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 11, pp. 324-327.
The idea of visiting prophets continues in chapter 11. If the teaching is consistent with what is already written, the person is to be received (Didache XI.1). But if the person is being destructive he should not be received (Didache XI.2). Apostles are to be received “as the Lord” (Didache XI.4). They are not expected to stay more than two days. Those asking for money are false prophets (Didache XI.6). The true prophet is identified by his behavior. The false prophets order meals “in the spirit.” If the true prophet asks for food he will not eat it (Didache XI.9). This may well signify that the true prophet asks for things to bless others, while the false prophet seeks his own gain. The true prophet will do as he teaches (Didache XI.10). This is emphasized several times in the remainder of the chapter.