What Christians Need To Know About The Gospel Of Thomas.

The Gospel Of Thomas

In this series, we are looking at the non-canonical gospel accounts of Jesus’ life.  While not considered scripture, they can give us a look at what different early Christians taught and believed about Jesus. 

The Gospel of Thomas

Overview:

The gospel of Thomas was first discovered in 1945 with a large group of gnostic papyri near Nag Hammadi, Egypt. It’s a book of 114 “sayings of Jesus”.  About 65% of these saying are found in the 4 canonical Gospels. 

Date: 

The document found at Nag Hammadi was dated to around 340 A.D. Scholars have suggested dates as early as 60 A.D., to as late as 180 A.D for the original authorship of the document.  The most reliable estimates are between 130 A.D. and 180 A.D.  This would align it with other gnostic writings we know of at the time. 

Authorship:

Who wrote the gospel of Thomas?  We don’t have a clear answer.  It is universally accepted that the Disciple Thomas was not the author. The gospel appears too late in history to have been written by one of the original disciples.

The most likely authors were Coptic gnostic Christians.  The reason we think this is because many of the sayings in the document echo the Gnostic teachings of the time.  The papyrus opens with the words “These are the hidden words that the living Jesus spoke, and Didymus Judas Thomas wrote them down”.  

Why Was It Rejected?

There are several reasons the gospel of Thomas is not included in the New Testament cannon.  As mentioned above, the date of authorship shows that it was clearly not written by a disciple or close associate of a disciple of Jesus.  It appears much too late in history for the authorship to have been authentically attributed to Thomas. 

Secondly, it was rejected by early Church fathers as being inauthentic.  Eusebius, Origen and Hippolytus all referred to it as heretical.  They all recognized the gnostic bent to the text of the document. 

The opening of the document is telling.  Anytime we hear things like “Secret sayings of Jesus”, it is a clue that the text was written by Gnostics.  Gnostics believed (and continue to believe) that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was not sufficient to save us.  They believe that there is this “secret knowledge” that is required for salvation. If you are not taught the knowledge these groups possess, then you’re not saved. You can see how this would be rejected by classical Christians who rightly understand our salvation comes through trust in Jesus alone. 

What Does The Gospel Tell Us About The Real Jesus?

The gospel gives very few details about Jesus Himself.  It is not a “life of” type of gospel.  We do get confirmation of other Biblical persons such as John the Baptist, The Apostles Thomas, James the Just, Peter, Matthew, Mariam and Salome.  But beyond that, there is little additional credible information about Jesus. 

As with all of the non-canonical gospels we’ll be looking at, the gospel of Thomas offers us some insights into the people who wrote it, but very little about the actual historical Jesus

Discuss your thoughts for this post on our Facebook Group here.  

Catagories
Archives
Calendar
December 2020
S M T W T F S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
RSS Listen to Our Latest Podcast Here
  • The Age Of Accountability December 1, 2020
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, Drew, David and special guest Pastor Paul discuss the arguments for and against the idea of the age of accountability. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Does The Multiverse Explain Fine Tuning? November 26, 2020
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, Drew, David and special guest Pastor Paul answer the question "Does The Multiverse Explain Fine Tuning?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Navigating Difficult Holiday Conversations November 24, 2020
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity podcast, Drew, David and special guest Pastor Paul discuss navigating Holiday conversation about Christianity with hostile family members. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Should Christians Tithe? November 19, 2020
    I this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, Drew and David answer the question " Should Christians Tithe?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen
  • The Lightning Round November 17, 2020
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, Drew and David challenge each other with apologetic questions they must answer live. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen
  • Did Paul Hallucinate The Risen Jesus? November 12, 2020
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, Drew and David answer the question "Did Paul hallucinate the risen Jesus?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen
  • The Social Dilemma November 10, 2020
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, Drew and David discuss the Netflix documentary "The Social Dilemma". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen
  • Are Ghosts Biblical? November 5, 2020
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, Drew and David answer the question "Are Ghosts Biblical?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen
  • Discussing The Great Flood November 3, 2020
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, Drew and David discuss several aspects of the great flood.  
    Drew Covert, David Johansen
  • Should Christians Watch Horror Movies? October 29, 2020
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, Drew and David answer the question "Should Christians Watch Horror Movies?"
    Drew Covert, David Johansen