Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter XI. 2470 —Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets.

1. Whosoever, therefore, cometh and teacheth you all these things that have been said before, receive him. 2471 2. But if the teacher himself turn 2472 and teach another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not; but if he teach so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. 3. But concerning the apostles and prophets, according to the decree of the Gospel, thus do. 4. Let every apostle that cometh to you be received as the Lord. 2473 5. But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. 6. And when the apostle goeth away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodgeth; 2474 but if he ask money, he is a false prophet. 7. And every prophet that speaketh in the Spirit 2475 ye shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. 2476 8. But not every one that speaketh in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he hold the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. 9. And every prophet who ordereth a meal 2477 in the Spirit eateth not from it, except indeed he be a false prophet; 10. and every prophet who teacheth the truth, if he do not what he teacheth, is a false prophet. 11. And every prophet, proved true, 2478 working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, 2479 yet not teaching others to p. 381 do what he himself doeth, shall not be judged among you, for with God he hath his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever saith in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, ye shall not listen to him; but if he saith to you to give for others’ sake who are in need, let no one judge him.  



The Apostolic Constitutions (vii. 27) present scarcely any parallel to this chapter, which points to an earlier period, when ecclesiastical polity was less developed, and the travelling “Apostles” and “Prophets” here spoken of were numerous. [Elucidation II.]  


This refers to all teachers, more fully described afterwards.  


Lit. “being turned:” i.e. turned from the truth, perverted.  


Matt. x. 40. The mention of apostles here has caused much discussion, but there are many indications that travelling evangelists were thus termed for some time after the apostolic age. Bishop Lightfoot has shown, that, even in the New Testament, a looser use of the term applied it to others than the Twelve. Comp. Rom. xvi. 7; 1 Cor. 15:5, 7 (?); Gal. i. 19; 1 Thess. ii. 6: also, as applied to Barnabas, Acts 14:4, 14.  


Reach a place where he can lodge.  


Under the influence of the charismatic gift spoken of in 1 Cor. xii. 3, xiv. 2. Another indication of an early date.  


Probably a reference to the sin against the Holy Spirit. Matt. 12:31, 32; Mark 3:29, 30.  


Probably a love-feast, commanded by the prophet in his peculiar utterance.  


ἀληθινός, “genuine.”  


ποιῶν εἰς μυστήριον κοσμικὸν ἐκκλησίας, “working unto a worldly mystery of (the) Church,” or “making assemblies for a worldly mystery.” Either rendering is grammatical: neither is very intelligible. The paraphrase in the above version presents one leading view of this difficult passage: the mystery is the Church, and a worldly one, because the Church is in the world. The other leading view joins ἐκκλησίας (as accusative) with ποιῶν, “making assemblies for a worldly mystery.” So Bryennios, who regards the worldly mystery as a symbolical act of the prophet. Others suggest, as the mystery for which the assemblies are called, revelation of future events, celibacy, the Eucharist, the ceremonial law. It seems, at all events, to point to incipient fanaticism on the part of the prophets of those days. [Elucidation III.] This was likely to take the form either of asceticism or of extravagant predictions and mystical fancies about the Church in the world. Did we know the place and the time more accurately, we might decide which was meant. This caution was evidently needed: Let God judge such extravagances.  

Next: Chapter XII.—Reception of Christians