The Parable of the Pearl (also called the Pearl of Great Price) is one of the parables of Jesus. It appears in Matthew 13:45-46 and illustrates the great value of the Kingdom of Heaven. It does not appear in the other synoptic gospels, but a version of this parable does appear in the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas, Saying 76. The parable reads:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.— Matthew 13:45-46.
A version of the parable of the pearl of great price appears in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas.
Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom is like a merchant who had a supply of merchandise and found a pearl. That merchant was prudent; he sold the merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself. So also with you, seek his treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring, where no moth comes to eat and no worm destroys.”— Gospel of Thomas 76, Patterson/Meyer translation
This work’s version of the parable of the Hidden Treasure appears later (Saying 109), rather than immediately preceding, as in Matthew. However, the mention of a treasure in Saying 76 may reflect a source for the Gospel of Thomas in which the parables were adjacent, so that the original pair of parables has been “broken apart, placed in separate contexts, and expanded in a manner characteristic of folklore.” In Gnostic thought the pearl may represent Christ or the true self. In the Gnostic Acts of Peter and the Twelve, found with the Gospel of Thomas in the Nag Hammadi library, the travelling pearl merchant Lithargoel is eventually revealed to be Jesus.