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 15, pp. 330-331.
The Christians lay hands on those who would be “bishops and deacons.” These people are to be “meek and not money-loving and truthful and approved” (Didache XV.1, personal translation). They bring ministry locally so should be respected (Didache XV.2). The believers are to speak in peace, but when someone has done wrong he should be reproved gently but consistently until he is repentant (Didache XV.3). Prayers and works of mercy are to be offered “as you have in the gospel of our Lord” (Didache XV.4, personal translation).