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 14, pp. 330-331.
The content of the Didache makes another shift here. After spending several chapters speaking of reception of prophets, there follow some instructions about the liturgical life. On the Lord’s Day the Christians, assembling “break bread and give thanks” (Didache XIV.1). This language is consistent with that of celebrating the Eucharist, as the text immediately speaks of confession “so that your offering may be pure” (Didache XIV.1). Again, to guard the purity of the offering, people are to seek reconciliation with one another (Didache XIV.2). This is justified with a quote from Malachi 1, stating that the Lord’s sacrifices are to be pure.