THE EPISTLE OF JUDE
A GENERAL LETTER TO ALL THOSE WHO ARE CALLED, SANCTIFIED, AND PRESERVED!
The Epistle of Jude is a brief New Testament "book," consisting of only 25 verses. The writer of the book identifies himself simply as "the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James," in the first verse. If this is the same "James" who is mentioned in Matt. 13:55 and Gal. 1:19, then he was also the half-brother of Jesus, a son of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This letter is listed among the General Epistles, since the people receiving the book are designated simply as follows:
"To those who are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called" (verse 1).
There are three adjectives in this verse describing the people Jude addresses-"sanctified," "preserved," and "called." All three of these words emphasize the fact that Jude was writing to believers in Christ. "Sanctified" is from the Greek verb hagiazo, also meaning "to hallow" or "to make holy." Vine notes that the word is used to denote "the setting apart of the believer for God" (Vine's Expository Dictionary: Vol. III, p. 318). (Most of the newer versions of the Bible use the word "loved" or "beloved" here instead of "sanctified.") "Preserved" is from the Greek verb tereo, which "regards the continuous preservation of the believer" (Vine: Vol. III, p. 207). The NIV and the NASB both have "kept" here. Finally, the word "called" is from kletos, referring to "an effectual call" (Vine: Vol. I, p. 165).
A UNIVERSAL LETTER
The General Epistles are sometimes referred to in older commentaries as the "Catholic Epistles," in the sense of "universal." Since most people now associate the word "Catholic" with the Roman Catholic Church, the term General Epistles is more common.
Klein, Blomberg, and Hubbard observe, "Verses 3-4 state Jude's purpose in a nutshell" (Introduction to Biblical Interpretation: 360).
"... it became needful for me to write unto you and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men who have crept in unawares, who were foreordained of old for this condemnation..." (Jude 1:3-4 KJ21).
A KEY THOUGHT: EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH
Some believe that the key thought to the entire epistle is here in verse 3, "earnestly contend for the faith." Lutheran expositor Joseph C. Thompson wrote,
"Here we have the grand theme of the Epistle: 'contending for the faith.' They should fight for the faith, fight so as to defend it against the inroads of sin, fight so as to retain it in their hearts. The faith for which they should contend is the faith which is centered in Jesus Christ and the salvation wrought by Him" (Contending for the Faith: An Exposition of the General Epistle of Jude: 44-45).
The word in Greek for "earnestly contend" is epagonizoma. It appears to denote the idea of strong force or emotion. Young's Literal Translation renders this word "agonize." Vine gives us some interesting insight here.
"Epagonizomai signifies to contend about a thing, as a combatant (epi, upon or about, intensive, agon, a contest), to contend earnestly, Jude 3. The word 'earnestly' is added to convey the intensive force of the preposition" (Vine: Vol. I, p. 233).
AT THE TIME PEOPLE DISTORT THE GOSPEL ...
The adjectival phrase "which was once delivered unto the saints" seems to indicate that since the time the Gospel had been first preached, it had been distorted or perverted. This was surely the situation that John was addressing when he wrote 1st John and was countering the false teaching of the early Gnostics, and he said something similar -
"Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son and in the Father" (1 John 2:24 KJ21).
Michael Green makes these observations about what this "faith" consisted of:
"The 'faith' is here a body of belief… What is this body of belief? Jude does not expand, but he designates it as the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints [NIV]... he means the apostolic preaching and teaching which was regulative upon the church (Acts 2:24)… God, he implies, has handed over to his people a recognizable body of teaching about his Son, in feeding on which they are nourished, and in rejecting which they fall. Paradidonai, 'to entrust,' is the word used for handing down authorized tradition" (The Second Epistle General of Peter and the General Epistle of Jude: An Introduction and Commentary: 171).
BARE BONES MINIMUM
Paul summarizes the heart or essence of the Gospel, what we might call the "bare bones minimum" of the Christian faith, in 1st Corinthians -
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which you also have received, and wherein ye stand, by which ye also are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you-unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received: how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He arose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJ21).
Verse 4 gives the reason that Jude tells his readers to "earnestly contend" for this pure and undistorted message of the Christian faith -
"For there are certain men who have crept in unawares, who were foreordained of old for this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:4 KJ21).
WHO ARE THESE MEN AND HOW DO THEY PERVERT THE GOSPEL?
The question that comes to mind reading this verse is, who are these men and how are they perverting the Christian message? The introductory notes to Jude in the NIV Young Discoverer's Bible say that Jude "wrote to warn Christians about the same false teachers Peter wrote about in his second letter" (Young Discoverer's Bible: 1909). Although some disagree, this is probably correct. The description of the false teachers in the chapter 2 of 2nd Peter and in Jude makes it appear that both writers could have been referring to the same men. Also, the two Epistles-2nd Peter and Jude-were probably written within ten years of each other, perhaps even less.
Jude gives a summarizing statement concerning the heresy of these teachers in verse 4 when he says that they did two things:
- Turn[ed] the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and
- Deny[ed] the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
LICENSE FOR IMMORALITY
The word "lasciviousness" is in more modern translations rendered "license for immorality" (NIV), "licentiousness" (NASB, NRSV), "lewdness" (NKJV), and "an unclean thing" (BBE). Vine notes that the word in Greek, aselgeia, "denotes excess, licentiousness, absence of restraint, indecency, wantonness" (Vine: Vol. II, p. 310). This description coincides with the one we have in 2nd Peter -
"For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh and through much wantonness those who had clean escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption; for by whom a man is overcome, by the same is he brought into bondage" (2 Peter 2:18-19 KJ21).
The 19th century commentator Alfred Plummer made an interesting observation about the false teachers that Jude was writing about.
"These invaders are in one respect like those who are condemned in the Epistle to the Galatians, in another respect are very unlike them. They are 'false brethren privily brought in, who came in privily (Gal. ii. 4); but they have come in, not 'to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage,' but to 'turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness.' The troublers of the Galatian Church were endeavoring to contract Christian liberty, whereas these ungodly men were straining it to the uttermost. Both ended in destroying it. The one turned the 'freedom with which Christ set us free' into an intolerable yoke of Jewish bondage; the other turned it into the polluting anarchy of… license" (The General Epistles of St. James and St. Jude: 388-389).
There is a sense in which living the Christian life rightly is like walking a tightrope between these two extremes-legalism on the one hand, and license on the other. It is wrong to go off to either extreme.
DENYING GOD: DENYING THE UNIQUENESS OF JESUS CHRIST
The second error mentioned in verse 4 is "denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." The NIV reads, "and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." Again, this parallels the description of the false teachers in 2nd Peter.
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction" (2 Peter 2:1 KJ21).
Jude seems to be indicating that what these false teachers are denying is the uniqueness of Jesus as Lord and Christ. They would present "another Jesus" (2nd Cor. 11:4) who is neither Sovereign nor Lord. This is how S. Maxwell Coder claims that these false teachers denied -
"... His universal sovereignty, His position as Lord of the believer's life, His Saviourhood, and His Messiahship… Instead of being the Sovereign of the universe whom angels worship, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, He is represented as a mere man, neither pre-existent nor virgin born. His rightful claim as Lord of all true Christians (Acts 10:36) is denied in the rejection of the revealed truth that He rose from the dead 'that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living' (Rom. 14:9)" (Jude: The Acts of the Apostates: 24).
This denial of the uniqueness of Christ as Sovereign and Lord is too relevant to our day to ignore. Nearly all of the cults and non-Christian religions are guilty of this very thing.
THREE EXAMPLES TO WARN US AGAINST THE DETRACTORS
In the next section, verses 5 to 7, Jude uses three examples from the Old Testament as warnings against the false teachers.
"I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who believed not. And the angels who kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great Day-even as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, in like manner giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 1:5-7 KJ21).
The first example he gives, in verse 5, is of the destruction of those who "believed not" who were brought out of the land of Egypt. The history of the wilderness community reads like a chronicle of complaining. Yet, their murmuring appears to have degenerated and eventually they were guilty of both unbelief and idolatry. As H.A. Ironside remarks,
"Though once saved out of Egypt, they were destroyed in the wilderness because of having apostatized from the living God" (Addresses on the Epistles of John and an Exposition of the Epistle of Jude: 22).
The second example, in verse 6, is of the judgment of the rebellious angels who, we're told, "kept not their first estate." Although this verse has been interpreted in several ways, this appears to be a reference to the Nephilim, the "sons of God" spoken of in Gen. 6:4 -
"There were giants on the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men and they bore children to them, the same became mighty men who were of old, men of renown" (Genesis 6:4 KJ21).
S. Maxwell Coder says that this interpretation for Gen. 6:4 is probably the most favorable because, among other reasons -
"At the time this epistle was written, it was commonly believed by the people of Israel that Genesis 6 described a sin committed by angels who left their own proper habitation to live on earth with the daughters of men" (Coder: 36-37).
This is not an easy verse to understand, but this interpretation seems to be the least problematic. The word "estate" in this verse can also be translated "domain" (NASB).
The third example, which we see in verse 7, refers to the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin of "giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh." We read about this in Genesis 19. This warning seems particularly apt since Jude has already charged the false teachers in verse 4 with "turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness."
A VIVID DESCRIPTION OF FALSE TEACHERS
In the next section, verses 8 through 13, Jude gives some vivid descriptions of these false teachers, comparing them to three other Old Testament figures in verse 11. In verses 8 to 10, he says -
"Likewise also, these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil and disputing about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee!" But these speak evil of those things which they know not; but what they come to know naturally as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves" (Jude 1:8-10 KJ21).
Like the angels mentioned in the example in verse 6, these false teachers "despise dominion" or "reject authority" (NIV, NASB, NRSV). At the heart of all sin is rebellion against God, a rejection of the Creator/creature distinction, and submission to His ultimate authority. This seems to have been the first sin, and it has perpetuated itself in the sons of Adam throughout the ages.
A DISPUTE WITH THE DEVIL
The reference to Michael and the devil disputing over the body of Moses in verse 9 is somewhat obscure. Ironside believes that the devil may have wanted to preserve the body of Moses so that it would become an object of worship to the Israelites (Ironside: 28). Yet it doesn't mention this in the Pentateuch after the death of Moses. Alfred Plummer believes that it comes from The Targum of Jonathan.
"The Targum of Jonathan ... says that the grave of Moses was entrusted to the care of Michael the archangel" (Plummer: 420).
The point here seems to be that these false teachers "speak evil of dignities" or of "celestial beings" in a way that even Michael the archangel would not, so it appears to be another reference to their disregard for authority.
OTHER EXAMPLES OF SPEAKING EVIL OF DIGNITIES
Verse 11 gives yet three more examples from the Old Testament, all evil men.
"Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain and have run greedily after the error of Balaam for their reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah" (Jude 1:11 KJ21).
The first figure is Cain. It appears that Cain's sin was that he wanted to worship God on his own terms, to offer a sacrifice of his own making, and to serve God in his own way (Gen. 4:3-5). This was "the way of Cain." This parallels with the false teachers Jude is addressing, who want a religion that they design themselves according to their own pleasure.
The second example is Balaam. This one emphasizes greed. Balaam disobeyed God's command for the sake of reward (Num. 22 to 24). Balaam was probably not the first person to compromise God's message for money, and he definitely was not the last. It appears that there was something profitable about the false religion these heretics were promoting. S. Maxwell Coder says,
"These old records tell us what Jude meant By 'the error of Balaam for hire.' It is the error of all apostates, the sacrificing of eternal riches for temporal gain" (Coder: 72).
Finally, we have the example of Korah, who perished for "gainsaying" or "rebellion" (NASB, NIV, NRSV). The word used here in the Greek is antilogia, meaning "against the word" (Coder: 73). To go against what the Word of God commands is rebellion. Korah's story appears in Num. 16: 1-32. He challenged the authority of Moses. The false teachers Jude rebukes challenged the authority of one even greater than Moses, the Lord Jesus Christ.
METAPHORS DESCRIBING FALSE TEACHERS
Verses 12 and 13 use five metaphors to help describe the false teachers Jude is condemning.
"These are spots on your feasts of charity when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear. Clouds they are without water, carried about by winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever" (Jude 1:12-13 KJ21).
The first metaphor is "spots on your feasts of charity." Lenski translates this, "filth-spots in your agapes" (The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John, and St. Jude: 634). The "feasts of charity" were the agape meals that were part of the celebration of the Lord's Supper. "Feeding themselves without fear" is a reference to the false teachers using the agape meal as an occasion to gorge themselves, which clashed with the very intent and spirit of this celebration (Lenski: 635).
The second metaphor, "clouds without water," in an agrarian culture would be understood as something that has the appearance of giving something good and useful-rain-but the fact that it is "without water" shows that it is useless. W. Kelly mentions that, since water is a symbol in the New Testament of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39), it also indicates that these teachers were not empowered by the Holy Spirit (Lectures on the Epistle of Jude: 112).
The third metaphor is "trees… without fruit." The sole purpose of a fruit tree is to bear fruit to feed everyone. These false teachers were fruitless both in their works and lives.
Most versions (NIV, NRSV, NASB) render this "autumn trees." Autumn would naturally be the season for fruit trees to have fruit ready for consuming, yet these trees are not only fruitless, they are "twice dead." Another of Jesus' statements seems to apply -
"Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire" (Matthew 7:19 KJ21).
The next metaphor is in verse 13-"raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame." The imagery here is very similar to what we see in Isaiah -
"But the wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (Isaiah 57:20-21 KJ21).
For ancient Mediterranean people who lived on the seacoast, a sea of raging waves would be associated with destruction and danger, depicting the dangerous and destructive heresies of these false teachers.
The final metaphor is "wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." To things are brought out in this metaphor, the hopelessness of wandering forever, never to have a destination, a final home; and the evil brought out in the imagery of "the blackness of darkness forever." John tells us, regarding Christ, "in Him, there is no darkness at all" (1st Jn. 1:5).
THE BOOK OF ENOCH AND THE EPISTLE OF JUDE
In the next section, verses 14 through 16, Jude continues to describe the false teachers. Here, in verses 14 and 15, he quotes Enoch. He specifies that this man was "the seventh generation from Adam" (verse 14), because there was also an Enoch who was the son of Cain (Gen. 4:17-18). But the Enoch who Jude refers to here was the one who was said to have "walked with God" (Gen. 5:22-24).
There is an apocryphal book of Enoch, from which Jude is quoting. Joseph B. Mayor in The Epistle of St. Jude says this about it.
"The Hebrew original of the book of Enoch is now lost. It was translated into Greek, of which only a few fragments remain, and this was again translated into Ethiopic, probably about 600 A.D… R.H. Charles… considers that the larger portion of the book was written not later than 160 B.C., and that no part is more recent than the Christian era. It exercised an important influence on Jewish and Christian literature during the first three centuries A.D… Mr. Charles traces its influence in the N.T. not merely in the epistle of St. Jude and the two epistles of St. Peter, but above all, in the Apocalypse" (The Epistle of St. Jude and the Second Epistle of St. Peter: Greek Text with Introduction Notes and Comments: 153).
Here is the quote from Enoch -
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all who are ungodly among them of all their godless deeds which they have godlessly committed, and of all the harsh speeches which godless sinners have spoken against Him" (Jude 1:14-15 KJ21).
The word "ungodly" appears four times in verse 15 in some versions (NIV, NASB, NKJV). The same Greek word appears in a verb form, an adjective form, and an adverb form. The adjective form is asebes and is translated "irreverent, impious, and wicked" (A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek New Testament with Their Renderings in the Authorized English Version: 16). Vine also notes that it indicates "not merely irreligious, but acting in contravention of God's demands" (Vine: Vol. IV, p. 170). Moses in Deuteronomy also pictures the Lord coming "with ten thousand of His saints" -
And this is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said: "The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them. He shined forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints; from His right hand went a fiery law for them" (Deuteronomy 33:1-2 KJ21).
The difference between the two passages, however, is that in the quote from Enoch, the Lord is coming in judgment, whereas in Moses' prophecy, He comes in blessing.
The prophecy from Enoch seals the fate of the false teachers, and so Jude goes on to give a summarizing statement about them in verse 16 -
"These are murmurers and complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, giving admiration to men's persons to gain advantage" (Jude 1:16 KJ21).
FIVE STATEMENTS OF JUDE ON THE FALSE TEACHERS
Jude uses five statements to describe the false teachers in this verse -
" "Murmurers" or "grumblers" (NASB, NRSV, NIV, NKJV). It was the sin of murmuring that the Israelites were guilty of in the wilderness (Num. 14:27). The word is often used to indicate "utterances against God" (Vine: Vol. III, p. 93).
" "Complainers" also rendered "finding fault" (NASB), "fault finders" (NIV), and "malcontents" (NRSV).
" "Walking after their own lusts" is similar to what he said previously in verse 4 regarding "licentiousness." The false teachers were apparently carnal and sensual men.
" "Their mouth speaketh great swelling words" also rendered "bombastic in speech" (NRSV), "boast about themselves" (NIV), and "speak arrogantly" (NASB). Proverbs 27:2 says, "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth."
" "Giving admiration to men's persons to gain advantage." Jesus warns us about those who love the praise of men more the praise of God (Jn. 12:48).
In verses 17 and 19, Jude reminds them of something the apostles had already said.
"But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, how they told you that there would be mockers in the last times who would walk after their own ungodly lusts. These are they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit" (Jude 1:17-19 KJ21).
The quote seems to be from 2nd Peter -
"Knowing this first: that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts" (2 Peter 3:3 KJ21).
ACCEPTING THE VIEWS OF OTHER APOSTLES
But the fact that Jude uses the plural "apostles" may mean that he is summarizing several statements rather than simply quoting one specific Scripture.
There is a similar statement from the Apostle Paul in Acts 20 -
"For I know this: that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:29-30 KJ21).
And also in 1st Timothy -
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1 KJ21).
Charles Biggs comments here -
"St. Jude reminds his readers that the apostles had often said that mockers would come, and then proceeds to quote an apostolic document [2nd Peter] in which this saying was recorded in a particular shape" (The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude: 337).
BUT YE ...
Then, with an abrupt shift, indicated with the words, "But ye ..." Jude exhorts the readers of his epistles in verses 20 through 23 -
"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a difference; and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 1:20-23 KJ21).
The words "But ye ..." are also used by the Apostle Paul in a similar manner (Rom. 8:9; 1st Cor. 6:11; Eph. 4:20; and 1st Thess. 5:4) and also by Peter (1st Pet. 2:9) and John (1st Jn. 2:20). In each of these cases there is a similar abrupt shift in which the writer suddenly turns from describing the unsaved or even, as in Jude, false teachers, to the flowers of Christ.
SEVEN COMMANDS FOR THE BELOVED
There are seven separate commands in these four verses addressed to the "beloved."
- "Building up yourselves on your most holy faith" (vs. 20). Paul has a similar command in Col. 2:7 where has says that we are to be "established in the faith."
- "Praying in the Holy Spirit" (vs. 20). Again Paul tells us this in Eph. 6:18 where he says "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit."
- "Keep yourselves in the love of God" (vs. 21). Jesus said that the first commandment is love for God (Mark 12:30).
- "Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (vs. 21). Paul says something similar to this in Titus 2:13-" looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ."
- "On some have compassion, making a difference" (vs. 22). Five times in the Gospel narratives, we are told that Jesus "had compassion" (Matt. 15:32; 20:34; Mk. 5:19; 8:8; Lk. 7:13). Peter also commands us to have compassion for one another" (1st Pet. 3:18).
- "Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire" (vs. 23). This appears to be a reference to Amos 4:11, where God tells Israel, "Ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning." He also says about Joshua the high priest in Zech. 3:2, "Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?"
- "Hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" (vs. 23). This reference is somewhat obscure. Michael Green's comments on it are helpful.
"That is to say, they are to have great pity upon even the most abandoned heretic, but to exercise great care while getting alongside him, lest they themselves become defiled. They are to retain their hatred of sin even as they love the sinner… What does he mean by the clothing stained by corrupted flesh? Clothing means the inner garment, worn next to the skin. The idea seems to be that they are so corrupt, that their very clothes are defiled. This is, of course, a hyperbole, but one with plenty of scriptural background; indeed, instructions are given in Leviticus 13; 47-52 that the garment worn by a leper should be burnt because it is unclean" (Green: 204).
THE BEAUTIFUL BENEDICTION
Finally, in verses 24 and 25, there is beautiful benediction.
"Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, now and ever. Amen" (Jude 1:24-25 KJ21).
The hope of the readers of this Epistle of Jude, both in centuries past and today, is expressed in the words in this benediction. The Christian longs to stand "faultless before the presence of His glory." The word "faultless" here is amomos, meaning, "unblemished," "without blame," and "without any shortcoming" (Vine, Vol. II, p. 83).
The last verse of the famous hymn "The Solid Rock" aptly expresses this hope -
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found,
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne
(Great Hymns of the Faith: 272).
Amen and amen!
AN OUTLINE OF THE EPISTLE OF JUDE
Here is an original outline of the Epistle of Jude:
- Introduction and Greeting (verses 1-2)
- Body of the Epistle-Description of the False Teachers and Exhortations to the Readers (verses 3-23)
- Occasion for the Writing of this Epistle (verses 3-4)
- The Charge to Contend for the Faith (verse 3)
- The Threat to the Faith (verse 4)
- Three Old Testament Examples (verses 5-7)
- The Wilderness Community (verse 5)
- The Angels who Sinned (verse 6)
- Sodom and Gomorrah (verse 7)
- Descriptions of the False Teachers (verses 8-13)
- Their Disregard for Authority (verses 8-10)
- Three Evil Men of the Old Testament (verse 11)
- Five Metaphors Describing the False Teachers (verses 12-13)
- Spots on Your Feasts (verse 12)
- Clouds Without Water (verse 12)
- Trees Without Fruit (verse 12)
- Foaming Waves of the Sea (verse 13)
- Wandering Stars (verse 13)
- Prophecies of Enoch and the Christian Apostles (verses 14-19)
- The Prophecy of Enoch (verses 14-16)
- The Prophecies of the Christian Apostles (verses 17-19)
- Jude's Exhortation to His Readers (verses 20-23)
- Build up Yourselves (verse 20)
- Pray (verse 20)
- Keep Yourselves in Love (verse 21)
- Look for the Mercy of the Lord Jesus (verse 21)
- Have Compassion (verse 22)
- Save Others (verse 23)
- Hate Even the Garment Spotted by the Flesh (verse 23)
- Conclusion and Benediction (verses 24-25)
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED IN THIS PAPER
Bigg, Charles. The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1905.
Coder, S. Maxwell. Jude: The Acts of the Apostates. Chicago: Moody, 1986.
Green, Michael. The Second Epistle General of Peter and the General Epistle of Jude: An Introduction and Commentary. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1989.
Ironside, H.A. Addresses on the Epistles of John and an Exposition of the Epistle of Jude. Neptune: Loizeaux Bros., 1989.
Kelly, W. Lectures on the Epistle of Jude. Sunbury, PA: Believers Bookshelf, 1970.
Klein, William W., Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Nashville: W Pub., 1993.
Lenski, R.C.H. The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John, and St. Jude . Columbus: Wartburg Press, 1960.
Mayor, Joseph B. The Epistle of St. Jude and the Second Epistle of St. Peter: Greek Text with Introduction Notes and Comments. 1907 Rpt. Minneapolis: Klock & Klock, 1978.
Mote, Edward and William B. Bradbury. "The Solid Rock," Great Hymns of the Faith Grand Rapids: Singspiration Music, 1982.
Plummer, Alfred. The General Epistles of St. James and St. Jude. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1891.
Strong, James. A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek New Testament with Their Renderings in the Authorized English Version. McLean: MacDonald, 1980.
Thompson, Joseph C. Contending for the Faith: An Exposition of the General Epistle of Jude. Grand Meadow: Reiersgord Press, 1931.
Vine, W.E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 4 vols. Old Tappan: Revell, 1981.
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