EXTRA GOSPELS ABOUT JESUS exist. But they’re not in the Bible. For good reason, most Christian scholars say.
Take the Gospel of Thomas, probably written about a hundred years after Jesus. At least that’s when scholars of the day started criticizing it as wacked, wild, and weird. A Gospel not fit for pulpit prime time.
It calls itself a collection of “the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and that Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.”
OK, Bro Didy, we’re listening.
Some of the sayings sound like the Jesus we met in the Gospels that made the cut: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
“Look, the sower went out, took a handful (of seeds), and scattered (them). Some fell on the road, and the birds came and gathered them. Others fell on rock…” (Gospel of Thomas 1:9).
Yeah, we’ve heard that one.
“Damn the Pharisees!” (GT 1:102).
Well, sort of.
“Come, let us pray today, and let us fast” (GT 1:104).
Ok, the praying sounds like Jesus. But not the fasting. He said that when he’s around, it’s time for celebration, not for fasting and other party pooper stuff: “Friends of a bridegroom don’t go without eating while he is still with them” (Matthew 9:15).
“Every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven” (GT 1:114).
I find it difficult to imagine Jesus telling that to the former Bruce Jenner. Caitlyn now.
In fairness to Bro Didy, it might be stretchably conceivable that he quoted Jesus correctly…from whatever source he used.
Jesus wasn’t talking about transgendering. He was talking about women’s rights, spiritually speaking. His mouthiest disciple, Simon Peter, had just asked him to please tell Mary Magdalene to go the heck home: “Make Mary leave. Females don’t deserve to live.”
We can only hope that Bro Didy misquoted Peter, or that Peter’s wife heard him.
Jesus said, “Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven.”
If I were loosely paraphrasing Jesus, trying to clarify what he was telling Peter, it might go something like this.
“Peter, Peter, you pumpkin eater, listen up. Whatever you think Mary lacks, think of me as making up the difference for her. You’ve got nothing on her except your pumpkin breath. Every woman who wants to live forever in the kingdom of heaven can count on me to get them there. I’m every woman. It’s all in me.”
I could be wrong.
There’s other stuff in the Gospel of Thomas that even I can’t paraphrase Jesus back to kosher.
“Whoever knows the father and the mother will be called the child of a whore” (GT 1:105).
“How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on these two” (GT 1:87).
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you” (GT 1:70).
That’s why the book ended up in the reject pile. It preached what church leaders later condemned as a heresy called Gnosticism (NOS tuh SIZZ um). Gnostic Christians said we have the power to save ourselves through secret knowledge hidden deep within us.
For more about Christian beliefs
- Understanding Jesus
- 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible
- Strange and Mysterious Stuff From the Bible
Random book winners this week
- Jean Reyes
- Lutisia Taylor
I give away free books each week to randomly selected subscribers to my free blog and quarterly newsletter.
Winners will get the option of choosing my August release: A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible, among about half a dozen other titles.
Jean and Lutisia are random this week.
Bible Gateway Blogger