20: The Didache

Let all things be done decently and in order.

1st Corinthians 14:40

Discovered in Constantinople in 1883, The Didache, or quite simply “The Teaching”, grants us a unique insight into the spiritual life of the early Christian Church.

There are two facts which led us to believe that we can trace this document back to the 1st or the 2nd Century AD. The language, Koine or Common Greek, dates this at a time before Latin took precedence; the language being that which the apostles themselves employed. The geography points us to the early Church, it being discovered in Constantinople, modern Istanbul, lying in the same region, once known as Asia Minor by the Romans, where the early Church was strong and where the apostles exercised much influence.

It is believed that the Didache is the earliest form of catechism. It reveals a community of Christians who took teaching seriously and who believed that their worship should be performed in an orderly fashion. The document contains instructions regarding the governing of the Church and the conducting of Baptism and Communion in an orderly fashion. It concludes with instruction regarding the return of Christ.

Let us pray that God would give us the spirit of simple gratitude that our early Christian brothers and sisters had, in this prayer which the Didache offered at the close of the Lord’s Supper; hence the name Eucharist, thanksgiving:

We thank Thee, holy Father, for Thy holy name which Thou didst cause to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which Thou madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever.

Here, O my Lord, I see you face to face;
here would I touch and handle things unseen,
here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,
and all my weariness upon you lean.

Horatius Bonar

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