Harnack, Adolf. “Prolegomena, § 5. “Die Gemeindezustände. Zeit und Ont der Διδαχή.” pp. 88-170. Die Quellen der Schrift.” Lehre der Zwölf Apostel. Leipzig, J.C. Hinrichs, 1884.
“3. Die Einzelgemeinde” pp. 137-140.
Harnack evaluates the role of the community, as described in the Didache. The community has a responsibility to evaluate wanderers, to determine which are false teachers and which should be recognized as prophets and teachers (Harnack 1884, 137). It is based on a preservation of correct teaching. The community also sees that those who would settle there could have appropriate work, so there should be no unemployment, as well as guarding against offenses and disputes. The community, according to Harnack, is obligated to judge fairly, without regard to appearance (Harnack 1884, 138). This applies specifically to their understanding of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which must be administered in an orderly and proper manner.
All in all, Harnack finds that the governance belongs to the community, rather than to one or more leaders of the community (Harnack 1884, 139). He thinks the Didache creates this unified community concept through a common agreement on the Sunday worship, the work of bishops and deacons, and the practice of establishing peace and reconciliation. All of this may well be solidified by the regular public reading of God’s Word.