1 Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ: 2 may mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.
3 Beloved, although I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel a need to write to encourage you to contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones. 4 For there have been some intruders, who long ago were designated for this condemnation, godless persons, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 I wish to remind you, although you know all things, that (the) Lord who once saved a people from the land of Egypt later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 The angels too, who did not keep to their own domain but deserted their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains, in gloom, for the judgment of the great day. 7 Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity and practiced unnatural vice, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. 8 Similarly, these dreamers nevertheless also defile the flesh, scorn lordship, and revile glorious beings. 9 Yet the archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses, did not venture to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these people revile what they do not understand and are destroyed by what they know by nature like irrational animals. Version: New American Bible
- The short epistle was written by Jude (Judas), one of the four brothers of Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:55-56), and warns against the godlessness of false teachers espousing libertinism.
- Notice the humility in the heading: Jude’s self-description as “servant” of his brother (v.1).
- The faith entrusted to the saints refers to the body of evangelical teaching, more than personal faith in God. The implication: the end of the revelatory process.
- The false teachers pervert grace, deny Christ as Lord, and reject his sovereign claim on their lives (v.4). A common combination among opponents of the truth (2 Peter, 2 Timothy 3) is rejection of authority and “freedom” to engage in sensuality (also v.8).
- A series of examples illustrates the dangers of succumbing to these teachers.
- The Israelites were rescued from Egypt, but later destroyed as they did not persevere in faith (v.5).
- The rebellious angels are now “bound with everlasting chains” (v.6).
- Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18-19) are a third illustration (v.7).
- The reference to Michael and the argument over Moses’ body (v.8) builds on a popular Jewish story. If even Michael refused to slander Satan, how should we think and speak about the evil one? (Not flippantly, as many are prone to do!)
- The enemies against which Jude warns (v.10) live on the carnal, animal level rather than the spiritual, godly level.
- What was the original purpose of the letter? The answer depends on the translation of verse 3. It was either to expound upon the theme of salvation, or to urge the people to strive for the faith and watch out for certain enemies of the faith.
- Jude is an anglicized version of Judas, a latinized form of Ioudas, the Greek form of Yehudah, the Hebrew name of the biblical patriarch and southern Israelite tribe Judah.
- As you will see by closely comparing the two, either 2 Peter is an expansion of Jude, or Jude is a condensation of 2 Peter.
- If Sodom (v.7) is an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire, in what sense is their destruction “eternal”? Eternal may mean everlasting (infinitely long), but it also has another meaning: pertaining to the next age. (Latin: aetas = age, aeternalis = pertaining to the age.)
- If the faith was defined and entrusted to the saints in the first century (v.3), what are the implications for today? Is there “continuing revelation”? Is the canon of scripture closed? What doctrines are included in “the faith”? All? a few? How do we know?
- What is the connection between denying the Lordship of Christ and living an immoral life (v.4)?
- Do I speak — or even think — of the devil in an offhand, disrespectful, or flippant way? What do I have to learn from Michael (v.9)?
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