Why the Gospel of Philip is not part of the Bible?

Author: BibleAsk Team


The Gospel of Philip

The Gospel of Philip is one of the Gnostic Gospels, a collection of ancient religious texts that present an unbiblical perspectives on Christianity and Jesus’ teachings. The Gospel of Philip is attributed to Philip the Apostle, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, although its authorship and origins remain uncertain. It is believed to have been composed in the 3rd century AD, in the context of early Christian communities influenced by Gnostic thought.

The Gospel of Philip explores themes such as salvation, the nature of the divine, the relationship between the physical and spiritual realms, and the role of initiation and knowledge (gnosis) in spiritual enlightenment. Unlike the canonical Gospels found in the New Testament, which focus on the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of Philip delves into more esoteric and philosophical topics.

Why the Gospel of Philip Is Not Part of the Bible?

The Gospel of Philip presents several teachings that diverge from orthodox Christian doctrine and the Scriptures. These deviations have led many theologians and scholars to regard it as a non-canonical and heretical text. Here are some of the unbiblical doctrines found within the Gospel of Philip:

1-Dualism: One of the prominent themes in the Gospel of Philip is dualism, the belief in the existence of two opposing forces—typically, the material world and the spiritual realm. This dualistic worldview is evident in the text’s characterization of the physical body as inherently corrupt and inferior to the spirit. While Christianity acknowledges the reality of spiritual warfare and the tension between the flesh and the spirit, it rejects dualism in favor of a holistic understanding of creation and redemption.

2-Salvation through Secret Knowledge: The Gospel of Philip emphasizes the importance of gnosis, or secret knowledge, as the means of salvation and enlightenment. According to the text, salvation is not achieved through faith in Christ and the adherence to the Scriptural doctrines but through the acquisition of esoteric wisdom. This notion stands in stark contrast to the biblical teaching that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), that the gospel message is accessible to all who believe (Romans 1:16) and that good works are merely the fruits of the Spirit working in the life of a believer (Ephesians 2:10).

3-Denial of the Incarnation: Some passages in the Gospel of Philip appear to downplay or deny the physical incarnation of Jesus Christ. Instead, they suggest that Jesus merely assumed a semblance of human form, with his physical body being a mere illusion. This contradicts the biblical teaching that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully human, having taken on human flesh in order to dwell among humanity, redeem humanity, and serve as the perfect Mediator between God and men (John 1:14, Philippians 2:5-8).

3-Misinterpretation of Scriptural Figures: The Gospel of Philip contains interpretations of biblical figures and events that depart from Biblical Christian understanding. For example, it presents Mary Magdalene as a central figure among Jesus’ disciples, suggesting a special relationship between her and Jesus that is not found in the canonical Gospels. While Mary Magdalene is indeed depicted as a devoted follower of Jesus in the New Testament, the Gospel of Philip’s portrayal of her may be influenced by Gnostic mythology rather than historical fact.

4-Erroneous Views on Marriage and Sexuality: The Gospel of Philip contains teachings on marriage and sexuality that depart from traditional Christian morality. It suggests that the union of man and woman in marriage is a reflection of spiritual truths and that celibacy is preferable to marriage. But in the Bible, marriage is honored as a sacred institution ordained by God for the mutual support, companionship, and procreation of spouses (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:31-33).

In conclusion, the Gospel of Philip contains teachings and doctrines that deviate from the teachings of the Scripture. Its departure from biblical truth and its promotion of Gnostic ideas render it non-canonical and misleading. Therefore, it is important for readers to evaluate its teachings in light of the authoritative and inspired books of the Bible.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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