The Didache

The Lord’s Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.

This translation is not yet finished, and is posted so that in the event that I never finish it, that it may be available to others who can refine it and make use of it. Being unfinished, it may contain poorly translated or repeated lines which I was in the process of comparing, combining, and distilling. It may also contain interpretations that I ultimately in whole or in part disagree with and was in the process of writing a better translation for. The formatting of the document may also be poorly arranged. These are the drawbacks to an unfinished document.

Chapter 1

The Two Ways and the First Commandment 

1. There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the two Ways. 2. The Way of Life is this: “First, you shall love God who made you; second, love your neighbor as yourself, and do not do to others what you would not want done to you.” 3. Now, the teaching of these words is this: “Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what credit is it to you if you love only those that love you? For even the heathens do that.” But, for your part, “love those that hate you,” and call no man your enemy. 4. Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. “If one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also,” and you shall be perfect. “If someone asks you to go with him one mile, go with him two. If someone takes your cloak, give him also your coat. If someone takes from you what is yours, don’t ask for it back,” Not even if legally you have the right to it. 5. “Give to every one who asks of you, and don’t ask for it back,” for it is the Father’s will that we give to all freely, just as freely we have received.” Blessed is he who gives according to the commandment, for he is guiltless. If one receives who has need, he is guiltless; but woe to him who receives and is not in need, for he shall pay the penalty for what he unjustly received and for why he took it, and being imprisoned, he shall be examined concerning his deeds, and “he shall not come out from there until he repays in full.” 6. And also concerning this, it has been said, “Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you are giving.”

Chapter 2

The Second Commandment: Grave Sin Forbidden 

1. And the second commandment of the Teaching is this: 2. “You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit sodomy, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor commit infanticide. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods; 3. you shall not commit perjury, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not gossip, you shall bear no grudge. 4. You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is a snare of death. 5. Your speech shall not be false nor empty, but fulfilled by deed. 6. You shall not be covetous, nor extortionate, nor a hypocrite, nor malignant, nor proud. You shall not make evil plans against your neighbor. 7. You shall not hate any man; but some you shall reprove, and for some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life.

Chapter 3

Other Sins Forbidden 

1. My child, flee from every evil trait, and from every likeness of it. 2. Be not prone to anger, for anger leads to murder. Be neither jealous, nor quarrelsome, nor quick-tempered, for from all these murders are engendered. 3, My child, be not lustful, for lust leads to fornication. Be neither a filthy-talker, nor of lustful gaze, for from all these adulteries are engendered. 4. My child, be not an observer of omens, for this leads to idolatry. Be neither an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a magician; don’t even desire to look at these things, for from all these idolatry is engendered. 5. My child, be not a liar, for lying leads to theft. Be neither a lover of money, nor self-seeking, for from all these thefts are engendered. 6. My child, be not a grumbler, for it leads the way to blasphemy. Be neither stubborn, nor a thinker of evil, for from all these blasphemies are engendered. 7. Rather, be meek, “for the meek shall inherit the earth.” 8. Be long-suffering, merciful, guileless, gentle and good, and always awe-inspired by these words which you have heard. 9. You shall not exalt yourself, nor let yourself be presumptuous. You shall not consort with the prideful or powerful, but you shall walk with the righteous and humble lowly ones. 10. Accept whatever happens to you as good, knowing that apart from God nothing comes to pass.

Chapter 4

The Duties of The Faithful 

1. My child, you shall remember, night and day, him who speaks the word of God to you, and honour him as you do the Lord; for wherever the Lord’s nature is spoken of, there is the Lord present. 2. And you shall seek daily the presence of the saints, so that you may rest upon their words. 3. You shall not desire divisive schism, but shall reconcile strife into peace. You shall give righteous Judgments, and you shall favour no man’s persons in reproving transgressions. 4. You shall not be of two minds as to whether or not it shall be. 5. Be not one who stretches out his hands to receive but shuts them when it comes to giving. 6. Of whatever you have gained by your hands, you shall give as ransom for your sins. 7. You shall not hesitate to give, nor shall you complain when you give; for you shall know He who is the good Lord is payer of reward. 8. You shall not turn the needy, but you shall share all things with your brethren, and shall not say that things are your own. For if you are sharers in that which is imperishable, how much more in the things which perish? 9. You shall not withhold your hand from your son or daughter, but you shall teach them the fear of God from their youth. 10 You shall not command in bitterness anything of your manservant or maidservant, who hope in the same God, lest they cease to fear the God who is over you both; for he comes not to call according to the outward appearance, but to them whom the Spirit has prepared. 11. But as servants, you shall be subject to your master as a representative to God, in reverence and fear. 12. You shall hate all hypocrisy and everything which is not pleasing to the Lord. 13. You shall not in any form forsake the commandments of the Lord, rather you shall keep what you have received, “adding nothing to it or taking anything away from it.” 14. In the congregation you shall confess your transgressions, and you shall not come near for prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.

Chapter 5

The Way of Death 

1. But the Way of Death is this: First of all, it is wicked and accursed: murder, adultery, lust, fornication, theft, idolatry, witchcraft, charms, rape, lies, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, deceit, pride, depravity, hatred, stubbornness, greed, perverse speech, jealousy, impudence, self-seeking, boastfulness; 2. persecutors of the good, hating of truth, loving of lies, not seeing the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgment, looking not for the good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and enduring patience are far, loving vanities, pursuing revenge, murderers of children, destroyers and corrupters of that which God created, following after worldly rewards, advocates of the rich, lawless unjust judges of the poor, turning away the needy and not caring for the poor because they don’t recognising that God made them, and oppressing and afflicting the distressed and not helping those who are oppressed and afflicted because they don’t recognising that God made them: these are utter sinners. May you be delivered, my children, from all these.

Chapter 6

Against False Teachers, and Food Offered to Idols 

1. See that no one leads you astray from the Way of the Teaching, since he who does so teaches you away from God. 2. For if you are able to bear the whole yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able. 3. And of the laws concerning food, bear what you are able; but by all means be exceedingly careful to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, for it is the worship of dead gods

Chapter 7

Concerning Baptism

1. And concerning baptism, this is how you shall baptise: Having first said all these things, baptise in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. 2. But if you have no living water, baptize in other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm water. 3. But if you have neither, pour water three times on the head in the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. 4. And before the baptism, let the person who is to be the baptiser and the person who is to be baptised, fast from food, and anyone else who is able; but you shall command the person who is to be baptised to fast one or two days before.

Chapter 8. Fasting and Prayer (the Lord’s Prayer). But let not 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. The Eucharist. Now concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way. 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 be the glory for ever.

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 be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom; for yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever.

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. Prayer after Communion. But after you are filled, give thanks this way:

We thank you, holy Father, for your holy name which You did cause to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You made known to us through Jesus your Servant; to you be the glory for ever. You, Master almighty, did create all things for your name’s sake; You gave food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to you; but to us You did freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through your Servant. Before all things we thank you, for You are mighty; to you be the glory for ever. Remember, Lord, your Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in your love, and gather it from the four winds, sanctified for your kingdom which you have prepared for it; for your’s is the power and the glory for ever. Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David! If any one is holy, let him come; if any one is not so, let him repent. O Lord, Come. Amen.

But permit the prophets to have the Eucharist as often as they desire.

Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets. Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said from the beginning, receive him. But if someone teaches of himself and teaches another doctrine to the destruction of this, don’t listen to him. But if he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as 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 every one 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 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. Reception of Christians. But 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. Support of Prophets. But every true prophet who wants to live among you is worthy of his support. So also a true teacher is himself worthy, as the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of 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. Christian Assembly on the Lord’s Day. But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving 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. Bishops and Deacons; Christian Reproof. Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful and proved; 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 your prayers and alms and all your deeds so do, as you have it in the Gospel of our Lord.

Chapter 16. Watchfulness; the Coming of the Lord. Watch for your life’s sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come. But 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 are not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth: first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet. And third, the resurrection of the dead — yet not of all, but as it is said: “The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him.” Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.

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