Gospel of Thomas Saying 41

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This Gospel of Thomas Commentary is part of the Gospel of Thomas page at Early Christian Writings.

Nag Hammadi Coptic Text

Gospel of Thomas Coptic Text


(41) Jesus said: He who has in his hand, to him shall be given; and he who has not, from him shall be taken even the little that he has.


(41) Jesus said, "The person who possesses will be given more. And the person who does not have will be deprived of even the little that that person has."


46 [41]. Jesus says: "To him who has in his hand, <more> will be given. But from him who has not, <even> the little he has will be taken away!"

Funk's Parallels

GThom 70, Luke 8:18, Luke 19:11-27, Matt 13:10-13, Matt 25:14-30, Mark 4:24-25.

Visitor Comments

How about, "He who has in his hand (wisdom of truth) to him more shall be given; and he who has none, the little bit of truth he has will be snatched away." A two-fold saying also applying to faith.
- wacky

But what if it means just that? What if it means that people who have, i.e. possessions, will gain more and those who do not have much, will have less? Maybe it's based on working hard for what you have...
- Five_crowss

Most of us live in a world of mental concepts. To enter the Kingdom means to see the real world behind the mental concepts. Such a person «possesses». He/she then will be given more i.e. all the joy of life one can accept, the Life itself. Those who continue to view the world through their mental concepts do not «possess», they live in their minds and thus are condemned to lose what they have since what they have is subject to the law of change so everything perishes in the end.
- Zdenko

Those who live in gratitude have abundance. Those who live in want need more no matter what they have. Those in abundance will have much and will get more. Those in need are never satisfied.
- TomC

Correct preparation of the student to begin study, in a joint operation by the student & his/her teacher. Without that guidance in that milieu what little one has gained in the ordinary way will be next to useless. But to those who have worked on themselves to create a sure foundation, to them it is possible to give more. No mystery here, a simple cause & effect situation
- Thief37

Maybe it is that he who has gnosis, or knowledge, will be given more, and he who does not have gnosis will remain in the dark and will not be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven.
- lorien

This is a teaching on the importance of attitude and perspective in life. One who sees his glass as half full, who focuses on his bounty in life, will attract more bounty into his life. But one who sees his glass a half empty, who focuses on his poverty in life, will just attract more poverty his way. This is quickly proven by the many stories of lottery winners who somehow always manage to lose all their winnings and end up as poor as they started. One's inner attitude and perspective on life creates and defines one's experience.
- DivisionTheory

Scholarly Quotes

Gerd Ludemann writes: "These verses have parllels in Mark 4.25 and Matt. 25.29/Luke 19.26 (= Q). Thomas diverges from them in two points: (a) in v. 1 he reads 'in his hand' (cf. 9.1; 17; 21.10; 22.6; 35.1; 98.2) and (b) in v. 2 'the little'. The saying is a common proverb. How it was read by Gnostics is shown for example by Gospel of Philip 105: 'Is it not fitting for all who have all this also to know themselves? But some, if they do not know themselves, will not enjoy what they have. The others, who have come to know themselves, will enjoy them (= their possessions).'" (Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 610)

J. D. Crossan writes: "The addition of 'in his hand' may be redactional, since Thomas seems to have a particular liking for 'hand' (17, 21c, 22b, 35, 98; see Menard, 1975: 142). The other change is of more significance. The negative stich is again qualified: 'even the little he has.' It is also possible that Gos. Thom. 70 is a much more gnostic version of this saying (Grant and Freedman: 147)." (In Fragments, p. 201)

Funk and Hoover write: "This saying in Thomas betrays no dependence on the canonical gospels; it represents an independent tradition. The Q form is recorded by Luke at the conclusion of the parable of the money in trust (Luke 19:26): 'I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given; and from those who don't have, even what they do have will be taken away.' Mark has a slightly different version in Mark 4:25: 'In fact, to those who have, mre will be given, and from those who don't have, even what they do have will be taken away!' Thomas exhibits two minor additions: the words 'in hand' in the first line, and the phrase 'the little' in the last line are unique to Thomas. The additional words do not help clarify the original context of the saying, if indeed it is more than a general maxim that was universally applicable." (The Five Gospels, p. 496)

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Gospel of Thomas Saying 41

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