or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles
Tim Sauder, Translator
read an annotated version of the Didache, please click here.
There are two ways: one of life and one of death; and
the difference between the two ways is great.
The way of life is this: first, you should love God, who
made you; secondly, love your neighbor as yourself; and
whatever things you do not desire to be done to you, do
not do them to someone else.
Now the words of this teaching are this: Bless those who
curse you and pray for your enemies, and fast for those
who are persecuting you. For what credit is it if you love
those who love you? Do not the Gentiles do the same thing?
But love those hating you, and you will not have an enemy.
Keep yourself from fleshly and bodily cravings. If anyone
hits you on the right cheek, turn the other one to him also.
And you will be acting maturely. If someone should force
you to go one mile, go with him two. If someone takes your
coat, give him your shirt also. If anyone should take from
you what is yours, do not demand that he give it back, for
Give to everyone asking you and do not refuse, for the
Father desires to give to everyone from His own gifts. Blessed
is the one who gives according to the commandment, for he
is innocent. But the one who receives without need shall
account for his receiving. Furthermore, being held, he shall
be examined concerning what he has done, and he shall not
be released until he has given back the last cent.
It has been said concerning this, "Let your money
sweat in your hands until you know whom you should give
And this is the second commandment of the teaching: you
shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall
not corrupt children, nor practice sexual deviation; you
shall not steal; nor practice calling on spiritual guides;
nor use sorcery; you shall not procure an abortion, nor
practice infanticide; you shall not covet your neighbor's
You shall not commit perjury, nor accuse someone falsely;
you shall not speak evil nor hold a grudge. You shall not
be double minded nor double tongued, for the double tongue
is the snare of death. Your word shall not be false or empty,
but do what you say.
You shall not be covetous or extortionate, or hypocritical,
or malicious or proud. You shall not plan evil against your
neighbor. You should not hate anyone; but you should reprove
some, and you should pray for some, and you should love
some more then your own life.
My child, flee from evil and from every appearance of
evil. Do not be ruled by your passions, for this leads to
murder. Neither be jealous, quarrelsome, or quick- tempered.
For murders are born out of such things. Do not let yourself
develop lust, for this leads to sexual immorality. Do not
be foul-mouthed, nor raise your eyes, for this leads to
My child, do not regard omens, for this leads to idolatry.
Do not be a sorcerer, nor be involved in astrology or magic
purifications. Do not desire to see these things, for that
is how idolatry comes. My child, do not be a liar, for lying
leads to thievery. Do not be fond of money and do not try
to build your own image, for that also leads to thievery.
My child, do not be a grumbler, for it leads to blasphemy.
Do not be self-willed nor entertain evil thoughts, for that
is how blasphemy starts.
Be meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth. Be patient
and long suffering, devoid of evil, gentle and good, and
trembling continually at the words that you have heard.
Do not exalt yourself nor act presumptuously. Do not join
yourself with the proud, but walk with the righteous and
Accept everything that happens to you as good, knowing
that nothing happens apart from God.
My child, you should remember night and day the one who
speaks to you the Word of God, and honor him as you would
the Lord; for where the delegated authority speaks, there
is the Lord.
And you should seek every day the presence of the saints,
in order that you may be supported by their words. You should
not desire division, but make peace between those quarreling.
Judge righteously; do not favor anyone in reproving transgressions.
Do not be double-minded as to whether anything should or
should no be.
Do not be one who stretches out his hand to receive but
withdraws it in giving.
Give a ransom for your sins if you have it to give. Do
not hesitate to give, nor give in a grumbling manner, for
you know who is the good Paymaster who rewards?
You should not turn away the needy, but share all things
with your brother, not saying that anything is your own.
For if we are sharers in the eternal things, much more should
we be in the physical things. Do not withhold your hand
from your son or your daughter, but from their youth teach
them the fear of God.
Do not give orders to your slave or your handmaiden-"those
who hope in the same God-"when you are
bitter, lest they stop fearing God who is over you both.
For He does not come to call men according to their social
status, but He calls those whom the Spirit has prepared.
And you slaves submit in fear and reverence to your masters
as God's delegated authority over you.
You should hate all hypocrisy and all that is not pleasing
to the Lord. Do not forsake the commandments of the Lord,
and keep (the teachings) you have received, not adding and
not taking away. In church, you should confess your faults;
and do not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is
the Way of Life.
But the Way of Death is this: first of all, it is evil
and full of curses, lusts, adulteries, murders, thefts,
idolatries, witchcrafts, sorceries, robberies, false witnesses,
hypocrisies, double-mindedness, fraud, arrogance, boastfulness,
jealousies, foul speech, pride, persecutors of the good,
haters of truth, lovers of a lie, not regarding the reward
of the righteous, not holding to the good or to the righteous
judgment, spending sleepless nights not for good, but for
wickedness; far from whom is gentleness and patience; loving
useless things, seeking rewards, unmerciful to the poor,
not helping the hardworking person, not regarding the one
who made them, child murderers, destroyers of God's
creation, turning away the needy, oppressing the distressed,
wrongfully assisting the rich, unjust judges of the poor,
altogether sinful. May you be delivered, my children, from
all of these things?
See that no one misleads you from the pathway of this
teaching, since it would be contrary to God. For if you
are able to bear the whole yoke of the Lord, you should
be mature. If you are not able, do what you can.
Concerning meat, do what you can; but keep from that which
is offered to idols, for it is the worship of dead gods.
And concerning baptism, in this manner baptize: when you
have gone over these things, baptize in the name of the
Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in running water.
If you do not have running water, baptize in other water.
If you are not able to use cold water, use warm. And if
you have neither, pour water on the head three times, in
the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And
before baptism, the one baptizing and the one to be baptized
should fast, as well as any others who are able. And you
should instruct the one being baptized to fast one or two
And let not your fasts be with those of the hypocrites,
for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but you fast Wednesdays
and Fridays. Do not pray as the hypocrites but as the Lord
commanded in His gospel. Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed is Your name, Your kingdom
come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us our daily bread for today and forgive our debts
as we forgive those who owe us. Please do not lead us into
a test, but deliver us from the evil one. For You have the
power and the glory forever.
Pray like this three times a day.
Concerning the Eucharist (communion) give thanks like
First for the cup:
We give thanks to You, our Father, for Your holy vine of
David, Your servant, which You made known to us through
Jesus, Your Servant. Glory to You forever.
Concerning the broken bread:
We give thanks to You, our Father, for the life and knowledge
that You made known to us through Jesus, Your Servant. Glory
to You forever. As this broken bread was scattered over
the hills and was brought together becoming one, so gather
Your Church from the ends of the earth into Your kingdom,
for You have all power and glory forever through Jesus Christ.
Do not let anyone eat or drink of your Eucharist meal except
the ones who have been baptized into the name of the Lord.
For the Lord said concerning this: "do not give that
which is holy to the dogs."
After you are filled, give thanks like this:
We thank you, Holy Father, for Your Holy name which you
made to dwell in our hearts, and for knowledge and faith
and immortality as You made known to us through Jesus, Your
Servant. Glory to You forever.
You, Lord Almighty, created all things to show forth Your
name. You give both food and drink to man to enjoy, and
everlasting life through Your Servant. Above all, we thank
You because You are mighty. Glory to You forever. Remember
Lord, Your Church, to deliver her from all evil and mature
her in Your love. And gather her from the four winds, separated
into Your kingdom which You have made for her, because You
have the power and glory forever.
Let grace come and this world pass away. Hosanna to the
Son of David! If anyone is holy, let him come. If anyone
is not, let him repent. Maranatha (Lord come). Amen
Allow the prophets now to give thanks as they desire.
Whoever, therefore, who comes and teaches you all these
things mentioned, receive him. But if the one teaching changes
what has been taught to another teaching in order to destroy
these things, do not listen to him. However, if his motive
is to add righteousness and knowledge of the Lord, receive
him as you would the Lord.
Now concerning the apostles and prophets, act according
to the requirements of the Gospel. Every apostle coming
to you, welcome as you would the Lord.
And he should not remain more than one day, and if he has
a need also another. But if he remains three days, he is
a false prophet.
And when the apostle goes forth, he should take nothing
except a loaf of bread, until he arrives at his night's
lodging. If he asks for money he is a false prophet. Also,
you should not test or judge and prophet speaking in the
Spirit, for every sin will be forgiven, but this sin shall
not be forgiven.
But not everyone speaking in the Spirit is a prophet,
but only if he should have a lifestyle of the Lord'scharacter.
Therefore, by his lifestyle you will know a false prophet
from a true prophet. And any prophet ordering a meal in
the Spirit should not eat of it; otherwise he is a false
And every prophet who teaches the truth but does not do
what he teaches is a false prophet. But every prophet who
stands the test and is genuine, even if he uses symbolic
imagery in the church, so long as he does not teach others
to do the same, should not be judged. His judgment comes
from God, for so did the prophets of old.
But whoever should say in the Spirit, "Give me money
or something else,"do not listen to them. But if, concerning
others in need, he says, ‘give’,
let no one judge him.
Receive everyone coming in the name of the Lord. Later,
by testing him, you will find out about him, where he deviates
from the standard. If the one coming is just traveling through,
help him as much as you can. He should not remain with you
more than three days if that is necessary.
But if he desires to settle among you and has a trade,
let him work for his bread. But if he has no trade, you
should provide for him according to your own discretion.
In no way should anyone live among you unemployed as a Christian.
And if he is not willing to do this, he is making a trade
of Christ. Beware of this kind of person.
But every genuine prophet who desires to settle among
you is worthy of his food. Likewise, every genuine teacher
is worthy; like a workman, he is worthy of his food. Therefore,
of all the first produce of the wine press and the threshing
floor, and of the oxen and the sheep, take the first fruits
and give it to the prophets. For they are your high priests.
And if you do not have a prophet, give such first fruits
to the poor. If you should make bread, take it and give
according to the commandment. Likewise, if you have opened
a jar of wine or oil, take the first fruits and give to
the prophets. And also take the first fruits of your money
and clothes and all your possessions. As it seems best,
give according to the commandment.
And when coming together on the Lord's own day, break
bread and give thanks after confessing your transgressions.
In that manner, your sacrifice will be pure. And do not
let anyone coming with a quarrel against a brother join
you until they get reconciled, in order that your sacrifice
is not impure. For this has been spoken of by the Lord,
"in every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice,
for I am a great King," says the Lord, "and My
name is wonderful among the nations."
Appoint for yourselves, therefore bishops and deacons
worthy of the Lord: gentle men, not lovers of money, true
and approved. For they minister also to you the ministry
of prophets and teachers. Therefore, do not despise them,
for they are to be honored among you along with the prophets
Do not reprove one another in anger, but in peace, as
we have been shown in the Gospel. And do not let anyone
speak to a person who is unloving to his neighbor, nor let
him hear a word from you, until he repents.
Pray and give and live as you have found in the Gospel
of our Lord.
Watch over your life. Do not let your lamps be extinguished
or your body unclothed, but be ready; for you do not know
the hour in which our Lord comes.
Assemble yourselves together frequently to seek the things
that benefit your souls, for all the time of your faith
will not profit you unless you are perfect at the last.
For in the last days, false prophets and seducers will increase,
turning the sheep into wolves; and love will be turned into
For lawlessness will increase and they will hate and persecute
and betray one another. And then the deceiver of the world
will appear as though he were the Son of God, and he shall
do signs and wonders and the earth shall be delivered into
his hands; and he will commit immoralities which have never
been done since the age began.
Then shall the race of men come into the fire of proving
trial and many shall be made to stumble and perish. But
those who remain established in their faith shall be saved
under the very curse.
And then the signs of truth shall be revealed. First,
a sign spread out in heaven; then a sign of the sound of
a trumpet; and third, the resurrection of the dead, but
not all of the dead. But as it was said, "the Lord
shall come and all His Holy Ones with Him."Then the
world shall see the Lord coming in the clouds of heaven."
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