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Contending For The Faith

The Epistle of Jude

Jude 4
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude was the half-brother of our Lord and the brother of James. This is the James who wrote the book bearing his name and was the leader of the Christian church in Jerusalem. There is little question as to the authorship of this book. What criticism did arise came because of an apparent use of the non-canonical book of Enoch and the apparent quoting of Jude in many of the apocryphal books.

Take NotesIt is entirely possible that Jude is one of the itinerant preachers mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:5.

If Jude is the brother of James and our Lord, then the date must fall into what would have been the limits of his life. Jude was the younger brother of Jesus and James (Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55). This does not help much. The discussion of false teachers, when compared to Paul&s discussions of false teachers, suggests that the date should fall between A.D. 65 and 85.


Take NotesIt is most likely that Jude is written after 2 Peter. The apostasy Peter sees in the future (2 Peter 2:1), Jude sees in the present (v3, 4). We know from our own lives, it does not take apostasy long to spread, so a date in the mid-70s is probable.


Special Considerations

Does Jude use the apocryphal writings? And if he does, so what?

The following books from the apocrypha appear to be used by Jude

Take NotesIt is important to keep in mind that regardless of Jude&s sources or usage, he was guided by the Holy Spirit in his selections. Jude does not take these books to be Scripture. He may have relied upon oral tradition or some other source common to both he and the apocryphal writers.

It must be kept in mind, that many works contain some truth. Karl Marx&s works on communism contain great truths on the state of society, even if wrong conclusions are drawn from these truths. The Qur&an, the holy book of Islam, contains many great moral truths, even if its view of God is incorrect. Or, for that matter, what about the books by your favorite Christian author? Don&t you read them because they contain some good truths?

As a result, one may certainly quote from a variety of sources so long as one carefully edits the material. Paul did this in Acts 17:28 as well as in Titus 1:12. So if Jude did make use of some of the apocrypha, we must remember that only those portions which actually appears in Scripture are what has been inspired by God.


Jude starts out to write a letter of encouragement but quickly skips to a warning on false teachers. These men are part of the Christian community (4), but their identity is unclear. What may be gained from the letter is that they misunderstand grace (4a), denied Christ (4b), followed their own dreams (8), misunderstood the doctrine of the Holy Spirit (8,19), criticized doctrine (8), acted outside of God&s Will (4,7,16,18), allowed themselves to be ruled by their own passions (8,23), and were focused on personal gain (11, 16).

Thus, Jude writes to warn the community of believers. In so doing, he defends the faith against the false doctrines being imparted by these "anti-christs." Not only is the warning not to be led astray, but Jude expresses hope for the rescue of those already derailed from their Christian path (23). There is an assurance in this letter that God is in control and Jesus will judge the false teachers.

As with all of the New Testament epistles, the exhortation is to remain true to the faith. The message is one focusing on HOW TO LIVE.

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Jude&s closing benediction is one of the finest in all of Scripture.

Bible and the World 24 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, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Jude 24,25 (KJV)

This is the key to Jude&s epistle and to all of our Christian walk.

?? Do you fall into false teachings?

?? Could it be because you take your eyes off of Christ?

?? In verse 9, Jude records Michael&s fight with Satan for the body of Moses. Why would Satan want Moses& body?

This material is taken from Welcome to the New Testament: A Survey, copyright © 1999 James G. Arthur, prepared for Wednesday Night Alive classes at Calvary Road Baptist Church, Alexandria, Va.




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