1. See that no one cause thee to err 2436 from this way of the Teaching, since apart from God it teacheth thee. 2. For if thou art able to bear all the yoke 2437 of the Lord, thou wilt be perfect; but if thou art not able, what thou art able that do. 3. And concerning food, 2438 bear what thou art able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols 2439 be exceedingly on thy guard; for it is the service of dead gods. 2440
Of this chapter, two phrases and one entire clause are found in Apostolic Constitutions, vii. 19–21.379:2436
Comp. Matt. xxiv . 4 (Greek); Revised Version, “lead you astray:” Apostolic Constitutions, vii. 19.379:2437
Or, “the whole yoke.” Those who accept the Jewish-Christian authorship refer this to the ceremonial law. It seems quite as likely to mean ascetic regulations. Of these there are many traces, even in the New-Testament churches.379:2438
Apostolic Constitutions, vii. 20, begins with a similar phrase, but is explicitly against asceticism in this respect. The precepts here do not indicate any such spirit as that opposed by Paul.379:2439
Comp. Acts 15:20, 29; 1 Cor. viii. 4, etc., x. 18, etc. (Rom. xiv. 20 refers to ascetic abstinence.) This prohibition had a necessary permanence; comp. Apostolic Constitutions, vii. 21.379:2440
Comp. the same phrase in 2 Clement, iii. This chapter closes the first part of the Teaching, that supposed to be intended for catechumens. The absence of doctrinal statement does not necessarily prove the existence of a circle of Gentile Christians where the Pauline theology was unknown. If such a circle existed, emphasizing the ethical side of Christianity to the exclusion of its doctrinal basis, it disappeared very soon. From the nature of the case, that kind of Christianity is intellectually weak and necessarily short-lived.