quotes from the Didache →
The Didache (Also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) was written between 50 and 70 A.D. and is the oldest extant written catechism known to scholars. Written earlier than some books of the New Testament, it is similar in several ways to the Gospel of Matthew, probably originating in communities of Matthew traditions. It is one of the “antilegomena” or “disputed” writings that many Christians considered Scripture and were widely read in the Early Church, but were questioned in some places. These “disputed” writings included James, Jude, Hebrews, 3rd John, 2nd Peter, Revelation, the Didache, Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas, Apocalypse of Peter, and the Acts of Paul. These should not be confused with known heretical works that were clearly condemned by the Church Fathers, such as the many Gospels of Gnostic origin that were written close to a century later. It was not until the 4th Century at the Councils of Rome (382 A.D.), Hippo (393 A.D.), and Carthage (397 A.D.), that the current New Testament canon was formally decided upon. For the full English translation provided by J.B. Lightfoot, click the link below.
Quotes and Excerpts:
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 mandate; for 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.”
“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 philtres; thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide; “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods”;
And thou shalt seek daily the presence of the saints, that thou mayest find rest in their words.
Thou shalt not desire a schism, but shalt reconcile those that strive. Thou shalt give righteous judgement; thou shalt favor no mans person in reproving transgression.
Thou shalt not be of two minds whether it shall be or not.
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.
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 Ghost,” in running water;
But if thou hast no running water, baptise in other water, and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm.
But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head “in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”
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.
Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.
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 today 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.”
Pray thus three times a day.
And concerning the Eucharist, hold Eucharist thus:
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.”
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.
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.”
But let none eat or drink of your Eucharist except those who have been baptised in the Lord’s Name. For concerning this also did the Lord say, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs.”
Whosoever then comes and teaches you all these things aforesaid, receive him.
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.
On the Lord’s Day, gather together, break bread and hold Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions that your offering may be pure;
But let none who has a quarrel with his fellow join in your meeting until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice be not defiled.
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.”
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.
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 the curse itself.