What are the Gnostic Gospels and why aren't they in the Bible?

The Gnostic gospels were written after the 1st Century, which was more than two generations after the apostles wrote the Christian Bible. They were written at a time when the orthodox Christian Church had already been established for more than a century and the canon of the Bible had already been closed. The Gnostics were anything but orthodox Christians, if you could call them “Christians” at all. Their beliefs about Jesus, salvation, and faith were completely different from the teachings of the apostles. Since they had no apostles’ writings to give their heretical beliefs credence, writings were created in the 3rd Century and attributed to influential Biblical figures, such as Judas, Mary, Philip and Thomas. If you just think logically, it would be pretty difficult for Judas, who betrayed Jesus and committed suicide, to write anything about Christianity!  By creating fake writings and attributing them to people who had been dead for a century or more, the Gnostic writings were viewed by the orthodox Christians as fraudulent and unauthoritative from the beginning. It would be like me authoring a book today and slapping George Washington’s name on it and acting as if George Washington actually wrote the work himself! I would be rightly painted all over the news as a forger and a nut! No one would take me seriously, especially the academic community. So the reason why the Gnostic gospels were never included in the Bible is because they were fakes. There was no conspiracy to it, only logic and reason.

It is interesting that the only time the Church Fathers quoted Gnostic writings is when they were condemning them for heresy. The Church Father, Irenaeus condemned the Gospel of Judas because it portrayed him in a favorable light, instead of viewing him as the one who betrayed Jesus. Even the disciple John condemns Gnosticism in 1 John 4:2-3, “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” Gnosticism denies the incarnation of Jesus because it teaches that since the flesh is evil Jesus only remained a spirit. Well, that denies the substitutionary atonement of the redemption of humanity, for if Christ didn’t become flesh and blood, then He didn’t take our place of wrath on the Cross to pay our penalty for sin. From the beginning, Gnosticism and its writings were never viewed as real authentic Christianity and neither should it today.

God Bless,

Pastor Joel