How Many Gospels Were There?

There were many Gospels of Jesus in the early days of Christianity. In addition to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John of the New Testament and the four Nag Hammadi Gospels, many other documents have been referred to as ‘gospels’.

Although many of the early Christian sects did not agree with the orthodox view that the scriptures came directly from God, there was fairly general agreement at the time that they had been written by people who were God-inspired.

In 302 Bishop Damascus directed Jerome to write a Latin text to standardise the scriptures. This came to be called the Latin Vulgate Bible and was used throughout the Christian world as the standardised Church text for at least a thousand years.  Since it was in Latin, it was up to the Church to ‘interpret’ it to their congregations, which was very much part of their intention as it diminished the likelihood of heresies arising.  

Also in the fourth century, Augustine declared that every part of the text had been chosen by God, although written by various Christian writers. Although the Church fathers superficially went along with this, many of them did not agree, as is clear from some of their writings.

Somewhere around the middle of the fourth century the New Testament as we know it began to be collated, and in or about 367 AD Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria gathered together a selection of writings that were approved first by the Council of Hippo (393AD) and then by the Council of Carthage (397 AD).

Over the centuries, these texts were further ‘edited’ and many important sections – presumably those which the Church saw as undermining of its authority or likely to cause dissension – were excluded.

Ten centuries after the Vulgate had originally been accepted, the same old disagreements continued to raise questions and cause dissension. Only in1546 were the four Gospels of the New Testament approved by the Council of Trent… and that only because of the threat to the Roman Catholic Church of the Protestant Reformation

Relating to information about the ministry of Christ in the Nag Hammadi gospels, in an interview published in the US News & World Report, Collector’s edition: Secrets of the Da Vinci Code, James Robinson, general editor of The Nag Hammadi Library, says that of the four Nag Hammadi codices, only the Gospel of Thomas can really be regarded as a gospel because it is the only one that claims to quote the actual words of Jesus. Other sources would regard this as a splitting of hairs since the words of Jesus are reported in other Nag Hammadi gospels.

Nobody knows how many Gospels there originally were, and it might be that some are yet to be discovered. Hundreds of caves offer possible hiding-places.

Since we know that the Four Gospels of the New Testament were selectively chosen and subsequently much edited, adapted and reduced, and as we cannot know what ancient records will still come to light, the issue of the Gospels as contributing to the ‘real’ history of Jesus remains an open question.

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24 comments on “How Many Gospels Were There?

  1. Proctor S. Burress says:

    How Many Gospels?

    If I am not mistaken the date you use for Pope Damascus’
    commissioning Jerome to compile the Vugate is incorrect…maybe a typo?


  2. Templar says:

    Was Jesus Married? The answer is know is wasn’t
    Was Mary Magdalene his wife? The answer is know she was not his wife but a friend,

    • Gabriel says:

      Firstly, correct english is “no” and not “know”. Secondly, you cannot make a claim without backing it up.

      • Mark says:

        then how did you claim that jesus is god, when he never said I am god worship me and he never spoke about the original sin of Adam, and he never said I came to save you from adams sin, he said he’s a prophet he said he’s a human he said he’s a slave for the Father, and lastly he said that the Father is the only god and jesus is the messenger of god.

  3. Templar says:

    “Da Vinci Code – Fact or Fiction” Fact but you’ll need to be a Tempar Knight of Gods Temple to understand it, as Da Vinci was a Templar, and the Templar left many code behind and still leave codes today for other Templar’s to find as they are still a very secret order of St Michael’s and I’m not talking about all the so called Templar of mosonic types as they are not of Templar but only use the name?

  4. cunts vagina sauce says:

    whats that guys problem with the fuck Da Vinci and all that and i thought this was meant to tell me how many gospels there were written and it doesnt do that at all

  5. Henry Pollock says:

    Why is every commenter here retarded?

  6. Satara says:

    As far as I’m concern and know, there are only four (4) gospels in the Holy Bible.
    If there were more then what is recorded, then it is not to my knowledge; and if there is gonna be more, then is it gonna be written because of the second coming of Jesus???????????????
    Please, ladies and gentlemen, let us stop confusing ourselves about what we believe and what we don’t believe because at the end of the day, Jesus Christ will continue to be Lord forever and ever. Amen!
    you might not see this as an answer to your question but, will surely give you a clue to go and do more research.

    by the way, why do you wanna know????

    • Gabriel says:

      You’re missing the whole point. The point here is that there were more than four gospels written at the same time, not added later. They were written at the same time yet only four are in the bible!!!! So take your ALL CAPS philosiphies and do some research.

    • Chris says:

      your a little close minded dont you think there are 32+ gospels that were written thats number is including Mathew Mark Luke and John. I am a Christian I read the word everyday go to church twice a week and my walk with Jesus is stronger than its ever been. Now im not sayin that all those gospels are real or not real but I do think as Christians we do have some what of an obligation to seek truth out. Even in the old testament moses speaks of a book thats not in the bible but they wrote in it and read it I believe it was called the book of instruction if im not mistaken. So that scripture goes to show you that there was a book that was written in before that ot txt wae on paper and im sure there were many more that arnt in the bible that were written by the Isrealites.

  7. Ben Stancill says:

    I am disapointed in the site, the profanity surely is not needed here. I think it interesting to know if there were gospels that were not selected for the New Testament. My thoughts are that the four chosen say about all there is to be said about Christ and his ministry, preaching, teaching, healing, and including other gospels was and is uneccessary.

  8. Yasmin says:

    The nawadays christians would rather live in their blind faith than knowing the truth.

    and even if they get a 100% proof that these books are written by many normal people and god has nothing to do with it, they would rather follow augustine the empror who declared the books of his choice to be words of god.

    Wake up!! Chrismas is a pagan holiday, easter day existed before christ and christ himself never said to peole clearly worship me I am your god, why would he hide it or play with the wards if he is a god, he never mentioned anything about the fabricated story of the eternal sin.

    It is useless to try to reach some people with logic!!

    • Gabriel says:

      what is logic? lol

    • Chris says:

      wow first of all the people who wrote the gospels are regular people the only thing that was different about them is that they believe and that god used them to write his word.second If there are other gospels out there that are written by god through man It doesnt mean god necessarily Wanted them in the bible, why? who knows I sure dont. So what if Christmas and Easter Pagan holidays what difference does it make when we celebrate Jesus’s birth and resurrection. Wake up what do you want us Christians as you put to wake up to. I hope you realize how hypocritical and retarded you sound when you say that these book are and I Quote “written by many normal people and god has nothing to do with it”.If true gospel is written then guess what god has a hand it.

  9. Gabriel says:

    but he was smarter than u

  10. Ms Wordful says:

    Come on people,think about it. One of Jesus’s disciple told Him he was the image of perfection,but
    Jesus answered them by telling them there’s only one perfectio and that was God.
    What is it that would make Jesus imperfect unless he knew he would or had already sinned?
    Secondly when Lazarus was risen and eating supper with Jesus,Mary poured perfume on His feet and olive oil and wiped it with her hair.
    Now you tell me which Mary am I talking about? Its imposSible that His mother was the one did all unless it was someone
    You are affectionate to someone. So mayb he was married and His companion ws Mary…..

    • Doug says:

      You obviously don’t understand what rhetorical means. Jesus was saying that there was none perfect but God, & since the disciplines could find no sin in Jesus> who do you think I AM? Jesus often made people think, rather than stating the obvious- I AM. After they met the resurrected Christ, they finally got it.

  11. Chris says:

    not exactly sure of the exact number but I do know there are actually 32+ Gospels that were written by early Christians and they started to surface and started being taught to people between the third and 4th century for more info checkout the national geographic Gospel of Judas it was a documentary they have it on netflix I literally just finished watching it lol. Hope this helps fel free to contact me.

  12. Chris says:

    please read my replies and if anybody wants to contact me or has questions or comments please e-mail me I loooove this kind of stuff.

  13. eva626 says:

    so many editions of the bible and gosples?!? this can get a person confused…the Quran is only one..and will not says so in the Quran.

    The original bible was a word of God which I believe in…but then people edited…who cares if it was the people of the was the book of God, it should have been unchanged. But whatever…

    The Quran was the next and now is the last book of God. God says in the Quran that God has protected it and it wont change. Praise be to God.

  14. louis says:

    with all these studies of religions ….one thing is sure that what jesus taught,and what prince siddharta thaght is the same…just look at the teaching in the nag hammadi….and compare them to the buddha….it is all eternal teachings…jesus never uttered that he is the son of god,we all are the thing is that we have forgotten,that palace we originally came from…it is true that jesus was crucified..but his doctrine was!!!!…cause christians turned it upside down…jesus never established any churches….he said like buddha said to seek thyself…that is where the origin started !!!!…WE ARE THE WAY TRUTH AND LIFE….otherelse we are sleep-awake..on a long journey

  15. Gary says:

    Not only were the Gospels written by anonymous non-eyewitnesses, scholars suspect that fictional folklore are included in these books. The question is: Which stories are fiction, and which are fact?

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