In which is the Didache | Quotes from the Apostolic Fathers (pt5)

by Craig on August 21, 2012

Just about every 1st century church had a copy of the Didache...source

It was discovered about 140 years ago (1873ish). It dates earlier than the words of the individual Apostolic fathers like Ignatius, or Polycarp, or Clement of Alexandria.

It’s from less than 20 years after Paul’s letters to the churches – about 80 AD.

It’s called the Didache, (deedakay) and the early Church held it as high as written Scripture…
which, at the time, included the OT and a not yet firm set of gospels and letters.

Not every church had a complete set of Scripture…
but just about every church had a copy of the Didache.

It is not what we consider to be the Word of God.

Only Scripture is Scripture.

One day I want to review for myself, and you along with me, all the reasons why the writings of our Bible have been put together and been given such an exalted status as “inspired word of God”. We still, too often, look at it as a “book”. Our Bible is not a book – it’s just cleverly disguised as one.

It’s the compiled writing of men…
whom we believe were led by God…
and “All scripture is inspired by God…” (2 Tim 3:16)

Literally, in the Greek, that’s “breathed out by God.”

Extremely committed and faithful men, determined, through a very rigorous set of rules, what should be included and what should not.

A Fresco of the Council of Nicea, on the walls of the Sistine Salon in the Vatican

source

The rules being so rigorous that a person of faith can’t know them and really dispute them.

Our Lord does this sort of thing.

He had a message…
at first delivered through prophets…
like Moses and Isaiah and John the Baptist.

Then finally he delivered it himself…
and handed it to people…to relay it to us.

And they, at first spoke the message, because nobody at the time trusted the written message like “eyewitness, oral accounts”. But before they died they put the words to writing, and then they, just like their Lord and God and Teacher, gave it to other men to preserve for us.

God trusts humans like us with an awful lot.

He does it with Scripture.
He does it with faith.
He does it with love.

Although everything is in His hands…
he then places so much in our hands.

It’s all a Divine balance. No?

Knowing God, doing love, the Christian life is balance. No?source

And so the Didache was circulated…
considered as the relayed instruction of the Apostles…
for teaching on how to do life, and religion, and ministry.

More next time.

I’ve kept you long enough today…

Thank you so much for reading me.

It means the world to me.

Please come back.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie August 21, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Learning a lot here Craig. Thank you.

This may not be the place to ask, but I know a little (very little) about the Catholic faith. I was wondering why some of their scripture — they have some books in their Bible— that are not in the Protestant Bible. Wondering if you knew any of the reasoning behind this. Any way you don’t have to answer it all here. Maybe later for another Blog…… like you said about exploring why some writings were chosen and others were not.

Reply

Craig August 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Katie, of course this is the place to ask! ツ

I think the first thing to remember is that the Catholic Church doesn’t believe that inspiration ended with the Bible – and Protestants believe that inspiration did. So this is why Catholics have things in their doctrine which are not in the Bible – because Catholic doctrine believes that God has continued to reveal himself through the church.

This is why there are are things like purgatory and those books in the middle of the Bible. The Catholic Church accepted them as inspired – after the Reformation because Protestant leaders thought things were a little shaky with the history of the books – and the authorship (I’ll maybe I’ll do a whole post on the sometime if you remind me ツ) they decided there was not enough reason to justify them being in biblical canon.

I think they’re important – and what makes Protestant scholars (1100 years later) any smarter than Catholic scholars closer to the source – the books of the Bible were placed there by people who really cared about what they were doing – and I think God was involved in the whole process. Those books are worth the read anyway.

Hope that helps – ask away any time my friend. God bless and keep you!

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Katie August 23, 2012 at 12:08 am

Yeah that helps. I have been delving into learning more about the Catholic church since my dad became Catholic several years ago. I need to borrow some books from him I think. I know he went through several classes. If the books are his I know he would let me borrow them.

I actually believe God still inspires people today. I know he inspires much of my writing. But I don’t know that I put my writing up there with the Bible. Testing all against the Bible is best, as you have said before. :) Thank you!

Reply

Craig August 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm

a quick word about “inspiration” – of course he still inspires us – I’ve read inspired stuff written by you – there’s just a difference between “inspired” and “INSPIRED”. Everything we feel we are inspired to write must always match against Scripture – Scripture matches against itself. So I guess there’s small i inspired and a capital I inspired – I probably didn’t make that clear – I should have. God bless you Katie!

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Martha Orlando August 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I have not heard of the Didache before and am so curious to know more, Craig! And, yes, God entrusts us with so very much, doesn’t He? As frail and fragile as we are, what a joy to be graced by the Lord in this way!
Blessings always, dear friend!

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Craig August 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Martha, I had heard the word thrown around little in my early Christian years – and even a little bit in my seminary years – but it wasn’t really until my homeless year, when I was spending so much time in the seminary library that I read all of these works.

The Didache was like a church manual – and it wasn’t considered new teaching – it was considered a rehash of what the apostles told them – that’s why it’s so important – and yet still not considered “inspired” – kind of like hearsay evidence.

And amn – our Lord does trust us with so much – I know that I for one am not worthy. Thank you Martha, battling, wading my way through trauma, and getting pieces of me back bit by bit (I think) – God bless and keep you my friend.

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