The treatise is divided into five books: of these the first two contain a minute and well-informed description and criticism of the tenets of various heretical sects, especially the Valentinians; the other three set forth the true doctrines of Christianity, and it is from them that we find out the theological opinions of the author.
When the Christians in the eastern part of the empire destroyed a Jewish synagogue and a church belonging to the Valentinians, Theodosius gave orders for the offenders to make reparation.
The demiurge of the Valentinians always clearly bears the features of the Old Testament creator-God.
There are many indications early in the 2nd century of a tendency towards the recognition of a single Gospel; for instance, there are the local Gospels according to Hebrews, according to Egyptians; Marcion had but one Gospel, St Luke, the Valentinians preferred St John and so on; Tatian reduced the Four Gospels to one by means of a Harmony, and it is possible that something of the kind may have existed before he did this.
In the work Against Valentinians, chap. xxxix., he speaks of the " great sacrament of the name," here rendering the Greek word µvo riipcov, mystery.