Jude was the half-brother of Jesus, born after Jesus, a son of Joseph and Mary. Jesus’ brothers came to believe in Jesus as the Son of God later, after his resurrection (John 7:3-8; Acts 1:14). He was married and traveled a good deal, taking his wife (1 Co 9:5).
Jude was the brother to James (v. 1), who wrote the book of James and was also the half-brother of Jesus (Mt. 13:55; Mark 6:3).
Syrian tradition says Jude died a martyr in Phoenicia. Western tradition says he labored among the Persians.
He is not to be confused with the other six Judes:
1. Ancestor of Jesus, Lu 3:30
2. The Galilean, Ac 5:37
3. Jude Iscariot, Mt 3:19
4. Jude, with whom Paul lodged in Damascus, Ac 9:11
5. Jude Barsabas, Ac 15:22
6. Son of James (an apostle but not the author of the book, Lu 6:16)
Jude does not use the apostolic title.
Reference before A.D. 150: Clement of Rome; Shepherd of Hermas; Epistle of Barnabas.
Reference after A.D. 150: Accepted as authentic by Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215), Tertullian (A.D. 160-225), Origen (A.D. 185-253), and Athanasius (A.D. 296-373).
Listed in the Muratorian Canon (A.D. 200)
Jude calls himself “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” (v. 1). Since James was a half-brother of Jesus, so was Jude.
DATE: Between A.D. 67 and A.D. 70.
The false doctrine of incipient Gnostic antinomianism weaseled its way into the church. Jude’s direct audience is unknown. Apostasy encroached on truth in just forty years after Jesus’ death.
PURPOSE: To contend for the faith.
Jude wanted his readers to “contend for the faith” (v. 3) against incipient Gnosticism. He did not warn against later Gnosticism of the Nag Hammadi findings (and The Da Vinci Code), albeit the error of the documents of Nag Hammadi texts had its seeds in the Gnosticism of the New Testament period. Gnosticism placed emphasis on knowledge that emancipated people from the material world. To Gnostics, the spirit world had precedence over the material world. This allowed them to indulge in the flesh. The essence of their apostasy was to turn the grace of God into licentiousness.
The Gnostics of Jude denied the lordship of Christ (v. 4), promoted license (vv. 4, 8, 16), rebelled against authority (vv. 8, 11, 18), indulged in their own desires (vv. 16, 19), were concerned with personal gain (vv. 11-12, 16), and were schismatic (v. 19), fault finding (v. 16), and proud (v. 16).
Jude warns against subversion of the truth and exhorts to “contend earnestly for the faith” (v. 3).
KEY VERSE: Jude 3.
1. First-century milieu.
2. Nine allusions to the Old Testament but no direct quotes.
3. Familiar with Jewish apocryphal books.
4. Strong belief mandate.
5. Jude can be called “The Acts of the Apostates.”
6. Harsh language.
7. Composed of many triads.
8. Jude is a letter-essay.
9. Fourth shortest book in the New Testament (after Philemon, 2nd & 3rd John).
10. Last of 8 general epistles (addressed to a broad constituency).
11. Jude is the only book in the New Testament exclusively dedicated to confronting apostasy.
12. Jude is similar to 2nd Peter.
13. Jude emphasizes the relationship between right believing and right living.
14. Jude deals with two incidents not found anywhere else in the Bible (v. 9, vv 14-15).
References to the Old Testament may indicate that the readers where Christian Jews of Palestine. Jude says the audience was “To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.”
Jude is the last of the General Epistles.
Jude wrote with figures of speech (clouds, trees, waves, and stars).
RELATION TO SECOND PETER
There are striking similarities to 2nd Peter.
Jude, v. 4 2nd Peter, 2:1-3
Jude, v. 7 2nd Peter 2:6
Jude, v. 8 2nd Peter 2:10
Jude, v. 9 2nd Peter 2:11
Jude, v. 10 2nd Peter 2:12
Jude, v 16 2nd Peter 2:18
However, the differences between Jude and 2nd Peter are greater than the similarities, so the two books are not carbon copies of each other.
I. Salutation and Address (vv. 1-2)
Assurance: (vv. 1-2)
II. Occasion and Purpose—Apostasy (vv. 3-4)
A. Contend for the faith (v. 3)
B. Antinomianism (v. 4)
III. Apostasy Exposed (vv. 5-16)
A. Apostasy Past to Jude (vv. 5-7)
1. Unbelieving Israel in Egypt (v. 5)
2. Fallen Angels (v. 6)
3. Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 7)
B. Apostasy Present to Jude (vv. 8-16)
1. Rejection of authority (vv. 8-10)
2. Walk in error (vv. 11)
3. Deception (vv. 12-13)
4. Self-Orientation (vv. 14-16)
IV. Apostolic Teaching Prevents Apostasy (vv. 17-23)
A. Previous apostolic warning (vv. 17-19)
B. Caution against apostasy (vv. 20-21)
C. An example (vv. 22-23)
V. Guard fellowship with God by honoring His truth (vv. 20-23)
VI. Consolation Against Apostasy (vv. 24-25)