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The Didache
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  • 1. The Didache Laindon Bible Class 16 June 2010
  • 2. What is it? • Pronunciation “did-arc-hay” The Didache (pronounced /ˈd ɪdəkiˈ/; Koine Greek: Διδαχή, Didachē "Teaching";[1] Modern Greek [ðiðaˈxi]) is the common name of a brief early Christian treatise (dated by most scholars to the late first/early second century[2]). “The Didache of the Twelve Apostles” had been written and widely disseminated by about 100 C.E., and became increasingly important in the second and third Christian centuries.[3] It is an anonymous work not belonging to any single individual, and a pastoral manual "that reveals more about how Jewish-Christians saw themselves and how they adapted their Judaism for gentiles than any other book in the Christian Scriptures.“ (Wikipedia)
  • 3. Is it reliable? • Published by P Bryennios 1883 • Re-discovered in a monastery in Constantinople • Fragments found from 3rd century, widespread from Egypt to Rome. • Quotations widespread in 2nd and 3rd century church literature (e.g. Tertullian, Didymus, Eusebius, Athanasius) • Earliest references to it in The Epistle of Barnabas (130AD) • Based on internal evidence scholars date it from 50AD to 150AD, general consensus c.100AD • Most place its origin in Syria, possibly Antioch
  • 4. How should we view it? • It is not inspired • A reflection of how the Apostles’ teaching was heard and applied. Original NT Sources
  • 5. Contents 1-6 The way of life and the way of death 7-15 A manual for ecclesial order and practice – Baptism – Prayer – Eucharist – Apostles and prophets – Appointment of ecclesial roles 16 Warning to watch for the day of the Lord
  • 6. The Way of Life and Death 1:3-5 based on Sermon on Mount 1:5 emphasis on giving/receiving 2:1-3 based on 10 commandments 3:1-6 avoid things leading to evil 5:1-2 the Way of Death 6:1-2 close of section Many allusions to Old and New Testaments
  • 7. Ecclesial Practice (1) 6:3 Food offered to idols – reflects an early Gentile ecclesial issue 7:1-4 Baptism preparation and practice 8:1 Fasting 8:2 Regular prayers 9:1- Eucharist (thanksgiving meal), wine before bread, no mention of what they symbolise or forgiveness of sins
  • 8. Ecclesial Practice (2) 11:3 teachers, apostles, prophets not to be chargeable to ecclesias (2 Cor 11) 11:7 prophets to be tested (1 Jn 4:1, 3:7) by both teaching and conduct 12:1 welcome visitors but examine them 13:1 prophet worthy of his hire – as double honour (put a value on) in 1 Tim 5:17 14:1 confession of sins before break bread 15:2 appoint deacons etc as Acts 6:3
  • 9. Conclusions • Mostly sound, consistent use of scripture • Recognisable NT ecclesial practice • Emphasis on appropriate giving/receiving or manifestation of fellowship in Acts 2:42 • Importance of testing consistency of both teaching and conduct of those who come to the ecclesia • After 2,000 years – same struggles and the same hope!