What is the gospel of Barnabas?

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The gospel of Barnabas (ca. A.D. 1500) is different from the Epistle of Barnabas (ca. A.D. 70–90).

The Epistle of Barnabas

This is a Greek epistle that was written between AD 70–90. Alexandria in Egypt is probably the place of its origin. The person that wrote it is possibly not the same Barnabas of the New Testament. Church leaders never considered the epistle canonical because it contained theological and doctrinal errors. Consequently, it was excluded from the “accepted books.”

The Gospel of Barnabas

The Gospel of Barnabas claims to be written by the biblical Barnabas as one of the twelve apostles. However, it was written late (1400 years after Barnabas). For this reason, it is considered pseudepigraphal with no apostolic backing. None of church fathers or historians quoted it before the 16th century. By comparison, eyewitnesses or a person that interviewed the eyewitnesses of Jesus (1 John 1:1-5; Luke 1:1-4) wrote the New Testament books early (before A.D. 100).

The gospel of Barnabas supports the Islamic teachings of Christianity and denies the New Testament in the following:

  1. The gospel of Barnabas is anti-Trinitarian for it presents Jesus as merely a prophet and not as the son of God. It claims that Jesus escaped crucifixion by being raised alive to heaven. It also claims that Judas Iscariot, His betrayer, was crucified in His place. These beliefs portray the Islamic teachings which say that Jesus did not die on the cross but was taken alive by the angels to God (Qur’an Sura 4 Verse 157-158). According to the gospel of Barnabas, Jesus foresaw and rejected his own deification (Barnabas 53:6; 42:2). And it also claims that Jesus denied being the Biblical Messiah (Matthew 26:63-64), stating rather that the Messiah would be an Ishmaelite -Arab- (ch. 43:10; ch. 208:1–2).
  2. The gospel of Barnabas states that Jesus was born when Pilate was governor whereas history confirms that Pilate became governor in A.D. 26 or 27.
  3. The gospel of Barnabas claims that Jesus predicted the advent of Muhammad (ch. 97), thus supporting the Quranic Sura 61:6 (Ahmad is an Arabic name from the same triconsonantal root as Muhammad). Further, the gospel of Barnabas frequently mentions the name of “Muhammad” (ch. 97:9–10). And it identifies Jesus as a prophet that was sent only to the “house of Israel.” In addition, the gospel includes the Islamic Shahadah (ch. 39).
  4. The gospel of Barnabas has anti-Pauline tones. It calls the apostle Paul the “deceived” — Introduction to the Gospel of Barnabas.

Historians are in agreement that Muslims wrote the gospel of Barnabas in the 15th-16th century AD to discredit the Biblical truths about Jesus.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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