Christians in the Gospel of Philip

Were you aware that Christians were mentioned in the Gnostic Gospel of Philip? The Gospel of Philip is considered part of the New Testament apocrypha and was found in a cave near Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945. Part of the Nag Hammadi library, the Gospel of Philip was one of twelve codices written in Coptic and found buried in a sealed jar.

The Codice of the Gospel of Philip

According to the codice, ultimately all Christians will be spiritually transformed, in time or eternity and whoever is transformed “no longer is a Christian, but a Christ.” Drawing upon the Gospel of Philip, Gnostic scholar Elaine Pagels noted:

Parchment from the Gospel of PhilipPhilip thus discriminates between nominal Christians – those who claim to be Christians simply because they were baptized – and those who, after baptism, are spiritually transformed. He sees himself among the latter but does not congratulate himself for belonging to a spiritual elite; instead, he concludes by anticipating that ultimately all believers will be transformed, if not in this world then in eternity. Whoever undergoes such transformation, he says “no longer is a Christian, but a Christ.”1


  1. Pagels, Elaine. Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas. Random House, 2003. 132-133.

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