I’m going to depart from my traditional series of Thursday posts on the New Testament to spend a little while on an early Christian document called The Didache. This little document, which I think comes from the period 51-57, but which some will date as late as 120, is a very early guide to churchly practices. We’ll walk through it a bit at a time before returning to actual New Testament texts.
The Didache. (translated by Kirsopp Lake) Loeb Classical Library #24. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1912, reprint 1985, pp. 303-334.
Chapter 13, pp. 328-329.
If a prophet who is true wants to remain that one is “worthy of his food” (Didache XIII.1). The true prophet or teacher should be cared for. Those people receive the first produce of wine, grain, and meat as a high priest (Diache XIII.3). If there is no prophet the first produce is given to the poor “according to the commandment” (Didache XIII.5). This giving applies to wine, oil, money, and clothing, possibly including items which are purchased (“when you open a jar of wine or oil”) (Didache XIII.6-7).