Skip to comments.The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles
Posted on 11/09/2004 6:57:01 PM PST by Rocketman
The Didache is the oldest Christain document in existance other than the books of the New Testament. Scholars say it was written between 50 - 150 AD. Its importance is that it gives us a glimpse of how the early church enacted the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. It is best to read this a bit at a time and meditate on it comparing it with the bible and what you were taught.
1 There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the two Ways. 2 The Way of Life is this: "First, thou shalt love the God who made thee, secondly, thy neighbor as thyself; and whatsoever thou wouldst not have done to thyself, do not thou to another." 3 Now, the teaching of these words is this: "Bless those that curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those that persecute you. For what credit is it to you if you love those that love you? Do not even the heathen do the same?" But, for your part, "love those that hate you," and you will have no enemy. 4 "Abstain from carnal" and bodily "lusts." "If any man smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also," and thou wilt be perfect. "If any man impress thee to go with him one mile, go with him two. If any man take thy coat, give him thy shirt also. If any man will take from thee what is thine, refuse it not" -- not even if thou canst. 5 Give to everyone that asks thee, and do not refuse, for the Father's will is that we give to all from the gifts we have received. Blessed is he that gives according to the commandment; for he is innocent. Woe to him who receives; for if any man receive alms under pressure of need he is innocent; but he who receives it without need shall be tried as to why he took and for what, and being in prison he shall be examined as to his deeds, and "he shall not come out thence until he pay the last farthing." 6 But concerning this it was also said, "Let thine alms sweat into thine hands until thou knowest to whom thou art giving."
1 But the second commandment of the teaching is this: 2 "Thou shalt do no murder; thou shalt not commit adultery"; thou shalt not commit sodomy; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use magic; thou shalt not use sorceries; thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide; "thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods"; 3 thou shalt not commit perjury, "thou shalt not bear false witness"; thou shalt not speak evil; thou shalt not bear malice. 4 Thou shalt not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is the snare of death. 5 Thy speech shall not be false nor vain, but completed in action. 6 Thou shalt not be covetous nor extortionate, nor a hypocrite, nor malignant, nor proud; thou shalt make no evil plan against thy neighbour. 7 Thou shalt hate no man; but some thou shalt reprove, and for some shalt thou pray, and some thou shalt love more than thine own life.
1 My child, flee from every evil man and from all like him. 2 Be not proud, for pride leads to murder, nor jealous, nor contentious, nor passionate, for from all these murders are engendered. 3 My child, be not lustful, for lust leads to fornication, nor a speaker of base words, nor a lifter up of the eyes, for from all these is adultery engendered. 4 My child, regard not omens, for this leads to idolatry; neither be an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a magician, neither wish to see these things, for from them all is idolatry engendered. 5 My child, be not a liar, for lying leads to theft, nor a lover of money, nor vain-glorious, for from all these things are thefts engendered. 6 My child, be not a grumbler, for this leads to blasphemy, nor stubborn, nor a thinker of evil, for from all these are blasphemies engendered, 7 but be thou "meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth;" 8 be thou long-suffering, and merciful and guileless, and quiet, and good, and ever fearing the words which thou hast heard. 9 Thou shalt not exalt thyself, nor let thy soul be presumptuous. Thy soul shall not consort with the lofty, but thou shalt walk with righteous and humble men. 10 Receive the accidents that befall to thee as good, knowing that nothing happens without God.
1 My child, thou shalt remember, day and night, him who speaks the word of God to thee, and thou shalt honor him as the Lord, for where the Lord's nature is spoken of, there is he present. 2 And thou shalt seek daily the presence of the saints, that thou mayest find rest in their words. 3 Thou shalt not desire a schism, but shalt reconcile those that strive. Thou shalt give righteous judgment; thou shalt favor no man's person in reproving transgression. 4 Thou shalt not be of two minds whether it shall be or not. 5 Be not one who stretches out his hands to receive, but shuts them when it comes to giving. 6 Of whatsoever thou hast gained by thy hands thou shalt give a ransom for thy sins. 7 Thou shalt not hesitate to give, nor shalt thou grumble when thou givest, for thou shalt know who is the good Paymaster of the reward. 8 Thou shalt not turn away the needy, but shalt share everything with thy brother, and shalt not say that it is thine own, for if you are sharers in the imperishable, how much more in the things which perish? 9 Thou shalt not withhold thine hand from thy son or from thy daughter, but thou shalt teach them the fear of God from their youth up. 10 Thou shalt not command in thy bitterness thy slave or thine handmaid, who hope in the same God, lest they cease to fear the God who is over you both; for he comes not to call men with respect of persons, but those whom the Spirit has prepared. 11 But do you who are slaves be subject to your master, as to God's representative, in reverence and fear. 12 Thou shalt hate all hypocrisy, and everything that is not pleasing to the Lord. 13 Thou shalt not forsake the commandments of the Lord, but thou shalt keep what thou didst receive, "adding nothing to it and taking nothing away." 14 In the congregation thou shalt confess thy transgressions, and thou shalt not betake thyself to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the Way of Life.
1 But the Way of Death is this: First of all, it is wicked and full of cursing, murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, witchcrafts, charms, robberies, false witness, hypocrisies, a double heart, fraud, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness, foul speech, jealousy, impudence, haughtiness, boastfulness. 2 Persecutors of the good, haters of truth, lovers of lies, knowing not the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good nor to righteous judgment, spending wakeful nights not for good but for wickedness, from whom meekness and patience is far, lovers of vanity, following after reward, unmerciful to the poor, not working for him who is oppressed with toil, without knowledge of him who made them, murderers of children, corrupters of God's creatures, turning away the needy, oppressing the distressed, advocates of the rich, unjust judges of the poor, altogether sinful; may ye be delivered, my children, from all these.
1 See "that no one make thee to err" from this Way of the teaching, for he teaches thee without God. 2 For if thou canst bear the whole yoke of the Lord, thou wilt be perfect, but if thou canst not, do what thou canst. 3 And concerning food, bear what thou canst, but keep strictly from that which is offered to idols, for it is the worship of dead gods.
1 Concerning baptism, baptise thus: Having first rehearsed all these things, "baptise, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," in running water; 2 but if thou hast no running water, baptise in other water, and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm. 3 But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head "in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." 4 And before the baptism let the baptiser and him who is to be baptised fast, and any others who are able. And thou shalt bid him who is to be baptised to fast one or two days before.
1 Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. 2 And do not pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in his Gospel, pray thus: "Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, as in Heaven so also upon earth; give us to-day our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into trial, but deliver us from the Evil One, for thine is the power and the glory for ever." 3 Pray thus three times a day.
1 And concerning the Eucharist, hold Eucharist thus: 2 First concerning the Cup, "We give thanks to thee, our Father, for the Holy Vine of David thy child, which, thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy child; to thee be glory for ever." 3 And concerning the broken Bread: "We give thee thanks, our Father, for the life and knowledge which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever. 4 As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains, but was brought together and became one, so let thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy Kingdom, for thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever." 5 But let none eat or drink of your Eucharist except those who have been baptized in the Lord's Name. For concerning this also did the Lord say, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs." CHAPTER 10 The final prayer in the Eucharist 1 But after you are satisfied with food, thus give thanks: 2 "We give thanks to thee, O Holy Father, for thy Holy Name which thou didst make to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever. 3 Thou, Lord Almighty, didst create all things for thy Name's sake, and didst give food and drink to men for their enjoyment, that they might give thanks to thee, but us hast thou blessed with spiritual food and drink and eternal light through thy Child. 4 Above all we give thanks to thee for that thou art mighty. To thee be glory for ever. 5 Remember, Lord, thy Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in thy love, and gather it together in its holiness from the four winds to thy kingdom which thou hast prepared for it. For thine is the power and the glory for ever. 6 Let grace come and let this world pass away. Hosannah to the God of David. If any man be holy, let him come! if any man be not, let him repent: Maranatha, Amen." 7 But suffer the prophets to hold Eucharist as they will.
1 Whosoever then comes and teaches you all these things aforesaid, receive him. 2 But if the teacher himself be perverted and teach another doctrine to destroy these things, do not listen to him, but if his teaching be for the increase of righteousness and knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. 3 And concerning the Apostles and Prophets, act thus according to the ordinance of the Gospel. 4 Let every Apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord, 5 but let him not stay more than one day, or if need be a second as well; but if he stay three days, he is a false prophet. 6 And when an Apostle goes forth let him accept nothing but bread till he reach his night's lodging; but if he ask for money, he is a false prophet. 7 Do not test or examine any prophet who is speaking in a spirit, "for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven." 8 But not everyone who speaks in a spirit is a prophet, except he have the behavior of the Lord. From his behavior, then, the false prophet and the true prophet shall be known. 9 And no prophet who orders a meal in a spirit shall eat of it: otherwise he is a false prophet. 10 And every prophet who teaches the truth, if he do not what he teaches, is a false prophet. 11 But no prophet who has been tried and is genuine, though he enact a outward mystery of the Church, and yet he teach you not to do what he does himself, he shall not be judged by you: for he has his judgment in the presence of God, for so also did the prophets of old. 12 But whosoever shall say in a spirit `Give me money, or something else,' you shall not listen to him; but if he tell you to give on behalf of others in want, let none judge him.
1 Let everyone who "comes in the Name of the Lord" be received; but when you have tested him you shall know him, for you shall have understanding of true and false. 2 If he who comes is a traveller, help him as much as you can, but he shall not remain with you more than two days, or, if need be, three. 3 And if he wishes to settle among you and has a craft, let him work for his bread. 4 But if he has no craft provide for him according to your understanding, so that no man shall live among you in idleness because he is a Christian. 5 But if he will not do so, he is making traffic of Christ; beware of such.
1 But every true prophet who wishes to settle among you is "worthy of his food." 2 Likewise a true teacher is himself worthy, like the workman, of his food. 3 Therefore thou shalt take the firstfruit of the produce of the winepress and of the threshing-floor and of oxen and sheep, and shalt give them as the firstfruits to the prophets, for they are your high priests. 4 But if you have not a prophet, give to the poor. 5 If thou makest bread, take the firstfruits, and give it according to the commandment. 6 Likewise when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, give the firstfruits to the prophets. 7 Of money also and clothes, and of all your possessions, take the firstfruits, as it seem best to you, and give according to the commandment.
1 On the Lord's Day of the Lord come together, break bread and hold Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions that your offering may be pure; 2 but let none who has a quarrel with his fellow join in your meeting until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice be not defiled. 3 For this is that which was spoken by the Lord, "In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great king," saith the Lord, "and my name is wonderful among the heathen."
1 Appoint therefore for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, meek men, and not lovers of money, and truthful and approved, for they also minister to you the ministry of the prophets and teachers. 2 Therefore do not despise them, for they are your honourable men together with the prophets and teachers. 3 And reprove one another not in wrath but in peace as you find in the Gospel, and let none speak with any who has done a wrong to his neighbour, nor let him hear a word from you until he repents. 4 But your prayers and alms and all your acts perform as ye find in the Gospel of our Lord.
1 "Watch" over your life: "let your lamps" be not quenched "and your loins" be not ungirded, but be "ready," for ye know not "the hour in which our Lord cometh." 2 But be frequently gathered together seeking the things which are profitable for your souls, for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you except ye be found perfect at the last time; 3 for in the last days the false prophets and the corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall change to hate; 4 for as lawlessness increaseth they shall hate one another and persecute and betray, and then shall appear the deceiver of the world as a Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders and the earth shall be given over into his hands and he shall commit iniquities which have never been since the world began. 5 Then shall the creation of mankind come to the fiery trial and "many shall be offended" and be lost, but "they who endure" in their faith "shall be saved" by (from) the curse itself. 6 And "then shall appear the signs" of the truth. First the sign spread out in Heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead: 7 but not of all the dead, but as it was said, "The Lord shall come and all his saints with him." 8 Then shall the world "see the Lord coming on the clouds of Heaven."
When we speak about truth and having a love for the truth we must start asking questions as to where ideas came from who suggested them and why where they given. For example Offering plates were invented by the Roman Catholic Church between the first and second crusades when they had taped out the european nobility for funds and still came up short they turned to the laity that had traditionally been the poor.It created was by design so that the priests and ushers could see what was being offered by who and at the time if a man was considered wealthier than what he was offering they would have a chat in the confessional or perhaps the inquisitor would call on him.
The term New Testament was coined by "Tertullian" in the year 200 it was the name of his new latin translation of the gospels and epistles that he was pushing at the time --unfortunately the name stuck and came to mean something other than "a new translation"
About 150 yeaars later the word New Testament and Old Testament were codified with the creation of the cannon of scripture. Forever dividing Gods word into the Christian part and the Jewish part -- Jesus called it the law and the prophets and all verses that refer to the law and the prophets by Christ and the Apostles are always called scripture.
In the new testament the Apostles make no references to each others writings as scripture instead it is all called the gospel. And this was prophesied as as much by Isaiah preaching Good News to the poor. . . oddly enought when Christ proclaimed his ministry in galilee he opened the gosepl era with reading that very passage in Isaiah.
If you have any questions feel free to email me I will try my best to answer any questions.
bump for later consumption
Thank-you for posting this. The Didache has been part of Orthodox libraries for nearly two thousand years. Much of what it says about fasting and preparation for reception of the Eucharist are practiced to this day among Orthodox Christians. While it has never been considered canonical, Athanasius, for example, held it to be deutero-canonical and it tells us a lot about very early Christian practice and belief.
Printed for later study by a bible thumping born again newly ordained minister. Thank you
Read Eusubius, Joesphus, Philo and other ancient texts. I have read the didache over several times and I find more in it of valuable each time.
It is said that there are references in the Didache from the Shepard of Hermes the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Barnabas. After having been lost for over 1500 years the Didache was discovered in monastery in Constantinople in 1883. Another copy was found in the remains of a Coptic Church monastery in 1923
Probably the only reason that copies of the Didache ware still found in these places is that the Roman Catholic Church had a split with the eastern orthodox church, and long before the crusades Islam had destroyed the Coptic church across the middle east and Northern Africa and was not able to purge these monasteries of such incriminating documents.
To some the words in this document may sound somewhat foreign, but we must take into account their words above the words of our great protestant teachers and leaders of the last 500 years. How can I suggest such a thing because the people who wrote this were a lot closer to Christ and the Apostles than we are this document is estimated to have been written between 23 years after Christs death to 50 years after the death of the Apostle John. What Im getting at is that either way, as this document was circulated in the various churches there was a number of people still living that had personally been taught by the Apostles themselves.
What was common knowledge about the teachings of Christ the Apostles between 50 AD and 150 AD has all been but lost to us as there are very few letters or historical accounts with which to gauge the words of Paul so show us how early church services were conducted what was the early churches doctrines, what did the early church view as the commandments of Christ, in this document we can catch an ever so brief unfiltered glimpse of what these early followers of Christ believed.
I am not saying that this is equal with scripture but I am saying that their words based on the day this was written should hold a lot more weight than the scholars and linguists who have written so much of our doctrine over the last 500 years.
Tithing is merely a 50-year-old doctrine?
On the contrary, if you look at St. Paul's epistles you'll see that he was taking up a collection back in the first century!
The term New Testament was coined by "Tertullian"
No, it was coined by Jesus. See Luke 22:20.
In the new testament the Apostles make no references to each others writings as scripture
... our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:15-16)
A familiar phrase was coiuned during the depression "As poor as a church mouse"
Look up DL Moody, Charles finny, John wesley and a hundred others you won't find a tithing message -- The tithing message really came into prominance in churches in the late 1970's and early 80's with Oral roberts sucess with the book seed faith and the tele-evangleists.
Go on the internet search out these things find out for yourself its all out there just a few clicks away.
What about the Mormons? I thought they tithe, and they are older than 50 years?
Perhaps it's more accurate to say that Christian congregations and leaders have only recently rediscovered tithing, an ancient scriptural law in the times before Christ.
But early Christian church leaders, I believe, taught and practiced tithing.
Augustine said: "Tithes are required as a matter of debt, and he who has been unwilling to give them has been guilty of robbery." (bringing to mind Malachi)
Jerome taught that anyone that fails to tithe "is convicted of defrauding and supplanting God."
Ambrose, a Roman contemporary of Augustine, wrote: "God has reserved the tenth part to himself, and therefore it is not lawful for a man to retain what God has reserved for himself. To you he has given nine parts, for himself he has reserved the tenth part, and if you shall not give to God the tenth part, God will take from you the nine parts."
The Council of Macon established tithing as a requirement in 585 A.D.
And I am Glad that you brought up luke 22:20 Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
Jesus did not day the book was the new covenant tertullian did in 200 AD What did Jesus say this CUP
I spent a lot of time studying this becasue it was contrary to the traditions of men we were all taught. The cup in communion of his blood is the new covenant.
Look now at paul . . .
1 Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
See Paul makes the same error Jesus did . . .claining the cup is the new testament -- see they didn't have the pastor or teacher you had ( Sorry I am not mocking you) The same teachers I had.
See it gets worse than that
1 Corinthians 10:16-18 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?
Read carefully there are two communions incororpated into holy communion They in turn correspont to two specific things in the law of mosses where it was type and shadow I'll give you a hint it is not the ever popular preactice of covenanting.
Please don't throw bombs we can discuss these things without cursing and dmning each other -- scripture would indicate that Jesus and the father tend to frown on those practices.
If you look in the first second and third century tithing did not exist in the christian vanacular.
After the boys from rome took over everything changed.
I'm seaching for a quote about pope gregory as we speak and I'll post it for you to examine and meditate on as to the state of the catholic church in the first few ceturies after assuming control.
The only truth in this matter is that somewhere back about 1500 years ago in church history a certain minister or a certain group of ministers got tired of selling all and then living hand to mouth for the rest of their lives. So once the ministry became liberated of this undo burden, they then discovered to their chagrin that some of their congregation members were still adhering to the words of Christ, and this would hardly do. The Priest needed to be the holiest, most sanctified member of the church. So the situation required a little more liberation besides this had a little perk for the Priests. Poor members gave little or no offerings, but people who had means could give more. If you look up offerings and offering plates in Google you will discover that the ministry for the first four centuries was flat broke. They didnt even have a poor box. They collected only gifts no tithes, they had no offering plates. In the early and mid fourth century they say the offering were placed on the altar and distributed by the priests to the priests in need and to the poor.
At about that time the Catholic church came out with its first money making scheme the tombs and relics of the Apostles and Prophets. In those days Christians would go on these pilgrimages to holy churches and holy sites. If a church was lucky enough to have a good relic they got offerings from Pilgrims. Anyway the author said that the churches greatest cash-making cow of the era was St. Peters tomb in Rome it was so successful that they build a trap door in the tomb the pilgrim would come open the door toss in his offering to St. Peter and then yell what he wanted and then slammed the door shut. If we want to really do the prosperity Gospel right we might consider something like this in our churches. This had a whole lot more pop to it than the old bedpans we pass around.
So old Pope Gregory comes along and he complains that the church is filled with the poor and he wants to expand the churches offering horizon. To he start hobnobbing with some royalty. Finds this king that is laden with sin but has lots of money. So he has an artificer make him a cross shaped vial. The Pope then fills this vial with metal filings and sells the vial to this king for around thousands of gold pieces telling the king that in the vial are filings from the chains of St. Peter. Chains must have been a fashion statement for royalty that year. Pope Gregory tells this king that when he wears this vial he is wearing the actually chains of St. Peter and that these chains completely absolve the wearer of all sin. So he could no doubt go and rape and pillage to his hearts content. Since the 1950s preachers have been selling little vials of holy water and healing oil and cloth healing strips obviously these people are small minded. So after his first deal Pope Gregory orders a second vial and makes a deal with another king. Probably he saw the first kings dress chains and was jealous. In this vial he puts brass metal filings. If he sells so many sets of chains he could have a problem explaining where he got the stuff from. In this case he tells the second king that in his vial are the filings from the keys of the kingdom that Christ gave St, Peter. And that by wearing this little vial he was also absolved of all past and future sins So he could now kill and loot with impunity. Now of course we know that Christ gave no metal keys to Peter and that whatever was in those vials could not absolve these men of a single sin, but the king and others believed that. And some bishops went crazy about the notion of their Holy Pope filing down Holy artifacts and selling the stuff to the highest bidder.
Pope Gregory incidently was a 5th century and very early 6th kind og Guy he was born 25 years before Saint Jerome
Perhaps a more enlightening discussion was when did the practice of having PAID ministers, priests, etc. begin? Was Christ's original intent to have professional clergy, or a lay ministry?
I beleive the term in the bible for that is a hireling.
I've posted before on that recently
Do you know what the position of the Vatican is on the Didache, and what it was pre-Vat II?
The didache was pre-vatican, pre-pope, early apostollic father, it was written between 50 AD to 150 AD it was pre canno0n of scripture before the Gospels and epistles were published as a book the Didache was used -- in Churches as a guide for new beleivers. It has nothing to do with what the catholic church decided and made up later.
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