Didache Top Ten

Last Friday, I completed the first draft of a book on the Didache for Paraclete Press.  It’ll come out sometime this fall, but in the meantime, here’s a top ten list of my favorite lines from that wonderful little manual on the Christian faith (these come from our new, contemporary translation, which I hope to make available online via a Creative Commons license):

10. Give to every one who asks you, and don’t ask for it back. The Father wants his blessings shared.

9. Welcome anyone coming in the name of the Lord. Receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, but then, test them and use your discretion.

If he who comes is a transient, assist him as far as you are able; but he should not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be.
If he wants to stay with you, and is a craftsman, let him work for his living.
But if he has no trade, use your judgment in providing for him; for a Christian should not live idle in your midst.

8. On the Lord’s day, gather yourselves together and break bread, give thanks, but first confess your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure.

7. Come together often, seeking the things that are good for your souls. A life of faith will not profit you if you are not made perfect at the end of time.

6. The way of life is this:

First, you shall love God who made you.
And second, love your neighbor as yourself, and do not do to another what you would not want done to you.

5. My child, flee evil of all kinds, and everything like it.

4. Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what reward is there for loving those who love you? Do not the heathens do the same?  But you should love those who hate you, and then you shall have no enemies.

3. Hate no one;

correct some, pray for others, and some you should love more than your own life.

2. There are two ways, one of life and one of death!

and there is a great difference between the two ways.

1. For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able, then at least do what you can.

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  • Timmy C.

    Very cool. Can’t wait for the new book…Are you planning to post the new creative commons licensed translation of the Didache before the fall launch of the book?

  • I like the recommendation to be baptized in cold running water. Of course, that’s how I did it (the second time around). Episcopalians don’t usually baptize babies in cold running water (at least as far as I remember). But Pentecostals and teen-agers at camp, hey they would love the Didache!

  • Actually, Bob, the trend ecumenically in new font installations these days is to make either full immersion fonts, or at least fonts large enough to fully immerse a baby (whether immersion is done or not), AND to have a pump system that keeps the water flowing. And yes, these are usually “cool” water rather than warm.
    Every newer Episcopal font I’ve seen lately has been like this. (My wife is an Episcopal priest, so I do see a number of these).
    We can thank the Roman Catholics for this. in part. Their canons now require all new font installations to be sufficiently large for immersion, and their requirement for water is also that it be “flowing”– so no more “tiny little sprinkle” business.
    Now if I could only get the United Methodists to catch on/catch up!

  • Ted Seeber

    I see you’ve carefully avoided anything that would speak against your opinion that there weren’t any Episkopate diocese before Iraeneus…

  • Josh Rhone

    I was introduced to the Didache in college. It is filled with some wonderfully practical advice. Also, as an early Christian document, it is interesting to learn about some of the practices that were considered by the Church, early on, to be indispensable.
    I look forward to hearing more in the months to come!

  • Gregg

    I look forward to your release of Didache. Robert Webber used this in an Ancient-Future worship class at Northen Seminary. What I find really interesting in the Didache is its description of the Eucharist or “Great Thanksgiving”. Its not all about blood and body but more of a universal Thanksgiving celebration.

  • Hey Tony, this top ten list is fantastic. You are sending out an excellent message, #4 is my favorite, itwould make hte world a great place. You can post this to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/ and link back to your site. We are trying to create a directory for top ten lists where people can find your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.