoken and understood by English speaking peoples, Ruth Magnusson Davis has served the LORD well. This is an OUTSTANDING accompanying book to her modern rendition of a very old Bible that was bought with blood.”


“With “The Story of the Matthew Bible”, Ruth Magnusson Davis has finely crafted an easy-to-read but scholarly-sound tome, detailing the history of what is likely the greatest Bible ever printed in the English language. Having read MANY books on the history of the Bible in English, I can honestly say that Ruth’s stands with the best of them. David Daniell’s hefty textbook gives us an incredibly deep overview of the topic from the Dark Ages through to modern times, and Donald Brake offers concise but current information with hundreds full color photos, but Davis intently focuses on the three men who gave us the Matthew Bible: William Tyndale, Myles Coverdale, and John Rogers, and how their work and contributions still affect us today.

While all three translators are given multiple full, meaty, and well-researched chapters, what I especially enjoyed were the chapters related to Myles Coverdale, a man who has been greatly under-appreciated by modern scholarship. Davis has taken the most modern, updated information available on these men and their works, and given us a solid build-up to their combined magnum opus, the Matthew Bible. The book includes many pictures, as well as useful citations and a full bibliography and topical index. Not only does Davis write factual statements ABOUT the Matthew Bible, she also makes solid arguments with examples on WHY it’s so great.

After my personal experience of buying and reading through a facsimile of the Matthew Bible many years ago, I can honestly state that it is my favorite translation of God’s word. Subsequently, it is a delight that Ruth has come along and written such a terrific book on its history and the martyrs who compiled it. I cannot recommend this book enough. Also, don’t forget to check out Ruth’s own magnum opus, her modernization of the Matthews Bible New Testament (itself just as great achievement as this book).”


“Interesting, well written and well researched. Her writing leaves you wanting more, which hopefully will come soon with the publishing of the second volume. Her website has additional articles clarifying some points about other aspects, i.e. competition with the Geneva Bible, etc. Enjoy!”


“Great information on a recently found ancestor!”


“Ruth Magnusson Davis has done real yeoman’s work here in putting together this history. I had the privilege of proofreading an advance copy and found very little to critique. It became clear to me that the author took great care to go back to the original sources such as an early edition of John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments of the Christian Church (not the modern, bowdlerized Foxe’s Book of Martyrs which are typically heavily redacted and condensed) and the writings of William Tyndale, Myles Coverdale, John Rogers, Thomas Cranmer & Thomas Cromwell and other sources of antiquity from the English Reformation period.

For me as a Lutheran, I knew that Luther had played some role in the English Reformation, but only knew so much. Since reading Ruth Magnusson Davis’ book, I now have a fuller understanding. I checked her history of this against Luther’s Works and several histories published by CPH (Concordia) and others and concluded that she has done her homework on the connections between Luther, Barnes, Tyndale & Frith. It was a very satisfying discovery for me.

It also was hard to put down at times. The author clearly has a passion for her topic, she is a traditional Anglican who is fond of Luther and other Reformers.

If you are interested in Reformation history or the history of the English Bible, this is a must-get book to read. It is easy enough to read for the interested layman but also has the citations and detailed bibliography and helps a scholar or seminary student would desire.”


“The Matthew Bible of 1537 was a significant precursor to the later Authorised Version of 1611.

This is a well researched history of the events and persons involved in the publishing of the Matthew Bible that played such an important part in the English Reformation. It features the lives of William Tyndale, Myles Coverdale, John Rogers, Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell and many other less well known figures. It’s a vivid and passionate account of these heroes, several of whom paid with their lives to bring the Scriptures in the English language to our nation. There are ample quotations from the laws of England, personal letters, other books and especially the Bible.

The author founded the New Matthew Bible Project in 2009, dedicated to generating a lightly updated Matthew Bible for today’s readers.
The New Testament was published in 2016 as “The October Testament”. I have a copy of that too.

“The Story of the Matthew Bible” is actually Part 1 of what will be a two part series. Part 2 is in preparation, and will be added to my wish list.
I thoroughly enjoyed this account which is written in a style that should appeal to both scholars and ordinary readers.”