Didache: The Teaching

The Didache is a first century lost Gospel that has been found in Greek and Coptic in multiple ancient libraries. It is one of the earliest Gospels not included in the Bible Canon. Find below the English translation of the Didache - which means, "The Teaching:"


The Teachings of the Master through the Twelve Messengers


Chapter One

1. There are two paths: One of life and one of death – which are vastly different paths from each other.
2. Indeed, the path of life is this: First, love the God who created you;
3. and secondly, your neighbor as yourself: And whatever you wish won’t happen to you, don’t do to another.
4. Abstain from the carnal desires of the body. If someone strikes you in the right jaw, you should also turn the other towards him and be gracious. If you are sent a mile by someone, return for him two. If someone takes off your coat, also give him your shirt. If someone takes from you what is yours, don’t ask for it back, even if you can.
5. Give to anyone who asks of you. Give, and don’t ask for it back, because the Creator is pleased when we give the gifts we have received from Him. Blessed is one who gives according to this instruction, for he is free of debts – but woe to one who takes. For someone who utilizes what is needed has no obligation, but one who utilizes what is not needed will be responsible for what was used and for what purpose. And in the final accounting, one will not become free until he has paid back the last penny.
6. With regard to this, it is said: ‘Let your pennies sweat in your hands until you know to whom you should give.’

Chapter Two

1. The second instruction of the teaching is:
2. Do not murder, nor commit adultery, nor child molestation, nor illicit sex, nor shall you steal, nor practice witchcraft, nor murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn.
3. Do not covet what is your neighbor’s, nor swear or lie, nor speak wickedness, nor hold a grudge.
4. Don’t be duplicitous or deceitful: Deceit is the entrapment of death.
5. Do not give false or empty promises, but back up what you say with your actions.
6. Don’t be greedy, nor be a thief, nor a pretender, nor nefarious or proud. Don’t make wicked plans against your fellow person.
7. Don’t hate any person – indeed, love those who detest you more than your own self.

Chapter Three

1. My child, run from all wickedness and from everything like it.
2. Don’t be quick to anger, because anger leads to violence. Nor be jealous nor cruel – out of which all violence comes.
3. My child, don’t become lusty, as this leads to a craving for illicit sex. Nor speak wickedly, nor with pride, because out of these things adulteries are born.
4. My child, don’t follow omens, because this leads to worshiping false gods. Nor astrologers or numerologists, nor diviners. Don’t be interested to see or hear from them, for out of these things the worship of false gods is born.
5. My child, don’t become a liar, because lying leads to stealing. Nor be greedy, nor arrogant, because out of these, stealing is born.
6. My child, don’t become a complainer, because this leads to blasphemy. Nor be selfish or evil-minded, because out of these blasphemies are born.
7. Rather, be humble, because the humble will inherit paradise.
8. Be patient and merciful and straight-forward, and peaceful and good, and revere the teachings you have heard.
9. Don’t glorify yourself, nor be impudent. Your spirit-person may accompany the exalted – but conduct yourself with virtue and humility.
10. Accept the things that come upon you, because nothing takes place without God.


Chapter Four

1. My child, remember him who teaches the doctrine of God – and honor him as master, for the LORD is present where ever He is spoken of.
2. Those who seek to please the holy ones each day will take shelter in their teachings.
3. Do not create strife. Rather, make peace among fighters. Judge one's failings with understanding.
4. Don’t be duplicitous, regardless of the situation.
5. Don’t stretch out your hands to receive – rather, withdraw them as you give.
6. For by your hands your errors will be redeemed.
7. Don’t hesitate to give, nor grumble when giving – for you should know what is fair compensation of wages.
8. Don’t turn away those in need. Rather, share everything with your brother. And don’t say those things are yours, for you are partners in what is eternal – even more so with what is temporary.
9. Don’t withhold your embrace from your son or your daughter – but from their youth, teach them to revere God.
10. Don’t bitterly command your servant or maidservant who relies upon the same God – or they may cease their reverence to the God who is over both of you. For He comes not just to call people, but for those the Holy Spirit has prepared.
11. Rather, you are servants subject to your master, God’s representative, with humility and reverence.
12. Detest all pretense and everything that is not pleasing to the LORD.
13. Do not abandon the instructions of the LORD. Rather, guard what has been received, and neither add to them nor take away from them.
14. Confess your offenses before others, and don’t pray with wicked intentions. This is the path of life.


Chapter Five

1. The path of death is this: Firstly, it is wickedness and cursed with thoughts of violence, adultery, lust, illicit sex, theft, idol worship, witchcraft, sorcery, robbery, lying, pretense, duplicitous, craftiness, pride, evil, selfishness, greediness, foul-mouthed, jealousy, rudeness, superiority, disrespect;
2. persecutors of the devoted; hating truth; loving lies; not knowing the benefits of virtue; not having associated with devotion nor righteous judgment; not caring for devotion, but only for wickedness; being far from gentleness and patience; loving vanity; pursuing vengeance; not merciful to those in need; not tending to the afflicted; ignoring Him who created them; murdering children; corrupting the creatures of God; turning away the needy; afflicting the oppressed; advocating the wealthy; being lawless judges of the poor; wholly wicked. Withdraw yourselves, children, from all of these.


Chapter Six

1. See that no teaching makes you stray from this path, for such teaching is without God.
2. If indeed you can completely take refuge in the LORD you will be perfect. But if you can’t, then do as best as you can.
3. Concerning food: Sustain yourself as you can, but be careful not to eat from what is offered to idols because this is the worship of dead deities.

Chapter Seven

1. With regard to baptism, immerse anyone within the water that is living by first saying, ‘Be baptized in the Name of the Creator and the Representative and the Holy Spirit.’
2. But if you don’t have living water, then baptize with some other water. And if you don’t have cold, then use warm.
3. But if you have neither, pour water on the head three times ‘in the Name of the Creator, the Representative and the Holy Spirit.’
4. And before the baptism, the baptizer and he who will be baptized should fast – and anyone else who is able. Then you should request the person who will be baptized to fast a day or two prior.

Chapter Eight

1. But don’t fast with the hypocrites. They fast on the second and the fifth Sabbath. You can fast on the fourth and the day before the Sabbath.
2. Nor should you pray like the pretenders, but as requested by the Master in the Gospel of God, thus you should pray:
‘Our Creator in the spiritual realm;
Your Name is holy;
let Your sanctuary avail;
let Your will be done on earth as it is in the spiritual realm;
give us sufficient bread today;
and forgive our debts;
as we forgive our debtors;
and deliver us not into temptation;
but rescue us from wickedness;
for You are the Almighty – may You be glorified forever.’
3. Pray like this three times a day.


Chapter Nine

1. With regard to making offerings, make offerings like this:
2. First with regard to the cup:
‘We make this offering to You, our Creator,
over the holy vine of Your servant David,
revealed to us through Your servant Jesus.
May You be glorified forever.’
3. With regard to the broken bread:
‘We offer this to You, our Creator,
over the life and knowledge
revealed to us through Your servant Jesus.
May You be glorified forever.’
4. ‘Just as one who scattered bread crumbs beyond the mountains and then gathered them together, those who call on You will be gathered from the ends of the earth into Your sanctuary, for You are the Almighty – may You be glorified through Jesus the Anointed [Messiah, Christ] forever.’
5. No one should eat nor drink from the offering except those who are immersed in the Name of the LORD: And because of this, the Master said: “Do not give what is holy to the dogs.”

Chapter Ten

1. Yet once satisfied, offer thanks thus:
2. ‘We offer thanks to You, Holy Creator,
for Your Holy Name that dwells within our hearts
and the knowledge and faith and imperishability,
which You revealed to us through Jesus Your Servant.
May You be glorified forever.
3. ‘Almighty LORD, You created everything for Your Name’s sake, and you gave food and drink to humanity to be filled through offerings to You. However, You granted us spiritual food and drink, and eternal life through Jesus Your servant.
4. ‘Above all, we offer our thanks to You, for You are Almighty and may You be glorified forever.
5. ‘Remember, LORD, those who call upon You. Rescue us from all wickedness and make us perfect in Your love. Gathered from the four winds is the holy one who prepares us for Your sanctuary, for You are the Almighty – may You be glorified forever.
6. ‘May Your Grace be revealed, and may the world pass away! All glories to the God of David! May those who are holy be revealed, and if someone isn’t, then let him have a change of heart as the LORD becomes revealed, Amen.’
7. As to the prophets – let us make offerings as they do.
8.[Coptic manuscript only] With regard to the anointing, which is offering:
9.[Coptic manuscript only] ‘We offer our thanks to you, our Holy Creator, over the anointment, that has been made known to us through Your Representative Jesus. May You be glorified forever.’

Chapter Eleven

1. Accept one who appears and teaches you all of these things.
2. If the spiritual teacher perverts the teachings and teaches another doctrine, do not listen to him. But if his teachings enable an increase in devotion and knowledge of the LORD, then accept him as you would accept the LORD.
3. With regard to the messengers and spiritual teachers – according to the Gospel – act accordingly.
4. However, every messenger who approaches you should be received as the Lord.
5. But let him stay for a day or two – but if he stays for three days, he is a false teacher.
6. And when a messenger departs, he should accept nothing except for bread until he rests. If he asks for money instead, he is a false teacher.
7. Don’t judge or examine the spiritual teacher who speaks by the Spirit. For all offenses will be forgiven – but this offense won’t be forgiven.
8. Yet not every person who speaks by the Spirit is a spiritual teacher – only if he acts on behalf of the LORD. The false teacher and the true spiritual teacher will be known by their actions.
9. A spiritual teacher who announces a sacrifice in the Spirit won’t eat from it. Otherwise, he is a false teacher.
10. Any spiritual teacher who teaches the Truth and does not practice what he teaches is a false teacher.
11. Every spiritual teacher who proves to be genuine – ministering from the mysteries of the transcendental assembly: If he does not practice what he teaches he can be judged by you, because he will have his judgment with God – for this is as it was for the spiritual teachers of ancient times.
12. But whoever says by the Spirit, ‘give me money or something else,’ you shouldn’t listen to him. But if he tells you to give on behalf of others in need, then no one should judge him.

Chapter Twelve

1. Receive anyone who approaches you calling upon the Name of the LORD– but after examining him you will know him, for you know what is right and wrong.
2. If the one who approaches is transient, help him to the degree you can, but he shouldn’t remain with you more than two or three days if need be.
3. If he wants to stay with you and he has a trade, let him work and eat.
4. If he doesn’t have a trade to your knowledge, care for him, providing that no Christian will live among you idly. But if he is not willing to work, he is using the Anointed [Messiah, Christ]. Beware of such people.

Chapter Thirteen

1. Any true spiritual teacher who will live among you deserves food.
2. In the same way, the true spiritual teacher – just as the laborer – deserves food.
3. Therefore, all the fruits born of the press and the threshing, as well as oxen and sheep, should first be offered to the spiritual teachers, because they are your high priests.
4. But if you don’t have a spiritual teacher, then give to the poor.
5. If you make bread, first offer it according to the instruction.
6. Otherwise, when you open a flask of juice or oil, first offer it to the spiritual teachers.
7. Regarding money and clothes – and all of your possessions – first offer these as best you can, according to the instruction.

Chapter Fourteen

1. On the LORD’s day of service, come together to break bread and make offerings to the LORD, and confess your offenses to purify your sacrifice.
2. But no one who is in conflict with another should come together until they are reconciled, so your sacrifice will not be offensive.
3. For the LORD says, “In every place and time, make a pure offering to Me, for I am the Great King and My Name is wonderful among the people.”

Chapter Fifteen

1. Therefore, choose for yourselves a spiritual leader and elders who are devoted to the LORD – those who are humble and not lovers of money; honest and authoritative; for they will help you cultivate the teachings of the saints and spiritual teachers.
2. Now don’t despise them, for you should honor them together with the saints and spiritual teachers.
3. And chastise others not with hostility, but rather with the peace as found in the Gospel. And one who doesn’t treat others with respect should not speak to others, nor should you hear from them until they have a change of heart.
4. But your prayers and offerings and every deed you do should be as held in the Gospel of your LORD.

Chapter Sixteen

1. Be careful about your life: Don’t extinguish your lamps, nor loosen your loins. Instead prepare yourselves, for you know not the hour our LORD will appear.
2. But gather often and seek that which benefits your spirit-person, for all your faith has no benefit unless you are found perfect at the time of death.
3. Because as time goes on, false prophets will multiply, and the tempter will convert the sheep into wolves, and love into hate.
4. And because lawlessness increases, hatred for one another will follow, and betrayal. Then the deceiver of the world will appear to be God’s representative, doing wonders and miracles, betraying the world for himself and creating lawlessness like never seen before.
5. Then the human creation will receive a scorching testing, and those who are offenders will perish. But the faithful shall endure, and be saved from the wickedness.
6. Then the signs of Truth will be revealed. The sign is first transmitted from heaven, then the sign of the horn is sounded, and thirdly, the rising from the dead body.
7. But not for everyone – but only for those who call upon the LORD and the Saints devoted to Him.
8. Then the world will see the LORD present on high, within the spiritual realm.

Continue on to the Acts of Peter and the Twelve Messengers