The so-called “Gnostic Gospels” were discovered in Egypt in 1945. These writings consist of writings (almost 52 different treatises) by Gnostic writers that lived in the first two centuries. Their writings were circulated at that time and were rejected by most Christians, for many of their doctrines contradicted those in the Bible including their teaching on the Person of Jesus Christ. The word “Gnostic” means “knowledge” and these men claimed to have “superior knowledge” that went beyond the teachings of the inspired men that God used to write the Bible. Yet in truth their “supposed knowledge” turned out to be inspired by their own “fertile imaginations.” In 1st Corinthians 1:21 we read, “The world through wisdom did not know God.” We can apply this verse to these false teachers who used “their own human wisdom” in seeking to know God and yet they never came to know Him.

Because of their “damnable heresies” that were spreading throughout the known world in the first century, the apostle Paul wrote the following in Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (NKJV). As mentioned earlier, the Gnostics taught doctrines that denied the Person of Jesus Christ. They “denied His true Humanity” and “His Deity.” They also taught that ‘the Christ’ was a DIVINE INFLUENCE that came from God and came upon Jesus at His baptism and then later left Him just before His crucifixion. This is why Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to warn the believers at Colosse (and us!) to beware of such men who would deceive us through their own human philosophies and “not according to Christ.”

The apostle John also met their false teachings head-on in the 1st epistle of John. He knew that they denied that Jesus Christ was “God manifest in the flesh,” so he wrote the following words in 2:22-23, “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” These are solemn words, but to deny that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, is to OPPOSE CHRIST, which is what “antichrist” means. John was also thinking of the Gnostics later in 4:1-3, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Bu this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and EVERY SPIRIT THAT DOES NOT CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS COME IN THE FLESH IS NOT OF GOD. And this is THE SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST.”

So, to answer your question, Christians should NOT consider the Gnostic Gospels as lost books of the Bible, for they have no place in the holy Canon of Scripture. The apostles Paul and John, as we have seen, were inspired to warn us of their denial of Jesus Christ and thus to reject them as false teachers who have the “spirit of Antichrist.” We do well to heed their warning and avoid their writings as we would avoid a contagious disease. Let us boldly “hold fast” to the truth of our blessed Savior, for He is in truth “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). (268.7) (DO)