392 of 393 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2011
The Didache, or "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," is probably the most important church document outside of the Bible itself. Why? Largely because of its extreme antiquity. While we have some of the writings of the Church Fathers (for example Clement of Rome) that date to the end of the first century A.D., the Didache is now dated to that same period. This makes it, along with Clement's letters, the oldest Christian documents outside the New Testament.
What makes the Didache of such great importance as well is its authoritative nature. Rather than being a letter written by an individual bishop, the Didache is an authoritative manual for the Church community. It was also highly esteemed by the early church, even being considered by a few to be a part of the New Testament canon.
The value of the Didache also lies in the invaluable insights it gives into the beliefs and practices of the early church. This, combined with its very early age, make it worth the time for any serious Christian to study, if they want to understand not only the early Church but also the New Testament better.
The first section deals with "The Two Ways" (the way of life and the way of death) and occupies the first 6 chapter. But it's some of the rest of the material that is especially valuable. Chapters 7-10, for example, give us a rare and valuable insight into the practices of Baptism, fasting, praying, and the Eucharist of the early Church. Having been written so close to the time of the apostles and the writings of the New Testament, these sections shed exceptional light on what the early Church believed and how it practiced the faith. Though the Didache's instructions for the Lord's Day are brief, they clearly demonstrate that the Eucharist was the main service of the Church on the Lord's Day.
The Didache is surprisingly short and is well worth the time you spend reading it. While there are a lot of versions out there, this Kindle version is a convenient one. However, there is only a single paragraph of introduction, and so I suggest supplementing it either with some reading about the background and history of the Didache, or possibly buying a different edition with a more complete Introduction.
107 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2011
Text: the Didache is an important witness to early Christianity. This particular translation is a bit dated but the overall message remains clear. The introduction is basic, and it would be good to consider other resources that address a lot of the issues within the text in their historical context.
Kindle version: the text is clear overall; nevertheless, there is a hiccup in the introduction and cover image. The first paragraph of the introduction comes first, then the cover image with a preposition right beneath it, and the introduction continues. It's still readable and understandable. (as of 02 August 2011).
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2012
This short book bursts with light on the ways of the Early Church. It's timeless and should be read by all Christians. There are some startling, jaw-dropping passages in this book. For example, Chapter 2:
The Second Commandment: Grave Sin Forbidden. And 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, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born. You shall not covet the things of your neighbor, you shall not swear, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not speak evil, 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, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor evil disposed, nor haughty. 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.
Would we have a problem with pedophile predators in the church if we'd been on our guard to keep watch out for them?
And this, on Baptism:
Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And 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 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.
Did these believers stress about Baptism? In the church I was raised, it was an ordeal! Yet, from the didache, the act was treated much differently than in any Protestant church today. When I was baptized, I didn't fast at all. In fact, fasting was never ever stressed as a requirement in the church!
Finally, the most astounding prescience comes in this passage:
Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets. Whosoever, 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 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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
"The Didache" (Gk. "teaching") is a short read, not intended to be comprehensive in nature, but expounds on some specific Christian themes and elements of the faith. Those themes range from Christian piety to Church organization. Most scholars date the work to 1st or 2nd century, so it's one of the earliest documents we have about the Christian faith, besides the gospels in the NT canon. Some early Church Fathers argued for its acceptance into the NT canon, but was rejected by most to be non-canonical, except for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. There is some exact verbiage of Jesus, but at other times, the phrases sound like they are "secret sayings" of Jesus and the Apostles. However, the thoughts contained in "The Didache" are edifying, enriching, and inspirational. I recommend this read to any Christian believer desiring to learn the basic elements of the Christian faith!