Called the “Secret book of John,” the beginning of the "Apocryphon of John" says that it is "the teaching of the saviour, and the revelation of the mysteries and the things hidden in silence, even these things which he taught John, his disciple." There were four manuscripts of this text found around the nineteenth century.

The introduction states, “And it happened one day, when John, the brother of James - who are the sons of Zebedee - had come up to the temple, that a Pharisee named Arimanius approached him and said to him, "Where is your master whom you followed?" And he said to him, "He has gone to the place from which he came." The Pharisee said to him, "With deception did this Nazarene deceive you (pl.), and he filled your ears with lies, and closed your hearts (and) turned you from the traditions of your fathers."

The quote above mentions John the apostle as the one who is asked by a Pharisee where his master was. John’s response was that Jesus returned to heaven where He came from, alluding to the ascension of Jesus as described in the Gospels. The Pharisee then told John that he was deceived by Jesus. This demonstrates the opposition that early Christians faced after Jesus’s time on earth. 

The “Apocryphon of John” also includes a conversation between Jesus and John. The text says, “He said to me, ‘John, John, why do you doubt, or why are you afraid… I am the one who is with you (pl.) always. I am the Father… I am the Son. I am the undefiled and incorruptible one. Now I have come to teach you what is and what was and what will come to pass, that you may know the things which are not revealed and those which are revealed, and to teach you concerning the unwavering race of the perfect Man. Now, therefore, lift up your face, that you may receive the things that I shall teach you today, and may tell them to your fellow spirits who are from the unwavering race of the perfect Man.’”

John highlighted the relationship between God and Jesus in this passage and the perfection of the divine human that Jesus was on earth. He wrote that Jesus identified Himself as the Father and the Son. John also included Jesus as the one and only divine and perfect human.

Apocryphon of John

Apocryphon of John

The Secret Book of John (Apocryphon of John) is a 2nd-century AD Sethian Gnostic text of secret teachings.