The Infancy Gospels

Q. My question is about the so-called “Infancy Scriptures.” I recently saw a special on them and was surprised at how the Lord was depicted, supposedly as an angry and unruly child. The special said that Jesus had to learn how to master His emotions as any child would and that later He became a great leader. Do you buy any of this? What exactly are these “Infancy Scriptures”? They seem disrespectful to me!

A. Both Thomas, of doubting Thomas fame, and James, the half brother of Jesus, are said to have written about the so-called missing years in the Lord’s life.

These “infancy gospels” were not included in the Bible because it’s been determined that they weren’t written by their purported authors, they contain historical and theological errors, and were not in use in the early church.

The oldest copy of “Thomas” has been dated in the 6th Century while the work of “James” didn’t show up until the 10th century. They’ve become popular in liberal circles where the divinity of Jesus and the accuracy of the Bible are often called into question and are trotted out around Easter time when interest in the Lord is higher. You’re right to be offended by these purely fictional accounts.

The Bible gives one actual account of the Lord’s childhood and that’s in Luke 2:41-52 when He was 12 years old. In Psalm 69 Kind David recorded a prophetic overview of the Lord’s life describing how He was misunderstood and mocked due to His piety. Psalm 69:8 foretold that even His own brothers would not understand Him and would treat him like a stranger, possibly indicating a difficult home life. These are the only Biblical references to the time between His birth and the beginning of His ministry at about age 30 (Luke 3:23).

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