The word Didache is a Greek word that essentially means doctrine, didactic, or teaching. It was written at a very early date, sometime around AD 70 to AD 100.
Who Wrote the Didache?
The Didache does not contain any references to who wrote it. There are claims that the twelve apostles were the authors of the Didache, but we cannot be certain whether this is true or not.
There are several fourth-century writings and lists that reference a writing called the “Teaching,” or the “Teachings,” of the Apostles. Some speculate that these references are to the Didache, but there is no real evidence for this theory.
Can We Trust the Didache?
The teachings contained in the Didache are orthodox, not heretical. We can trust the contents of the Didache as an early Christian manual. It may have been used more in rural locations that depended upon traveling, or itinerant, pastors. The Didache has been revised several times throughout history in various places.
This writing helps us better understand what kind of moral code the early Christians might have used to guide their lives.
Summary of the Didache
The Didache teaches about the roads to life and death.
The Road to Life
It teaches that the road to life involves loving the one true God, loving your neighbor as yourself, and a moral code that we would call the “Golden Rule.”
It teaches that God is omnipotent and that Christians should constantly seek God day and night. Christians should also have confidence in the Bible, trusting that it is God’s revelation, and should obey God’s commandments, confess their sins, and pray to God. By doing these things, Christians will remain on the road to life.
The Road to Death
In contrast, the road to death involves persecuting those who are good and being oblivious to the rewards of being righteous. The Didache quotes Revelation 22:15 as describing who travels the road to death.
The Didache warns against false teachers and says that all teachings should be measured against the teachings of the gospel. It says that true “prophets” who speak in the Spirit should be listened to and not fought against, and that these “prophets” have a responsibility to teach the Word of God.
Finally, the text talks about the final judgment, during which many will perish. It concludes with Jesus’ return, saying that there will be a sign of Jesus’ appearing, the sound of the trumpet, and the resurrection of the dead. After that, the world will see Jesus coming on the clouds of Heaven.
Read the Didache
Below are links to the text of the Didache. There are four translations.
- Didache – Roberts-Donaldson Translation
- Didache – J. B. Lightfoot Translation
- Didache – Charles H. Hoole Translation
- Didache – Kirsopp Lake Translation
Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church