The Didache

Introduction

The Didache documents the requirements of the Jesus as explained to the very early church.

The Didache, also known as the teachings of The Apostles, is a first century document that was read in the Early church like a form of catechism/doctrinal statement. It was widely circulated for the first two centuries. Remember that there was no New Testament and not all the letters and Gospels would have been read by everyone so that the Didache was a way of passing on what Jesus had taught The Apostles in a form that all could have as it was not a big document so could be readily copied and passed one. The New Testament Epistles were also mainly written to Jews and not gentles so the gentiles would not have known their content. This is why paul was made an apostle to teach the gentiles about Jesus and His requirements of His people.

And so the Didache is a reflection of what Jesus told his Apostles to teach non-Jews about the practice of the Christian faith in a way that was easily understandable and accessible by all who could read..

From it we can get a picture of what the early Christian faith was like.

Proof it was an early document (80 - 100 AD) is based on the following:

1. The sub-title An Instruction of the Lord given to the Heathen by the Twelve Apostles indicates that the manual must have been written when the hierarchy of the Church was still largely Jewish.

2. The simple koine Greek language of the text.

3. The Didache does not yet identify the presbyterate as a third Church office between bishops and deacons. Scholar A. Ehrhard writes: The fact that the Didache does not yet known the presbyterate as a third office, intermediary between the episcopate and the diaconate, is an infallible proof of its great antiquity.

4. The document records that the leaders of the community were elected by the community (Didache 15:1) and not appointed by a bishop or similar.

5. The document also appears to mention the very early Christian custom of eating a complete meal before receiving the Eucharist (Didache chapters 9-10), the "agape supper" (as recorded in 1 Corinthians).

There are other signs of early date: the simplicity of the baptismal rite, which is apparently neither preceded by exorcisms nor by formal admission to the catechumenate (as it was later in the following centuries); the simplicity of the Eucharist, in comparison with the elaborate quasi-Eucharistic prayer in Clem., I Cor., lix-lxi; the permission to prophets to extemporize their Eucharistic thanksgiving; the immediate expectation of the second advent.

Also that Calvary, Salvation and redemption are not mentioned indicates a very early age because these became more important later in in the church.

The Didache of the Twelve Apostles” had been written and widely disseminated by about the year 100, and became increasingly important in the second and third Christian centuries.

It does not mention tongues, Salvation, Redemption, hell. Spiritual headship of a church or woman, Bishops as area controllers or heads of the church in an area. These are later concepts or mentioned in epistles ascribed to the apostles (Ephesians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Second Peter) but written by someone else using the name of an apostle as a form of homage.

Bishop is mentioned in 1 Peter but that was actually written by the Apostle Peter and it is used as Jesus being the Bishop of the church. Hell would be known to heathen religions so they did not need to have explained that the two ways led either to heaven or hell.

The Kingdom of God is implied in 8.2 (The Lord’s Prayer) and in 8.3 we are told to pray this three times a day which meant The Kingdom was always before them. Such was the importance of The Kingdom of God to them and their citizenship in this kingdom. Satan has managed to remove this mindset from the church so that the denomination and its requirements are more important than The Kingdom.

The proper concept of our role in The Kingdom of God is missing from the church which is why it is as it is.

The ‘Lord’s Day’ is mentioned but you need to remember until Constantine Christians worshipped on the Sabbath (Saturday). Some Muslims would not kill Christians who worshipped on the Sabbath but only those that worshipped on the Sunday.

The rest of the Didache is relatively the same as to day but there are a few things that the church is ignoring such as abortion and infanticide being forbidden by Jesus (2:2). After all the Didache is what He taught His apostles to teach the heathen as the basis of the Christian life so if it is not in this document it is not necessary for the observance of the Christian life as Jesus and the Apostles considered it to be.

The Full title is:

[]
An Instruction of the Lord given to the Heathen by the Twelve Apostles

So its purpose can be seen to introduce the practice of Christianity to gentiles who had become new Christians and to show what Jesus taught then to teach as being the basics of the Christian life.


Outline of the Text:

I. The Two Ways (1:1-6:3)


A. The Way of Life

B. The Way of Death

II. Rituals of the Church (7:1-10:7)

A. Instructions on Baptism

B. Instructions on Fasting and Prayer


1. Fast days

2. The Lord's Prayer

C. Instructions on the Eucharist

1. Prayer over the cup

2. Prayer over the bread

3. Continuation of the Eucharistic Prayer

4. Invitation to Receive

III. Ministry (11:1-15:4)

A. Visiting Teachers, Apostles and Prophets

B. Christians Coming to the Community

1. Transient Christian visitors

2. Christians seeking to join the community

C. Material Support for the Clergy

D. Assembly on the Lord's Day

E. Church Hierarchy

IV. Final Exhortation (16:1-8)


Now to examine some of It more fully

1 The Two Ways

1:1 There are two ways : one of life and one of death. There are great differences between these two ways.

The two ways was a popular theme going back to Moses and is a recognition that you either follow Satan (even if only by inactivity to the things of God) or Jesus. This is no longer taught as Satan is rarely mentioned in modern churches so that his role in the life of a Christian is not understood by many.


2 List of forbidden activities

The interesting ones are:

you must not use magic ; you must not use poisenous philtres ; you must not procure abortion nor commit infanticide ;

Magic is the result of demonic activity.
Abortion and infanticide are murder and would have been common practice amongst some of the former religions of the new gentile converts
We obviously do not poison others but the first two above are accepted by many in the ‘Christian’ church today which shows how far we have wandered from what was in the beginning.

Some of the others are also ignored these days but the above are the most obvious ones.

4.3 Talks about dividing the church

You must not desire a schism, but must reconcile those that strive.

Denominations are caused by schisms and divide the church and so go against this early teaching of Jesus

7.2-3 Talks about baptism

7:2 But, if you have no running water, baptize in other water, and if you can not in cold, then in warm.
7:3 But if you have neither, pour water three times on the head in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It appears the only way not to baptise is ‘sprinkling’ used by many churches these days.

8 Fasting and The Lord’s Prayer

8:1 Do not fast when the hypocrites fast, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, so fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.

They were to fast on days different to that which the heathen fasted on to show they were no longer heathen.

8.2 is The Lord’s Prayer as is found in The Gospels. The only comment is that it should be prayed three times a day so they would be reminded of The Father, His position in things, His Kingdom and what He does for them and what they are to do as citizens of His Kingdom..

9 The Eucharist

The prayers are interesting and there is none of the sombreness or remembrance of Calvary that there is today.. The word ‘Eucharist’ is derived from words meaning ‘thanksgiving’ and ‘gratitude’. From the prayers below this can be clearly seen. Calvary, sacrifice, redemption and the death of Jesus are not mentioned in the Didache

9:2 First concerning the cup :

"We thank You, our Father,
for the holy vine of David Your servant,
which You made known to us through Jesus Your servant.
To You belongs the glory for ever."

9:3 And concerning the broken bread :

We thank You, our Father,
for the life and knowledge which You made
known to us through Jesus Your servant.
To You belongs the glory for ever."

There was also a prayer for unity so the church would bring Glory to God and serve His Kingdom.

9:4 As this broken bread was scattered over the mountains, and was brought together to become one, so let Your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Your Kingdom, for the glory and the power are Yours through Jesus Christ forever.

CHAPTER 10 : thanksgiving after communion

10:1 But after you are satisfied with food, give thanks in this way :
10:2 We give thanks to You, O Holy Father, for Your Holy Name which You made to live in our hearts, and for the knowledge, the faith and the immortality which You did made known to us through Jesus Your servant. To You belongs the glory for ever.
10:3 You, Lord Almighty, did create all things through Your Name, and did give food and drink to men for their enjoyment, that they might give thanks to You, but us have You blessed with spiritual food, drink and eternal light through Your servant.
10:4 Above all we give thanks to You because You are mighty. Yours is the glory for ever.
10:5 Remember, Lord, to deliver Your church from all evil and to make it perfect in Your love, and gather it together from the four winds, holy in Your kingdom which You have prepared for it. For Yours are the power and the glory for ever.
10:6 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. Marana tha ! Amen.

As it can be seen the theme of thanksgiving and gratitude is present in the prayer after the communion as well giving Glory to God for all He had done for them in Jesus and personally in The Father.

11 reception of teachers, apostles, prophets true & false

This is repeated in full and shows how wrong modern Apostles and Prophets are. Televangelists and many church mega pastors should shake in their shoes over this passage.

Also churches who deny the existence of prophets and Apostles will also have to explain to Jesus why they did not believe in classes of people He used.

11:1 Whoever comes to teach you all these things aforesaid, receive him.
11:2 But if the teacher himself goes astray and teaches another doctrine destroying these things, do not listen to him, but if his teaching increased your righteousness and knowledge of the Lord, then receive him as the Lord.
11:3 And concerning the apostles and the prophets, act according to the decree of the Gospel.
11:4 Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord.
11:5 But he must not remain longer than one day, or if need be, a second as well. But if he stays three days, he is a false prophet.
11:6 And when the apostle leaves let him accept nothing but bread to sustain him to his next shelter. But if he ask for money, he is a false prophet.
11:7 Do not test or judge any prophet who is speaking in the Spirit, for every sin will be forgiven, but not this sin. (You are blaspheming The Holy Spirit by doing this.)
11:8 But not everyone who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet, but only those who walk in the ways of the Lord. By his conduct, then, is the true prophet known from the false.
11:9 Never does a prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit eat of it, except if he is a false prophet.
11:10 Every prophet teaches the truth, but if he does not do what he teaches, he is a false prophet.
11:11 But no prophet who has been tried and is genuine, acting according to the worldly mystery of the church, but does not teach others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged by you for his judgment is with God. The prophets of old are examples of this.
11:12 But if somebody in the Spirit says to you : “Give me money." or something similar, do not listen to him. But nobody should judge him if he tells you to give to the needy.

14 the communal sacrament
The purity of heart to take communion is then explained. This is one reason you should seek to be holy and always in a correct relationship with God in all you do.
14:1 Gather together on the Lord's day, break bread and hold Eucharist, after first having confessed your transgressions, so that your offering may be pure.
14:2 But let none who has a quarrel with his fellow join you until they be reconciled, so that your sacrifice may be undefiled.
14:3 For this is the sacrifice spoken of by the Lord : “In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great King, says the Lord, and My Name is wonderful among the nations."

15 communal hierarchy & method of reproof

Next it talks about the qualifications of Bishops. These are really ministers and not like the status of bishops as we have today. So this passage lists requirements of minister.

15:1 Therefore, appoint for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, meek men, disinterested in money, truthful and approved, for they too will fulfil among you the services of prophets and teachers.

Few ministers would qualify as few are prophets and many seek good positions and good salaries.

16 This talks about the second coming

It says to be always ready for it and then talks about the last days. The worrying thing is that many Christians do not know about the second coming and churches do not prepare their congregations for it as well as teach them the attitudes they need to have toward it.

Conclusion

As it can be seen there was no church hierarchy, denominational or church boards to satisfy, no theology or seminaries/bible colleges, missionary associations or even a New Testament list of books and letters. All that was required was to be led by The Holy Spirit and obey Jesus. With this few requirements the early Church evangelised the then Known world. We have all of the above and Christianity in the west is dying in most places.

But then they did not have Satan to mould their church for 2000 years and when you examine the modern church and compare it to the early church you will see how far Satan has subverted it from its simple beginnings. But then he would not be Satan if he had not done that..