Sirach 7:31

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

29 With all your soul fear the Lord, and revere his priests. 30 With all your might love your Maker, and do not neglect his ministers. 31 Fear the Lord and honor the priest, and give him his portion, as you have been commanded: the first fruits, the guilt offering, the gift of the shoulders, the sacrifice of sanctification, and the first fruits of the holy things. 32 Stretch out your hand to the poor, so that your blessing may be complete. 33 Give graciously to all the living; do not withhold kindness even from the dead.

Didache 13:3


1 Every true prophet who wishes to settle among you deserves to be provided for with food. 2 Similarly, a genuine teacher is worthy of sustenance, just like any other worker. 3 Therefore, you should offer the first fruits of your wine, grain, oxen, and sheep to the prophets, for they serve as your high priests. 4 If you have no prophets, then give to those in need. 5 When you bake bread, take the first portion and give it in accordance with the commandment.

 Notes and References

"... The ministry of the itinerant charismatic is to be received with the same eagerness and seriousness as would be rendered to Christ himself. Such a status is reflected in the hospitality to be offered to itinerant prophets. They are to have priority—the first pick of the harvest—even before the poor (Didache 13:4; Mark 14:7)—also money, clothing and everything you own (Didache 13:7). In other words, such ambassadors cannot be honored enough for the ministry they undertake in Christ’s name, reflecting the dominical teaching that laborers deserve their food (Matthew 10:9-10). Furthermore, such treatment reflects that rendered to the priesthood of the Old Testament, who are qualified to consume what the people have first given to God (Deuteronomy 18:1-8; Nehemiah 10:37-39; Sirach 7:31-32). The Didachist makes this overtly clear: they are your high priests (Didache 13:3). Clearly, they were an integral part of the church’s life in the earliest days, which was encouraged to both welcome them and give them every support for the furtherance of their mission. But the evidence is that this very welcome and generous openness contributed, in more than a few cases, to local difficulties. One was the nature of their teaching. Local communities are expected to understand the Christian kerygma they received well enough to be able to distinguish between true and false prophets: exercise your critical judgment (Didache 12:1; 1 John 4:1). The true itinerant will serve to fortify the faith of the church (Didache 11:2), his lifestyle will accord to that of Jesus himself (Didache 11:8); and he will not be hypocritical, teaching what he, himself, does not practice (Didache 11:10, compare Matthew 23:2-3). If he proves be so, the false one should be avoided (Didache 12:5; Romans 16:17) ..."

Jackson, Michael Church Order in the Didache (pp. 16-21) The Baptist Minister's Journal, Vol. 327, 2015

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