Introduction to Jude
Part 1: General Introduction
Outline of the Book of Jude
- Introduction (1:1-2)
- Warning against false teachers (1:3-4)
- Old Testament examples (1:5-16)
- Proper response (1:17-23)
- Praises to God (1:24-25)
Who wrote the Book of Jude?
The author identified himself as Jude the brother of James. Both Jude and James were half-brothers of Jesus. It is unknown whether this letter was intended for a specific church.
What is the Book of Jude about?
Jude wrote this letter to warn believers against false teachers. Jude often referred to the Old Testament. This may suggest that Jude was writing to a Jewish Christian audience. This letter and 2 Petter have similar content. They both speak about angels, Sodom and Gomorrah, and false teachers.
How should the title of this book be translated?
Translators may choose to call this book by its traditional title, “Jude.” Or they may choose a clearer title, such as “The Letter from Jude” or “The Letter Jude Wrote.” (See: How to Translate Names)
Part 2: Important Religious and Cultural Concepts
Who were the people Jude spoke against?
It is possible that the people Jude spoke against were those who would become known as Gnostics. These teachers distorted the teachings of scripture for their own gain. They lived in immoral ways and taught others to do the same.
Jude identifies himself as the writer of this letter and greets his readers. He was probably the half-brother of Jesus. There are two other Judes mentioned in the New Testament. The word “you” in this letter refers to the Christians to whom Jude was writing and is always plural. (See: Forms of You)
Jude is the brother of James. Alternate translation: “I am Jude” (See: How to Translate Names)
James and Jude were half brothers of Jesus. Joseph as their physical father, but he was not the physical father or Jesus.
ἔλεος ὑμῖν, καὶ εἰρήνη, καὶ ἀγάπη πληθυνθείη
This can be restated to remove the abstract nouns mercy, peace, and love. Alternate translation: “May God continue to be merciful to you so that you live peacefully and love one another more and more” (See: Abstract Nouns)
These ideas are spoken of as if they were objects that could grow in size or number. Alternate translation: “May … be increased many times for you” (See: Metaphor)
The word “our” in this letter includes both Jude and believers. (See: Exclusive and Inclusive ‘We’)
Jude tells the believers his reason for writing this letter.
τῆς κοινῆς ἡμῶν σωτηρίας
“the salvation we share”
ἀνάγκην ἔσχον γράψαι
“I felt a great need to write” or “I felt an urgent need to write”
παρακαλῶν ἐπαγωνίζεσθαι τῇ…πίστει
“encouraging you to defend the true teaching”
“finally and completely”
παρεισέδυσαν γάρ τινες ἄνθρωποι
“For some men have come in without drawing attention to themselves”
οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρίμα
This can also be put into the active voice. Alternate translation: “men whom God long ago decided to condemn” (See: Active or Passive)
τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν χάριτα μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν
God’s grace is spoken of as if it were a thing that could be changed into something horrible. Alternate translation: “teaching that God’s grace permits one to continue to live in sexual sin” (See: Metaphor)
τὸν μόνον Δεσπότην καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν, Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν, ἀρνούμενοι
This could mean: (1) YTey teach that Jesus is not God. (2) These men do not obey Jesus Christ.
Jude gives examples from the past of those who did not follow the Lord.
Ἰησοῦς λαὸν ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου σώσας
You can state explicitly who the people were that he saved. Alternate translation: “the Lord, who rescued the Israelites long ago from Egypt” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)
τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχὴν
“their own position of authority” or “the responsibilities God entrusted to them”
δεσμοῖς ἀϊδίοις ὑπὸ ζόφον τετήρηκεν
“God has put these angels in a dark prison from which they will never escape”
Here, darkness is a metonym which represents the place of the dead or hell. Alternate translation: “in utter darkness in hell” (See: Metonymy)
the final day when God will judge everyone
αἱ περὶ αὐτὰς πόλεις
Here, cities stands for the people who lived in them. Alternate translation: “the people in that region” (See: Metonymy)
τὸν ὅμοιον τρόπον τούτοις ἐκπορνεύσασαι
The sexual sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were the result of the same kind of rebellion as the angels’ evil ways.
The destruction of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah became an example of the fate of all who reject God.
the people who disobey God, probably because they claimed to see visions that gave them authority to do so
σάρκα μὲν μιαίνουσιν
This metaphor says that their sin makes their flesh—that is, their actions—unacceptable the way garbage in a stream makes the water undrinkable. (See: Metaphor)
This refers to spiritual beings, such as angels.
Balaam was a prophet who refused to curse Israel for an enemy but then taught that enemy to get the people to marry unbelievers and become idol worshipers. Korah was a man of Israel who rebelled against Moses’ leadership and Aaron’s priesthood.
“controlled himself. He did not bring … against him” or “was not willing to bring … against him”
κρίσιν ἐπενεγκεῖν βλασφημίας
“to say evil, untrue things about him”
“an evil-speaking judgment” or “an evil judgment”
the ungodly people
ὅσα μὲν οὐκ οἴδασιν
This could mean: (1) This refers to everything good that they do not understand. (2) This refers to the glorious ones, which they do not understand (Jude 1:8).
τῇ ὁδῷ τοῦ Κάϊν ἐπορεύθησαν
Here, gone in the way is a metaphor for “lived in the same way as.” Alternate translation: “they have lived the same way Cain lived” (See: Metaphor)
Jude uses a series of metaphors to describe the ungodly men. He tells the believers how to recognize these men when they are among them.
The word These refers to the “ungodly men” of Jude 1:4.
Reefs are large rocks that are very close to the surface of water in the sea. Because sailors cannot see them, they are very dangerous. Ships can easily be destroyed if they hit these rocks. (See: Metaphor)
δὶς ἀποθανόντα ἐκριζωθέντα
A tree that someone has uprooted is a metaphor for death. (See: Metaphor)
Like trees that have been completely pulled out of the ground by their roots, the ungodly people have been separated from God, who is the source of life. (See: Metaphor)
κύματα ἄγρια θαλάσσης
As the waves of the sea are blown by a strong wind, so the ungodly people are easily moved in many directions. (See: Metaphor)
ἐπαφρίζοντα τὰς ἑαυτῶν αἰσχύνας
As wind causes wild waves to stir up dirty foam—so these men, through their false teaching and actions, shame themselves. Alternate translation: “and just as waves bring up foam and dirt, these men pollute others with their shame” (See: Metaphor)
Those who studied the stars in ancient times noticed that what we call planets do not move the way that stars do. Alternate translation: “like moving stars” (See: Metaphor)
οἷς ὁ ζόφος τοῦ σκότους εἰς αἰῶνα τετήρηται
You can state the phrase has been reserved in active form. Alternate translation: “and God will put them in the gloom and darkness forever” (See: Active or Passive)
ὁ ζόφος τοῦ σκότους
Here, darkness is a metonym that represents the place of the dead or hell. Alternate translation: “the gloom and darkness of hell” (See: Metonymy)
Here, thick darkness is an idiom that means “very dark.” (See: Idiom)
ἕβδομος ἀπὸ Ἀδὰμ
If Adam is counted as the first generation of mankind, Enoch is the seventh. If Adam’s son is counted as the first, Enoch is sixth in line.
“Listen” or “Pay attention to this important thing I am going to say”
ποιῆσαι κρίσιν κατὰ
“to make judgment on” or “to judge”
People who do not want to obey and speak against godly authority. Grumblers tend to speak quietly, while complainers speak openly.
τὸ στόμα αὐτῶν λαλεῖ
Here, mouth represents the person who is speaking. Alternate translation: “they speak” (See: Metonymy)
These people praise themselves so that others can hear.
Here, faces refers to the people they are flattering. Alternate translation: “give false praise to others” (See: Metonymy)
κατὰ τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἐπιθυμίας πορευόμενοι τῶν ἀσεβειῶν
These people are spoken of as if their desires were kings who ruled over them. Alternate translation: “are never able to stop dishonoring God by doing the evil things they wish to do” (See: Metaphor)
κατὰ τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἐπιθυμίας πορευόμενοι τῶν ἀσεβειῶν
Ungodly lusts are spoken of as if they were a path that a person will follow. (See: Metaphor)
“It is these mockers” or “These mockers are the ones”
These people think as other ungodly people think, they value the things that unbelievers value. (See: Metaphor)
Πνεῦμα μὴ ἔχοντες
The Holy Spirit is spoken of as if he were something that people can possess. Alternate translation: “the Spirit is not within them”
Jude tells the believers how they should live and how they should treat others.
ὑμεῖς δέ, ἀγαπητοί
“Do not be like them, beloved. Instead”
Becoming increasingly able to trust in God and obey him is spoken of as if it were the process of constructing a building. (See: Metaphor)
ἑαυτοὺς ἐν ἀγάπῃ Θεοῦ τηρήσατε
Remaining able to receive the love of God is spoken of as if one were keeping oneself in a certain place. (See: Metaphor)
“eagerly looking forward to”
τὸ ἔλεος τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον
Here, mercy stands for Jesus Christ himself, who will show his mercy to the believers by making them live forever with him. (See: Metonymy)
“those who do not yet believe that Jesus is God”
ἐκ πυρὸς ἁρπάζοντες
The picture is that of pulling people from a fire before they start to burn. Alternate translation: “doing for them whatever needs to be done to keep them from dying without Christ. This is like pulling them from the fire” (See: Metaphor)
οὓς…ἐλεᾶτε ἐν φόβῳ
“be kind to others, but be afraid of sinning the way they did”
μισοῦντες καὶ τὸν ἀπὸ τῆς σαρκὸς ἐσπιλωμένον χιτῶνα
Jude exaggerates to warn his readers that they can become like those sinners. Alternate translation: “Treat them as though you could become guilty of sin just by touching their clothes” (See: Hyperbole)
Jude closes with a blessing.
στῆσαι κατενώπιον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ
His glory is brilliant light that represents his greatness. Alternate translation: “to allow you to enjoy and worship his glory” (See: Metaphor)
τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ ἀμώμους ἐν
Here sin is spoken of as if it were dirt on one’s body or a flaw on one’s body. Alternate translation: “his glorious presence, where you will be without sin and have” (See: Metaphor)
μόνῳ Θεῷ Σωτῆρι ἡμῶν, διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν
“to the only God, who saved us because of what Jesus Christ did.” This emphasizes that God the Father as well as the Son is the Savior.
δόξα, μεγαλωσύνη, κράτος, καὶ ἐξουσία, πρὸ παντὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος, καὶ νῦν, καὶ εἰς πάντας τοὺς αἰῶνας
God has always had, now has, and always will have glory, absolute leadership, and complete control of all things.