The Gospel of Thomas is for people who are searchingsearching for inner peace, tranquillity, timeless certainties, happiness and joyousness in this life, in the here and now. It is for those who at some time in their lives even if not now search for answers to mankind's most fundamental questions "From whence did I come? To where will I go?" It may even go some way to give solace to those who search for release from sufferingthe greatest scourge of mankind.
For those persons who are attached to any of the established Christian Churches it is not appropriate. Its Teachings are too much at variance with the doctrines on which their certainties are built, so that its study can only lead to its rejection.
For those, particularly amongst academics who assert or assume that it derives from some anonymous writer or sect in the early centuries of our era, this search becomes merely an interesting exercise without the power and answers that some others search for.
Nor is there any evidence that it answers a need in anyone attached to any of the other major religious traditions. This may well be because it is associated not with the avatars Moses, Mohammed, Krishna, Buddha, Guru Singh, Confucius, but with Jesus.
For those who search for qualities of life from material possessions, physical activities, intellectual pursuits it will have no impact, for it works at a different level of the personality.
The word used in our ancient manuscript is Coptic CHINE which is rendered as 'seek', and occurs eleven times in logia 2.2, 18.5,24.3, 28.10, 38.7, 59.5, 60.16, 76.8, 92.2,7,107.6. In all but three of those logia it is coupled with NCA giving the rendering 'seek after'. So this frequent occurrence shows that for Jesus searching was a paramount route to the spiritual.
In fact, it is more than that, for it provides a motive and a direction for that journey. Spiritual awareness comes about not by sitting idle, waiting for something to descend from on high, or for some sudden great revelation to occur spontaneously or be engendered by some charismatic person. As the journey is presented to us in Thomas we are told a vital constituent is our seeking.
The Teaching in Thomas however goes further still. For associated with seeking is finding. Two Coptic words are used KINE and HE and there appears to be no difference in their meaning or significance. These occur no less than twentynine times, so from the numerical point of view are the most frequently used in the entire Gospel.
So the message that Jesus is trying to give us is that if we are willing to searchin his waythis will be followed by finding. There are even four sayings in which this association or linking of seeking and finding are explicit:
#2 Let him who seeks not cease from seeking until he finds;
#38 (a contrasting negative) There will be days when you seek after me and you will not find me.
#92 Seek and you will find.
#94 He who seeks shall find,
Such is the strength in Thomas of this emphasis on finding that it has prompted the use of the word 'shall' in its old English sense of its being a command. It is appropriate to feel that when we diligently search in Thomas for the spiritual treasures to be found there we will be commanded to find them.
Written 10 - 11 April 2003