The Gospel of Thomas: A Guidebook for Spiritual Practice


The Gospel of Thomas—a book of sayings and wisdom of Jesus compiled as early or earlier than the New Testament gospels—can transform your spiritual life.

There are many academic commentaries on the Gospel of Thomas, but this book has a different aim. It is meant to be a guidebook, that is, a translation of the sayings into daily practice. The goal of such practice is to become Jesus’s twin. This does not, of course, mean becoming an olive-skinned, bearded Mediterranean peasant ...

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The Gospel of Thomas: A Guidebook for Spiritual Practice

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The Gospel of Thomas—a book of sayings and wisdom of Jesus compiled as early or earlier than the New Testament gospels—can transform your spiritual life.

There are many academic commentaries on the Gospel of Thomas, but this book has a different aim. It is meant to be a guidebook, that is, a translation of the sayings into daily practice. The goal of such practice is to become Jesus’s twin. This does not, of course, mean becoming an olive-skinned, bearded Mediterranean peasant wearing sandals. It is more about manifesting in our lives the same Christ consciousness revealed in the person we know as Jesus of Nazareth.
—from the Introduction

In the decades since its discovery, the Gospel of Thomas has intrigued people of all faiths around the world. Shedding new light on the origins of Christianity, the Gospel of Thomas raises questions about whether the New Testament’s version of Jesus’s teachings is entirely accurate and complete. In the Gospel of Thomas we see Jesus as a wisdom-loving sage, sharing aphorisms about the value of the present and each person’s role in the creation of the Kingdom of God here on earth. But these inspiring sayings can leave you wondering, "What next?"

Now you can learn how to start applying Jesus’s wisdom to your own life—and, in turn, to the world around you. This unique guidebook leads you through Thomas, offering practices that help you translate Jesus’s wisdom into a more fulfilling, enriching daily life, including:

  • Becoming a Spiritual Adult
  • Sorting Out the Old and the New
  • Being a Healing Presence
  • Daring to Be a City on a Hill
  • God’s Reign Calls for Ready Hands
  • Spirituality Is Not Skygazing
  • • And much more …
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
To the many subcategories of Christianity, we can now add the "Thomas Believer." That's what Miller, chair of the Lake Forest College religion department, calls himself and devotees of the Gospel of Thomas, a collection of Jesus' sayings that had been circulating since the 19th century in fragmentary form but were found as a complete Coptic text at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945. This guidebook, using Stevan Davies's translation, introduces the gospel and encourages readers to "become Jesus' twin," an image based on the name Thomas, which means "twin." Each chapter includes commentary on five to six sayings, along with a section on practice and questions for reflection. The concept of practice is essential for Miller, who rather controversially writes that Jesus "did not want our praise but our practice." Some of the practices are concrete spiritual exercises described in a "how to" fashion, while others feel more like additional commentary. The reflection questions at the end of each chapter would be more useful if they were more open-ended and less rhetorical ("Does it make sense to chain smoke while discussing consciousness expansion?"). The heart of this guidebook is the commentary; Miller is a captivating storyteller as well as a scholar. Anyone drawn to a universalistic spirituality will find much to savor and pass along here. (July 15) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Miller (chair, religion, Lake Forest Coll.; The Wisdom of the Carpenter) has written an admirably sensible if quite contemporary response to the ever-cryptic Gospel of Thomas, the famous and possibly Gnostic collection of sayings attributed to Jesus recovered from the sands of Egypt in 1945. Miller groups selected sayings thematically, responding to each in turn, closing each chapter with further questions for reflection. Miller finds the key to these sayings not in a temporally defined faith but in ever-growing "awareness." In the wake of the popularity of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, Miller's book ought to attract a wide readership. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594730474
  • Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 687,958
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Ron Miller is the chair of the Religion Department at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois, where he has taught for thirty years, and co-founder of Common Ground, an adult education group for interfaith religious study and dialogue since 1975. Miller is the author of many books and articles, including The Gospel of Thomas: A Guidebook for Spiritual Practice, named one of Spirituality & Health's 50 Best Spiritual Books of the year; The Hidden Gospel of Matthew: Annotated & Explained and Healing the Jewish-Christian Rift: Growing Beyond Our Wounded History (all SkyLight Paths). His website is

Stevan Davies is professor of religious studies at Misericordia University and has studied the non-canonical gospels and acts for over thirty years. Among his books are The Gospel of Thomas: Annotated and Explained, The Secret Book of John: The Gnostic Gospel—Annotated and Explained (both SkyLight Paths) and The Revolt of the Widows: The Social World of the Apocryphal Acts. He has also published books about the canonical Christian scriptures including New Testament Fundamentals and Jesus the Healer: Possession, Trance and the Origins of Christianity. His website ( is a leading Internet resource on the Gospel of Thomas.

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Table of Contents

Prelude : the faith of a Thomas believer
1 Becoming a spiritual adult 1
2 Making life all of a piece 9
3 Sorting out the old and the new 13
4 Religion, organized and unorganized 21
5 Being a healing presence 31
6 Peace, bad and good 35
7 Childlike, not childish 41
8 Daring to be a city on a hill 49
9 Becoming totally receptive 55
10 Now/here or nowhere 61
11 Marinating in mystery 67
12 Jesus for Christians and non-Christians 77
13 Making space for the spirit 91
14 Experiencing God's reign 101
15 God's reign calls for ready hands 107
16 Spirituality is not skygazing 117
About SkyLight paths 133
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2005

    the REAL gospel of Jesus will transform you here

    I was glad I finally found a truth to believe in after reading Ron Miller's THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS. This is an eye opening and welcoming book for those of us who question the 'Church' as it exists now. Read and you shall believe!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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