Agrapha

Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor 3.12; Miscellanies 4.8

Yes, indeed, concerning love also he says: Love covers a multitude of sins.

Compare 1 Peter 4:8

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins

As with Saint Paul and the “male and female agrapha” above, it is possible that 1 Peter knew of this saying.

Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 6.44:

And the Lord said: Go out, those who wish to do so, from your bonds.

This agrapha could be interpreted in two ways: Spiritual liberation through Jesus’ death, from our sins and literally releasing people from slavery, like Onesimus in Paul’s Epistle to Philemon.

Tertullian, On Baptism, chapter 20:

No man can obtain the heavenly kingdom that has not passed through temptation

Epistula Apostolorum:

***“I am hope for the hopeless, the helper of the helpless, the treasure of the needy, the doctor of the sick, the resurrection of the dead” ***

This is my all-time favourite agrapha. Isn’t it just stunning?

The scholar Andrew Philip Smith says of it:

*Jesus’s “I AM” sayings are particularly associated with the Gospel of John. The beautiful saying here is unparalleled in Christian literature *

Another agrapha, from the DIDACHE 8.5:

***“But love those who hate you and you will not have an enemy” ***

Augustine, Against Adversaries of the Law and Prophets 2.4.14 (it is now known that this saying comes from Thomas 52):

***The apostles asked the Lord: Has the advent already happened in the past?

And the Lord answered: You have dismissed the living one who is before your eyes and talk idly of the dead.***

Here is the saying from the Gospel of Thomas 52:

***His disciples said to him: Twenty-four prophets spoke in Israel, and they all spoke of you. He said to them: You have abandoned the living one before your eyes, and spoken about the dead. ***

Another saying found in Thomas which is quoted by the Church Fathers (already mentioned by another poster) is the following:

Origen, On Jeremiah, Latin homily 20.3:

He that is near me is near the fire.
He that is far from me is far from the kingdom

Gospel of Thomas saying 82

Jesus said: He who is near to me is near the fire, and he who is far from me is far from the kingdom.

Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, V, 10, 64:

***“For not grudgingly, he saith, did the Lord declare in a certain gospel: My mystery is for me and for the sons of my house.” ***

Gospel of Thomas 62:

I tell my mysteries to those who are worthy of my mysteries

There are many other such agrapha quoted by the Church Fathers which crop up in Thomas. We can only conclude that the Church Fathers either had a copy of the Gospel of Thomas, or one of the sources upon which it was based.

Acts of Philip 34:

"For the Lord said to me: Except ye make the lower into the upper and the left into the right, ye shall not enter into my kingdom."

Compare with Gospel of Thomas 22:

Jesus said to them: When you make the two one, and when you make the inside as the outside, and the outside as the inside, and the upper as the lower

Jerome, Commentary on Ephesians5.4 (from the gospel according to the Hebrews):

"Never be happy except when you look upon your brother with love"

A similar sentiment is expressed in the Gospel of Thomas saying 25:

***Jesus said: Love your brother as your own soul.
Protect him as you protect the pupil of your eye. ***

Clement, Quis Dives Salvetur 37:

And just before he was about to be offered up and to give himself as a ransom, he left us a new testament: “I give my love to you.” What is the nature and extent of this love? For each of us he laid down his life, the life which was worth the whole universe, and he requires in return that we should do the same for each other."

“I give my love to you” - a very simple saying, but touching.

Liber Graduum 20.13:

***“Jesus said: Everyone who does not walk in my footsteps and does not enter the houses of tax-collectors and whores and teach them as I have indicated, will not be perfect” ***

The **Liber Graduum ** (in English “Book of Steps” or “Book of Stages”) is a treatise on spiritual direction, made up of around 30 sermons written probably in 4th century Syria by an unknown Church Father/elder. Quotations from the Lord Jesus are scattered throughout the text and many of them do not come from the four canonical gospels but obviously some lost gopel or group of gospels.

Liber Graduum 2.2:

"I have not come to judge the world, but to teach them in humility and to save them, and to create an example for my disciples, so that they will do as I do"

Liber Graduum 2.4.6:

"Whoever does not wash the feet of his enemies - as I did Iscariot - because he knows that they are going to betray him to death, is not worthy of me"

It is evident that whatever lost gospel these quotations are from must have had as one of its central themes the idea of Jesus’s as the supreme example to follow. Obtaining perfection, that is spiritual maturity, is a concept which also permmeates these sayings.

Liber Graduum 4.1:

"Jesus said: Anyone who curses, becomes angry, or discovers a weakness in himself, but does not remove it, will not obtain perfection"

Liber Graduum 9.12:

***“Jesus said: I will give you perfection, which I will bring about when I come. When I send the Paraclete (Holy Spirit) to the apostles I will also make you perfect because you waited for me and sought the perfection of the angels above, from which your father Adam fell. I will take you and your father Adam back up to the heights from which you have fallen” ***

Clearly the above saying must have been uttered by Jesus to a disciple who was not one of the Twelve Apostles, promising him/her that they too would receive the Holy Spirit and not just the Twelve.

Pseudo-Cyprian, De Montibus Sina et Sion 13:

***“Jesus said: Thus you see me in yourself, as you would see me in water or in a mirror” ***

The works by the name of Psedo-Cyprian are though to be written by an anonymous third century, North African Christian - although they are traditionally credited to the church father Cyprian.

Pseudo-Cyprian, De Aleatoribus:

***“Jesus said: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit which is within you, and do not put out the light that shines within you” ***

Gospel of the Hebrews in Clement of Alexandria, STROMATA 5.14.96:

***“Jesus said: The seeker will not stop searching until he finds, and when he has found he will be astonished, and when he has become astonished, he will reign and once he has reigned he will find rest” ***

A variant of this agrapha is also in the Gospel of Thomas, saying 2:

***Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will be astonished, and will reign over all. And after they have reigned they will rest.” ***

"Pray for your enemies; blessed are they who mourn over the destruction of the unbelievers" *- Jesus Christ (Agrapha) *

"Woe unto him who hath made sad the spirit of his brother" - Jesus Christ (Agrapha)

"Behold, I make the last as the first" *- Jesus Christ (Agrapha) *

"What you say with words, do in deeds before everyone" - Jesus Christ (Agrapha)

"If you knew how to suffer, you would not be able to suffer. Learn how to suffer and you will overcome suffering" - Jesus Christ (The Hymn of Jesus from the Acts of John)

“Hearken to the word, understand knowledge, love life, and no one will persecute you, nor will anyone oppress you, other than you yourselves…I have remembered your tears and your grief and your sorrow. They are far from us…Behold, I shall depart from you…Therefore I say to you, for your sake I have descended…You are the Beloved; you are those who will become a cause of life for many. Beseech the Father. Implore God often, and he will give to you. Blessed is the one who has seen you with him when he is proclaimed among the angels and glorified among the saints. Yours is life! Rejoice and be glad as children of God…This is why I say this to you, that you may know yourselves. For the Kingdom of Heaven is like an ear of grain which sprouted in a field. And when it ripened, it scattered its fruit and, in turn, filled the field with ears of grain for another year. You also: be zealous to reap for yourselves an ear of life, that you may be filled with the Kingdom!”

*- Jesus Christ, non-canonical Book of James *

I know this is not strictly “agrapha”. But its so stunningly beautiful that I hope Jesus really did say it. I think its the most life-positive, life-affirming thing ever written in the annals of history.

The non-canonical text it comes from is not considered to be Gnostic (as once wrongly thought), in case anybody is worried - gnostiicism was the opposite of this life-affirming text - simply non-canonical by scholars. Ron Cameron says the Book of James was derived from an early first century sayings source - so there’s a good chance Jesus did say it!

Its one of the few non-canonical sayings of Jesus that is actually a parable, which also increases its chances of being authentic.

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