What was the find at Nag Hammadi? What are the Nag Hammadi scrolls?
In 1945 a collection of scrolls was found in the town of Nag Hammadi, in northern Egypt. These scrolls have since been named "the Nag Hammadi library" or "the Nag Hammadi scrolls" or "the Nag Hammadi codices" and the scrolls are often said to contain the supposed lost books of the Bible. The Gospel of Philip, the Apocalypse of Adam, and the Gospel of Thomas are a few examples of the books contained within the Nag Hammadi library. These books are the basis of what is called Christian Gnosticism.
Conspiracies surrounding the Bible say that these books were destroyed or suppressed during the early days of Christianity because they contained "secret knowledge" that the disciples of Jesus did not want people to know. This is contradicted directly by Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:7). The disciples were eager to impart truth to any who would hear—even the "secret" and "hidden" wisdom of God. But the Gnostics believed in another knowledge about God and Jesus, one that was accompanied by a variety of heresies, including the idea that the body was evil and the spirit was good, a perversion of Paul's argument in Romans 7. By asserting this heresy, they were excusing all sins committed in the flesh, and focusing on knowledge alone as the signal of salvation. Paul calls this kind of thinking "puffed up" and conceited (1 Timothy 6:3–4). The Gnostics were a group that gave early Christians a lot of trouble. At the end of Paul's first letter to Timothy, he makes what scholars see as an indirect reference to the Gnostics, when he says "avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called 'knowledge,' for by professing it some have swerved from the faith" (1 Timothy 6:20–21).
James also comments on the difference between wisdom from above, and wisdom that is demonic and unspiritual (James 3:13–18). The main difference is that the wisdom from above is humble, while earthly wisdom is characterized by jealousy and selfish ambition (v. 14–15). Again, Paul reminds the Corinthians that "love builds up" while knowledge "puffs up." We are all familiar with this dynamic. When focus is taken off of Christ and His work in the heart and placed instead on the workings of the human mind, people begin to rank themselves against one another, and begin to see the smarter, or more intellectual, or more mysterious religious minds as the people we should follow. This is tempting, but it is not true.
Seeking a knowledge that is only available to a chosen or lucky few is the trap that Gnostics fell into in the 1st century, and it is the same trap many of us fall into today. There is no "secret knowledge" that only priests or pastors or professors or the extra-faithful have access to. God is available to all people in equal measure—rich and poor, intelligent and uneducated. Even Paul said "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). Paul rightly taught that the emphasis should be on Christ. As the leader of the church, both then and now, people are to look to Christ for redemption, His Holy Spirit for guidance, and His Word for wisdom. It is only by abiding in Him that we can understand what we really need to know (1 Corinthians 2:14–16; John 15:4).
The finds at Nag Hammadi are interesting historically. But the books themselves are fraudulent, not written by the people the books are named for, contradictory to what is contained in the Bible, and quickly recognized by the early church fathers as such.
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