The Didache, or the “Teaching of the 12 Apostles to the Gentiles”, is an ancient document, considered by many, to be a summary of the New Testament. The document has 16 short chapters, separated into 4 parts.
Didache Part 1: Way of Life & Death
1 of 16
1:1 There are two paths that differ greatly, one of life and one of death.
1:2 The path of life is this. First, love God who made you, love others as yourself, and never do things to others that you would not want others to do to you.
1:3 And the doctrine of these maxims is as follows. Bless them that curse you, and pray for your enemies. Fast on behalf of those that persecute you; for what thanks is there if you love them that love you? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? But love them that hate you, and you will not have an enemy.
1:4 Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. If anyone give you a blow on your right cheek, turn unto him the other also, and you shall be perfect; if anyone compel you to go a mile, go with him two miles; if a man takes away your cloak, give him your coat also; if a man takes from you what is yours, ask not for it again, for neither are you able to do so.
1:5 Give to everyone that asks of you, and ask not again; for the Father wishes that from His own gifts there should be given to all. Blessed is he who gives according to the commandment, for he is free from guilt; but woe unto him that receives. For if a man receives being in need, he shall be free from guilt; but he who receives when not in need, shall pay a penalty as to why he received and for what purpose; and when he is in tribulation he shall be examined concerning the things that he has done, and shall not depart thence until he has paid the last coin.
1:6 For of a truth it has been said on these matters, let your almsgiving abide in your hands until you know to whom you have given.
2 of 16
2:1 But the second commandment of the teaching is this.
2:2 Do not kill; do not commit adultery; do not corrupt the youth; do not commit fornication; do not steal; do not use soothsaying; do not practice sorcery; do not kill a child by abortion or when born; do not covet things of other people.
2:3 Do not commit perjury; do not bear false witness; do not speak evil; do not bear malice.
2:4 Do not be double-minded (unstable) or double-tongued, for to be such is the snare of death.
2:5 Your speech shall not be false or empty, but concerned with action.
2:6 Do not be covetous, or greedy, or hypocritical, or malicious, or proud; do not plot against others;
2:7 Do not hate anyone; but some you may prove to be wrong, some others you shall pray for, and some you shall love beyond your own soul.
3 of 16
3:1 My beloved, fly from everything that is evil or even any semblance of evil.
3:2 Do not be angry, for anger leads to slaughter; be not jealous, or contentious, or quarrelsome, for from all these things slaughter ensues.
3:3 Do not be lustful, for lust leads to fornication; be not a filthy talker; do not lift up your eyes, for from all these things lead to adultery.
3:4 Do not observe omens, since it leads to idolatry; nor a user of spells, nor an astrologer, nor a traveling purifier, nor wish to see these things, for from all these things lead to idolatry.
3:5 Do not lie, for lying leads to theft; be not covetous or conceited, for from all these things lead to theft.
3:6 Do not gossip, since it leads to blasphemy; be not self-willed or evil-minded, for from all these things lead to blasphemy.
3:7 But my beloved, be meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth.
3:8 Be longsuffering, compassionate, harmless, peaceable, good, and fearing always the Word of God that you have heard.
3:9 Do not exalt yourself or embolden your soul. You soul shall not be joined with the arrogant ones, but you shall walk with the just and humble.
3:10 Accept all things that happen to you as good, since without God nothing happens.
4 of 16
4:1 My beloved, remember both night and day anyone who speaks to you the Word of God; honor such a person as you would the Lord, for where the teaching of the Lord is given, there is the Lord.
4:2 Seek out day by day the wisdom of the saints that you may rest in their words.
4:3 Do not desire schism, but set at peace people who contend; judge righteously; do not accept the person of anyone to convict a person of transgression.
4:4 Do not doubt whether a thing shall be or not.
4:5 Do not be one who is so ready to receive, but so reluctant to give.
4:6 If you can, give by means of you hands as a redemption for your sins.
4:7 Do not doubt or gossip about others when giving; for you know the Lord is the fair recompenser of the reward.
4:8 Do not turn away from those who are in need, but share with your brother in all things, and do not say that things are your own; for if you are partners in what is immortal, how much more in what is mortal?
4:9 Put your heart into teaching your sons and daughters, so they will learn the fear of God.
4:10 Do not command with bitterness those who labor for you, who hope in the same God as you, lest they fear not in consequence God who is over both; for Christ came and called us to respect all whom the Holy Spirit has prepared.
4:11 And for those who labor for their superiors, submit yourselves to your superiors with reverence and fear, seeing them as an image of God.
4:12 Hate all hypocrisy and everything that is not pleasing to God.
4:13 Do not abandon the commandments of the Lord, but guard His Truth that you have received, neither adding nor subtracting therefrom.
4:14 Confess thy transgressions in the Church, and do not come to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the path of life.
5 of 16
5:1 But the path of death is this. First of all, it is evil, and full of cursing; there are murders, adulteries, lusts, fornication, thefts, idolatries, soothsaying, sorceries, robberies, false witnessing, hypocrisies, double-mindedness, craft, pride, malice, self-will, covetousness, filthy talking, jealousy, audacity, pride, and arrogance.
5:2 There are people who persecute the good – lovers of a lie, not knowing the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for the good but for the evil, from whom meekness and patience are absent, loving things that are vain, hungry after rewards, having no compassion for the needy, nor laboring for those in trouble, not knowing God who made them, murderers of children, corrupters of the image of God, who turn away from those in need, who oppress those in trouble, unjust judges of the poor, erring in all things. From all these, my beloved, may you be delivered.
6 of 16
6:1 Keep vigilant so that no one will make you err from this path of doctrine, since one who does so is tearing you apart from God.
6:2 If you can bear the whole yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able, do what you are able.
6:3 But concerning meat, bear that which you are able to do. But be aware of food sacrificed to idols, for it is the worship of the infernal deities.