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Neither Add or Take Away

Thomas, also known as Didymus, from the Hebrew and Greek words both meaning the twin, was one of The Twelve Apostles. Although perhaps not as well known as Peter or John, millions of people are still familiar with him by his popular nickname, "Doubting Thomas." While we may be absolutely certain that Thomas was genuine, most Bible scholars seriously doubt that the same can be said of the "Gospel of Thomas" that is attributed to him.

Ancient Scroll The four actual Gospel books of The Bible are of course Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The "Gospel of Thomas" was discovered in 1945 near Nag Hammadi, between Cairo and Luxor in Egypt. Dated at about 140 AD (long after Thomas was dead - see What Happened To The Apostles?), it is included along with the dozens of other apocryphal (apocryphal meaning not authoritative) gospels, acts and epistles that have turned up in a variety of places over the centuries.

The "Gospel of Thomas" purports to be a collection of 114 sayings of Jesus Christ, and "which Didymus Judas Thomas wrote down." Although about half of them have a very familiar ring to readers of the Bible, others have no equivalent in the 4 actual Gospel books of the New Testament, and some are rather far-fetched. Unlike the true Gospels, the "Gospel of Thomas" consists solely of alleged sayings of Jesus Christ.

It's quite possible that Thomas was the author of an early Christian record (it would seem incredible if he hadn't written something), but there is really no way to know if it was the basis of the "Gospel of Thomas," or to what degree later writers altered or edited the work. Many are of the opinion that it was produced by someone using the apostle's identity, whose writing was a mixture of what he read in one or more of the true Gospels, plus his own imagination.

The sayings may be interesting to read as a matter of curiosity, but it should always be kept in mind that the "Gospel of Thomas" is not a part of the Bible, and that if God had wanted it included, it would have been long ago.

Here are just a few of the numerous other apocryphal works, Old and New Testament:

  • 1 Esdras
  • 2 Esdras
  • Tobit
  • Judith
  • Esther (additions)
  • Wisdom of Solomon
  • Ecclesiasticus
  • Baruch
  • Son of the Three Holy Children
  • Susanna
  • Bel and the Dragon
  • Prayer of Manasseh
  • 1 Maccabees
  • 2 Maccabees
  • The Gospel of Nicodemus
  • The Gospel of Peter
  • The Gospel of Joseph the Carpenter
  • Acts of Thomas
  • Acts of Paul
  • Acts of Andrew
  • Apocalypse of Peter
  • Letters of Paul to Seneca
  • Nativity of Mary
  • Arabic Gospel of the Childhood
  • Letter of Peter to James
  • Protevangelium of James
  • The Gospel of the Ebionites
  • Gospel of the Egyptians

Fact Finder: What did The Lord warn about adding or taking away from the true Holy Scriptures?
Revelation 22:18-19

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