Book Review: The Didache

The Didache

So I want to begin reading the Church Fathers, the earliest Christian writers that we have material from.  I’ve had this little book for years – I think I bought it at the bookstore at Seminary, but I haven’t actually read through it.  That’s kind of depressing based on how short it is!

The Didache is a manual of Christian instruction for those new to the faith.  Some people want to attribute it to the Apostles, but we have no way of confidently doing this and the Church has always treated it separately.  It’s very short – shorter than the Gospel of Mark if you want a comparison.

If I had to cite one thing that really struck me in reading it, it would be in the second second section, where it outlines some very specific rules of behavior.  Some of these overlap with the Ten Commandments and some don’t.  The ones that struck me are these:

  • 2:2 you will not murder offspring by means of abortion;
  •        and you will not kill him(/her) having been born

I understand the whole issue of male/female relationships and rights and whatnot, but I continue to not understand those who profess to be Christian and yet believe that murdering offspring – whether unborn or already born – is acceptable.  The earliest Church made it clear (because in Roman culture such practices weren’t necessarily forbidden) that killing your kids in or out of the womb is not permissible.  How have we as Christians lost sight of this?

I recommend this as an inexpensive copy of The Didache, and not necessarily for the commentary on it the author provides.  It’s a brief and fascinating glimpse into what the early Church thought was important to convey to people about how Christians should live.


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