The Gospel of Thomas is
a non-canonical collection of the purported sayings of Jesus which was
written in Coptic, and which was found alongside a cache of ancient
Christian documents at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945. As with the
canonical gospels, this is a pseudepigraphic work written anonymously,
but attributed to an associate of Jesus. Scholars' opinions on when
this document was written vary widely. Some assert it was set down some
time during the 2nd or 3rd centuries a.D., while others argue it may
date to the early 1st century, contemporary with or even preceding the
canonical gospels. As an example of what is generally termed
"gnostic" Christianity (a Greek term refering to secret or revealed
knowledge), the Gospel of Thomas
contains some passages which complemented the documents which
ultimately became part of the New Testament, and others which seem
radically different from and thematically opposed to the contents of
those documents. Ultimately, the Gospel of Thomas was excluded from the
scripture by the early Church, but it stands as a testimony to the
diversity of Christian beliefs during the first several centuries of
Excerpts from The Gospel of Thomas
Translated by Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer
These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.
1 And he said, "Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death."
Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find.
When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they
will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they
said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in
the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to
you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the
(Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.
know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that
you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know
yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."
Jesus said, "The person old in days won't hesitate to ask a little
child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live.
For many of the first will be last, and will become a single one."
5 Jesus said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you.
For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.]"
His disciples asked him and said to him, "Do you want us to fast? How
should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?"
said, "Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things are
disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will
not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain
said, "Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion
becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the
lion still will become human."
And he said, "The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into
the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the
wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little
fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here
with two good ears had better listen!"
Jesus said, "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, and they didn't take root in the
soil and didn't produce heads of grain. Others fell on thorns, and they
choked the seeds and worms ate them. And others fell on good soil, and
it produced a good crop: it yielded sixty per measure and one hundred
twenty per measure."
13 Jesus said to his disciples, "Compare me to something and tell me what I am like."
Simon Peter said to him, "You are like a just messenger."
Matthew said to him, "You are like a wise philosopher."
Thomas said to him, "Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like."
said, "I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become
intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended."
took him, and withdrew, and spoke three sayings to him. When Thomas
came back to his friends they asked him, "What did Jesus say to you?"
said to them, "If I tell you one of the sayings he spoke to me, you
will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and
Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves,
and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you
will harm your spirits.
When you go into any region and walk
about in the countryside, when people take you in, eat what they serve
you and heal the sick among them.
After all, what goes into your mouth will not defile you; rather, it's what comes out of your mouth that will defile you."
said, "Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the
world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the
earth: fire, sword, war.
24 His disciples said, "Show us the place where you are, for we must seek it."
said to them, "Anyone here with two ears had better listen! There is
light within a person of light, and it shines on the whole world. If it
does not shine, it is dark."
25 Jesus said, "Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye."
Jesus said, "You see the sliver in your friend's eye, but you don't see
the timber in your own eye. When you take the timber out of your own
eye, then you will see well enough to remove the sliver from your
you do not fast from the world, you will not find the (Father's)
kingdom. If you do not observe the sabbath as a sabbath you will not
see the Father."
Jesus said, "I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in flesh I
appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not find any of
them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity, because they
are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they came into the world
empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty.
But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, then they will change their ways."
61 Jesus said, "Two will recline on a couch; one will die, one will live."
Salome said, "Who are you mister? You have climbed onto my couch and eaten from my table as if you are from someone."
Jesus said to her, "I am the one who comes from what is whole. I was granted from the things of my Father."
"I am your disciple."
this reason I say, if one is whole, one will be filled with light, but
if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness."
62 Jesus said, "I disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries.
Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will
save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have
within you [will] kill you."
Jesus said, "Images are visible to people, but the light within them is
hidden in the image of the Father's light. He will be disclosed, but
his image is hidden by his light."
Jesus said, "When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you
see your images that came into being before you and that neither die
nor become visible, how much you will have to bear!"
Jesus said, "The [Father's] kingdom is like a woman who was carrying a
[jar] full of meal. While she was walking along [a] distant road, the
handle of the jar broke and the meal spilled behind her [along] the
road. She didn't know it; she hadn't noticed a problem. When she
reached her house, she put the jar down and discovered that it was
Jesus said, "The Father's kingdom is like a person who wanted to kill
someone powerful. While still at home he drew his sword and thrust it
into the wall to find out whether his hand would go in. Then he killed
the powerful one."
112 Jesus said, "Damn the flesh that depends on the soul. Damn the soul that depends on the flesh."
His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?" "It will
not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or
'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the
earth, and people don't see it."
Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females don't
deserve life." 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."
Source: The Nag Hammadi Library, originally from Robert J. Miller, ed., The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version. (Polebridge Press, 1992, 1994).