The Didache: Communion

Didache 10:1 begins Now concerning the Eucharist, give thanks in this way. Actually, there is a little word play here, in that the Greek word eucharistia means thanksgiving. So it reads almost like Now concerning the thanksgiving, give thanks in this way. This is actually significant in that the teaching here seems to emphasize giving thanks more than themes of remembrance (of the blood and body) or covenant (cf. Matt 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:15-20; 1 Cor 11:23-25). The emphasis of these prayers has more to do with thanksgiving, unity of the church, and a prayer for preservation until the Lord’s return (cf. 1 Cor 11:26).

It seems that this practice was an actual meal rather than what we are accustomed to in our worship services. This is evidenced by the fact that prayers of thanksgiving are given for the cup, the broken bread, and after being filled.

The meal was limited to baptized believers; the unbaptized were explicitly prohibited from sharing in the meal (Did 9:5). Interestingly enough Jesus’ words in Matthew (7:6) “Do not give dogs what is sacred,” are used as the rationale.

This protocol was to be generally followed by the church, but if a prophet wanted to lead the meal in a different way, the church was to submit to them. This is followed by criteria for discerning legit prophets from the false, which we will get into next time.

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