A New New Testament

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“Important both historically and theologically. Readers will not be able to see the New Testament in the same way again.” —Marcus Borg, author of The Heart of Christianity
 
A New New Testament does what some of us never dreamed possible: it opens the treasure chest of early Christian writings, restoring a carefully select few of them to their rightful place in the broad conversation about who Jesus was, what he did and taught, and what all of that has to do with us now.” —Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Leaving Church and An Altar in the World
 
There are twenty-seven books in the traditional New Testament, but the earliest Christian communities were far more vibrant than that small number might lead you to think. In fact, many more scriptures were written and just as important as the New Testament in shaping early-Christian communities and beliefs. Over the past century, many of those texts that were lost have been found and translated, yet are still not known to much of the public; they are discussed mainly by scholars or within a context of the now outdated notion of gnostic gospels. In A New New Testament Hal Taussig is changing that. With the help of nineteen important spiritual leaders, he has added ten of the recently discovered texts to the traditional New Testament, leading many churches and spiritual seekers to use this new New Testament for their spiritual and intellectual growth.
 
“Remarkable . . . Not meant to replace the traditional New Testament, this fascinating work will be, Taussig hopes, the first of several new New Testaments.” —Booklist

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Date de parution 05 mars 2013
Nombre de visites sur la page 2
EAN13 9780547792118
Langue English

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Contents
Title Page
Contents
Copyright
Dedication
Foreword
Preface
Preface to the Translations
Introducing A New New Testament
How to Read A New New Testament
The Books of A New New Testament
AN ANCIENT PRAYER FROM THE EARLY CHRIST MOVEMENTS
The Prayer of Thanksgiving
GOSPELS FEATURING JESUS’S TEACHINGS
The Gospel of Thomas
The Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel of Mark
The Gospel of Luke
The Acts of the Apostles
GOSPELS, POEMS, AND SONGS BETWEEN HEAVEN AND
EARTH
The First Book of the Odes of Solomon
The Thunder: Perfect Mind
The Gospel of John
The Gospel of Mary
The Gospel of Truth
THE WRITINGS OF PAUL AND AN INTRODUCTORY PRAYER
The Prayer of the Apostle Paul
The Letter to the Romans
The First Letter to the Corinthians
The Second Letter to the Corinthians
The Letter to the Galatians
The Letter to the Philippians
The First Letter to the Thessalonians
The Letter to Philemon
The Letter to Philemon
LITERATURE IN THE TRADITION OF PAUL, WITH A SET OF
INTRODUCTORY PRAYERS
The Second Book of the Odes of Solomon
The Letter to the Ephesians
The Acts of Paul and Thecla
The Letter to the ColossiansThe Second Letter to the Thessalonians
The First Letter to Timothy
The Second Letter to Timothy
The Letter to Titus
DIVERSE LETTERS, WITH A SET OF INTRODUCTORY PRAYERS
The Third Book of the Odes of Solomon
The Letter of James
The Letter to the Hebrews
The First Letter of Peter
The Letter of Peter to Philip
The Second Letter of Peter
The Letter of Jude
LITERATURE IN THE TRADITION OF JOHN, WITH AN
INTRODUCTORY SET OF PRAYERS
The Fourth Book of the Odes of Solomon
The First Letter of John
The Second Letter of John
The Third Letter of John
The Revelation to John
The Secret Revelation of John
A Companion to A New New Testament
BASIC HISTORICAL BACKGROUND FOR THIS NEW BOOK OF
BOOKS
A Preamble
1. The Discoveries of New Documents from Old Worlds
2. The Books of A New New Testament: An Overview
3. Two Surprising Stories: How the Traditional New Testament Came to Be;
How A New New Testament Came to Be
4. What’s New in A New New Testament: Claiming a New Vision of the Early
Christ Movements
5. Giving Birth to A New New Testament and Retiring the Idea of Gnosticism
6. A Rich Explosion of Meaning
Epilogue: What’s Next for A New New Testament?
The Council for A New New Testament
Acknowledgments
Appendix I: Sixty-seven Major Writings of the Early Christ Movements
Appendix II: The Books of the Nag Hammadi Library
Appendix III: Study Guide
Appendix IV: Recommended Reading
Subject Index
Scripture Index
About the Author
FootnotesFirst Mariner Books edition 2015

Copyright © 2013 by Hal Taussig

All rights reserved

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to
Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 215 Park Avenue South,
New York, New York 10003.

www.hmhco.com

The Library of Congress has cataloged the print edition as follows:
A new New Testament : a reinvented Bible for the twenty-first century combining
traditional and newly discovered texts / edited with commentary by Hal Taussig ; with a
foreword by John Dominic Crossan.
pages cm
Includes index.
ISBN 978-0-547-79210-1 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-0-544-57010-8 (pbk.)
1. Bible. N.T.—Criticism, interpretation, etc. 2. Christian literature, Early—History and
criticism. I. Taussig, Hal, editor of compilation.
BS2361.3.N467 2013
225.5'208—dc23 2012046359

Cover design by Hsu and Associates
Cover illustration © Dae Yoo

eISBN 978-0-547-79211-8
v2.0815


Photograph of Papyrus P52 courtesy of John Rylands University Library of Manchester.
Translation of the traditional New Testament (except for the Letter to the Colossians)
from the Open English Bible, with permitted revisions by Hal Taussig. Courtesy of
Russell Allen, holder of copyright, and under Creative Commons Zero license,
http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0.
Translation of the Acts of Paul and Thecla, the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Truth, the
Letter of Paul to the Colossians, the Letter of Peter to Philip, the Prayer of the Apostle
Paul, and the Prayer of Thanksgiving by Celene Lillie. Permission granted to
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Translation of the Odes of Solomon by Elizabeth Ridout Miraglia. Permission granted to
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Translation of the Gospel of Thomas by Justin Lasser. Permission granted to Houghton
Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Translation of The Thunder: Perfect Mind by Hal Taussig, Jared Calaway, Maia
Kotrosits, Celene Lillie, and Justin Lasser. Permission granted to Houghton Mifflin
Harcourt by Hal Taussig.Translation of the Secret Revelation of John by Karen King. Reprinted by permission of
the publisher from The Secret Revelation of John by Karen L. King, pp. 28–81,
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, Copyright © 2006 by the President and
Fellows of Harvard College.
Introduction to the Secret Revelation of John by Karen L. King. Permission granted to
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.For
Robert Funk, who first thought about A New New Testament
Candice Olson, who seized the idea with passion
Russell Allen, who handed the New Testament to the publicF o r e w o r d
THE TRADITIONAL NEW TESTAMENT was already established by the end of the fourth
century. The pressing question, then, is why suggest A New New Testament—even
with A, not The—after a millennium and a half have passed?
It is not—emphatically not—that all or most of what is inside that traditional New
Testament is bad or deficient while most or all of what is outside it is perfect and
preferable. But why, then, entitle this book A New New Testament rather than, say,
Other Early Christian Texts?
For myself, I see two reasons why this particular book and this precise title are
necessary and needed. I put them to you as challenges, maybe even as principles, and
in aphoristic format to facilitate memory and thought.

My first reason is a rather simple redundancy with regard to the traditional New
Testament: to know what is outside it, you must know what is outside it. In other words,
it is a matter of adult education because education affirms options while indoctrination
denies them. Since that is probably obvious, I offer only one example.
You open your standard New Testament and find four versions—four “according to”s
—of the gospel. Stay inside that volume and you could easily conclude that all existing
versions had been gathered and presented. Go outside to A New New Testament and
you realize immediately that many other versions—and indeed types, modes, and
styles—of gospel were available—and avoided.
What you do with that knowledge, and how you judge between texts in or out, is a
separate issue. But you should know that all gospel versions were not taken, that a
selection was made, that some were accepted and others rejected. And that knowledge
is, to repeat, an education, and education is about knowing options.

My second reason for A New New Testament is that, with regard to the traditional New
Testament, to know what is inside it, you must know what is outside it. I offer you two
examples of that principle, two cases to illustrate that, even if you are exclusively
focused on the traditional New Testament, you cannot do so. You must know what was
rejected to understand what was accepted. And why, and when, and where. Both of my
examples involve images to remind us that we do not live in a world made only of
words—be they old words or new words.

A first example. High on the northern slopes of the Bülbül Daği, off the mid-Aegean
coast of Turkey, is a small flat clearing on the hillside with a stone frontal for a small
doorway. This opens into a cave carved in antiquity to an eight-by-eight-by-fifty-foot
passageway shrine called the Grotto of St. Paul by excavators from the Austrian
Archaeological Institute in the 1990s. Beneath later plaster they found frescoes from
around the year 500 CE.
On entrance, to your immediate left, is a scene almost completely obliterated but still
residually recognizable. A standing man holds aloft a large knife above a much smaller
kneeling figure whose tiny feet are about all that has been left by time the destroyer. It
is, of course, the story of Abraham and Isaac from Genesis 22.
You turn next to the fresco on the wall at entrance right. It is much better preserved,
with the upper half almost totally untouched by decay. But it is not a scene you
recognize from either the Hebrew Bible or the Christian New Testament. Of its threefigures, the central one is definitely “Paulos”—bald-headed, double-goateed, named,
but not haloed. He is seated and reading from an open book on his lap (A New New
Testament, maybe?). His right hand is raised in the teaching-and-blessing gesture of
Byzantine iconography—fingers separated into two and three, for the two natures in
Christ and the three persons in the Trinity.
To viewer right of Paul is a standing woman named “Theoklia,” coiffed as a matron by
the veil around her hair. She is slightly taller than Paul, and her right hand is raised in a
gesture identical to his. But her dignity, importance, and teaching authority are all
negated by having her eyes blinded and her hand scraped and burned off the wall (not
iconoclasm, by the way, as only her eyes were obliterated).
To viewer left of Paul is a second female figure iconographically designated as a
nubile virgin—her hair is unveiled and she listens to Paul’s message, not with others
out in the open but from a window in a red-brick house that encases her completely.
Her name, “Thekla,” is still—but barely—discernible to the left and right of her head.
Those three figures present a scene that summarizes a story which you, as viewer,
are supposed to recognize. But you do not do so because, whatever about Paul,
neither Theoklia nor Thekla—and Thekla, by the way, is the focal point of the fresco—is
anywhere in your traditional New Testament. The textual version of that dramatic scene
is in the Acts of Thecla, which is still extant as the opening chapters of the
secondcentury Acts of Paul—hence it is often called the Acts of Paul and Thecla.
In those Acts—as in all the other second- and third-century Acts of the Apostles from
outside the traditional New Testament—the challenge is celibate asceticism and most
especially for women in a patriarchal world. Thecla, for example, is about thirteen years
of age and would have been speedily married soon after her first menses. She would
have passed, with or without her ultimate consent, from the power of her father to that
of a husband at least twice her age.
Image and text visualize the dramatic moment when Thecla, having heard Paul
preach the challenge of ascetic celibacy, decides to reject Thamyris, the man chosen
to be her husband by parental authority. But such a decision—by a teenage girl—
designates not just domestic disturbance but social subversion. Thecla ends up
condemned to death in the arena but is saved by divine protection with not only all the
women—pagan and Christian alike—on her side but even with a lioness fighting on her
behalf against bear and lion.
You will, of course, find that Thecla story in the unit entitled “The Acts of Paul and
Thecla” in this book, A New New Testament. But why is that inclusion important?
Because if you do not know Thecla, you will not know Paul. You will not understand the
thirteen letters attributed to him and making up half the texts inside the traditional New
Testament.
Focus, for example, on the one text among those attributed letters that people seem
to know even if they know nothing else about Paul. It is this sweeping indictment of
what was clearly already in practice: “A woman must learn, listening in silence with all
deference. I do not consent to them becoming teachers, or exercising authority over
men; they ought not speak” (1 Timothy 2:11–12).
There is a massive scholarly consensus—based not externally on political
correctness but internally on linguistic differences—that the three letters, 1–2 Timothy
and Titus, were written well over a half century after Paul’s death. They were post-,
pseudo-, and even anti-Pauline compositions created in his name but reacting flatly to
his radical views on equality for all those in the Christian community—whether theyentered as Jews or gentiles, females or males, slaves or freeborns (Galatians 3:26–29).
But what caused that reaction to female teaching authority?
The obvious answer is patriarchal dominance—men did not want women to be equal
to them, let alone have any authority over them. That certainly explains those negative
commands in 1 Timothy 2 that leaders cannot be female. It also explains those positive
commands that Christian leaders must be male. But why does 1 Timothy also insist
that those male leaders—be they first-level or second-level ones—be “married” and
have “children” (3:2, 4, 12)?
The deeper problem for 1 Timothy is not just female pedagogy but ascetic celibacy.
That is why it warns, in thoroughly nasty language, about those who “forbid marriage
and enjoin abstinence from certain kinds of foods” (4:3). What frightens 1 Timothy’s
anonymous author(s) so profoundly is the challenge to Roman normalcy represented
by Christian celibacy—especially by female celibates thereby out of male control and,
most especially, by female teenagers thereby out of parental control. Thecla is the
specter that haunts 1 Timothy.
In other words, to understand 1 Timothy you will have to look both inside and outside
the New Testament: inside it, by looking at Paul’s challenge of celibacy in 1 Corinthians
7; and outside it, by looking at Thecla’s challenge of celibacy in A New New Testament.
That is just a single case, but it touches on Paul, and, in action by him or reaction to
him, he makes up half the traditional New Testament.
All Christians should know how important that challenge of ascetic celibacy was in
our earliest traditions—and especially how it proclaimed the right for women to choose
their lives despite patriarchal ascendancy. (Today and here we might not consider
celibacy as a badge of freedom, but “today” and “here” are not normative for always
and everywhere.)

I test that general principle concerning the traditional New Testament—that you cannot
know inside without knowing outside—with one further example, from A New New
Testament. It concerns the resurrection of Christ and therefore touches on the very
heart of Christianity itself. I begin, once again, with an image—not a single instance in a
hidden cave but one found on icons, frescoes, and mosaics from the Tiber to the Tigris
and the Nevsky to the Nile. From ancient psalters to modern churches, among scenes
of the life of Jesus, icons of the Twelve Great Feasts, and banners of Easter
celebration, this image is how Eastern Christianity imagines “The Resurrection” of
Christ. But you will not understand, will not even recognize, that image from anywhere
in our traditional New Testament.
On the one hand, Western Christianity imagines the resurrection by showing Christ
arising in muscular majesty—think Titian or Rubens—above sleeping or cowering tomb
guards. He is magnificently alone and individual—as if to forget that he is not the first or
last Jewish martyr to die on a Roman cross. You might be able to get that scenario by
reading, say, Matthew.
On the other hand, Eastern Christianity depicts not an individual but a communal
resurrection of Christ. It shows Christ, wounded, haloed, robed, and carrying a scroll in
earlier examples but a cross in later ones. He is surrounded by a mandorla of heavenly
light, stands on the bifold gates of Hades shaped into cross format, with broken locks
and shattered bolts all around. He reaches out, grasps the hand of Adam—or Adam
and Eve—and drags them forcibly to himself inside that aureole of radiant divinity.
You will never understand or even recognize that Eastern Christian iconography
through studying the traditional New Testament. But you could do both from reading ANew New Testament if you turn to Ode 42 in the section entitled “The Fourth Book of
the Odes of Solomon.” Read that Syrian Christian hymn from possibly as early as 100
CE. Read it slowly and carefully, thoughtfully and prayerfully, until you can see Christ’s
resurrection as communal rather than individual and as God’s great
peace-andreconciliation covenant with our violence-scarred humanity. I would almost rest my
case for having A New New Testament on the presence of that single early Christian
Ode 42 within its covers.
I conclude by thinking—and asking you to think as well—about gain and loss. I gave
you only two examples where I think our traditional New Testament has lost something
precious. It would have been better, for example, to have both Timothy and Thecla in
there as confrontational challenge rather than Timothy alone. Better for the New
Testament, better for Christian history, better for women, and, yes, better also for men.
That, surely, was loss.
Again, none of the Odes of Solomon are in the New Testament, and without their
poignant poetry our Western vision of the resurrection of Christ has become severed
from that of Eastern Christianity. That, too, is loss. As you read each single text in A
New New Testament, ask yourself that same question: What has our traditional New
Testament lost when it lost this text? At the end we may mourn, with apologies to
Thomas Wolfe, like this: “O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.”
There may yet be other texts lost to us still, but here, in A New New Testament, at least
we have the opportunity to consider that loss and, possibly, to move beyond it.

JOHN DOMINIC CROSSANP r e f a c e
WEEKNIGHT BIBLE STUDIES usually see groups numbering from five to twenty people.
But on a Tuesday night in May 2012, some four hundred people sat together in the
sanctuary of a Baptist church in a New York neighborhood eagerly awaiting the night’s
discussion. Many of those attendees were under the age of thirty-five; they were from
various walks of life. They were all there to talk with me about scripture, but not a piece
of familiar scripture, rather a book that wasn’t even part of the New Testament. They
had come to learn about the Gospel of Thomas.
Like many, most of those people had only recently learned that there was such a
thing as the Gospel of Thomas. I began with the story of how it had been discovered in
the sands of Egypt in the 1940s and then took what I knew from twenty years of
introducing this and other discoveries from early Christianity to be the best next step.
We simply read together parts of this new gospel, a gospel that was written in the very
same century Jesus lived and died.
I asked that someone read a few verses, and a young woman in her thirties
volunteered. She began: “Jesus said . . .” What followed was a teaching no one in the
room had ever heard, let alone in church. She read only three sentences, but by the
time she was midway through the passage, people were gasping, clapping, and
shouting “Amen!”
As the night continued, we read numerous passages from Thomas’s collection of
Jesus’s teachings, each one inciting delight, puzzlement, inspiration, and even tears of
joy. Attendees questioned why they had never before heard this book and asked for
more information about its discovery, provenance, and historical context. I had
expected at least some people to be confused or offended, but of those who spoke, no
such opinions arose. At the end of the evening there were three standing ovations, a
prayer of blessing given over me by the pastor, and a reception line that lasted almost
as long as the study.
It was this experience and some two hundred like it that made me ever more certain
that the world needed to be made more familiar with many of the scriptures that had
been, for one reason or another, excluded from the New Testament. We needed a new
New Testament, one that benefited from the discoveries of the past century and that
reconsidered the choices made (or not made) by bishops and councils of the fourth
through sixth centuries. The Gospel of Thomas is in this New New Testament, as are
nine other documents never before included in the traditional collection of Christian
scripture. They have been added to the twenty-seven books in the New Testament to
form A New New Testament. Each of them has freshness and depth that would make
that Baptist church shout “Amen!,” make those who left church long ago perk up and
listen, and signal hope to those eager for their spiritual longings to be addressed.
Over the past 160 years, more than seventy-five previously unknown first- and
second-century documents from the Christ movements have come to light. These
manuscripts have been scientifically verified to be almost certainly as old as the
manuscripts of the traditional New Testament. The titles alone pique one’s curiosity: the
Gospel of Mary (Magdalene), the Gospel of Truth, the Prayer of the Apostle Paul, the
Gospel of Thomas, the Acts of Paul and Thecla, the Prayer of Thanksgiving, the Odes
of Solomon, the Letter of Peter to Philip, the Secret Revelation of John, and The
Thunder: Perfect Mind.There are very few texts more influential on humankind than the twenty-seven books
that we know collectively as the New Testament; the brilliant teachings, well-worn
truths, and revolutionary stories they contain are still powerful today. But when placed
in A New New Testament alongside ten new books from the early Christ movements,
this traditional literature springs to life in new ways, sparkles with fresh comparisons
and contrasts, and is supplemented where it has been found lacking.
This New New Testament opens the door to reciting the sermon on the mount
alongside the newly discovered Gospel of Mary, in which Mary Magdalene
courageously comforts all the disciples and teaches them things Jesus had taught only
her. In addition to the traditional Revelation to John, it offers a very different Secret
Revelation of John in which Christ also rescues the world from a vicious empire, not by
end-of-the-world battles and curses that set the earth on fire, but by straightforward
teaching about God’s light and compassion. This New New Testament enables Jesus’s
words in the Gospel of John, “I am the good shepherd,” to be read in the same sitting
as the recently discovered The Thunder: Perfect Mind’s assertion that “I am the first
and the last. I am she who is honored and she who is mocked. I am the whore and the
holy woman. I am the wife and the virgin.”
The dilemma of the traditional New Testament in the twenty-first century is not just
about people yawning in church, bored by the familiarity of the readings. In some ways
the traditional New Testament’s binding has broken open and is not coming back
together easily. Every discovery of a previously unknown ancient scriptural document
stretches the authority and strength of the traditional New Testament. Its contents spill
sloppily onto its readers, staining and straining their lives with offensive and outmoded
information: instructions for slaves to obey their masters, for wives to submit to their
husbands, and for readers to think of Jews as coming from Satan.
It is not time to throw out the traditional New Testament, or to excise those parts that
offend. Rather, the moment has arrived to add to it and rebind it. Without attempting to
remove the ancient social prejudices from the lived fabric of the traditional New
Testament texts, A New New Testament offers twenty-first-century readers a chance to
reconsider, rethink, and reimagine the spiritual and historical content of early
Christianity by expanding the writings.
*This fresh mix of early Christian books comes just in time. A deep spiritual longing
has emerged over the past twenty-five years that can take great advantage of A New
New Testament. Innumerable people are searching for alternative spiritual paths while
still holding on to traditions of the past. Generations that have come of age in the past
two decades want to integrate the traditional and the new. They seek something
grounded in the familiar that they can nonetheless reinvent to call their own.
A New New Testament allows new perspectives on Christian beginnings, with all its
values and its flaws. Like the works in the traditional New Testament, the added books
of this New New Testament do not exhibit one particular point of view, nor were they
written by one individual. These new works neither revolt against the contents of the
more established gospels and letters, nor do they blandly mimic them. They tell new
stories, from new perspectives, but they pulse with familiar passion and power in their
depiction of spiritual experiences and deep quests for meaning.
A New New Testament invites the reader onto a serious, inspiring, and well-informed
journey into the very early writings of those in the legacy of Jesus. It offers the chance
to form new opinions about the earliest traditions of the Christ movements without the
demands of later Christian doctrine or church organizations working to overwhelm with
dogma or formal interpretations. Selected by a council of spiritual leaders—pastors andscholars, bishops and historians—it also includes new prayers from the first and
second centuries, beckoning twenty-first-century readers to encounter and inhabit the
meditations and practices of their predecessors.
As both a professor of the New Testament and a pastor to an active, engaged
congregation, I have come to realize that the spiritual thirsts of our day need more
nourishment. More than seventy-five books from the early Christ movements were
discovered in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I reject the romanticized notion
that the new discoveries always provide the best answers just as much as I worry about
churches’ strangleholds on what they deem unarguable truth about a certain kind of
Jesus. Here, then, is a supplement to the usual fare. Here, thanks to the wise decisions
of a twenty-first-century council, is a winsome—although not definitive—combination of
the traditional New Testament and some key new additions. Here is a new New
Testament, rich with all the treasures and foibles of the traditional collection and
enriched by many new and occasionally flawed stories, teachings, songs, prayers,
letters, and meditations. Here, then, is one new way of experiencing scriptural heritage,
a project conceived in response to genuine yearning, created by a group of wise and
concerned leaders, and brought now to be made new again by you.Preface to the Translations
OUR PRIMARY TRANSLATION FOCUS has been on the new books included in A New
New Testament. Up to now these works have been primarily translated in ways that
align them with the categories of “heresy” and “gnosticism.” This established approach
uses esoteric and complicated terms that distinguish the new books from “orthodox”
Christianity and portray “orthodox” Christianity as plainspoken and clear, but the new
documents as secretive and obscure. One of the features of this process involves
transliteration—the use of Greco-Coptic words, written in our Roman alphabet, that
remain untranslated.
For this project we have avoided any assumptions that the new literature is somehow
inferior or obscure. Throughout the translation of these texts we have tried to make
sure that all words are rendered into English, both to make them more accessible and
to bring them into a more direct relationship with their traditional New Testament
counterparts. To this latter end, we have tried to use consistent language, where
possible, among all the books in A New New Testament. In only one case, the
translation of certain names of (usually) heavenly figures, have we kept both the
transliteration and the English translation, in order to strengthen the real persona of
these figures and, at the same time, to keep the actual meaning of their names in
English.
All but one of the previously bound New Testament texts presented here are edited
versions of the Open English Bible—a translation based on The Twentieth Century New
Testament. We are deeply indebted to the innovative, public-oriented, careful
translation and legal work done by the chief architect and copyright holder of the Open
English Bible, Russell Allen. His devotion to making the works of the New Testament
available to the larger public without constrictions of publishers’ rights is heroic. In
addition, the careful and collaborative way that Mr. Allen and the Open English Bible
ensure that users of this translation can change it according to their own wisdom and
translation skills makes the Open English Bible the most innovative biblical translation
project in more than a century.
One of our major translation considerations has been how to address gendered
language in both these ancient documents and our contemporary world. We have
attempted to hold two values in creative tension throughout this work. First, we share
the value of many translations of the New Testament from the past fifty years to make
these texts more inclusive of women’s experiences. Historically, everyone was signified
by the male universal he, a move that effectively wrote much of women’s experience
out of both history and texts. And the authors of the male universal—while making
everything look masculine—did realize that their male universal did include women. We
have resolved that those women of the past need to become more visible, and women
today must be able to find themselves in these works. However, we have not rescued
the ancient text in every case from the discrimination against women in which it
participates. Where parts of the text explicitly discriminate against women (for instance,
when 1 Timothy goes out of its way to say that only men can be elders and bishops),
we have not translated words like man with any implication of inclusion of women. On
the other hand, in the many cases where obviously generic words or phrasing has used
a male term to characterize a group of men and women, we have changed that term to
something inclusive such as human, person(s), or people. So while making explicit
efforts to uncover the women in the text, we also felt it important to show the language,experience, and expression of gendered experience in the early Christ movements.
This has included a conscious effort to let the language of these people live in its
innovation, prejudice, and compromise. This complex and nuanced translation in
relationship to gender has had implications for the ways we used pronouns in the
translation of the Coptic, Greek, and Syriac. In consultation with the publisher’s senior
editor, Jenna Johnson, we have chosen in our translation of pronouns to represent the
implicit inclusion of women in the places where there are other indications that it does
indeed include women with alternating masculine and feminine pronouns.
Much gratitude is extended to our translators—Karen King, for the Secret Revelation
of John; Justin Lasser, for the Gospel of Thomas; and Elizabeth Miraglia, for the Odes
of Solomon. Additional thanks to Alexis Waller for her work on the OEB, particularly the
Gospel of Mark and 1, 2, and 3 John. My special thanks and immense gratitude go to
Hal Taussig—for inviting me to be a part of this project, for his years of work on these
texts, and most of all for his mentorship and conversation. I would not be doing this
work without him.
One other complexity of translation needs to be explained. In the case of three of the
“new” documents added to A New New Testament, no version of the otherwise
standard chapter and verse format exists, so we have had to add our own chapters and
versification to this edition. These three documents (the Gospel of Truth, The Thunder:
Perfect Mind, and the Letter of Peter to Philip) have been made available to the public
in various formats and translations without chapter and verse. In keeping with prior
scholarly practice for such manuscripts, the reference system for these documents has
generally been according to the column of the ancient manuscript accompanied by the
line number of that column. So, for instance, a citation from the Gospel of Truth such as
“18.36” has represented the eighteenth page of its Nag Hammadi manuscript and the
thirty-sixth line. Since it seems quite possible that the readers of this New New
Testament may have occasion to read these three documents in other publications and
translations, we regret that our attempts to present both this column and line reference
system and our new chapter and verse references on the same pages of these new
documents have not been successful. We do think it very important that there be a
chapter and verse system, because it breaks up the text into units that belong together
rather than just the page/column and line, which do not really cohere with any
organization of the thought of the text. So in these three documents we have forgone
the more primitive column-and-line references in favor of the very first chapter and
verse references.

CELENE LILLIE
Director of Translation
A New New TestamentIntroducing A New New Testament
IT IS TIME FOR a new New Testament. A New Testament that causes people—inside
and outside church—to lean forward with interest and engagement. This is meant to be
that book. It contains astounding new material from the first-century Christ movements
and places it alongside the traditional texts. Among its offerings are a new gospel
whose primary character is a woman, a previously unknown collection of songs in
Christ’s voice lifting to God, another gospel with more than fifty new teachings from
Jesus, and a prayer of the apostle Paul discovered in the sands of Egypt less than
seventy years ago.
This New New Testament is not simply the product of one author. The ten added
books have been chosen by a council of wise and nationally known spiritual leaders
(listed on pages 555–558). An eclectic mix of bishops, rabbis, well-known authors,
leaders of national churches, and women and men from African American, Native
American, and European American backgrounds have studied many of the recent
discoveries from the first two centuries, deliberated rigorously together, and chosen
those new books.
What have these deliberations produced? Where did it come from? And what do
readers need to know before immersing themselves in this new New Testament
experience?

Where did these new books come from?

How could new books from the first centuries of Christianity, ones not in the New
Testament, just suddenly appear? Where did they come from? And why aren’t they in
the New Testament to begin with? There is no simple answer to these questions. And
these are not questions that need to be in the foreground of our experience of A New
New Testament. So, they are addressed in a number of chapters that follow the
scriptures included here, as a “Companion to A New New Testament: Basic Historical
Background for This New Book of Books.”
But there is a short answer to these important questions that can be summarized
here. In the past hundred years a number of new works from the first centuries have
been discovered in the desert sands of Egypt, the markets of Cairo, and the libraries of
ancient monasteries. In some cases, scholars already knew about the existence of
these books because they were mentioned in other, more familiar ancient texts, but the
books themselves had never been found. In other cases, these newly found documents
from the beginnings of Christianity had never before been heard of at all. In still other
cases, some of these “new” documents have actually been in hand for quite a while but
have been ignored, repressed, or known only to scholars.
There is no reason, then, to think that the Gospel of Thomas, which is not in the
traditional New Testament, was read any less in the first and second centuries than the
Gospel of John, which is in the traditional New Testament. Indeed, in the ancient world
the Gospel of Thomas was distributed widely and translated into at least two
languages. Early Christian writings that did not make it into the New Testament had, in
their time, similar status to the works that did find their way into it. There was no “stamp
of approval” until at least three hundred years after Jesus’s birth.
Wait a minute! Wasn’t the New Testament written, selected, and collected very
soon after Jesus?

No. The New Testament did not exist for at least the first three hundred, if not five
hundred, years after Jesus. Some of its books appear to have been written some
twenty to thirty years after his death, but others probably not for at least 140 years after
Jesus.
In the early centuries of Christianity the only hints of a sacred collection of texts are
several lists of some gospels, letters, and apocalypses suggested for reading, with
different Christ communities following different lists, and many communities not
following any list. The second through fourth centuries after Jesus did see some actual
bound books of collected early Christian works, but none of them are identical to, or
even progenitors of, the New Testament. In other words, as is shown in more detail in
the “Companion to A New New Testament” at the back of this book, these new
additions to the New Testament existed for many years and during the crucial early
period of Christianity alongside the books we know, without any privilege of one over
any other, for a very long time. This “new” New Testament, then, in a very real way
restores the kind of mix of early Christian documents about Jesus that existed in the
first centuries.
The assumption that the existing New Testament was always the privileged,
authorized book about Jesus is not true. The New Testament did not somehow
descend from God after Jesus was gone. Christian churches spent centuries engaging
in arguments and political deals to decide which early books would be included in their
most sacred collections. This, of course, does not mean that the New Testament is
fraudulent or less meaningful. It simply means that the historical record shows that
collection to be a product of complex human negotiation over a long period of time.

So, if the New Testament as a collection of early Christian books did not come
into existence in the first century, where did all these different books from the
traditional New Testament and beyond it come from? And when were they written?

The introduction to each ancient text in A New New Testament gives an approximate
date for when it might have been written. But it is difficult to know these dates exactly.
None of these individual books make note of when they were written, and historians are
left with many imponderables in dating them. It is reasonably clear that Paul’s letters to
*the Galatians and Corinthians were written in the 50s CE (AD). On the other hand, the
Gospel of Luke could have been written anywhere from 60 CE to 140 CE, according to
different historians. Many scholars now argue that the Gospel of Thomas (not included
in the traditional New Testament but included in this New New Testament) was written
much earlier than the Gospel of Luke. Later, we will look more closely at the difficulties
and approximations of when the books in and outside of the traditional New Testament
were written, in both the individual introductions to each ancient text and in the
“Companion to A New New Testament.”
The books inside and outside the traditional New Testament specify little about the
conditions in which they were written, though from their hints at times, places, and
reallife circumstances it is clear that they were written by and for particular people. The
precise origins of the individual works of the traditional New Testament are in many
cases just as elusive as the new additions to this new New Testament.It can be shocking to learn just how many ambiguities and unknowns surround the
origins of these documents, both familiar and new. However, it is worth stepping back
from specific questions about individual texts to look at the bigger picture of the things
we do know about them—because all of these documents have much in common. For
instance, none of the traditional New Testament was written after 175 CE; so the 2012
council that chose the new books also did not allow books definitely written after 175
CE. Although there is little certainty about when, by whom, and for what these individual
works were written, there are some general similarities in all of them. They were all—
traditional and new—composed by and for people between 50 and 175 CE, somewhere
around the Mediterranean Sea, with certain similar themes and within certain realities
of life. All these books had a life of their own long before they were in the New
Testament—not unlike the new books added to this new New Testament.

Why are certain books in the traditional New Testament and others are not?

Many people acknowledge that the books of the New Testament were written and
assembled by humans, but they still assume that some sort of reasonable criteria must
have been in place to determine which books were included and which were not. The
common assumption holds that the books that became the New Testament must have
been in some way more true, more divinely inspired, or more historically accurate than
the ones that weren’t. One goal of A New New Testament is to rethink that
misconception. The Gospel of Truth contains poetry about Jesus that is as beautiful as
anything found in the traditional New Testament. The Gospel of Thomas records
sayings of Jesus found nowhere else that are every bit as likely to have come from his
lips as any of those in the New Testament. The Odes of Solomon provide us with more
material from early Christian worship than the entire existing New Testament.
This New New Testament means to assist both the general public and scholars in
getting beyond the overly simplistic readings of the existing New Testament and the
new early Christian documents as either orthodox or heretical. Based on my
experiences teaching the new documents and the existing New Testament side by side
in churches and seminaries for the past twenty years, this project embodies a new way
of thinking about what belongs in the heritage of early Christianity. It invites the reader
to see how this new mix illuminates spiritual seeking, ethical issues, patterns of belief,
and social practice. It calls for scholars and religious leaders to listen carefully to the
way the public receives and responds to this new mix, and to provide fresh and solid
ideas about how to make sense of the ways the various documents belong to each
other and to the contemporary world.

What is in A New New Testament?

A New New Testament offers thirty-seven works of scripture from the early centuries of
Christianity. It places new discoveries alongside familiar texts and groups them into six
sections in an effort to create further contact and contours to their reading. These
books include gospels, teachings, prayers, and prophecies.
A New New Testament also offers key summaries and introductions to each ancient
book. These include discussions of their inspirations, important historical background,
suggestions for ways to use the texts with and against the others in the collection, and
potential meditations for broader and deeper understanding of the texts on a spiritual
level.Finally, after the last ancient book—the Secret Revelation of John—we present “A
Companion to A New New Testament.” These six chapters help the reader with major
questions about how the new books were found, how the traditional New Testament
came into being, what the new books have in common with each other and with the
traditional ones, the specifics of how A New New Testament came into being, what
twentieth- and twenty-first-century scholarship says about the new books, some of the
meanings produced by reading the recently discovered and the traditional books
together, and what the future of A New New Testament might be.

How was this new New Testament brought into being?

In the second through eighth centuries, early synods and councils often brought a
*group of spiritual leaders together to decide important issues. In honor of this tradition,
*I invited spiritual leaders from across North America to form a council that would
decide which of the seventy-five or so additional early Christian documents should be
*collected together to create A New New Testament. After more than six months of
preparation, a group of nineteen such leaders convened in February of 2012 in New
Orleans; the results of that invaluable discussion and decision-making process are
what you hold in your hands. The names and brief biographies of the members of that
council are listed in the back of this book, and the process of the council’s deliberation
is described in the “Companion to A New New Testament,” also at the end.
As the bishops, authors, rabbis, and scholars of the New Orleans Council finished
their work on a windswept day in 2012, they were tingling with excitement. They were
confident of the integrity of their conversations and the literature they had just added to
the traditional New Testament. Several worried that they had not added enough new
books. All were certain that more discussion lay ahead and that this contribution would
provide many opportunities for reconsidering how we imagine and encounter the story
of Christianity. May your reading help this ongoing deliberation, as this new world of
possibilities unfolds.How to Read A New New Testament
BY AND LARGE, we can look to the ways in which people have approached the
traditional New Testament as the best guide for coming to this new collection of books.
But there are two problems with treating this new assemblage of texts in the usual
ways. First of all, many people have never actually read the New Testament. They think
they know what it says, or, in some cases, they have resisted reading it because of the
way it has been preached at them. A vast number of even devoted Christians have
never really read the New Testament and so have not accumulated the experiences
and skills of reading any Bible to bring to reading A New New Testament.
Second, even those who have spent time reading the traditional New Testament
sometimes find it quite difficult to understand its meaning or interpret its messages. The
meanings of these texts are phrased in terms of the cultures of the ancient
Mediterranean in which the books were written, and so they can sound to
twenty-firstcentury readers as if they were written in somewhat of a foreign language. A huge gap
lies between how people in this century and those in the first and second centuries
understood themselves and their world. And perhaps the exalted status of the New
Testament coupled with its inscrutable qualities make the reader feel less insightful or
entitled to interpret the text.
Here are suggestions for four independent ways to read A New New Testament.
Each kind of reading can draw out different dimensions of the texts, each of them can
bring out a different feeling or meaning, so we should take each of them seriously.

1. Read personally. Read as if these documents matter deeply and immediately to
you. Even if you are confused by some of the language, read as if the words might
bring something to your friendships, your work, your family, and your inner life. Where
there are stories, put yourself in them as a character, and see how they feel. Where
there is a letter, imagine that it was written to you. If the document is a poem or a song,
see what feelings and memories it conjures in you.
Reading personally does not necessarily mean that you have to agree with the
document or that its instructions need to be followed. Nor does it mean that you should
try to wring meaning out of every sentence or word. Reading personally can involve
gratitude for the beauty and wisdom of the document or a dislike for what is being said,
sometimes both, even within the same text. Most of all, this kind of reading simply
invites us to respond through actively making connections to parts of our lives.
Reading personally does not necessarily produce solutions. But it does help us
engage and seek meaning and to apply the text to our lives in ways that we might
otherwise ignore or repress.

2. Read thoughtfully. Think about the time and social setting in which the document
was written, who might have written it, and why. When these questions come up, stop
to read other sources that reveal what life was like in the first and second centuries.
Consult the introductions to the ancient texts and the “Companion” near the end of this
book; all have been written with just these questions and issues in mind. A list of
additional readings can be found both at the end of each introduction and in the larger
list of recommended readings at the end of the book.
Ponder why the particular document was written. Think about what kind of person
might have written each document.Muse about the similarities and differences between the circumstances of our world
and those of the ancient world. Notice how they affect what the particular document
might have meant in the first century versus what it means in our time.

3. Read imaginatively. Open your memory, heart, and imagination to these texts. Let
them affect you; let them surprise you. Let them trigger not so much your opinions but
your curiosity, and let them send you into fantasy. Engage these texts the way you
would read a good novel or watch a powerful film; let yourself be entertained by worlds
that are different from yours. Give yourself freely to each text with the awareness that
you can stop anytime if it becomes too powerful or takes you into territory that feels
unpleasant or offensive.
Let the pictures in the text live in your mind or heart. If a document presents God as
feminine or masculine, imagine how God might be as a female or male. Hear how the
feminine God talks. Imagine how the masculine God feels about children. Think about
how the masculine or feminine God relates to the elderly. If one of the documents has a
story about a trip to a high mountain, picture the mountain for yourself or imagine
yourself walking on it. If another document tells the story of someone being tortured,
think of what twenty-first-century torture might correspond to it.
As you take in the text imaginatively, notice how it makes you feel. To what images
or stories are you drawn? Which ones make you afraid? What in the text makes you
feel joyful?

4. Read meditatively or prayerfully. Dwell on the words of the text that attract your
attention. If certain words make you feel gratitude or warmth, go back over them and
the ones around them again, lingering on them. Let them sink in. Similarly, if certain
words are upsetting or offensive in the text, return to them and ask why they stir you up
in this way. Notice what ideas in the document hold you or make you feel loved. Do not
read further until you have received those feelings and acknowledged their place in
you. Whether the words hold, repel, inspire, or confuse you, stay with them long
enough to acknowledge their impact. Then let them go by giving thanks or releasing
them into the universe. Let this release be an opening to a larger reality beyond you.
Or, in the case of a challenging or frightening text, after acknowledging its impact on
you, ask for safety or send the words of the text beyond you so that you feel safer.
In the case of the new texts that are explicit prayers, consider saying them out loud
to help you linger over them.

Choosing Which Texts to Read When

Rarely does anyone read scripture from cover to cover. As you turn to the actual
documents of this collection, do not expect to read them all either in their given
sequence or without detours. They are too different, too demanding, and too rewarding
for anyone to approach them in such a unilateral way and still reap their maximum
benefits. You should anticipate coming back to some of the documents at a later time,
reading various texts in alternate combinations, finding yourself at a stopping point, or
wanting to ruminate on a particular text rather than forging ahead.
The power of this New New Testament comes in large part from the experience of
reading new books and old books together. You might try this out near the beginning of
your encounter with A New New Testament by first reading the opening sequence of
the Prayer of Thanksgiving, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Matthew, and theGospel of Mark. Each time you return to the collection, it is closest to the spirit of the
project to read both old and new books in the same sitting. So you might read the
Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Matthew together, or the Prayer of Thanksgiving
and the Gospel of Mark. In each case you might notice some of the ways the books
seem to belong together and some of the ways that they create tension with each
other.
As with the traditional New Testament, it helps to be patient with yourself when
material seems strange. Encounters with texts—old or new—that seem bizarre or
outside your frame of reference can be negotiated in three basic ways: stop and think
about the strangeness, make note of the strangeness but keep on reading, or skip the
strange parts. A similar set of approaches can apply to material that seems so familiar
that it is no longer engaging: stop to notice that it is boring or difficult to get excited
about, make note of the boring sections, or skip the material that is too familiar.
The short introductions positioned right before each document are meant to give you
background and context. Occasionally it also may be helpful to consult some of the
material in “A Companion to A New New Testament” at the end of the book; keep in
mind that these are available to fill out your reading.
When making longer-range choices of which documents to read and which to
postpone reading, it may be helpful to note the overall organization of this book. The
actual texts of A New New Testament are grouped and ordered more or less according
to the conventions of the traditional New Testament—gospels, “acts,” letters, poetry,
and revelations. (These specific groupings of documents are explained in more detail in
chapter 1 of the “Companion” at the back of the book.)
Although this book is structured similarly to the traditional New Testament, I have
made two significant shifts to help readers who are interested in turning their reading
into a spiritual process. First, each section of documents begins with a real prayer from
the first two centuries of the Christ movements. I have split up the Prayer of
Thanksgiving, the Prayer of the Apostle Paul, and the four books of the Odes of
Solomon so that each section of books is framed by one part of these prayers. Second,
I have made sure that the traditional and the new books occur alongside each other
and are not segregated into the “old” and the “new.” On one level, of course, this
underlines the larger project of reading these texts together and giving them similar
authority. But there is also a specific spiritual dimension of making sure they all stand
together. Very often the old and the new interrupt one another in ways that draw
attention to aspects of each text that had not been noticed before. When this happens,
the new meaning of these documents is especially close. In the same way, the new
and the old often reinforce one another to underline meanings that need to be
emphasized.
Finally, in deciding what texts to read when, the overall structure of the whole book
helps make note of particular kinds of literature. The way the books are divided up and
grouped together can allow you to concentrate on material in which you have special
interest or about which you have particular questions. For instance, if you are
especially inclined to stories, the first two sections (“Gospels Featuring Jesus’s
Teachings” and “Gospels, Poems, and Songs Between Heaven and Earth”) might best
be read first. On the other hand, if you are drawn to the writings—both traditional and
recently discovered—close to the figure of John, you might turn right away to the last
section of A New New Testament: “Literature in the Tradition of John.”
In the end, all advice for reading anything falls aside, and each of us brings particular
gifts, insights, and inhibitions to what we read. So the final advice on how to read thisbook is to be open to the fresh spirit that brought it together and that stood behind so
much of this powerful literature. With a light and open heart, approach this reading with
joy, anticipation, and what beckons to you in the process.
The Books of A New New Testament
AN ANCIENT PRAYER FROM THE EARLY CHRIST
MOVEMENTSAn Introduction to the Prayer of Thanksgiving
THIS PRAYER SPARKLES with evocative imagery. Pulsing with spiritual intimacy, its
voice likely belongs to a very early layer of Christian spiritual practice, that of a
community gathered for worship around a festive meal. For Christ followers—like most
other groups of that day—such a meal contained a number of prayers, said at the
beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the gathering. The New Orleans Council,
which selected the ten new books for this collection, enthusiastically proposed that the
Prayer of Thanksgiving should be included as the very first text in the volume. This
would fulfill the council’s wish that the reading of A New New Testament begin with a
spiritual entrance into the world of the early Christ movements. There are very few
prayers at all in the traditional New Testament, and the council felt strongly that the
spiritual practices of these early Christ movements provided vital new perspectives on
the beginnings of Christianity. With their emotional language and first-person
expressions, prayers—and other spiritual practices—often provide more access to the
felt dimensions of life than professions of belief and theology do.
This Prayer of Thanksgiving comes from the 1945 discovery of fifty-two documents,
nearly all of them Christian, in Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Like all of the Nag Hammadi
collection, it was written in the Coptic language. It is the only known manuscript with
this exact text, but there are a number of other first-through-third-century Christian
prayer texts that contain some of the same sentences and phrases. Neither its location
nor its exact date of composition can be known. Its author is also unknown. The title
affixed to the document, like many other titles of the ancient world, was added during
the copying of the document for users much later.
The prayer does not explicitly refer to Jesus, but it does refer to the eating of a
bloodless meal after the prayer, a practice that the Christ movements had in common
with the traditions of Israel of that era. The theme of the prayer is thanksgiving, and
some of the early Christ meals themselves were explicitly called eucharists, which is
one of the Greek and Coptic words meaning “thanksgiving.”
The language used to refer to God in the prayer is breathtaking for the modern ear:
God is called “O name untroubled,” “light of life,” “womb of all that grows,” “womb
pregnant with the nature of the Father,” and “never-ending endurance.” This language
demonstrates the fascinating openness of the nascent Christ movements in attributing
to God both masculine and feminine character traits, especially in this focus on God
having a womb through which creation happens. As seen in prayers from other new
documents in this volume, early Christ followers seemed drawn to a prayer language
that addressed God as a Father who had breasts from which humans could receive the
symbolic milk.
This originality of expression shows the early Christ people as quite devoid of the
religious rigidity or hierarchical conformity that would come to later Christian
generations. It also shows that these early Christ people almost certainly used a variety
of prayers for their festive meal “eucharists,” not the lockstep formula of later
Christianity. It can inspire twenty-first-century spiritual practice that is equally original,
expressive, and outside the box of conventional practice and ideas. Or, this prayer’s
own wording directly offers an originality for those in our day who seek expressive and
creative prayer.
Recommended Reading
Peter Dirkse and James Brashler, “The Prayer of Thanksgiving,” pp. 375–77 in
The Coptic Gnostic Library: A Complete Edition of the Nag Hammadi
Codices, Volume III, general editor James M. Robinson
The Prayer of Thanksgiving
1 This is the prayer they said:
We give thanks to you,
every life and heart stretches toward you,
O name untroubled,
honored with the name of God,
praised with the name of Father.
2 To everyone and everything
comes the kindness of the Father,
and love
and desire.
3 And if there is a sweet and simple teaching,
it gifts us mind, word, and knowledge:
mind, that we may understand you;
word, that we may interpret you;
knowledge, that we may know you.
4 We rejoice and are enlightened by your knowledge.
We rejoice that you have taught us about yourself.
5 We rejoice that in the body
*you have made us divine through your knowledge.
6 The thanksgiving of the human who reaches you
is this alone:
that we know you.
7 We have known you,
O light of mind.
O light of life,
we have known you.
8 O womb of all that grows,
we have known you.
9 O womb pregnant with the nature of the Father,
we have known you.
10 O never-ending endurance of the Father who gives birth,
so we worship your goodness.
11 One wish we ask:
we wish to be protected in knowledge.
12 One protection we desire:
that we not stumble in this life.

13 When they said these things in prayer, they welcomed one another, and they went to
eat their holy food, which had no blood in it.
GOSPELS FEATURING JESUS’S TEACHINGSAn Introduction to the Gospel of Thomas
THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS provides a fresh look at Jesus as teacher, since its entire
content consists of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. These sayings are the same as or
similar to about fifty in Matthew, Mark, or Luke, making more than fifty of them new to
the ears of twenty-first-century readers. The Gospel of Thomas has drawn more
scholarship and public attention than any other of the fifty-two Nag Hammadi
documents.
The New Orleans Council wanted the Gospel of Thomas to be the first gospel in A
New New Testament, because it is a near-perfect example of how these additional
books offer both connections and contours: strong connections to the traditional New
Testament and eye-popping new content not previously known.
The Gospel of Thomas was found along with fifty-one other, mostly Christian,
manuscripts near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. The Nag Hammadi copy
is the only complete copy of this gospel and is written in Coptic, but since its discovery
the existence of several other partial copies in Greek have also been identified. The
existence of both Coptic and Greek versions indicates that this gospel was probably
well known in a number of cultures in the ancient world. Scholars are deeply divided
about whether the Gospel of Thomas as it exists in the Nag Hammadi manuscript
comes from the first or second century. It seems quite possible that a significantly
earlier version, even before Matthew, Mark, and Luke, could have existed. Although
most of the manuscript evidence comes from Egypt, a number of scholars have
suggested Syria as an original home for this gospel, because of similar content in
Syria-based documents and because of the devotion of early Syrians to the figure of
Thomas. Although the Gospel of Thomas itself indicates Thomas as the author in its
opening, there is no consensus on who actually wrote the book. In the ancient world,
authorship was regularly attributed falsely to leaders of previous generations, and this
was clearly the case for Thomas and a number of other early Christian books.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the Gospel of Thomas lies in its form. It is a
sayings gospel: it does not have an overall story of Jesus but simply offers a list of his
teachings. These teachings are—like those in Matthew, Mark, and Luke—short and
pithy parables, proverbs, and aphorisms. At first, scholars thought that the order of
these sayings was arbitrary. Increased study of this gospel, however, now points to an
overall organizing principle, but its exact shape and sense has not yet been
deciphered.

Jesus, the Teacher

In a sayings gospels like Thomas, the main significance of Jesus is his role as a
teacher. This dimension is worth dwelling on in order to notice how it both reinforces
and challenges some conventional pictures of Jesus. Jesus does teach a great deal in
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and he teaches very similar material in Thomas,
Matthew, Mark, and Luke. But the picture of Jesus as teacher in Thomas does not
include an emphasis on his saving death, his resurrection, or his healing. The meaning
of Jesus comes from the wisdom he communicates, not from any special
accomplishments, his position on earth or in heaven, or what fate or triumph he
experiences. Here Jesus does not teach about his own significance, or about holy
scriptures, but rather on issues of everyday life and practice. Perhaps the clearesttheme is that of “the realm of God,” which is a direct translation of a Coptic phrase that
has most often been translated as “the kingdom of God.” In Thomas, “the realm of God”
is likened to particular life experiences. So, even when he draws on a term that seems
somewhat religious or theological, he places it within the context of ordinary life. This is
also true of Jesus’s teachings in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but not the gospels of John
and Mary.
Thomas’s approach is not at all unusual for ancient wisdom literature, which includes
many such documents, sometimes with the teacher named and sometimes without a
designation of a speaker. Sometimes the meaning of the saying is clear and clever, as
in Thomas 53: “His followers said to him, ‘Is circumcision beneficial or not for us?’ He
said to them, ‘If it were beneficial their father would beget them circumcised from their
mother.’” Sometimes the teaching is poetic, pointed, and eloquent, as in Thomas 50: “If
they say to you, ‘Where have you come from?’ say to them, ‘We came from the light,
the place where the light generated itself and established itself, and has been made
manifest in their image.’ If they say to you, ‘Is it you?’ say, ‘We are its children.’” And
sometimes the teaching is so pithy it raises more questions than answers, as in
Thomas 42: “Jesus said, ‘Be passersby.’”
So, these teachings are evocative, but not particularly practical. They are not meant
to teach us how to build a house. Even while rooted in everyday experience, they are
meant to get us thinking about the intangibles of life. This kind of process of gaining
wisdom from one’s own thought and experience is itself described in Thomas 70:
“When you give birth to the one within you, that one will save you. If you do not have
that one within you, that one will kill you.”

The Realm of God in Thomas

As mentioned earlier, one might characterize the theme of Jesus’s teachings in
Thomas as “the realm of God.” The realm of God is considered in Thomas to be
primarily an earthly reality, describable, at least by comparison, in events and
processes of ordinary life. This is also a major theme in the gospels of Matthew, Mark,
and Luke and the letters of Paul. Similarly to other early Christian literature, the realm
of God here is also referred to as “the realm of heaven,” but unique to Thomas is the
phrase “the realm of the Father.”
The more than fifteen teachings about the realm of God in Thomas include these:

If those who lead you proclaim to you: “The realm is in the sky,” then the birds
of the sky will enter before you. If they proclaim to you: “It is in the sea,” then
the fish will enter before you. Rather, the realm is within you and outside of
you. (3)

The realm of the Father is compared to a woman carrying a jar filled with flour.
While she was walking on the road a ways out, the handle of the jar broke. The
flour emptied out along the road, but she did not realize it or recognize a
problem. (97)

[The realm] will not come by looking for it. It will not be a matter of saying,
“Here it is!” or “Look! There it is.” Rather, the realm of the Father is spread out
upon the earth, but people don’t see it. (113)
These fresh teachings allow us to better see that Jesus’s teachings about the realm
of God may be far broader, even more creative, than is apparent when consulting only
the traditional New Testament, and yet these lessons remain quite consistent with
those well-worn teachings.

It’s Not the End of the World You Need to Concentrate On, It’s the Beginning

Much of early Christian literature pays attention to the impending end of the world.
Images of cataclysmic destruction are found in everything from the Gospel of Matthew
to the Revelation to John. The Gospel of Thomas not only ignores all such images but
explicitly challenges the notion of the end of the world. In Thomas 18, when Jesus is
asked by his disciples when the end will come, he answers: “Have you discovered the
beginning that you ask about the end? For, in the place where the beginning is, there
the end will be. Blessed is the one who takes a stand in the beginning. That one will
know the end, and will not experience death.”
This focus on the beginning takes on multiple images throughout Thomas. Focusing
in Thomas 19 on five trees in the original garden, Jesus proclaims, “Blessed is the one
who came into being from the beginning, before he came to be.” In several other
passages (21, 37) he evokes the nakedness of the Garden of Eden as a positive
image. This dependence on the cosmic beginning is mirrored also in the life cycle of
individuals in Jesus’s teaching that “these little children are like those who enter the
realm” (22). In 50, Jesus identifies humans as those who came from where the light
itself came into being.
For the Gospel of Thomas the spiritual path of wisdom does not point toward the end
of time and the judgment day, nor does it hold up death as a crucial moment in the life
of the individual. Instead, the origins of life and the world are the real signs of God’s
purpose for human beings.
Thomas’s Jesus makes twenty-first-century readers do a double or triple take. Often
these teachings sound very much like the standard gospels. On the other hand,
between or even in what appear to be traditional sayings, something very new appears,
making this gospel one that requires a fresh hearing and offers new possibilities.

Recommended Reading
Stevan L. Davies, The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom
Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas
Richard Valantasis, The Gospel of Thomas
The Gospel of Thomas
These are the veiled sayings which the living Jesus spoke and Judas, the Twin,
Thomas wrote them down.

11 And he said:
“Whoever finds the meaning of these sayings will not experience death.”

1 22 Jesus said: “Let the one who seeks continue seeking until he finds. And when that
one finds he will be disturbed, and once that one is disturbed he will become awed, and
will rule as a king over the all.”

13 Jesus said: “If those who lead you proclaim to you: ‘The realm is in the sky,’ then
the birds of the sky will enter before you. If they proclaim to you: ‘It is in the sea,’ then
2 3the fish will enter before you. Rather, the realm is within you and outside of you.
When you come to know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will realize that
4you are the children of the Living Father. If, however, you do not come to know
yourselves, then you dwell in poverty and you are the poverty.”

14 Jesus said: “The old person will not hesitate to ask a small child of seven days
2 3about the place of life, and the old one will live. For many who are first will be last.
And they will come to be one alone.”

15 Jesus said: “Recognize what is right in front of your face, and what is hidden will be
2revealed to you. For, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.”

16 His followers asked him: “Do you want us to fast? In what way should we fast?
2Should we give alms? What foods should we not eat?” Jesus said, “Do not tell lies
3and do not do what you hate. For all things are revealed before the presence of
heaven.”

17 Jesus said: “Blessed is the lion which the person eats—and the lion becomes a
person. And cursed is the person whom the lion eats—and the lion becomes a person.”

18 And he said: “The person compares to a wise fisherman: He cast his net into the
sea. He drew it up from the sea full of little fish from below. And he found one large fish.
The fisherman was wise. He cast the little fish into the sea. He chose the large fish
2without trouble. Whoever has ears to hear, listen!”

19 Jesus said: “Look, a sower went out with a handful of seeds and sowed them. Some
fell on the road. The birds came and gathered them. Others fell on the rock. They did
not take root in the soil or produce ears. And others fell among thorns. They choked the
seed and were eaten by worms. And some fell upon good soil, and produced fruit up to
the sky. Sixty per measure. One hundred and twenty per measure!”
11 0 Jesus said: “I have cast fire upon the world. And behold! I watch over it until it
burns.”

1 21 1 Jesus said: “This heaven will pass away and the one above it will pass away.
Those who are dead do not live and those who live will not die. In the days you ate
what was dead you were making it alive. When you come to dwell in the light, what will
you do? On the day you were one you became two. But when you become two, what
will you do?”

11 2 His followers said to Jesus: “We know that you will leave us. Who will become our
2leader?” Jesus said to them: “In the place where you came from, you will go up to
James the Righteous, for whom heaven and earth have come into being.”

11 3 Jesus said to his followers: “Compare and tell me whom I resemble.” Simon Peter
said to him: “You are like a righteous angel.” Matthew said to him: “You are like a wise
philosopher.” Thomas said to him: “Teacher, my mouth will not permit me to say whom
you resemble.” Jesus said: “I am not your teacher—you are drunk. Because you drank
2from the bubbling spring that I have measured out.” And he took him and departed.
He told him three sayings. When Thomas came back to his companions they asked
him: “What did Jesus say to you?” Thomas said to them: “If I told you the sayings he
told me, you would take up stones and cast them at me. And fire would burst out of
those stones and burn you.”

11 4 Jesus said to them: “If you fast, you will produce sin for yourselves. And if you
2pray, you will be condemned. And if you give alms, you will do harm to your spirits.
And in whatever land you enter and in which you walk, if they receive you eat whatever
3is put before you, and heal the sick among them. For, what goes into your mouth will
not pollute you; rather, that which comes from your mouth will pollute you.”

11 5 Jesus said: “When you see one who was not born of woman, fall on your faces
and worship him. That one is your Father.”

11 6 Jesus said: “Perhaps people think that it is peace that I have come to cast upon
the world. But they do not know that it is rebellion that I have come to cast upon the
2earth: fire, sword, war! For there will be five within a household: three against two, and
two against three—father against son, and son against father, and they will stand
alone.”

11 7 Jesus said: “I will give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no
hand has touched, and what has never encountered the human mind.”

11 8 His followers said to Jesus: “Tell us how our end will be.” Jesus said: “Have you
discovered the beginning that you ask about the end? For, in the place where the2beginning is, there the end will be. Blessed is the one who takes a stand in the
beginning. That one will know the end, and will not experience death.”

11 9 Jesus said: “Blessed is the one who came into being from the beginning, before
2he came to be. If you become my followers and listen to my sayings, these stones will
3become your servants. For there are five trees in paradise, which remain unmoved
summer and winter and whose leaves do not fall. Whoever knows them will not
experience death.”

12 0 The disciples said to Jesus: “Tell us, what is the realm of heaven compared to?”
He said: “It compares to a mustard seed smaller than all seeds. But when it falls on soil
that is cultivated, it produces a large branch and becomes shelter for the birds of the
sky.”

1 22 1 Mary said to Jesus: “Whom are your disciples like?” He said: “They are like little
3children who have settled in a field that is not theirs. When the owners of the field
4come, they will say, ‘Give us back our field!’ But they will strip naked in front of them
5in order to abandon it, so that the field is returned to them. That is why I say: ‘If the
householder knows that a thief is coming, he will keep watch before he comes. He will
6not let him break into his house and his estate to steal his possessions.’ But you,
7keep watch from the beginning of the world; gird up your loins. Ready yourself with a
great power so that the thieves do not find a way to get to you. Because they will find
8the necessities which you guard. Let there be a person of understanding among you.
9When the grain ripened someone came quickly with a sickle and reaped it. Whoever
has ears, hear!”

12 2 Jesus saw little children being nursed. He said to his followers: “These little
2children are like those who enter the realm.” They said to him: “Will we enter the
3realm as little children?” Jesus said to them: “When you make the two one, and when
you make the inside like the outside, and the outside like the inside, and the above like
the below. And when you make the male and the female into a solitary one, so that the
male is not male nor the female female. And when you make eyes in place of an eye,
and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and an image in place of an
image, then you will enter the realm.”

12 3 Jesus said: “I will choose you, one from a thousand and two from ten thousand,
and they will stand alone.”

12 4 His followers said: “Show us the place where you are, because it is necessary that
2 3we seek it.” He said to them: “Whoever has ears to hear, hear! There is light within a
person of light, and that one lights up the entire world. If that one does not shine, there
is darkness.”
12 5 Jesus said: “Love your brother or sister like your soul. Guard each of them like the
pupil of your eye.”

12 6 Jesus said: “You see the sliver in your brother’s eye, but you fail to see the plank
that is in your own eye. When you remove the plank from your own eye, then you will
be able to see clearly enough to remove the sliver from your brother’s eye.”

12 7 Jesus said: “If you do not fast from the world you will not find the realm. If you do
not make the sabbath a true sabbath, you will not see the Father.”

12 8 Jesus said: “I took my stand in the midst of the world, and I was manifested to
them in flesh. I found all of them drunk and none of them thirsting. And my soul
throbbed for the children of humanity, for they are blind in their hearts and do not see.
For blind they came into the world empty and seek also to leave the world empty. But
right now they are merely drunk. When they sober up, then they will turn.”

12 9 Jesus said: “If the flesh emerged from the spirit, it is a wonder. But if the spirit
2emerged from the body, that is a wonder of wonders! Yet, I wonder at how this great
richness was placed in this poverty.”

13 0 Jesus said: “Where there are three gods, they are Gods, where there are two or
2one, I am with them. Lift the stone, you will find me there. Split the piece of wood, I
am there.”

13 1 Jesus said: “No prophet is accepted in his or her own village. No physician heals
those who know him.”

13 2 Jesus said: “They are building a city upon a high mountain and fortifying it! It
cannot fall—but it also cannot be hidden.”

13 3 Jesus said: “What you hear with your ear declare with the other ear from your
2rooftops. For no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel, nor does one put it in a
hidden place. Rather, that one puts it on a lamp stand so that everyone who enters and
leaves will see its light.”

13 4 Jesus said: “If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.”

13 5 Jesus said: “It is not possible for someone to enter the house of a powerful man
and take it by force without binding his hands. Only after binding the powerful man’s
hands will he loot the house.”

13 6 Jesus said, “Do not worry, from morning to evening and from evening to morning,
about your food, about what you’re going to eat, or about your clothing, what you are
2 3going to wear. You are far better than the lilies, which do not card nor spin. As for5you when you have no clothes, what will you put on? Who might add to your status?
That one will give you your clothes.”

1 23 7 His disciples said: “When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?”
Jesus said: “When you strip naked without being ashamed, and take up your clothes
and put them under your feet like little children, and tread on them. Then you will see
the Child of the Living One and you will not be afraid.”

13 8 Jesus said: “Many times you longed to hear the sayings that I am telling you, and
you have no other to hear them from. The days will come when you seek after me, but
you will not find me.”

13 9 Jesus said: “The Pharisees and the scholars have taken the keys of knowledge
and hidden them. They do not enter, nor do they permit those who desire to enter to
2enter. As for you, be as cunning as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

14 0 Jesus said: “A grapevine has been planted outside the Father. Since it is not
supported, it will be pulled up from the roots and will be destroyed.”

14 1 Jesus said: “Whoever has something in her hand, more will be given. And
whoever has nothing, even the little that person has will be taken away from that
person.”

14 2 Jesus said: “Be passersby.”

1 24 3 His followers said to him: “Who are you to say these things to us?” “You do not
realize who I am from what I say to you? Rather, you have become like the Judeans:
they love the tree, but hate its fruit—and love its fruit, but hate the tree.”

14 4 Jesus said: “Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven. And
2whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven. But whoever blasphemes
against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven, neither on earth nor in heaven.”

14 5 Jesus said: “Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs picked from
2thistles, for they do not bear fruit. A good person brings forth good from his
storehouse, a bad person brings forth evil from his corrupt storehouse which is in his
heart, and he speaks evil. For out of abundance he produces evil.”

14 6 Jesus said: “From Adam to John the Baptizer, among those born of women, no
2one is honored more than John the Baptizer, so that his eyes need not be averted.
Yet, I have also said: ‘Whoever among you becomes little will know the realm and will
be honored more than John.’”

14 7 Jesus said: “It is impossible for a person to mount two horses and to draw two
2bows. And it is impossible for a servant to serve two masters, for he would honor the3one and insult the other. No one wants to drink aged wine and immediately wants to
4drink new wine. And new wine is not poured into old wineskins, because they would
5burst. Nor is old wine poured into new wineskins, because it would spoil. An old patch
is not sewn onto a new garment, because a tear would result.”

14 8 Jesus said: “If two make peace with each other in the same house, they will say to
the mountain, ‘Move away!’ and it will move.”

14 9 Jesus said: “Blessed are the solitary and chosen ones, for you will find the realm,
for you are from it and will return there.”

1 25 0 Jesus said: “If they say to you, ‘Where have you come from?’ say to them, ‘We
came from the light, the place where the light generated itself and established itself,
and has been made manifest in their image.’ If they say to you, ‘Is it you?’ say, ‘We are
3its children, and we are the chosen of the Living Father.’ If they ask you, ‘What is the
sign of your Father in you?’ say, ‘It is movement and repose.’”

15 1 His followers said to him: “When will the repose of the dead take place, and when
2will the new world come?” He said to them: “That which you look for has come, but
you did not recognize it.”

15 2 His followers said to him: “Twenty-four prophets have spoken in Israel, and all
2have spoken within you.” He said to them: “You have left out the Living One in your
presence, and you spoke only about those who are dead.”

15 3 His followers said to him: “Is circumcision beneficial or not for us?” He said to
them: “If it were beneficial their father would beget them circumcised from their mother.
2 Rather, true circumcision in spirit is entirely beneficial.”

15 4 Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor, for the realm of the sky is theirs.”

15 5 Jesus said: “Whoever does not hate her father and her mother cannot be a
2follower of mine. And whoever does not hate his brothers and sisters and carry his
cross as I do, will not be worthy of me.”

15 6 Jesus said: “Whoever has come to know the world has found a corpse. And
whoever has found the world as a corpse, the world is not worthy of that one.”

15 7 Jesus said: “The realm of the Father compares to someone who had good seed.
His enemy came in the night. He sowed a weed amid the good seed. The man did not
permit them to pull up the weed. He said to them: ‘When you go to pull up the weed you
may also pull up the good seed. On the day of the harvest the weeds will be visible.
Then you pull them up and burn them.’”
15 8 Jesus said: “Blessed is the one who is disturbed by her discovery. That one has
found life.”

15 9 Jesus said: “Look after the Living One while you are living, lest you die and seek
to see that one. You will not find the power to see.”

16 0 He saw a Samaritan carrying a lamb on the way to Judea. He said to his followers:
“He is surrounding the lamb.” They said to him: “He does so in order to kill and eat it.”
He said to them: “While it is living he will not eat it. Rather, if he kills it, then it will
become a corpse and then he can eat it.” They said to him: “There is no other way?” He
said to them: “You also, seek after a place of repose, lest you become corpses and get
consumed.”

1 26 1 Jesus said: “Two will recline on a couch—one will die, the other will live!” Salome
said: “Who are you to say such things while you recline upon my couch and eat from
my table?” Jesus said to her: “I derive from the One who is equal to all. I was merely
2given by you that which is my Father’s.” “I am your follower.” “Because of this, I say:
‘When a person becomes equal that person will be full of light.’”

16 2 Jesus said: “I tell my secrets to those who are worthy of my secrets. Do not let
your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

16 3 Jesus said: “There was a rich man who had an abundance of money. He said: ‘I
shall put my money to use so that I may sow, reap, and plant and fill my storehouse so
2that I lack nothing.’ Such were his intentions, but that very night he died! Whoever
has ears, hear!”

16 4 Jesus said: “A man had guests. When he had prepared the dinner, he sent his
slave to invite the guests. He came to the first person. He said: ‘My master invites you.’
He responded: ‘I have money for some merchants who are coming to me this evening
and I must place my orders. I cannot attend the dinner.’ He went to another person. He
said: ‘My master invites you.’ He responded: ‘I just bought a house and am required for
the day. I cannot attend.’ He went to another person. He said: ‘My master invites you.’
He responded: ‘My friend is getting married, and I am in charge of preparing the meal. I
cannot attend the dinner.’ He went to another person. He said: ‘My master invites you.’
He responded: ‘I have purchased a field and am going to collect the rent. I cannot
come. Please excuse me.’ The slave left. He said to his master: ‘The people you
invited to the dinner have asked to be excused.’ The master said to his slave: ‘Go
2outside on the streets. Whoever you find, bring them in so that they may dine.’
Usurers and merchants will not enter the places of my Father.”

16 5 Jesus said: “A usurer owned a vineyard. He leased it to some tenants so that they
would work it and he take the fruit from their hands. He sent his slave to collect the fruit
of the vineyard. They seized his slave. They beat him, almost to the point of death. The
slave went back to his master and told him about what had happened. His master said:
‘Perhaps they did not know him.’ He sent another slave. The tenants beat that one aswell. Then the master sent his son. He said: ‘Perhaps they will be shamed before my
son.’ The tenants, since they knew he was the heir to the vineyard, seized him and
2killed him. Whoever has ears, hear!”

16 6 Jesus said: “Show me the stone that the builders rejected—that one is the
cornerstone.”

16 7 Jesus said: “Whoever knows all, if she still needs herself, she still needs all.”

1 26 8 Jesus said: “Blessed are you when you are hated and persecuted. For they will
find no place where they persecuted you within.”

16 9 Jesus said: “Blessed are those who have been persecuted within their hearts.
2They are the ones who have truly known the Father. Blessed are those who are
hungry, for they are motivated to alleviate the belly of the one who desires.”

17 0 Jesus said: “When you give birth to the one within you, that one will save you. If
you do not have that one within you, that one will kill you.”

17 1 Jesus said: “I will destroy this house and no one will be able to rebuild it.”

17 2 A man said to Jesus: “Tell my brothers to divide my father’s possessions with me.”
He said to him: “Oh, sir, who has made me a divider?” He turned to his disciples and
said: “I am not a divider, am I?”

17 3 Jesus said: “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few. Pray to the master
that he might send laborers to the harvest.”

17 4 He said: “Lord, there are many around the well, but there is nothing in it.”

17 5 Jesus said: “Many are standing at the door, but only the solitary ones will enter the
bridal chamber.”

17 6 Jesus said: “The realm of the Father is compared to a merchant who had some
merchandise. He found a pearl. That merchant was wise. He sold the merchandise.
2Then he purchased the pearl for himself alone. You also, seek after his treasure,
which does not perish, but endures—where neither moth approaches to eat it nor worm
destroys.”

17 7 Jesus said: “I am the light which is above them all, I am the all. The all has come
2forth from me, and all has split open before me. Lift the stone, you will find me there.
Split the piece of wood, I am there.”

17 8 Jesus said: “Why have you come out to the field? To see a reed shaken by the
wind and to see someone dressed in soft clothes like your kings and powerful men?They are dressed in soft clothes, but they don’t know the truth.”

17 9 A woman in the crowd said to him: “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the
breasts that nursed you.” He said to her: “Blessed are those who have heard the word
2of the Father and have truly kept it. For there will be days when you will say: ‘Blessed
is the womb that has not conceived, and the breasts which have not given milk.’”

18 0 Jesus said: “Whoever has known the world has found the body. And whoever has
found the body, the world is no longer worthy of that person.”

18 1 Jesus said: “Whoever has grown rich should rule. But whoever has power should
renounce.”

18 2 Jesus said: “Whoever is near me is near the fire, and whoever is far from me is far
from the realm.”

18 3 Jesus said: “The images are shown to humanity, and the light within them is
hidden in the image of the Father’s light. He will be shown but his image is hidden away
in his light.”

18 4 Jesus said: “In the days when you looked at your resemblance you rejoiced.
When, however, you look upon the images that came into being upon your emergence,
which neither die nor manifest themselves, how much you will have to bear!”

18 5 Jesus said: “Adam came into being from a great power and a great wealth. But he
was not worthy of you. For, if he had been worthy of you, he would not have tasted
death.”

18 6 Jesus said: “The foxes have their dens and the birds have their nests, but the
Child of Humanity has no place to lay down his head and rest.”

18 7 Jesus said: “Damn the body that depends on a body; and damn the soul that
depends on these two.”

18 8 Jesus said: “The messengers and the prophets will come to you. They will give
you what is yours and you will give them what you have. You will say to yourselves:
‘When will they come and take what is theirs?’”

18 9 Jesus said: “Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Do you not understand that
the one who created the inside is also the one who created the outside?”

1 29 0 Jesus said: “Come to me, for my yoke is easy and my lordship is gentle. And
you will find rest for yourselves.”
1 29 1 They said to him: “Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you.” He said to
them: “You read the face of the sky and the earth, but you do not know the one who is
before you, nor do you know how to read this moment.”

19 2 Jesus said: “Seek and you will find. But that which you asked me about in those
days I did not tell you, but I now desire to tell you, and you no longer seek to know.”

19 3 Jesus said: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, for they might toss them to the dung
pile. Do not toss pearls to pigs, for they might trample them.”

19 4 Jesus said: “Whoever seeks, will find. Whoever knocks, they will open to that one.”

19 5 Jesus said: “If you have money, do not lend it at interest. Rather, lend it to
someone who won’t pay you back.”

19 6 Jesus said: “The realm of the Father is compared to a woman. She took a little
2yeast and hid it in dough. She made the loaves into leavened bread! Whoever has
ears, hear!”

19 7 Jesus said: “The realm of the Father is compared to a woman carrying a jar filled
with flour. While she was walking on the road a ways out, the handle of the jar broke.
The flour emptied out along the road, but she did not realize it or recognize a problem.”

19 8 Jesus said: “The realm of the Father is compared to someone who wanted to kill a
powerful man. He drew his sword in his house. He stabbed the wall in order to see
whether his hand might hold steady. Then he killed the powerful man.”

19 9 His followers said to him: “Your brothers and your mother are standing outside.”
He said to them: “Those who do the will of my Father, they are my brothers and my
mother. They are truly the ones who enter the realm of my Father.”

11 0 0 They showed Jesus a coin and said to him: “Caesar’s people demand taxes from
2us.” He said to them: “Give what is Caesar’s to Caesar, give God what is God’s. And
give me what is mine.”

11 0 1 Jesus said: “Whoever does not hate her father and her mother in the same way I
2do, cannot be a follower of mine. And whoever does not love her father and her
3mother in the same way I do, cannot be a follower of mine. For my mother birthed my
body, but my true mother gave me life.”

11 0 2 Jesus said, “Damn the Pharisees for they resemble a dog resting in a manger
with oxen, which neither eats nor permits the oxen to eat.”

11 0 3 Jesus said: “Blessed is the one who knows where the thieves are going to enter,
so that he might arise and assemble his estate, and prepare himself.”
11 0 4 They said to Jesus: “Come, today let us pray and fast.” Jesus said: “What sin
have I committed, or where have I been defeated? Rather when the groom leaves the
bridal chamber, then let them fast and pray.”

11 0 5 Jesus said: “Whoever knows mother and father will be called the child of a
whore!”

11 0 6 Jesus said: “When you make the two one, you will become children of humanity.
And if you say: ‘Mountain, move away!’ it will move.”

11 0 7 Jesus said: “The realm compares to a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One
of them, the largest, went astray. He left the other ninety-nine, and he sought after that
one until he found it. After such an effort, he said to the sheep: ‘I love you more than
the other ninety-nine.’”

11 0 8 Jesus said: “Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me. I myself will
become that person, and what is hidden will be revealed to that person.”

11 0 9 Jesus said: “The realm compares to a man who had in his field a hidden
treasure, but he was unaware of it. And after his death, he left it to his son. The son
was also unaware of the treasure. He took the field and sold it. The one who bought the
2field went plowing and found the treasure. He began to lend money at interest to
those he loved.”

11 1 0 Jesus said: “Whoever has found the world and become rich should renounce the
world.”

1 21 1 1 Jesus said: “The heavens and earth will be rolled up right before you. And the
3one who lives from the Living One will not see death. Does not Jesus say: ‘Whoever
has found oneself, the world is not worthy of that person’?”

11 1 2 Jesus said: “Damn the flesh that depends on the soul, and damn the soul that
depends on the flesh.”

1 21 1 3 His followers said to Jesus: “When will the realm come?” “It will not come by
3looking for it. It will not be a matter of saying, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘Look! There it is.’ Rather,
the realm of the Father is spread out upon the earth, but people don’t see it.”

1 21 1 4 Simon Peter said to them: “Let Mary leave us, for women do not deserve life.”
Jesus said: “Look! I will lead her so that I might make her male, which will make her
3into a living spirit resembling you males. For any woman that makes herself male will
enter the realm of heaven.”An Introduction to the Gospel of Matthew
THOUGH IT IS POSITIONED IN THE TRADITIONAL New Testament as the first gospel, I
have placed the Gospel of Matthew second in the gospels section of A New New
Testament. This is meant to highlight the many similar teachings in Matthew and the
Gospel of Thomas, which immediately precedes it, and to seriously reinforce the
opinion of many scholars that Matthew was most likely preceded by other gospels like
Thomas.
Most scholars place the writing of the Gospel of Matthew sometime in the 80s, fifty
years after the death of Jesus. It is assumed to have been the second gospel written
among those in the traditional New Testament. Often it is proposed that Matthew had
the Gospel of Mark in hand and expanded it. In contrast to Mark, Matthew has stories
about Jesus’s birth and a more elaborate picture of Jesus’s resurrection. Matthew’s
additional stories about Jesus’s birth and resurrection are quite different from the
stories found in the Gospel of Luke, but there are many teachings that occur in both
Matthew and Luke but not in Mark and John. Although some speculate that Matthew
was first written in Jesus’s native tongue of Aramaic, the only existing ancient
manuscripts are in Greek. The two most frequent proposals about where this gospel
was written are Syrian Antioch and Galilee. Nothing is known directly about “Matthew”
as a person. Indeed, the name “Matthew” occurs only in the book’s title, which may
have been added later.

A Strikingly Jewish Gospel

Only in Matthew does Jesus proclaim that every bit of Jewish Law (Torah) is valid.
Indeed, Jesus announces that every punctuation mark of Torah must be obeyed (5:18–
20). It is often hard for people to take this in, as many have been taught that the apostle
Paul said that the Jewish Law was death. But Matthew is profoundly and insightfully
devoted to Torah.
Jesus’s adherence to this Law is portrayed as a deep spiritual devotion that is
heartfelt and that can be redemptive for those who follow it. For Matthew’s Jesus,
subscribing to the Law means taking the true meaning of the Law into one’s very
person. In a very well-known series of challenges, Jesus says that the commandment
not to murder really means one should not hate, the commandment not to commit
adultery means not lusting in one’s heart, and the commandment to love your neighbor
needs to be understood as loving your enemies. In other words, the Law or Torah is a
call to deep, inner devotion to what is right in behavior, feelings, and attitude.
The Gospel of Matthew demonstrates its strong commitment to Judaism in many
different ways. It tells the story of Jesus going through the water (of baptism), into the
desert, and onto the mountain to give a sermon. This is an explicit participation in the
people of Israel’s exodus through the Red Sea, into the desert, and onto the mountain
of Sinai to receive the Law. This gospel—in good Jewish fashion—has Jesus teaching
about the realm of heaven rather than the realm of God (as in the other gospels and the
writings of Paul) in order to minimize the explicit naming of God in vain. Matthew quotes
the Hebrew Bible more than any other gospel.
In view of the many ways Christians have put down and done harm to Jewish people
in the past 1,900 years, it is a treasure to have the New Testament include such an
explicit endorsement and spiritually rich exploration of Judaism.
How to Live Together in a Jesus Community

How do we live together in a community with Jesus at its center? Of all the gospels,
only Matthew shows Jesus teaching the process of those in community reconciling with
one another. In these instances, a quarrel or conflict has erupted between people in the
community. Jesus’s response is not to say who is right and wrong in these disputes,
such as “when presenting your gift at the altar, if even there you remember that your
brother or sister has something against you” (5:23), or “If your brother or sister does
wrong” (18:15). Rather, Jesus proposes a process of those in conflict solving the
problem between themselves, or with the help of other community members.
Matthew has confidence in the followers of Jesus and their future. In contrast to the
Gospel of Mark, in which they seem incapable of doing the right thing, in Matthew,
Jesus praises the disciples and predicts a future for the Jesus community under their
leadership: “At the new creation, ‘when the Child of Humanity takes his seat on his
throne of glory,’ you who followed me will be seated on twelve thrones, as judges of the
twelve tribes of Israel” (19:28). Similarly, only in Matthew does Jesus promise to give
“the keys of the realm of heaven” to Peter (16:19). This gospel takes care, in ways that
neither Mark nor John does, to tell Jesus’s followers how to behave (how to pray and
how to fast) in the coming time. Matthew’s message eagerly describes the generation
after Jesus as a time of community among his followers. The last words of Jesus in
Matthew commission his followers to this future: “Go and make followers of all the
nations, baptizing them” (28:19).
Matthew, then, is a special resource for communities and churches where there is
conflict in times beyond the first century. Matthew’s Jesus proves to be a companion,
someone who can help those bumping heads or disputing right and wrong by
encouraging building strong and clear processes for conflict resolution.

Recommended Reading
Warren Carter, Matthew: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist
Warren Carter, Matthew and Empire: Initial Explorations
Craig Keener, The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary
The Gospel of Matthew
The Birth, Parentage, and Infancy

1 21 A genealogy of Jesus Christ, a descendant of David and Abraham. Abraham was
3the father of Isaac, Isaac of Jacob, Jacob of Judah and his brothers, Judah of Perez
4and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez of Hezron, Hezron of Ram, Ram of
5Amminadab, Amminadab of Nashon, Nashon of Salmon, Salmon of Boaz, whose
6mother was Rahab, Boaz of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed of Jesse, Jesse of
7David the King. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother was Uriah’s widow,
8Solomon of Rehoboam, Rehoboam of Abijah, Abijah of Asa, Asa of Jehoshaphat,
9Jehoshaphat of Jehoram, Jehoram of Uzziah, Uzziah of Jotham, Jotham of Ahaz,
10Ahaz of Hezekiah, Hezekiah of Manasseh, Manasseh of Ammon, Ammon of Josiah,
11 12 Josiah of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the Exile to Babylon. After the
13Exile to Babylon—Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel of Zerubbabel,
14Zerubbabel of Abiud, Abiud of Eliakim, Eliakim of Azor, Azor of Zadok, Zadok of
15 16Achim, Achim of Eliud, Eliud of Eleazar, Eleazar of Matthan, Matthan of Jacob,
Jacob of Joseph, the husband of Mary, who was the mother of Jesus, who is called
17“Christ.” So the whole number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen;
from David to the Exile to Babylon fourteen; and from the Exile to Babylon to the Christ
fourteen.
18 This is how Jesus Christ was born: His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but
before the marriage took place, she found herself to be pregnant by the power of the
19holy Spirit. Her husband, Joseph, was a just man and, since he did not want to
20disgrace her publicly, he resolved to put an end to their engagement privately. He
had been thinking this over, when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.
“Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary for your wife, for
21her child has been conceived by the power of the holy Spirit. She will give birth to a
son; his name will be Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this happened in fulfillment of these words of the Lord in the prophet, where he
says:

23 “The young woman will conceive and will give birth to a son, and they will give him
the name Immanuel”
—which means “God is with us.”

24 25 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord had directed him. He
made Mary his wife, but they did not sleep together until after the birth of her son; and
he gave him the name Jesus.

12 After the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem in Judea, in the reign of King Herod, some
2magi from the East arrived in Jerusalem, asking: “Where is the newborn king of the3Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.” When King
4Herod heard of this, he was much troubled, and so, too, was all Jerusalem. He called
together all the chief priests and teachers of the Law in the nation, and questioned
them as to where the Christ was to be born.
5 “At Bethlehem in Judea,” was their answer; “for it is said in the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem in Judah’s land,
are in no way least among the chief cities of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler—
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod secretly sent for the magi, and found out from them the date of the
8appearance of the star; and, sending them to Bethlehem, he said: “Go and make
careful inquiries about the child, and, as soon as you have found him, bring me word so
9that I, too, can go and worship him.” The magi heard what the king had to say, and
then continued their journey. The star which they had seen in the east led them on,
10until it reached and stood over the place where the child was. At the sight of the star
11they were filled with great joy. Entering the house, they saw the child with his
mother, Mary, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures
12and offered to the child presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But afterward,
having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own
country by another road.
13 After they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, and said:
“Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt; and stay there until I tell you
14to return, for Herod is about to search for the child, to put him to death.” Joseph
15rose, and taking the child and his mother by night, went into Egypt, and there he
stayed until Herod’s death; in fulfillment of these words of the Lord in the prophet, that
say, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
16 When Herod found out that the magi had tricked him, he flew into a rage. He sent
and put to death all the boys in Bethlehem and the whole of that region, who were two
17years old or under, guided by the date which he had learned from the magi. Then
were fulfilled these words spoken in the prophet Jeremiah, that say:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and mourning loudly;
Rachel, weeping for her children,
refusing all comfort because they were dead.”

19 But on the death of Herod, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in
20Egypt, and said: “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go into the Land of
21Israel, for those who sought to take the child’s life are dead.” Rising, he took the
22child and his mother, and went into the land of Israel. But, hearing that Archelaus
had succeeded his father Herod as king of Judea, he was afraid to go back there; and
23having been warned in a dream, he went into the part of the country called Galilee. There he settled in the town of Nazareth, in fulfillment of these words in the prophets:
“He will be called a Nazarene.”

The Preparation

13 About that time John the Baptizer first appeared, proclaiming in the wilderness of
2 3Judea: “Repent, for the realm of heaven is at hand.” John was the one who was
spoken of in the prophet Isaiah, where he says:

“The voice of one crying aloud in the wilderness:
‘Make ready the way of the Lord,
make God’s paths straight.’”

4 John’s clothes were made of camels’ hair, with a leather strap round his waist, and
5his food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, and all Judea, as well as
6the whole district of the Jordan, went out to him and were baptized by him in the river
Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to receive his
baptism, he said to them: “You children of snakes! Who has prompted you to seek
8 9refuge from the coming anger? Bear fruits, then, that prove your repentance; and do
not think that you can say among yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I
10tell you that out of these stones God is able to raise descendants for Abraham!
Already the ax is lying at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that fails to bear
11good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I, indeed, bathe you with water of
repentance; but the one coming after me is more powerful than I, and I am not fit even
12to carry his sandals. He will bathe you with the holy Spirit and with fire. His
winnowing fan is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, and store his grain in
the barn, but the chaff he will burn with a fire that cannot be put out.”
13 14 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan, to John, to be baptized by him.
But John tried to prevent him.
“I need to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why have you come to me?”
15 “Drop this for now,” Jesus answered; “this way makes it right.” So John agreed.
16 After the baptism of Jesus, and just as he came up from the water, the skies
17opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending, like a dove, and alighting on him,
and from the heavens there came a voice which said: “This is my dearly loved son, in
whom I delight.”

14 Then Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil.
2 3 And, after he had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he became hungry. The
Tempter came to him, and said: “If you are God’s Child, tell these stones to become
loaves of bread.”
4 But Jesus answered: “It is written:

‘It is not on bread alone that a person is to live, but on every word that comes
from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and, placing him on the parapet of the
6Temple, said to him: “If you are God’s Child, throw yourself down, for it is written:

‘He will give his angels commands about you,
and on their hands they will lift you up,
so you do not even strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 “It is also written,” answered Jesus, ‘You must not tempt the Lord your God.’”
8 The third time, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain, and, showing him all
9the kingdoms of the world and their splendor, said to him: “All these I will give you, if
you will fall at my feet and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘You must worship the
Lord your God, and serve God only.’”
11 Then the devil left him alone, and angels came and served him.

The Work in Galilee

12 When Jesus heard that John had been committed to prison, he returned to Galilee.
13 Afterward, leaving Nazareth, he went and settled at Capernaum, which is by the
14side of the sea, within the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali, in fulfillment of these
words in the prophet Isaiah:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the land of the road by the sea, and beyond the Jordan,
with Galilee of the gentiles—

16 The people who were living in darkness
have seen a great light,
and, for those who were living in the shadow-land of death,
a light has dawned!”

17 At that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the realm of heaven is at hand.”
18 As Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers
—Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew—casting a net into the sea; for
they were fishermen.
19 20 “Come and follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will teach you to fish for people.” The
21two men left their nets at once and followed him. Going further on, he saw two other
men who were also brothers, James, Zebedee’s son, and his brother John, in their boat
22with their father, mending their nets. Jesus called them, and they at once left their
boat and their father, and followed him.
23 Jesus went all through Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the
good news of the realm, and curing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness
24among the people; and his reputation spread all through Syria. They brought to himall who were ill with any form of disease, or who were suffering pain—any who were
25either possessed by demons, or were epileptic, or paralyzed; and he cured them. He
was followed by large crowds from Galilee, the district of the Ten Cities, Jerusalem,
Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

15 On seeing the crowds of people, Jesus went up the mountain; and, when he had
2taken his seat, his disciples came up to him; and he began to teach them, saying,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the realm of heaven.
Blessed are the mourners,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will find mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted in the cause of righteousness,
for theirs is the realm of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of
12evil lies about you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward in
heaven will be great; this is the way they persecuted the prophets who lived before you.
13 “You are salt for the world. But if salt becomes tasteless, how can it be made salty
again? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown away, and trampled underfoot by
14people. It is you who are the light of the world. A town that stands on a hill cannot be
15hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand,
16where it gives light to everyone in the house. Let your light so shine before people
so that, seeing your good actions, they will praise your Father who is in heaven.
17 “Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law or the prophets; I have not
18come to do away with them, but to make them full. For I tell you for sure, until the
heavens and the earth disappear, not even the smallest letter, nor one stroke of a
19letter, will disappear from the Law until all is done. Whoever, therefore, breaks one
of these commandments, even the least of them, and teaches others to do so, will be
called the least in the realm of heaven; but whoever keeps them, and teaches others to
20do so, will be called great in the realm of heaven. Indeed I tell you that, unless your
righteousness exceeds that of the scholars, and Pharisees, you will never enter the
realm of heaven.
21 “You have heard that to our ancestors it was said, ‘You must not commit murder,’
22and ‘Whoever commits murder will be brought to trial.’ But I say to you that anyonewho is angry at brother or sister will be brought to trial; and whoever insults brother or
sister will be brought before the highest court, while whoever calls them a fool will be in
23danger of the fires of Gehenna. Therefore, when presenting your gift at the altar, if
24even there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you,
leave your gift there, before the altar, go and be reconciled to this person first, then
25come and present your gift. Be ready to make friends quickly with your opponent,
even when you meet him on your way to the court; otherwise he might hand you over to
26the judge, and the judge to the judicial officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I
tell you, you will not come out until you have paid the last cent.
27 28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say to
you that anyone who looks at a woman and desires her has already committed adultery
29with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away.
It would be best for you to lose one part of your body, and not to have the whole of it
30thrown into Gehenna. And, if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it
away. It would be best for you to lose one part of your body, and not to have the whole
of it go down to Gehenna.
31 “It was also said, ‘Let anyone who divorces his wife serve her with a notice of
32separation.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the
ground of some serious sexual sin, makes her commit adultery; while anyone who
33marries her after her divorce is guilty of adultery. Again, you have heard that our
34ancestors were told, ‘Do not break your oaths; keep your vows to the Lord.’ But I say
35to you that you must not swear at all, either by heaven, since that is God’s throne, or
by the earth, since that is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the
36great king. Nor should you swear by your head, since you cannot make a single hair
37either white or black. Let your words be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this
comes from what is evil.
38 39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But
I say to you that you must not resist those who wrong you; but if anyone strikes you on
40the right cheek, turn the other to him also. If someone sues you for your shirt, let him
41 42have your cloak as well. If you are forced to carry a pack for one mile, carry it two.
Give to anyone who asks and, if someone wants to borrow from you, do not turn him
away.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your
44enemy.’ But what I tell you is this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who
45persecute you, so that you may become children of your Father who is in heaven;
for God causes the sun to rise on bad and good alike, and sends rain on the just and
46on the unjust. For, if you love only those who love you, what reward will you have?
47Even the tax collectors do this! And, if you only welcome your brothers and sisters,
48what are you doing more than others? Even the gentiles do this! You, then, must
become complete—as your heavenly Father is complete.

16 “Take care not to perform your obligation to be fair in public in order to be seen by
2others; if you do, your Father who is in heaven has no reward for you. Therefore,when you do acts of mercy, do not have a trumpet blown in front of you, as hypocrites
do in the synagogues and in the streets so that people will praise them. There, I tell
3you, is their reward! But when you do acts of mercy, do not let your left hand know
4what your right hand is doing, so that your mercy may be secret; and your Father,
who sees what is in secret, will reward you.
5 “And, when you pray, you are not to behave as hypocrites do. They like to pray
standing in the synagogues and at the corners of the streets, so that people will see
6them. There, I tell you, is their reward! But when one of you prays, let her go into her
own room, shut the door, and pray to her Father who dwells in secret; and her Father,
7who sees what is secret, will reward her. When praying, do not repeat the same
words over and over again, as is done by the gentiles, who think that by using many
8words they will obtain a hearing. Do not imitate them; for God, your Father, knows
9what you need before you ask him. You, therefore, should pray like this:

Our Father, who is in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done—
on earth, as in heaven.
11 Give us today
the bread that we will need;
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we have forgiven those to whom we are indebted;
13 and do not put us to the test,
but deliver us from the evil one.

14 “For, if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you
15also; but if you do not forgive others their offenses, not even your Father will forgive
your offenses.
16 “And, when you fast, do not put on gloomy looks, as hypocrites do who disfigure
their faces so that they may be seen by people to be fasting. That, I tell you, is their
17 18reward! But when one of you fasts, let him scent his head and wash his face, so
that he may not be seen by people to be fasting, but by his Father who dwells in secret;
and your Father, who sees what is secret, will reward you.
19 “Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and rust destroy,
20and where thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in
heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or
21 22steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The lamp of the
23body is the eye. If your eye is unclouded, your whole body will be lit up; but if your
eye is diseased, your whole body will be darkened. And, if the light inside you is
24darkness, how intense must that darkness be! No one can serve two masters, for
either she will hate one and love the other, or else will attach herself to one and
despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
25 “This is why I say to you: Do not be anxious about your life—what you can get to
eat or drink, or about your body—what you can get to wear. Is not life more than food,26and the body more than clothing? Look at the wild birds—they neither sow, nor reap,
nor gather into barns; and yet your heavenly Father feeds them! Are you not more
27valuable than they? But which of you, by being anxious, can prolong your life a
28single moment? And why be anxious about clothing? Study the wild lilies and how
29they grow. They neither work nor spin; yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his
30splendor was not robed like one of these. If God so clothes even the grass of the
field, which is living today and tomorrow will be thrown into the oven, will God not much
31more clothe you, you of little trust? Do not then ask anxiously, ‘What can we get to
32eat?’ or ‘What can we get to drink?’ or ‘What can we get to wear?’ All these are the
things for which the nations are seeking, and your heavenly Father knows that you
33need them all. But first seek God’s realm and God’s justice, and all these things will
35be added for you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will
bring its own anxieties. Every day has trouble enough of its own.

1 27 “Do not judge and you will not be judged. For, just as you judge others, you will
3yourselves be judged, and the standard that you use will be used for you. Why do you
look at the speck of sawdust in your friend’s eye, while you pay no attention at all to the
4plank of wood in yours? How will you say to your friend, ‘Let me take out the speck
5from your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take out
the plank from your own eye first, and then you will see clearly how to take out the
speck from your friend’s.
6 “Do not give what is sacred to dogs. Do not throw your pearls before pigs; they will
7trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. Ask, and it will be given to you;
8search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the person
who asks receives, the person who searches finds, and the door will be opened to the
9person who knocks. Who among you, when her child asks her for bread, will give the
10 11child a stone, or when the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you, then,
wicked though you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more
will your Father in heaven give what is good to those who ask him!
12 “Do to others whatever you would wish them to do to you; for that is the teaching
13of both the Law and the prophets. Go in by the small gate. Broad and spacious is the
14road that leads to destruction, and those who go in by it are many; for small is the
gate, and narrow the road, which leads to life, and those who find it are few.
15 “Beware of false prophets—people who come to you in the guise of sheep, but
16inside they are ravenous wolves. By the fruit of their lives you will know them. Do
17people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, too, every sound tree
18bears good fruit, while a worthless tree bears bad fruit. A sound tree cannot produce
19bad fruit, nor can a worthless tree bear good fruit. Every tree that fails to bear good
20fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So it is by the fruit of their lives that you will
21know such people. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Master! Master!’ will enter the
22realm of heaven, but only the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. On
that day many will say to me, ‘Master, Master, was it not in your name that weprophesied, and in your name that we drove out demons, and in your name that we did
23many powerful deeds?’ And then I will say to them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Go
from my presence, you who live without the Law.’
24 “Everyone, therefore, who listens to this teaching of mine and acts on it may be
25compared to a prudent person, who built his house on the rock. The rain poured
down, the rivers rose, the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, for its
26foundations were on rock. Everyone who listens to this teaching of mine and does
27not act on it may be compared to a foolish person, who built his house on sand. The
rain poured down, the rivers rose, the winds blew and struck against that house, and it
fell; and great was its downfall.”
28 By the time that Jesus had finished speaking, the crowd was filled with
29amazement at his teaching. For he taught them like one who had authority, and not
like their scholars.

1 28 When he had come down from the hill, great crowds followed him. He saw a
person with a bad skin disease who came up, and bowed to the ground before him, and
3said: “Master, if only you are willing, you are able to make me clean.” Stretching out
his hand, Jesus touched him, saying as he did so: “I am willing; become clean.”
4Instantly he was made clean from his skin disease; and then Jesus said to him: “Be
careful not to say a word to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and offer
5the gift directed by Moses, as evidence of your cure.” After he had entered
6Capernaum, a captain in the Roman army came up to him, entreating his help. “Sir,”
he said, “my servant is lying ill at my house with a stroke of paralysis, and is suffering
terribly.”
7 8 “I will come and heal him,” answered Jesus. “Sir,” the captain went on, “I am
9unworthy to receive you under my roof; but only speak, and my servant will be cured.
For I myself am a man under the orders of others, with soldiers under me; and, if I say
to one of them ‘Go,’ he goes, and to another ‘Come,’ he comes, and to my slave ‘Do
10this,’ he does it.” Jesus was surprised to hear this, and said to those who were
11following him: “Never, I tell you, in anyone in Israel have I met with such faith as this!
Yes, and many will come in from east and west and recline at the feast beside
12Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the realm of heaven; while the heirs to the realm will
be banished into the darkness outside; there, there will be weeping and grinding of
13teeth.” Then Jesus said to the captain: “Go now, and it will be according to your
faith.” And the man was cured that very hour.
14 When Jesus went into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law prostrated with
15fever. On his taking her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and began to take care
16of him. In the evening the people brought to Jesus many who were possessed by
17demons; and he drove out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were ill, in
fulfillment of these words in the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses on himself, and
bore the burden of our diseases.”
18 19 Seeing a crowd around him, Jesus gave orders to go across. A scholar came
up to him, and said: “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”20 “Foxes have holes,” answered Jesus, “and wild birds their nests, but the Child of
21Humanity has nowhere to lay his head.” “Master,” said another, who was one of his
22followers, “let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus answered: “Follow me, and
23leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Then he got into the boat, and his followers
24came along. Suddenly so great a storm came up on the sea, that the waves broke
25right over the boat. But he was asleep; and his followers came and roused him.
“Master,” they cried, “save us; we are lost!”
26 “Why are you so timid?” he said. “You of little confidence!” Then he rose and
27rebuked the winds and the sea, and a great calm followed. They were amazed, and
exclaimed: “What kind of person is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”
28 On getting to the other side—the country of the Gadarenes—he met two men who
were possessed by demons, coming out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one
29was able to pass that way. Suddenly they shrieked out: “What do you want with us,
30Child of God? Have you come here to torment us before our time?” A long way off,
31there was a herd of many pigs, feeding; and the demoniac spirits begged Jesus: “If
you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32 “Go,” he said. The spirits came out, and entered the pigs; and the whole drove
33rushed down the steep slope into the sea, and died in the water. At this the men who
tended them ran away and went to the town, carrying the news of all that had occurred,
34and of what had happened to the possessed men. At the news the whole town went
out to meet Jesus, and, when they saw him, they entreated him to go away from their
community.

1 29 Afterward Jesus got into a boat, and, crossing over, came to his own town. There
some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a bed. When Jesus saw their
3confidence, he said to the man: “Courage, child! Your sins are forgiven.” Then some
4of the scholars said to themselves: “This man is blaspheming!” Knowing their
5thoughts, Jesus said: “Why do you harbor such wicked thoughts? Which is the easier
6—to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’? Or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? But to show you that
the Child of Humanity has power on earth to forgive sins”—then he said to the
7paralyzed man, “Get up, take up your bed, and return to your home.” The man got up
8and went to his home. When the crowd saw this, they were awestruck, and praised
God for giving such power to human beings.
9 As Jesus went along, he saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office, and
said to him: “Follow me.” Matthew got up and followed him.
10 And, later on, when he was having dinner in the house, a number of tax collectors
11and outcasts came in and reclined at dinner with Jesus and his followers. When the
Pharisees saw this, they said to his followers: “Why does your teacher eat in the
12company of tax collectors and outcasts?” On hearing this, he said: “It is not those
13who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. Go and learn what this
means—‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice’; for I did not come to call the well
14behaved, but the outcast.” Then John’s followers came to him, and asked: “Why do15we and the Pharisees fast while your followers do not?” Jesus answered: “Can the
groom’s friends mourn as long as the groom is with them? But the days will come when
16the groom will be taken away from them, and they will fast then. Nobody ever puts a
piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for such a patch tears away from the
17garment, and a worse tear is made. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins;
for, if they do, the skins burst, and the wine runs out, and the skins are lost; but they put
new wine into fresh skins, and so both are preserved.”
18 While Jesus was saying this, a president of a synagogue came up and bowed to
the ground before him. “My daughter,” he said, “has just died; but come and place your
19hand on her, and she will be restored to life.” So Jesus rose and followed him, and
20his followers went also. But meanwhile a woman who had been suffering from a flow
21of blood for twelve years came up behind and touched the fringe of his cloak. “If I
22only touch his clothes,” she said to herself, “I will get well.” Turning and seeing her,
Jesus said: “Courage, daughter! Your faith has delivered you.” And at that very moment
23she became well. When Jesus reached the president’s house, seeing the flute
24players, and a number of people all in confusion, he said: “Go away, the little girl is
25not dead; she is asleep.” They began to laugh at him; but when the people had been
26sent out, Jesus went in, and took the little girl’s hand, and she rose. The report of
this spread through all that part of the country.
27 As Jesus was passing on from there, he was followed by two blind men, who kept
28calling out: “Take pity on us, son of David!” When he had gone indoors, the blind
men came up to him; and Jesus asked them: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
29“Yes, Master!” they answered. Then he touched their eyes, and said: “It will be
30according to your trust.” Then their eyes were opened. Jesus sternly cautioned
31them. “See that no one knows of it,” he said. But the men went out, and spread the
32news about him through all that part of the country. Just as they were going out,
33some people brought up to Jesus a dumb man who was possessed by a demon;
and, as soon as the demon had been driven out, the dumb man spoke. The people
were astonished at this, and exclaimed: “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!”
34 But the Pharisees said: “He drives out the demons by the help of the chief of the
demons.”
35 Jesus went around all the towns and the villages, teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the good news of the realm, and curing every kind of disease and every
36kind of sickness. But when he saw the crowds, his heart was moved with
compassion for them, because they were distressed and harassed, “like sheep without
37a shepherd”; and he said to his followers: “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers
38are few. Therefore ask the owner of the harvest to send laborers to gather in the
harvest.”

110 Calling twelve of his followers to him, he gave them authority over unclean spirits,
so that they could drive them out, as well as the power of healing all kinds of disease
2and sickness. The names of these twelve ambassadors are: first Simon, also known3as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax gatherer; James the son of
4Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out as his messengers, after giving them these
6instructions: “Do not go to the gentiles, nor enter any Samaritan town, but make your
7way rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. On your way proclaim that the
8realm of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, make those with bad skin
9disease clean, drive out demons. You have received free of cost, give free of cost. Do
10not provide yourselves with gold, or silver, or coins in your purses; not even with a
bag for the journey, or a change of clothes, or sandals, or even a staff; for the worker is
11worth his food. Whatever town or village you visit, find out who is worthy in that
12 13place, and remain there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. Then, if
the house is worthy, let your blessing rest on it, but if it is unworthy, let your blessing
14return on yourselves. If no one welcomes you, or listens to what you say, as you
15leave that house or that town, shake off its dust from your feet. I tell you, the doom
of the land of Sodom and Gomorrah will be more bearable in the ‘day of judgment’ than
the doom of that town.
16 “Remember, I am sending you out as my messengers like sheep among wolves.
17So be as wise as snakes, and as blameless as doves. Be on your guard against
others, for they will betray you to courts of law, and scourge you in their synagogues;
18 and you will be brought before governors and kings for my sake so that you may
19witness before them and the nations. Whenever they hand you over, do not be
anxious as to how you will speak or what you will say, for what you will say will be given
20you at the moment; for it will not be you who speak, but the breath of your Father
21that speaks within you. Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child;
22and children will turn against their parents, and cause them to be put to death; and
you will be hated by everyone because of me. Yet the person who endures to the end
23will be saved. But when they persecute you in one town, escape to the next; for, I tell
you, you will not have come to the end of the towns of Israel before the Child of
24Humanity comes. A student is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.
25 It is enough for a student to become treated like his teacher, and a slave like his
master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the
26members of his household! Do not, therefore, be afraid of them. There is nothing
concealed which will not be revealed, nor anything hidden which will not become
27known. What I tell you in the dark, say again in the light; and what is whispered in
28your ear, proclaim on the housetops. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but
are unable to kill the soul; rather be afraid of the one who is able to destroy both soul
29and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for one copper coin? Yet not one of
30them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. While as for you, even
31the hairs of your head are numbered. Do not, therefore, be afraid; you are of more
32value than many sparrows. Everyone, therefore, who will publicly acknowledge me,33I, too, will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but if anyone publicly disowns
me, I, too, will disown him before my Father in heaven.
34 “Do not imagine that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have come to
35bring, not peace, but sword. For I have come to set ‘son against father, and daughter
36against mother, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. A person’s enemies will
37be the members of her own household.’ Anyone who loves father or mother more
than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who loves son or daughter more than me is
38not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my steps is not
39worthy of me. The person who has found her life will lose it, while the person who,
for my sake, has lost her life will find it.
40 “Anyone who welcomes you is welcoming me; and anyone who welcomes me is
41welcoming the one who sent me. The person who welcomes a prophet, because he
is a prophet, will receive a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a good person,
42because she is a good person, will receive a good person’s reward. And, if anyone
gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because she is my
follower, I tell you that she will assuredly not lose her reward.”

111 After Jesus had finished giving directions to these twelve followers, he left that
place in order to teach and proclaim in their towns.
2 Now John had heard in prison what the Christ was doing, and he sent a message
3by his followers, and asked, “Are you the one to come, or are we to look for someone
4 5else?” The answer of Jesus was: “Go and report to John what you hear and see—
the blind recover their sight and the lame walk, those with severe skin disease are
made clean and the deaf hear, the dead, too, are raised to life, and the good news is
6told to the poor. Blessed is the person who finds no hindrance in me.”
7 While they were returning, Jesus began to say to the crowds with reference to
8John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed waving in the wind?
If not, what did you go out to see? A man richly dressed? Why, those who wear rich
9things are to be found in the courts of kings! What, then, did you go for? To see a
10prophet? Yes, I tell you, and far more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it
is written, ‘I am sending my messenger ahead of you to prepare your way before you.’
11 I tell you, no one born of a woman has yet appeared who is greater than John the
12Baptizer; and yet the least in the realm of heaven is greater than he. From the time
of John the Baptizer to this very hour, the realm of heaven has been taken by force,
13and people using force have been seizing it. For the teaching of all the prophets and
14of the Law continued until the time of John; and—if you are ready to accept it—John
15 16is himself the Elijah who was destined to come. Let the one who has ears hear.
But to what will I compare the present generation? It is like little children sitting in the
17marketplaces and calling out to their playmates, ‘We have played the flute for you,
18but you have not danced; we have wailed, but you have not mourned.’ For, when
19John came, neither eating nor drinking, people said, ‘He has a demon in him’; and
now that the Child of Humanity has come, eating and drinking, they are saying, ‘Here isa glutton and a wine drinker, a friend of tax collectors and outcasts!’ And yet
Wisdom*Sophia is vindicated by her actions.”
20 Then Jesus began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been
21done, because they had not repented: “Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you,
Bethsaida! For, if the miracles which were done in you had been done in Tyre and
22Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Yet, I tell you, the
23doom of Tyre and Sidon will be more bearable in the day of judgment than yours.
And you, Capernaum! Will you ‘exalt yourself to heaven’? ‘You will go down to the
place of death.’ For, if the miracles which have been done in you had been done in
24Sodom, it would have been standing to this day. Yet, I tell you, the doom of Sodom
25will be more bearable in the day of judgment than yours.” At that same time Jesus
uttered the words: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that, though you
have hidden these things from the wise and learned, you have revealed them to the
26 27young ones! Yes, Father, I thank you that this has seemed good to you.
Everything has been committed to me by my Father; nor does anyone fully know the
Son, except the Father, or know the Father, except the Son and those to whom the Son
28may choose to reveal him. Come to me, all you who work and are burdened, and I
29will give you rest! Take my yoke on you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and
30humble, and you will find rest for your souls; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is
light.”

112 About the same time Jesus walked through the cornfields one sabbath. His
2followers were hungry, and began to pick some ears and eat them. But when the
Pharisees saw this, they said: “Look! Your followers are doing what it is not allowable to
do on a sabbath!”
3 “Have you not read,” replied Jesus, “what David did, when he and his companions
4were hungry— how he went into the house of God, and how they ate the consecrated
bread, though it was not allowable for him or his companions to eat it, but only for the
5priests? And have you not read in the Law that, on the sabbath, the priests in the
6Temple break the sabbath and yet are not guilty? Here, however, I tell you, there is
7something greater than the Temple! Had you learned the meaning of the words ‘I
desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned those who are
8not guilty. For the Child of Humanity is master of the sabbath.”
9 10 Passing on, he went into their synagogue, and there he saw a man with a
withered hand. Some people asked him whether it was allowable to heal on the
11sabbath—so that they might have a charge to bring against him. But he said to
them: “Which of you, if he had only one sheep, and that sheep fell into a pit on the
12sabbath, would not lay hold of it and pull it out? How much more precious a person
13is than a sheep! Therefore it is allowable to do good on the sabbath.” Then he said
to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out; and it had become as sound as
14the other. On coming out, the Pharisees plotted against him, to destroy him.
15 Jesus, however, became aware of it, and went away from that place. A number of
16people followed him, and he healed them all; but he warned them not to make him17 18known, in fulfillment of these words in the prophet Isaiah: “Here is my chosen
servant, whom I love and who pleases me! I will breathe my spirit on him, and he will
19announce a time of judgment to the nations. He will not contend, nor cry aloud,
20neither will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and
a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he has brought the judgment to a victorious
21result, and on his name will the nations rest their hopes.”
22 Then some people brought to Jesus a possessed man, who was blind and dumb;
23and he healed him, so that the man who had been dumb both talked and saw. At
this all the people were astounded. “Is it possible that this is the son of David?” they
24exclaimed. But the Pharisees heard of it and said: “He drives out demons only by
25the help of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” He, however, was aware of what
was passing in their minds, and said to them: “Any realm divided against itself
26becomes a desolation, and any town or household divided against itself will not last.
So, if Satan drives Satan out, he must be divided against himself; and how, then, can
27his realm last? And, if it is by Beelzebul’s help that I drive out demons, by whose
help is it that your own sons drive them out? Therefore they will themselves be your
28judges. But if it is by the spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the realm of God
29must already be upon you. How, again, can anyone get into a strong man’s house
and carry off his goods, without first securing him? Not until then will he plunder his
30house. Anyone who is not with me is against me, and the person who does not help
31me to gather is scattering. Therefore, I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and
32slander; but slander against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks
against the Child of Humanity will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the holy
Spirit will not be forgiven, either in the present age, or in the age to come.
33 “You must assume either that both tree and fruit are good, or that both tree and
34fruit are worthless; since it is by its fruits that a tree is known. You children of
snakes! How can you, evil as you are, say anything good? For what fills the heart will
35rise to the lips. A good person, from her good stores, produces good things; while a
36bad person, from her bad supplies, produces bad things. I tell you that for every
37careless thing that people say, they must answer on the day of judgment. For it is by
your words that you will be acquitted, and by your words that you will be condemned.”
38 At this point, some scholars and Pharisees spoke up. “Teacher,” they said, “we
want to see some sign from you.”
39 “It is a wicked and unfaithful generation,” he answered, “that is asking for a sign,
40and no sign will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For, just as Jonah
was inside the sea monster three days and three nights, so will the Child of Humanity
41be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. At the judgment, the people
of Nineveh will stand up with this generation, and will condemn it, because they
42repented at Jonah’s proclamation; and here is more than a Jonah! At the judgment
the Queen of the South will rise up with the present generation, and will condemn it,
because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon; and
43here is more than a Solomon! No sooner does an unclean spirit leave a person, than
it passes through places where there is no water, in search of rest, and does not find it.44 Then it says, ‘I will go back to the home which I left’; but on coming there, it finds it
45unoccupied, and swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other
spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in, and make their home there; and the last
state of that person proves to be worse than the first. So, too, will it be with this wicked
generation.”
46 While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and brothers were standing
47 48outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told him this, and Jesus replied: “Who
49is my mother? And who are my brothers?” Then, stretching out his hands toward his
50followers, he said: “Here are my mother and my brothers! For anyone who does the
will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

1 213 That same day, when Jesus had left the house and was sitting by the sea, such
great crowds gathered around him, that he got into a boat, and sat in it, while all the
3people stood on the beach. Then he told them much in parables. “A sower,” he
4began, “went out to sow; and, as he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and
5the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it had not much soil,
6and, having no depth of soil, sprang up at once. As soon as the sun had risen, it was
7scorched, and, having no root, withered away. Some, again, fell into the brambles;
8but the brambles shot up and choked it. Some, however, fell on good soil, and yielded
9a return, sometimes one hundred-, sometimes sixty-, sometimes thirtyfold. Let those
who have ears hear.”
10 Afterward his followers came to him, and said: “Why do you speak to them in
parables?”
11 “To you,” answered Jesus, “the knowledge of the secrets of the realm of heaven
12has been imparted, but not to those. For, to all who have, more will be given, and
they will have abundance; but from all who have nothing, even what they have will be
13taken away. That is why I speak to them in parables, because, though they have
14eyes, they do not see, and though they have ears, they do not hear or understand.
In them is being fulfilled that prophecy of Isaiah which says:

‘You will hear with your ears without ever understanding,
and, though you have eyes, you will see without ever perceiving,
15 for the heart of this people has grown dense,
and their ears are dull of hearing,
their eyes also have they closed;
Otherwise some day they might perceive with their eyes,
and with their ears they might hear,
and in their heart they might understand,
and might turn—
and they might be healed.’

16 17 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear; for I tell
you that many prophets and good people have longed for the sight of the things whichyou are seeing, yet never saw them, and to hear the things which you are hearing, yet
never heard them.
18 19 “Listen, then, yourselves to the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the
message of the realm without understanding it, the evil one comes and snatches away
20what has been sown in their heart. This is the seed which was sown along the path.
By the seed which was sown on rocky places is meant the person who hears the
21message, and at once accepts it joyfully; but, as he has no root, he stands for only a
short time; and, when trouble or persecution arises because of the message, he falls
22away at once. By the seed which was sown among the brambles is meant the
person who hears the message, but the cares of the time and the glamour of wealth
23choke the message, so that it gives no return. But by the seed which was sown on
the good ground is meant the person who hears the message and understands it, and
really yields a return, sometimes one hundred-, sometimes sixty-, sometimes thirtyfold.”
24 Another parable which Jesus told them was this: “The realm of heaven is
25compared to a person who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was
26asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away.
So, when the new wheat shot up, and ripened, the weeds made their appearance also.
27 The owner’s slaves came to them, and said, ‘Was it not good seed that you sowed
28in your field? Where, then, do the weeds in it come from?’ ‘An enemy has done this,’
was the owner’s answer. ‘Do you wish us, then,’ they asked, ‘to go and gather them
29together?’ ‘No,’ said he, ‘because while you are pulling up the weeds you might
30uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow side by side until harvest; and then I will
say to the reapers, ‘Gather the weeds together first, and tie them in bundles for burning;
but bring all the wheat into my barn.’”
31 Another parable which he told them was this: “The realm of heaven is like a
32mustard seed, which a person took and sowed in his field. This seed is smaller than
all other seeds, but when it has grown up, it is larger than the herbs and becomes a
tree, so that the wild birds come and roost in its branches.”
33 This was another parable which he related: “The realm of heaven is like some
yeast which a woman took and covered up in three measures of flour, until the whole
34had risen.” Of all this Jesus spoke to the crowd in parables; indeed to them he used
35never to speak at all except in parables, in fulfillment of these words in the prophet:
“I will speak to you in parables; I will utter things kept secret since the foundation of the
world.”
36 Then Jesus left the crowd, and went into the house. Presently his followers came
37to him, and said: “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered:
38“The sower of the good seed is the Child of Humanity. The field is the world. By the
good seed is meant the people of the realm. The weeds are the children of wickedness,
39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest time is the close of the
40age, and the reapers are angels. And, just as the weeds are gathered and burned,
41so it will be at the close of the age. The Child of Humanity will send his angels, and
42they will gather from his realm all that hinders and those who live unlawfully, and will
throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.​
43 Then will the good shine like the sun in the realm of their Father. Let the one who
has ears hear.
44 “The realm of heaven is like a treas- ure hidden in a field, which a person found
and hid again, and then, in delight, went and sold everything that he had, and bought
that field.
45 46 “Again, the realm of heaven is like a merchant in search of choice pearls.
47Finding one of great value, he went and sold everything that he had, and bought it.
Or again, the realm of heaven is like a net which was cast into the sea, and caught fish
48of all kinds. When it was full, they hauled it up on the beach, and sat down and
49sorted the good fish into baskets, but threw the worthless ones away. So will it be at
50the close of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the good,
and will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding
of teeth.
51 52 “Have you understood all this?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they answered. Then he
added: “So every scholar who has received instruction about the realm of heaven is like
a householder who produces from the storeroom things both new and old.”
53 54 When Jesus had finished these parables, he withdrew from that place. Going to
his own part of the country, he taught the people in their synagogue in such a manner
that they were deeply impressed. “Where did he get this wisdom?” they said, “and the
55miracles? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his
56brothers James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, too—are they
57not all living among us? Where, then, did he get all this?” These things proved a
hindrance to them. But Jesus said: “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own
58country and in his own house.” He did not work many miracles there, because of
their want of loyalty.

1 214 At that time Herod heard of the fame of Jesus, and said to his attendants: “This
must be John the Baptizer; he must be risen from the dead, and that is why these
3miraculous powers are active in him.” For Herod had arrested John, put him in chains,
4and shut him up in prison, to please Herodias, the wife of Herod’s brother Philip. For
5John had said to him, “You have no right to be living with her.” Yet, though Herod
wanted to put him to death, he was afraid of the people, because they looked on John
6as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced
7before his guests, and so pleased Herod, that he promised with an oath to give her
8whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, the girl said, “Give me here, on a dish,
9the head of John the Baptizer.” The king was distressed at this; yet, because of his
10oath and of the guests at his table, he ordered it to be given her. He sent and
11beheaded John in the prison; and his head was brought on a dish and given to the
12girl, and she took it to her mother. Then John’s followers came, and took the body
away, and buried it; and went and told Jesus.
13 When Jesus heard of it, he left privately in a boat to a lonely spot. The people,
14however, heard of his going, and followed him in crowds from the towns on foot. On
getting out of the boat, Jesus saw a great crowd, and his heart was moved at the sight15of them; and he cured the sick among them. In the evening the disciples came up to
him, and said: “This is a lonely spot, and the day is now far advanced; send the crowds
16away so that they can go to the villages, and buy themselves food.” But Jesus said:
17“They need not go away; it is for you to give them something to eat.” “We have
18nothing here,” they said, “except five loaves and two fishes.” “Bring them here to
19me,” was his reply. Jesus ordered the people to lie down on the grass; and, taking
the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to sky, and said the blessing, and, after
he had broken the loaves, gave them to his followers; and they gave them to the
20crowds. Everyone was filled with what they had to eat, and they picked up enough of
21the broken pieces that were left to fill twelve baskets. The men who ate were about
22five thousand in number, without counting women and children. Immediately
afterward Jesus made his followers get into a boat and cross over in advance of him,
23while he dismissed the crowds. After dismissing the crowds, he went up the hill by
24himself to pray; and, when evening fell, he was there alone. The boat was by this
25time some miles from shore, struggling in the waves, for there was a headwind.
26Three hours after midnight, he came toward the disciples, walking on the water. But
when they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they
27exclaimed, and cried out in fear. But Jesus at once spoke to them. “Courage!” he
28said. “It is I; do not be afraid!” “Master,” Peter exclaimed, “if it is you, tell me to come
29to you on the water.” Jesus said: “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked
30on the water, and went toward Jesus; but when he felt the wind, he was frightened,
31and, beginning to sink, cried out: “Master! Save me!” Instantly Jesus stretched out
his hand, and caught hold of him. “Your confidence is so small!” he said, “Why did you
32 33doubt?” When they had gotten into the boat, the wind dropped. But the men in the
boat threw themselves on their faces before him, and said: “You are indeed a son of
God.”
34 35 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. But the people of that
place, recognizing Jesus, sent out to the whole country around, and brought to him all
36who were ill, begging him merely to let them touch the fringe of his cloak; and all
who touched were saved.

1 215 Then some Pharisees and scholars came to Jesus, and said: “How is it that your
followers break the traditions of our ancestors? For they do not wash their hands when
3they eat food.” His reply was: “How is it that you on your side break God’s
4commandments out of respect for your own traditions? For God said, ‘Honor your
5father and mother,’ and ‘Let the one who abuses his father or mother suffer death,’
but you say, ‘Whenever anyone says to his father or mother, “Whatever of mine might
6have been of service to you is given to God,” he is in no way bound to honor his
7father.’ In this way you have nullified the words of God for the sake of your traditions.
8Hypocrites! It was well said by Isaiah when he prophesied about you: ‘This is a people
9that honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far removed from me; but vainly do
10they worship me, for they teach but human precepts.’” Then Jesus called the people11to him, and said: “Listen, and mark my words. It is not what enters a person’s mouth
that makes him unclean, but what comes out from his mouth—that makes him
12unclean!” His followers came up to him, and said: “Do you know that the Pharisees
were shocked on hearing what you said?”
13 “Every plant,” Jesus replied, “that my heavenly Father has not planted will be
14rooted up. Let them be; they are but blind guides; and, if one blind person guides
15another, both of them will fall into a ditch.” Peter spoke up: “Explain this saying to
us.”
16 17 “What, do even you understand nothing yet?” Jesus exclaimed. “Do you not
see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is afterward
18expelled? But the things that come out from the mouth proceed from the heart, and it
19is these that make a person unclean; for out of the heart proceed bad thoughts—
20murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, perjury, slander. These are the things that
make a person unclean; but eating with unwashed hands does not make a person
unclean.”
21 On going away from that place, Jesus went to the country around Tyre and Sidon.
22 There, a Canaanite woman of that district came out and began calling to Jesus:
“Take pity on me, Master, son of David; my daughter is grievously possessed by a
23demon.” But Jesus did not say a word to her; and his followers came up and begged
24him to give in. “She keeps calling out after us,” they said. “I was not sent,” he replied,
25“to anyone except the lost sheep of Israel.” But the woman came, and, bowing to the
ground before him, said: “Master, help me.”
26 27 “It is not fair,” he retorted, “to take the children’s food and throw it to dogs.”
“Yes, Master,” she said, “but even dogs do feed on the scraps that fall from their
owners’ table.”
28 “Woman, your confidence is great,” Jesus answered; “it will be as you wish!” And
her daughter was healed that very hour.
29 On leaving that place, Jesus went to the shore of the Sea of Galilee; and then
30went up the mountain, and sat down. Great crowds of people came to him, bringing
with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, or dumb, and many others. They put
31them down at his feet, and he healed them; and the crowds were astonished when
they saw the dumb talking, the cripples made sound, the lame walking about, and the
32blind with their sight restored; and they praised the God of Israel. Afterward Jesus
called his followers to him, and said: “My heart is moved at the sight of all these people,
for they have already been with me three days and they have nothing to eat; and I am
33unwilling to send them away hungry; they might faint on the way home.” “Where can
we,” his followers asked, “in a lonely place find enough bread for such a crowd as this?”
34 “How many loaves have you?” said Jesus. “Seven,” they answered, “and a few
35 36small fish.” Telling the crowd to recline on the ground, he took the seven loaves
and the fish, and, after giving thanks, broke them, and gave them to his followers; and
37they gave them to the crowds. Everyone was satisfied with what they had to eat, and
38they picked up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left. The men who ate were