Thoughts on the Didache? Catholic and Non

I’m interested in reading everyone’s perspective of the Didache; does your denomination or church accept the Didache as an accurate description of early church procedure? If not why not? If you/your church does, which bits of it do you feel supports your particular church’s dogma and teachings? Which bits do you feel disprove or do not support other teachings other denominations hold to?

Why am I asking? Because I’m reading it again and am just truly interested in individual and collective thoughts on its meaning and implication of the Didache in general. (Mods if this is too similar to past threads, please do merge.)

In my Catholic opinion I havent found anyone outside the Catholic faith that accepts it. Simple reason I have been given is that its not in the bible so it must not be true.

This generally coming from christians that think that the only truth to be found is found in the pages of the bible. This is not the case and the bible even tells us that not everything is contained in it.

Reading the appostolic fathers, the early fathers, and the doctors of the church help to put a historical context on the events that were happening in the first few centuaries. Catholics use these documents to try and prove to protestants that the theology they hold is flawed as told by just about every christian writer in history. The Didache is a perfect example of a extra biblical manual that shows how christians practice their faith in the 1st century. Is it infalible…No…but that doesnt make it not true.

There are parts of the didache which are interesting to me. Mainly in that it mandates a tradition of fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays which Orthodox Christians also have.

One of the interesting parts of it beyond that is it’s ecclesiology, in which the Bishop is more or less elected by the people instead of how virtually all churches work now days. It is an early ecclesiology to say the least which would later be changed.

Our pastor has used it in classes for new members to help explain the liturgy. I don’t know if it is used commonly throughout the synod though.

I dont believe its talking about the people electing. I gather from it that appostolic succesion is important. The apostles believed very much in this concept. No one was to be followed unless proper apostolic succesion had taken place.

This was one bit that jumped out at me too; anyone know who the groups were that were fasting on Mondays and Thursdays?

the Jews fasted on Monday and thursday.

A Lutheran view:


Ahhhhh, thanks! Interesting

If you really start reading these things I take it your going to eventually find yourself in the Catholic Church so please keep reading!

May I suggest reading the works of St Ignatious of Antioch,Clement of Rome, Polycarp, and Irenaus. I trust you will find them very refreshing.

I bought a copy of it to read after a priest at our parish mentioned it’s prohibition on abortion at a Mass on a Respect Life Sunday a few years ago. As a convert, I had never heard of it before but I read parts of it occasionally now and I cite the abortion prohibition from time to time in discussions.

Took a church history class at the large evangelical Christian university I attended. It was required reading.

I think it’s an accurate description of what some in the early church were practicing.

I don’t find anything in there particularly damning to Lutheranism or liturgical Protestism in general. Nor do I find anything supportive of Roman Catholicism over and above any other denomination.

Thank you for all your thoughts. In light of several of the latest threads discussing the roots of the faith, the various dogmas that have been defined over the years in various denominations/churches, I have an observation and a question. The idea of unity is being put forth more and more in all denominations, and is being met with various reactions. Pope Francis obviously wishes very much that each side come together in love and in the understanding that we worship the same God and Saviour.

In the Didache, we see a call for unity as well, and in regard to the Eucharist we see the thanks that was given, and the an emphasis on the Body of Christ (us) represented by the bread, the grains brought together into one, and then it says "Let no one eat or drink of the Eucharist with you except those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord."

One of the major purposes of taking the wine and bread as a group was to show that unity as we gather, and as a believer that basically can happily share the Eucharist with all brothers and sisters in Christ, it can be a bit confusing when I read this in the Didache but I don’t see this carried out in many of the current denominations. According to most modern churches/denominations it takes a lot more than just to be baptized in order to share the Eucharist together… I have to wonder if that is a good thing. In the Didache, which is one of our earliest records, baptism was the entry point into participation in the Eucharist. Yes, to be baptized one had to profess Christ, and is that not the point of our unity?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the Didache refer to communion as an “offering” or “sacrifice”? I forgot which.

That theology (the “Eucharistic Sacrifice”) would only be present in Orthodoxy and Catholicism.

We are the Body of Christ as well. In fact, I just watched a video from a priest that explains really well the “amen” when Catholics receive it isn’t just an affirmation that the wafer is truly the body of Christ, but the affirmation that we are a part of the Body of Christ. Bread was chosen by the Lord for various reasons, one of which is because it take many grains of wheat joined together to make bread.

From the Didache; In regard to the Eucharist you shall give thanks thus: First in regard to the cup: We give you thanks our Father for the holy vine of David your son, which you have mad known to us through Jesus your Son. Gory be to you forever. In regard to the broken bread: We give you thanks our Father, for the life an knowledge which you have made known to us through Jesus your Son. Glory be to you forever. As this broken bread was scattered on the mountains, but brought together was made one, so gather your Church from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. for yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever. Let no one eat or drink of the Eucharist with you** except those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord**…

That is why the CC teaches closed communion. If you want to share the Eucharist, believe the same as the Catholics (and Orthodox) do.

:shrug: I’m just quoting the Didache. I understand “closed communion” of the RCC, but it is still one of those things that I believe divides Christendom, not different ideas but rather not allowing baptized Christians to partake together. And, yes, I understand the argument against such communion.

:blush: Sorry Lord for my bad typing skills.

If we suppose the church to not be defined by communion, common faith and practices but more or less just the believers who don’t necessarily have to be communion I can see why you might take such a view. But from the patristic literature of the era, how much likely is it that this sort of protestant Christianity existed? I don’t think the didache helps us much in this regard, but certainty Ignatius, Clement, Polycarp, Iraneaus and a few others help. They envision the church visible, not just invisible.

People think “division” is incompatible with Christianity. But they do accept some clear distinctions. Married are distinct from single; men are distinct from women; pastors are distinct from laity; teachers are distinct from students; even though all baptized, in the Body of Christ. In a way, the distinctions all Christians accept between “married” and “single” is far more restrictive, or “divisive”, than closed communion.

You might say Communion is where there should be no distinctions. But Christ identified Himself as the Truth (singular). It’s not just a question of having “different ideas”. What a person believes is important, including what they believe about the nature of the Eucharist itself (or I would say, “Himself”). If Christ regarded “Truth” as important, it seems hard to set it aside at Communion time, even though there are better overall Christians than I who can’t come up to Communion here. So closed communion doesn’t divide Christendom, communion is one of the times when our division is noticed. Is it better not to notice things?

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