(loh gee uh) A Greek term applied to a collection of sayings. It comes from the same root as logos, a Greek word usually translated “word.” (John 1:1,John 1:14; see Logos). The Church Fathers used “logia” to denote a collection of the sayings of Jesus. In his early Church history, Eusebius (about 260-about 340) quoted Papias (A.D. 100s) that Matthew compiled the “logia” in Hebrew. Apparently this is not the same as the Gospel of Matthew itself. Rather, the Hebrew logia were likely the sayings of Jesus contained in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark.
Exactly when the “logia” might have achieved written form is a subject of debate. In addition to New Testament evidence, two modern discoveries show that “logia” existed in early Christian communities. Around 1900, remnants of an actual “logia” were unearthed near Oxyrncus, Egypt. Three papyrus fragments were found containing sayings ascribed to Jesus. They have been dated to the A.D. 200s, but are probably copies of an older collection. Each saying begins with “Jesus says.” Some of them can be found in the Gospels, while others are known from the Church Fathers. In addition, two “logia” of a community with Gnostic tendencies were found in 1946 near Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Dating from between A.D. 300-400, they contain over 200 sayings attributed to Jesus.
The Gospels, as well as those New Testament sayings of Jesus found outside the Gospels (such as
Acts 20:35), and the modern discoveries all demonstrate the early Church's concern for preserving Jesus' sayings. The same concern can be seen today in our red-letter edition Bibles. See Gnosticism; Luke; Mark; Matthew; Nag Hammadi