The “Gospel” Of Thomas?

It is written:

“Don’t let yourselves be easily upset or worried if you hear that the day of the Lord has already come. Someone might say that this idea came from us—in something the Spirit told us, or in something we said, or in a letter we wrote.” (2 Thessalonians 2:2)

In the first century, there were documents written which claimed to be from the Apostles. There were forgeries, and the Apostle Paul reminds the Christians to be on guard against such. The early Christians therefore were very careful in examining the textual evidence of each Book that came to be in the New Testament Scriptures.

However, there are some who claim that the Apostle Thomas wrote a gospel account that was excluded from the Bible. It is further claimed that this “gospel of Thomas” should be placed on equal authority as the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Is this true?

Let’s study.

“Thirteen leather-bound books (or codices), written in the Coptic language, dating to about A.D. 350-380, were found in Egypt sometime near the end of 1945 (near a place called Nag Hammadi). One of these books contains a writing that begins, “These are the secret words that the living Jesus spoke and Judas, even Thomas, wrote,” and ends with the words, “the Gospel according cording to Thomas.” Third -and fourth-century church fathers mention a Gospel that went by the name of the apostle Thomas.’ It seems, then, that the Gospel of Thomas mentioned by Christian theologians seventeen centuries ries ago had turned up in the dry sands of Egypt. This was a remarkable find by any reckoning. But there is more. When the new discovery was read and translated (and was found to contain tain a prologue and 114 sayings, or logia, mostly attributed to Jesus), scholars realized that parts of the Gospel of Thomas had in fact been found a half century earlier, in the 1890s, in a place called Oxyrhynchus, also in Egypt. Three Greek papyrus fragments (called the Oxyrhynchus Papyri [hereafter abbreviated ated POxy]) published at the turn of the century, numbered 1, 654 and 655, contain about 20 percent of the Gospel of Thomas, at least as compared with the Coptic version. The Greek fragments range in date fromA.D. 200 to 300….Most of the codices that make up the Nag Hammadi Library have been dated to the second half of the fourth century, though of course many of the writings ings within these old books date to earlier periods. The codex that contains the Gospel of Thomas may date to the first half of the fourth century. In the case of the Gospel of Thomas itself we have the three Greek fragments from Oxyrhynchus that date to the beginning and middle of the third century. One of the fragments may date as early as A.D. 200. Although almost all scholars concede that Thomas could have been composed as early as the middle of the second century, the evidence strongly suggests that Thomas was not composed before A.D. 175 or 180….Among the compelling evidence that leads to the conclusion that Thomas is a late writing, not an early one are the following: (1) Thomas knows many of the New Testament writings. (2) Thomas contains Gospel materials that scholars regard as late. (3) Thomas reflects later editing in the Gospels. (4) Thomas shows familiarity with traditions distinctive to Eastern, Syrian Christianity, traditions that did not emerge before than the middle of the second ond century…Indeed, the evidence suggests that Thomas was likely composed in the last quarter of the second century and nothing in Thomas can be independently traced back to the first century.” (Craig A. Evans, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort The Gospels, 721-849 (Kindle Edition); Downers Grove, Illinois; IVP Books)

The “gospel” of Thomas was not the work of the Apostle of Jesus. It is instead a forgery falsely attributed to Thomas, and rightly dates to the mid second century A.D. When we compare this with the canonical Gospels (whose textual support and hostile witness evidence shows to have been written by the true Apostles and their companions within a few years of Jesus’ resurrection), we see that there is no real contest.

Build your life on the Lord Jesus, as revealed in His true and confirmed Word.

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