In 1945 near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi a local farmer stumbled upon an urn containing Christian scriptures that were hidden there sixteen centuries ago. The urn contained over fifty sacred texts about Jesus’ teachings, most of them from a Gnostic (mystical) point of view. The scriptures did not belong to the official canon of the New Testament and were probably hidden to prevent them from being burned by the church.
The most complete scripture found at Nag Hammadi was the Gospel of Thomas, a collection of 114 aphorisms or sayings by Jesus regarded by Bible scientists as authentic. Below is an inspiring selection.
“When 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 poverty.”
“I have cast fire upon the world, and I’m guarding it until it blazes.”
The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us what Heaven’s kingdom is like.” He said to them, “It’s like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when it falls on prepared soil, it produces a large plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.”
“When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter the kingdom.”
Jesus said, “Be passersby.”
“If one is whole, one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness.”
“The Father’s kingdom is like a merchant who had a supply of merchandise and found a pearl. That merchant was prudent; he sold the merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself. So also with you, seek his treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring, where no moth comes to eat and no worm destroys.”
“The Father’s kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled, he said to the sheep, ‘I love you more than the ninety-nine.’”
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, but people don’t see it.”