Etymologically the word apocrypha comes from the Greek “apokriptein” where “apo” means “far” and Kryptein means “hidden”. Normally this term is used to denote something that is false, that is not proven, however, it is a word that is used within the religious context to refer to some sacred books that are not included in the Bible and therefore are unknown to people, these writings are kept hidden since some of the ideas embodied in them contradict Christianity or are based on fanciful situations, in addition to the fact that the way they were written is confusing to the reader.

The apocryphal gospels are those that originated during the first centuries of Christianity and that their writing revolved around the life of Jesus, these were not incorporated into the canon of the Catholic Church and were not admitted by the other churches (orthodox, Protestant, etc). These writings were given the name of gospels, due to their similar appearance to that of the four gospels accepted in the canon of the new testament, however the inequality between the apocryphal and canonical texts lies in the way they are written.

In the canonical gospels, the authorship of the same belongs to some of the apostles whose interpretation is considered true since they were eyewitnesses of the events described there, and that are those of Matthew, Mark, John, and Luke. On the other hand, the apocryphal gospels, the authorship is attributed to an apostle without knowing if he was really the one who wrote it. An example would be the Gospel of Saint Thomas, that of Mary Magdalene, etc.