Weren, Wim J.C. "Chapter Eight: The Ideal Community according to Matthew, James, and the Didache." in Van de Sandt, Huub & Zangenberg, Jürgen K. (editors). Matthew, James, and Didache: Three Related Documents in their Jewish and Christian Settings." Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2008, 177-200.
Weren observes a similarity among Matthew, James, and the Didache in that all three documents make an attempt to define what a community should be (Weren 2008, 177). He evaluates this attempt at self-definition through the community's self-references, their concept of a relationship with God, and their idea of perfection. Weren conducts his evaluation using several key words.
First, all three documents use the term ἐκκλησία (Weren 2008, 178). Matthew distinguishes between ἐκκλησία and συναγωγή, with the former term referring only to disciples of Jesus, while the latter refers to specifically Jewish assemblies (Weren 2008, 178). In James 5:14, the elders are related to the ἐκκλησία (Weren 2008, 180). Unlike Matthew's use, the one time συναγωγή is used in James (2:2), it also may refer to the Christian assembly. The Didache uses ἐκκλησία to refer to the assembled Christians locally as well as around the world (Weren 2008, 181). The communities thus refer to themselves using the distinctive term ἐκκλησία to refer to a particular gathering of Christians.
Matthew identifies the community in terms of being led by God's revelation in Christ, making the community members children of God (Weren 2008, 182). James expresses a very strong relationship between the people and God the Father (Weren 2008, 184). In contrast, Weren finds that James makes little reference to Jesus as the Christ or God the Son. He is mentioned twice and referred to as the Lord, but Weren finds the mentions to be less important than those of God the Father (Weren 2008, 185). The Didache also asserts a close, important relationship between God and the community (Weren 2008, 185). Jesus is referred to by name in Didache 9.2, 3, and 10.2, always as the "servant" of God (Weren 2008, 185). There is a need to do activities in the name of "the Lord" and the people look forward to a final coming of the Lord. Weren takes this normally to refer to Jesus (Weren 2008, 186).
To evaluate the concept of perfection, Weren reviews the semantic usage of the adjective τέλειος as used in Matthew, James, and the Didache. The term describes "the ideal behavior of the community" in all three documents (Weren 2008, 186). In Matthew there is a particular emphasis on being perfect as God is perfect. Weren takes this particularly to signify right discernment of good and evil, with fair and generous treatment of others, especially those within the community (Weren 2008, 187). Torah is to be kept fully, without neglect of any of the points. It is also necessary, unlike the Pharisees, to recognize the values underlying the Torah (Weren 2008, 188).
In James, τέλειος is connected directly with nouns such as work, law, or wisdom (Weren 2008, 190). While wisdom is an important feature of life, Weren considers it crucial to James that the focus must be on God. This is where perfection will be found. Weren notes that in James there is a way of life and a way of death, but there is no assumption that reality is deterministic (Weren 2008, 191). Weren describes the two ways in some detail. The law of God, embodied in His word, is decidedly a good thing (Weren 2008, 193). The overall problem presented in James is that people do not actually have the attitude required in the Law (Weren 2008, 194).
The view of perfection in the Didache is a bit different. The τελει___ word group appears relatively infrequently, with only four usages (Weren 2008, 196). Weren notes credible suggestions that two of the instances are redactional in nature. Keeping of Torah is clearly important, yet there may well be two groups within the community, one of which habitually keeps Torah as a matter of cultural custom and another which is encouraged but not required to do so (Weren 2008, 197).
Weren concludes that Matthew and James tend to follow similar patterns in terms of discussing perfection, while the Didache has a different pattern of discussion, though the same long-run expectation (Weren 2008, 198). In all three documents the Christian community is clearly distinct from society as a whole. There is always an expectation that people will mature to some sort of perfection which is related to keeping Torah and its underlying values.