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 6, pp. 318-319.
The author sums up these two ways with an exhortation not to turn from the good into the bad, which is taught apart from God. There is an interesting statement here. “If you are able to bear the whole burden of the Lord, you will be complete; but if not able to do so, do what you are able” (Didache VI.2, personal translation). There follows a command to avoid food offered to idols. This conclusion could lend itself to several different interpretations. One might take it as a command toward works righteousness. On the other hand it could be seen as an exhortation to holy living even if it is not possible to be perfect. The prohibition of food offered to idols suggests knowledge of the events of Acts 15 but not of Romans.