The Gospel of Thomas

As Rendered by Pico Iyer

Source: The Gospel According to Thomas: With Complementary Texts
ed. Raghavan Iyer, Concord Grove Press, 1983.

(Elsewhere on the web, this rendition has been credited to a Nancy Johnson.
It's a mystery how that name came to be associated with it, but the text is
identical to one attributed to Pico Iyer in his father's publication cited above.
- M.Grondin, Dec, 2006)

These are the secret words spoken by the Living Jesus,
and recorded by Didymus Judas Thomas.
Jesus said:
He who uncovers
The significance of these words
Shall not taste death.

Let him who seeks,
Not cease from his search
until he finds.
When he finds he will be bewildered,
And when bewildered,
He will wonder, and reign over the All.

If your guides claim
that the kingdom is in the sky,
The birds of the sky will be there before you.
If they see it is in the sea,
The fishes of the sea will be there before you.
The kingdom is within you and without you.
When you know yourselves, you will be known.
Then you shall know that you are
Sons of the Living Father.
But if you do not know yourselves
You are in poverty, and you are poverty.

An old man heavy in years,
Will not hesitate
To ask a baby seven days old,
About the Place of Life.
And he shall live, for many
Who are first shall be last,
United within the Single One.

Jesus said:
Know what is before you.
That which is hidden will be revealed.

His disciples asked him:
Do you want us to fast?
How should we pray
and distribute alms?
What rules should we observe in eating?
Jesus replied:
Do not lie.
Do not do what you dislike,
For all is revealed before heaven.
Everything hidden will be revealed.
Nothing covered will remain undiscovered.

Blessed is the lion
Eaten by a man, so that
it becomes a man.
Profane is the man
eaten by a lion
so that he becomes a lion.

Man is like a skilful fisherman,
casting his net into the sea
and drawing it out replete with small fish.
If the wise fisherman finds amongst them a large fish
He throws the smaller back into the sea,
Having selected the largest with ease.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Jesus said:
A sower came forth,
Filled his hands, and cast.
A few seeds fell upon the road, where
Birds came down and devoured them.
Others fell among thorns,
Where they choked, or were eaten by worms.
Still others fell upon good ground,
Where they could bring forth good fruit.

Jesus said:
I have cast
A fire upon the world,
and i rekindle it
until it burns.

This Heaven shall pass away
and that above shall pass away.
The dead no longer live.
The living no longer die.
When you ate good things
It was you who gave them life.
But what are you going to do in the Light?
When you were one
You were made two, but when you are two,
what are you going to do?

The disciples said to Jesus:
We know that you are to leave us.
Which of us is to be leader?
Whenever you have gone
Jesus replied:
You will go to James the Just
For whom
Heaven and Earth came into being.

Jesus addressed his disciples:
Compare me to someone.
Tell me whom i resemble.
Simon Peter said:
Like a just Angel.
Matthew answered:
Like a wise philosopher.
But Thomas replied:
Truly Master, my mouth
Cannot bring itself to utter comparisons.
AND Jesus said:
I am no longer your master.
You have drunk from the bubbling fountain
which i brought,
and you are drunk.
He took Thomas aside,
and said three words to him.
When Thomas returned,
his companions asked:
What did Jesus tell you?
And he replied:
If i related even one of the words
he told me, you would gather stones,
and hurl them at me, whereupon fire would leap from
the stones,and burn you.

Jesus said:
If you fast,
you will create sins for yourselves.
If you pray you will be condemned.
If you give alms, you will injure yourselves.
If you go into a land and wander throughout its area,
and are offered hospitality,
Eat what is set before you.
Heal the sick among them.
It is not what goes into your mouth that defiles you
But what comes out of your mouth that defiles you.

When you perceive
One not born of woman,
Prostate yourselves
and worship him. He is your father.

Men think that
I came to bring peace to the world
They do not know that
i bring division,
fire and sword and war.
There shall be five in a house
With three against two
and two against three;
The father against the son,
and the son against the father,
and they shall stand alone.

Jesus said:
I shall give you
what no eye has seen,
No ear heard, no hand touched
nor any heart received.

The Disciples said to him:
Warn us how our end will be.
Jesus replied:
Have you already discovered
the beginning, now that
you are asking about the end?
Wherever the beginning is, there
shall be the end.
Blessed is he who stands
at the beginning, for he understands
the end without tasting death.

Blesses is he who was before he became.
If you become my disciples and respond to my
words, stones will rise to your service.
You have five trees in Paradise,
immobile during summer and winter,
Never shedding their leaves.
He who knows them all shall never taste death.

The disciples challenged him:
Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like.
He answered:
The kingdom is like a grain of mustard.
Although smaller than all the other seeds,
when it falls upon tilled earth,
it sends forth a great branch,
Which became a splendid harbour for birds.

Mary Magdalene asked Jesus:
What are your disciples like?
He said:
They are like children
settled in a field not theirs.
When the owners of the field
approach them, and order,
Give us back our field!
They will be naked before them, and
will hand it over.
So i say to you:
If a householder is aware
that a thief is coming,
he will await his arrival,
block his way into the house,
The kingdom, and so protect his property.
Be wary of the world.
Gird your loins in strength
So that no robbers enter,
For the benefits you expect
will be found: may there wise among you a man of
When the fruit is ripening,
he comes with his swift sickle, and reaps.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Jesus saw little ones being fed.
He addressed his disciples:
These babies being nursed
are like those entering the kingdom.
They asked: Shall we enter the kingdom?
We are small.
Jesus said:
When you make two into one
and what is within like what is without,
and what is without like what was within.
And what is above like what is below,
and when you unite male and female in one
So that the male is no longer male,
and the female is no longer female,
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 shall enter the Kingdom.

I shall choose
One from a thousand,
and two from ten thousand,
and they shall stand in unity.

His disciples requested:
Teach us about the PLACE
Where you live,
For we must seek it.
He said:
He who has ears let him hear.
There is light in a man of light,
Who gives light to the world.
If he does not give light,
there is only Darkness.

Love your brother
Like your own soul. Cherish him.
Like the apple of your eye.

You see the mote
within your brothers eye
but you do not see the beam
within your own.
Once you have extracted the beam
from your own eye,
you can remove the mote from your brothers.

You abstain from the world,
you will not find the kingdom.
Unless you honor the sabbath,
you will not see the Father.

I stood
In the midst of the world,
and i found everyone drunk,
and none thirsty.
Then my soul was sorry
for all the sons of men,
because they are blind in their hearts.
They cannot realize that they have come
empty into the world,
and must leave it empty.
Now they are drunk,
But when they renounce the wine,
they will repent.

If the flesh
came into being for the sake
of the spirit,that is
a mystery. But if
the spirit came into being
for the sake of the body,
That is a wondrous miracle.
How did such great wealth
make its home, i wonder,
in such poverty?

Where there are three Gods,
They are Gods.
Where there are two,or one,
I am with Him.

No prophet is honoured
in his homeland.
No physician heals those
who know him well.

No city
Built upon a mountain,
and well fortified,
can fall, or conceal itself.

Jesus said:
Whatever you hear,
With one ear and the other,
Preach from the housetops.
Nobody lights a lamp in order
to place it under a bushel
or to hide it is some secret place.
Set it upon a lampstand,
so that all who enter or depart
may see its light.

When the blind lead the blind,
they fall together into the ditch.

Nobody can enter
the house of a strong man,
or seize it by force,
unless his hands are tied.
Only then can the house be

Morn to Eve and Eve to Morn
do not think what you put on.

His disciples asked: When will you appear to us
and when shall we see you?
Jesus answered:
When you shed your shame,and take your cloths,
Place them on the ground,and trample them underfoot
like children, Then you shall see The Son of the
Living One, and will not be afraid.

You have often wished
to hear the words
i now express.
When you have no other to listen to,
days will come when you shall search,
but never find me.

The scribes and Pharisees
received the keys of understanding,and hid them.
They did not enter,nor allowed entrance to those
who so wished. Be wise as serpents,and innocent as doves.

A vine was planted outside the father, yet as it was
never tethered it was torn from the roots,and died.

He who has something in his hands,
will receive, and from him who has
nothing,shall be taken away all
that he possesses.

Jesus said:
Be passers-by.

His disciples said:
Who are you to say that to us?
You do not understand
Who i am, from what i say.
You have become like the Jews.
They love the tree and hate the fruit.
Or they love the fruit and hate the tree.

He who blasphemes against the father
shall be forgiven,and he who blasphemes
against the son shall be forgiven,but he
who blasphemes against the holy ghost shall not be
forgiven on earth or in heaven.

No grapes
Are gathered from thorn,
nor are figs plucked from camelthorn.
A good man produces good from his treasure.
An evil man brings forth evil from his heart,
speaking evil when he expresses himself.

Jesus said:
From the first man
to John the Baptist,
no one born of woman is higher
than John the Baptist,whose
eyes remain unbroken.
Whoever becomes small
shall understand the kingdom,
and be exalted above John.

A man can not mount two horses,
or bend two bows,
A servant cannot obey two masters,for
he must honor the one, and despise the other.
Nobody at once drinks old wine.and desires new.
Nor is new wine packed within old skins,
lest they crack.
Old wine is not contained within new skins,
lest they perish.
An old patch is not grafted upon new cloths, for it
will tear.

If two
Make peace with one another in the same house,
they can order the mountain to move,
and it will move.

Jesus said:
Blessed are the solitary,and the elect
for they shall discover the kingdom from which
they come, and to which they must return.

If you are asked your origins, answer:
We have come out of the light
where the light came of itself.
It rested appearing in their image.
It you are asked your identity, answer:
We are his sons, and The Elect of the
Living Father.
If asked for a sign of your father, answer:
Movement and repose.

His disciples asked Jesus:
When will begin the repose of the dead?
And when will the new world appear?
He answered:
The sanctuary you expect is here,
Although you cannot recognize it.

His disciples commented:
24 prophets spoke in Israel.
All referred to you.
Jesus replied:
You have neglected the one who lives
in your presence, in order to talk
about the dead.

His disciples asked:
Is circumcision of use?
He said:
if it were useful, your father
would of begotten you circumcised out
of your mother.
But the real circumcision of the Spirit
has always been useful and nothing but useful.

Blessed are the poor,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus said:
He who does not hate Father and Mother cannot be
my disciple, as he who does not hate brother and sister,
and take up his cross as i did, cannot ever become worthy of

me. 56.)
He who has known the world
has found a corpse,
and the world is unworthy of him
who has found a corpse.

The Kingdom of the Father
is like a farmer who possessed good seed.
One night, his enemy sowed Tares among the seed,
but the farmer refused to pull up the tares,
saying:You may uproot wheat as well.
On the harvest day, the tares will appear, be uprooted
and burned.

Blessed is the man who has suffered, for he has truly
discovered life.

Look to the Living One
as long as you live, lest you die,
Then search for him, and fail.

A Samaritan was bearing a lamb towards Judea.
Jesus asked his disciples why he wanted the animal.
They replied that he wished to kill it and to eat it.
He replied:
As long as it is alive,
he will not eat it.
He can only once it is dead.
There is no other way, they said.
He answered:
You too are seeking rest in order to avoid
becoming corpses, and ripe for being eaten.

Two share one bed.
One shall live, and the other die.
Salome challenged him, Who are you?
Did you mount my bed,
and eat from my table?
Jesus addressed her:
I am an equal.
I have been giving things belonging to my father.
Salome replied, I am your disciple.
And Jesus responded:
When a man is growing equal, he shall be suffused
with light, but when he is growing apart, he shall
be consumed with darkness.

Jesus said:
I reveal my secrets
to those deserving of them.
Do not let your left hand know
what your right is doing.

A rich man owned a great fortune, and
determined to employ it so as to sow, reap, plant, and fill
his barns with fruit, that he may lack nothing.
That very night, he died.
He who has ears to hear let him hear.

Having prepared a banquet,
a host sent his servant to summon the guest.
He went to the first and said:
My master has invited you.
Some merchants who are in my debt
are visiting me tonight. I have to advise them.
I am sorry i can not come.
He visited another and said:
My master has sent an invitation to you.
That one replied:
I have bought a house, and made an appointment
for today. I have no time.
He went to another and offered:
My master has invited you.
He was told:
My friend is getting married, and i am organizing a
dinner to celebrate.I can not come i must be excused.
Then he approached another and said:
My master invited you. He was answered:
I have just bought an estate, and am about to collect the
rents.I shall not be able to come.
The servant returned to his master, and reported:
All those you invited are unable to come.
The master responded:
Go out into the streets;bring in all you find to
partake of the banquet.
Merchants and dealers shall not enter the abode
of my father.

A virtuous man owned a vineyard which he gave
to farmers to be tilled, having agreed to
receive the fruit from them.
He sent his servant to collect the fruits, and he
was seized, beaten and almost killed.The servant
returned, and told his master of this. Perhaps
they did not recognize him, thought the master.
So he sent another servant. The farmers beat him too.
Then the man sent his son thinking they will respect
my son.The farmers knew that he was the heir, and they
seized and killed him.
He who has ears to hear let him hear.

Show me the stone, which the builders rejected.
It is the head of the corner.

He who knows the All
and does not know himself
has missed everything.

You are blessed,
when men beat you, and persecute you for
they shall find no place still standing
where they have tormented you.

Blessed are they who have been persecuted in
their hearts.They have known the father in truth.
Blessed are the hungry, for he who desires
will be satisfied.

When you produce this within,
what you have will save you.
What you do not have within will
kill you.

Jesus said:
I shall destroy this house, and nobody will be
able to restore it.

A man requested:
Tell my brothers
to divide my fathers things with me.
He replied:
Who made me a divider?
Turning to his disciples, he said:
Do i divide things up?

The harvest is great,
but the labourers are few.
Ask the Lord to send
Labourers to the harvest.

Look there are many people around the well,
but there is nobody within the well.

There are many at the door.
But only the solitary ones shall
enter the Bridal Chamber.

The Kingdom of the Father
is like a merchant, who
found a pearl to add on to his possessions.
Being a clever merchant, he sold his other
possessions, and bought himself the pearl alone.
Seek like him the treasure which does not fade, in
the place where no moths enter to consume, and no
worms to corrupt.

Jesus said:
I am the Light
That is above them all.
I am the All.
The all came from me,
and the all has returned to me.
Split wood and i am there.
Raise a stone and you will find me.

Why have you come into the field?
To see a reed tremble in the wind?
To observe a man wearing soft cloth?
Your kings and great men
all wear soft cloths and yet they cannot
see the truth.

A woman from the crowd addressed him:
Blessed is the womb that gave you birth and
the women who nursed you.
He answered:
Blessed are those who heard the WORD of the
Father and maintained it in truth, for the day
will come when you will say blessed is the womb
which has not conceived, and the woman who has not nursed.

He who has known the world has found the body, but he who
has found the body, is to great for the world.

He who is rich
can become a king.
He who has power can do without.

He who is close to me is close to fire:
He who is far from me is distant from
the kingdom.

Appeared to man, and the Light
within is hidden in the image
of the Fathers Light.
He will reveal Himself,
and his image hidden by light.

When you see your likeness,
you are happy, but when you see
your images rising before you without
subsiding or approaching,
how long can you stand that?

the first man emerged
from a great power and great wealth,
and was still unworthy of you.
Had he been worthy, he would not of
experienced death.

Foxes have their lairs,
and birds their nests.
But the son of man has no place to lay
down his head, and rest.

Wretched is the body
dependent upon the body,
and wretched is the soul
dependent upon them both.

Jesus said:
The angels and the prophets
shall visit you, and give you
what is yours. For your part, give them
what you have in your hand and ask yourselves
when they will come to take what is theirs.

Why do you wash
the surface of the chalice?
Do you not understand that the man who made the
outside also created the inside?

Come to me for
my yoke is light,
my rule is mild and you shall
find repose.

They said to him:
Tell us who you are
so that we may believe in you.
He replied:
You are testing the face of
Heaven and Earth and have not
recognized the man before you.
You do not even know how to
test this moment.

Jesus said:
Seek and you shall find.
What you have asked me recently.
I did not tell you then.
I want to tell you now,
when you are not asking me.

Do not give the sacred to dogs,
lest it be cast on the dung-heap.
Do not cast pearls before swine,
lest they destroy them.

He who seeks shall find
and the doors will be opened to him.
Who knocks.

If you have money,
do not lend it out at interest but give
it to him who can not repay it.

The Kingdom of Heaven
is like a woman who takes a little
leaven, puts it in dough, and makes
large loaves. He who has ears to hear,
let him hear.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a women carrying a jug
full of meal on a long journey. When the handle broke,
the meal streamed out behind her, so that she never
noticed anything was wrong until arriving home,
she sat down the jug and discovered it was empty.

The Kingdom of heaven is like a man who wished
to assassinate a noble. He drew his sword at home, and
struck it against the wall, to test whether his hand were
strong enough. Then he went out and killed the noble.

The Disciples said to him:
Your brothers and your mother are outside.
He answered:
Those who perform the will of my Father are my
brothers and mother.
They are the ones who will enter
My Fathers Kingdom.

They showed Jesus a gold coin and said:
Caesars men wanted tribute from us.
He replied:
Render unto Caesar what belongs to
Caesar, and render unto God, what belongs
to God, and give me what is mine.

He who does not hate
his father and his mother as i do
cannot be my disciple, and who does not
love his mother and father as i do,
cannot be my disciple. for my mother
killed me, but my true mother has given me life.

Woe to the Pharisees.
They resemble a dog in a manger,
who neither eats, nor allows the oxen to eat.

Blessed is he who knows
the time of the robbers arrival, for
he can rise, collect himself, and gird
his loins in preparation.

They said:
Come. Let us pray today and fast.
Jesus said:
What sin have i committed?
What have i failed to do?
When the bridegroom departs from
the bridal chamber, then you can
fast and pray.

He who knows
his father and his mother shall
be called a bastard.

When you make the two one, you will
become Sons of Man, and if you order the
mountain to move, it will move.

The kingdom is like a shepherd, who owned a
hundred sheep, the largest of which went astray. He
left the 99, in search of the one until he found it.
After all his trouble, he said to the sheep:
I love you more than the 99.

Whoever drinks from my mouth shall become like him.
For him, the hidden will be revealed.

The kingdom is like a man who is ignorant of the
treasure hidden in a field. When he dies he
leaves it to his son who sells it.Being aware also
of the treasure within.The buyer will come, discover the
treasure while ploughing, and lend out money at interest.

He who has found the world and riches, should then deny the

The heavens will be rolled back, and the earth unfurled
before your eyes.The Living One out of The Living One sees
neither death nor fear, for Jesus says the world is unworthy
of the man who finds themselves.

Jesus said:
Woe to the flesh that is dependent upon the Soul, and
woe to the soul that is dependent upon the flesh.

His disciples questioned:
When will the kingdom come?
Jesus answered:
It will never come if you are
expecting it. Nobody will say look here
or look there. Yet the Kingdom of the Father
is spread throughout the earth and no man sees it.

Simon Peter suggested to them:
Mary Magdalene should leave us .
Women are unworthy of the life.
Jesus said:
I shall lead her so as to make her a
man, that she may become a Living Spirit, as
you other men for every woman made manly, shall enter
the Kingdom of Heaven.