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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Additional Resources
• International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

, “unwritten things,” has been used since about 1700 to denote words of Jesus not written in the four canonical gospels. Some examples within the Bible are Acts 20:35 and 1 Corinthians 11:24-25. More are found in Apocryphal writings, Gnostic gospels, the Talmud, the Islamic sources, Oxyrhynhychus Papyri, and the church fathers. Some scholars suggest that the canonical gospels may rely in part on these sayings. Most sayings are regarded by scholars as expansions of the gospel tradition or creations by subsequent followers of Jesus, though a few of them may be authentic. “Whoever is near to me is near to the fire, but whoever is far from me is far from the Kingdom” is from the Gospel of Thomas, an extrabiblical gnostic agrapha. Recent discovery of the Nag Hammadi library has increased our examples.

Joe Baskin

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'AGRAPHA'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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