"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
C. S. Lewis

Friday, July 12, 2013

Life and Death


Didache (Διδαχή)
The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles

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The Didache, also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (Didachē means "Teaching”) is a brief early Christian treatise written c. 100 AD. Some have argued that it ought to be dated c. A.D.40-60.

The work was considered by some, but not all, of the Church Fathers as part of the New Testament. Because it was not universally accepted it was not officially recognized by the Church as part of the New Testament canon. Nevertheless, the Didache was considered profitable reading by the entire early Church and today is considered part of the category of second-generation Christian writings known as the Apostolic Fathers.

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CHAPTER 1

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here are two ways, one of life and one of death, but a great difference between the two ways. The way of life, then, is this: First, you shall love God who made you; second, love your neighbor as yourself, and do not do to another what you would not want done to you. And of these sayings the teaching is this: Bless those who curse you, pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what reward is there for loving those who love you? Do not the Gentiles [unbelievers] do the same? But love those who hate you and you will not have an enemy. Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. If someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other cheek as well, and you will be perfect. If someone compels you to serve him for one mile, go with him two. If someone takes your outer garment, give him also your coat. If someone takes from you what is yours, do not ask for it back, for indeed you are not able. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for it back; for the Father’s will is that to all should be given of our own blessings (free gifts). Happy is he who gives according to the commandment, for he is guiltless. Woe to him who receives; for though if one receives who has need he is guiltless; but he who receives not having need will pay the penalty for why and for what he accepted without need. And coming into confinement, he will be examined concerning the things that he has done, and he will not escape from there until he pays back the last penny. And also concerning this, it has been said, “Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give.”


CHAPTER 2



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nd the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft [may possibly refer to those who concoct pharmaceutical abortifacients, see use in 5.1], you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born. You shall not covet [envy] the things of your neighbor, you shall not swear [perjure], you shall not bear false witness, you shall not speak evil [slander], you shall bear no grudge. You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is a snare of death. Your speech shall not be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by deed. You shall not be covetous [exploitive], nor rapacious [predatory], nor a hypocrite, nor evil disposed, nor haughty [prideful]. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbor. You shall not hate any man; but some you shall reprove, and concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life.


CHAPTER 3

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y child, flee from every evil thing, and from every likeness of it. Be not prone to anger, for anger leads to murder. Be neither jealous [envious], nor quarrelsome, nor of hot temper, for out of all these murders are engendered. My child, be not a lustful one, for lust leads to fornication. Be neither a filthy talker, nor of lofty eye, for out of all these adulteries are engendered. My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leads to idolatry. Be neither an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a purifier, nor be willing to look at these things, for out of all these idolatry is engendered. My child, be not a liar, since a lie leads to theft. Be neither money-loving, nor vainglorious [self-important], for out of all these thefts are engendered. My child, be not a murmurer , since it leads the way to blasphemy. Be neither self-willed nor evil-minded, for out of all these blasphemies are engendered.

Rather, be meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth. Be long-suffering [tolerant] and pitiful [compassionate] and guileless [genuine] and gentle and good and always trembling at the words which you have heard. You shall not exalt yourself, nor give over-confidence to your soul. Your soul shall not be joined with lofty ones, but with just and lowly ones shall it have its intercourse. Accept whatever happens to you as good, knowing that apart from God nothing comes to pass.

CHAPTER 4

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y child, remember night and day him who speaks the word of God to you, and honor him as you do the Lord. For wherever the lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord. And seek out day by day the faces of the saints, in order that you may rest upon their words. Do not long for division, but rather bring those who contend to peace. Judge righteously, and do not respect persons in reproving for transgressions. You shall not be undecided whether or not it shall be. Be not stretcher forth your hands to receive but draw them back when you ought to give. If you have anything, through your hands you shall give ransom for your sins. Do not hesitate to give, nor complain when you give; for you shall know who is the good repayer [paymaster] of the hire. Do not turn away from him who is in want; rather, share all things with your brother, and do not say that they are [personally] your own. For if you are partakers in that which is immortal, how much more in things which are mortal? Do not remove your hand from your son or daughter; rather, teach them the fear of God from their youth. Do not enjoin anything in your bitterness upon your bondman or maidservant, who hope in the same God, lest ever they shall not fear God who is over both; for he comes not to call according to the outward appearance, but to them whom the Spirit has prepared. And you bondmen shall be subject to your masters as to a type of God, in modesty and fear. You shall hate all hypocrisy and everything which is not pleasing to the Lord. Do not in any way forsake the commandments of the Lord; but keep what you have received, neither adding thereto nor taking away there from. In the church you shall acknowledge your transgressions, and you shall not come near for your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.


CHAPTER 5

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nd the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and accursed: murders, adultery, lust, fornication, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts [may possibly refer to those who concoct pharmaceutical abortifacients, see use in 2.2], rape [plunder], false witness, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness [prideful], depravity [evil], self-will [unrestrained], greediness [exploitive], filthy talking, jealousy [envious], over-confidence [disrespectful, impudent], loftiness, boastfulness [vain, conceited]; persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing a reward for righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for that which is good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and endurance are far, loving vanities, pursuing revenge, not pitying a poor man, not laboring for the afflicted, not knowing Him Who made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him who is in want, afflicting him who is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these.


CHAPTER 6

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ee that no one causes you to err [wander] from this way of the Teaching, since it teaches you to part from God. For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able. And concerning food, bear what you are able [i.e. fasting]; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly careful; for it is the service of dead gods.


CHAPTER 7

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nd concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [i.e. running] water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

CHAPTER 8

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ut do not let your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day and the Preparation (Friday). Do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, like this:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Thine is the power and the glory for ever.

Pray this three times each day.

 
CHAPTER 9

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ow concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way. First, concerning the cup:

We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory forever.

And concerning the broken bread:

We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You made known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory forever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered 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 forever.

But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."

CHAPTER 10

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ut after you are filled, give thanks this way:

We thank Thee, holy Father, for Thy holy name which You didst cause to tabernacle [dwell] in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You made known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory forever. Thou, Master almighty, didst create all things for Thy name's sake; You gave food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to Thee; but to us You didst freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Thy Servant. Before all things we thank Thee that You are mighty; to Thee be the glory forever. Remember, Lord, Thy Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in Thy love, and gather it from the four winds, sanctified for Thy kingdom which Thou have prepared for it; for Thine is the power and the glory forever. Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the God (Son) of David! If anyone is holy, let him come; if anyone is not so, let him repent. Maranatha [the Lord comes]. Amen.

But permit the prophets to make Thanksgiving as much as they desire.



CHAPTER 11

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hosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not. But if he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as [you would] the Lord. But concerning the apostles and prophets, act according to the decree of the Gospel. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain more than one day; or two days, if there's a need. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet who speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not everyone who speaks in the Spirit is  a prophet; but only if he holds the ways of the Lord. Therefore  from their ways shall the false prophet and the [true] prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet. And every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for others' sake who are in need, let no one judge him.

CHAPTER 12

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ut receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, and prove and know him afterward; for you shall have understanding right and left. If he who comes is a wayfarer, assist him as far as you are able; but he shall not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be. But if he wants to stay with you, and is an artisan, let him work and eat. But if he has no trade, according to your understanding, see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he wills not to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that you keep away from such.

CHAPTER 13

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ut every true prophet who wants to live among you is worthy of his support. So also a true teacher is himself worthy of his support, as the workman,. Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of [the] wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, you shall take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests. But if you have no prophet, give it to the poor. If you make a batch of dough, take the first-fruit and give according to the commandment. So also when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the first-fruit and give it to the prophets; and of money (silver) and clothing and every possession, take the first-fruit, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.

CHAPTER 14

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ut every Lord's day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving [lit. celebrate the Eucharist] after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: "In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations."

CHAPTER 15

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ppoint for yourselves, therefore, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord; meek [humble, gentle, considerate] men, truthful and proved, and not lovers of money; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. Therefore do not despise them, for they are your honored ones, together with the prophets and teachers. And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as you have it in the Gospel. But to anyone that acts amiss against another, let no one speak, nor let him hear anything from you until he repents. But so do your prayers and alms and all your deeds as you have it in the Gospel of our Lord.

CHAPTER 16


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atch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you do not know the hour in which our Lord comes. But you shall come together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you be not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters will be multiplied, and the sheep will be turned into wolves, and love will be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increases, they will hate and persecute and betray one another, and then will appear the world-deceiver [posing] as the Son of God, and will do signs and wonders, and the earth will be delivered into his hands, and he will do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then will the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many will be made to stumble and will perish; but they that endure in their faith will be saved from under the curse itself. And then will appear the signs of the truth; first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven; then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and the third, the resurrection of the dead; yet not of all, but as it is said: The Lord will come and all His saints with Him. Then will the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.


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The Didache from the English translation by Roberts-Donaldson with some updated language and indicated possible alternate translations.
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