apostasy · Bible · Christianity · faith · heresy · Jesus Christ · New Testament · religion

An analysis of the gospel of Philip

Pyrite aka fool's goldThe gospel of Philip is part of a collection of books known as Gnostic gospels and the New Testament apocrypha. It was purported to be authored by the apostle Philip, one of the twelve disciples, when it was first discovered written in the Coptic language in Egypt in 1945, but the date of the writing (between 150-350 AD) means that Philip could not have written it and the author is unknown. The gnosticism that birthed this writing infiltrated the church toward the end of the 1st century AD, which spawned the Nicolaitanism Jesus warned the seven churches about in Revelation. Gnostics in the Christian church believed faith in the Lord Jesus did not bring salvation. Their belief is that a person must free themselves from the material world by uncovering secret revelations psychically or spiritually. So the gospel of Philip is filled with false doctrines, such as the following:

● Verses 6, 16 and 18 of the gospel of Philip teach that the Holy Spirit is female, a Mother, and therefore could not have been responsible for impregnating Mary with Jesus since females don’t make females pregnant. Throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit is referred to as male and it is emphasized that Mary, a virgin, did indeed have Jesus conceived in her by the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:34-35).

●Verse 22 of the gospel of Philip claims that people are wrong if they think Jesus died first and then arose when he arose first, then died. The whole New Testament makes it clear that Jesus died first, then arose. If he died after he arose, he would not have power over sin and death to save us like he does.

● In v. 98, the “apostle Philip” says that Joseph was responsible for making the cross from a grove of trees he planted, then Jesus was hung on it. The New Testament does not say where the cross came from, but it is highly unlikely that Joseph made it.

● V. 106 says that “we shall receive for ourselves the perfect man” when we drink the communion wine. Matthew 26:27-28 and 1 Corinthians 11:25 imply we take communion in remembrance of our Lord Jesus, the perfect man, because we have already received him for our salvation.

● V. 91 refers to Adam’s fall in this way: “There are two trees growing in Paradise. The one bears animals, the other bears men. Adam ate from the tree which bore animals. He became an animal and he brought forth animals. For this reason the children of Adam worship animals.” In Genesis 1, God established the law of kinds. Plants bear plants after their kind and animals bear animals after their kind. He fell because he ate fruit (a plant) from a tree God told him not to eat from. No tree has ever birthed any animal or a human. Romans 1 tells us why pagan people worship animals and it has to do with rejecting God because they prefer their sin nature inherited from Adam, not because Adam ate from a tree that bears animals.

This is just a sample of the strange, Gnostic nonsense one finds in the gospel of Philip and why true Christians have rejected it as a false gospel.

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10 thoughts on “An analysis of the gospel of Philip

  1. ‘Gnostics in the Christian church believed faith in the Lord Jesus did not bring salvation. Their belief is that a person must free themselves from the material world by uncovering secret revelations psychically or spiritually.’ – massive over-generalisation

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    1. @simonjkyte,

      You claim “massive over-generalisation” but provide no proof of that. Gnosticism, like all other religions outside of Christianity, is a false, salvation-by-works religion and the Gospel of Philip proves it.

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  2. The thing to remember here is than ‘gnostics’ is not some organised group. Indeed, it is that very fact which caused the mainstream church to start formalising: which books were acceptable, which ideas were acceptable etc. ‘Gnosticism’ did not go through that because it had no concept of a ‘Gnosticism’. This left huge variation in beliefs and totally contradictory texts – take their three main creation stories, for example. So, some probably believed faith brought salvation whereas other did not. And I don’t think it is necessarily ‘outside Christianity’; it is just a version of Christianity infused with some Platonistic beliefs and various other bits and pieces. Saying that does not make them Christians is like saying Catholics are not Christians!

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    1. @simon,

      [… it is just a version of Christianity infused with some Platonistic beliefs and various other bits and pieces. Saying that does not make them Christians is like saying Catholics are not Christians!]

      Ah, there’s the rub. You misunderstand what Christianity really is–based on what the real word of God says. Platonism is man-made doctrine. So is Catholicism. So is Gnosticism in general. As such, they cannot be true Christianity and must not be embraced with it (Galatians 1:8-9). Jesus Christ himself condemned Nicolaitanism, what we mistakenly call Christian Gnosticism today (see Revelation 2:6, 15).

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      1. @simon,

        You’re assuming that the Council of Nicaea (325 AD), hosted by the nascent (and heretical) Roman Catholic Church as led by Constantine the Great, was the beginning of the compilation of the Bible as we know it. However, you omit the fact that Revelation was in widespread use by Christians in the Ante-Nicene (pre-Nicene) period, starting with the end of the 1st century when it was written and distributed. A fragment of church writings in 170 AD listed Revelation as part of the New Testament. Irenaeus (130-202 AD) and Tertullian (155-240 AD) both mention Revelation in their writings as part of the accepted scripture for the New Testament.

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      2. @simon,

        We’re discussing reality, not assumptions about what may have been possible, so can you provide proof of your statements as I have done for mine with some cited or linked source material?

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      3. ok, simon,

        Now you’re just trolling. My original post above provided a link to a full text of the Gospel of Philip, links to Wikipedia for the Gospel of Philip and for Gnosticism, Bible references, and a link in a previous comment to an overview of the books early church fathers mentioned in their writings as being part of the New Testament.

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