Friday 17 July 2020
The Book of Jude; an Introduction
The book of Jude is the 65th book of the Bible, and it is comprised of 1 chapter of 25 verses. A verse-per-day evaluation of Jude will take a smidgen less than one month to complete.
The name Jude comes from Judah. In Greek, it would read Ioudas, or Judas. In verse 1, he says he is “a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.” There are a few Judas’ in the Bible. He is obviously not Judas Iscariot, the traitor who was dead at this point. He could be the other apostle named Judas, the son of James noted in Luke 6:16, or he could be Judas, the brother of Jesus. It is generally agreed upon that he is also a brother of Jesus, and this for a couple of reasons.
First, James (the leader of the early church – see Acts 15), who wrote the book of James, was also known to be a brother of Jesus. Secondly, Jude distances himself from the title of “apostle.” Third, it is customary in the Bible for someone to identify himself by his father’s name, not the name of a brother. However, because of James’ position within the church, it makes complete sense that he would so identify himself. Forth, this identification is supported by Scripture. In Matthew 13:55 it reads –
“Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?”
The understood reference there, and at several other places in the New Testament, that these were both brothers of the Lord demonstrates that there was no need for them to claim that family relationship. Thus, it was a mark of piety that both men subordinate themselves to Christ as His bondservants, rather than claim that they were His brothers (as is seen in James 1:1 and Jude -1).
The authenticity and canonicity of Jude was accepted very early by some while being questioned by others. The main dispute against it is Jude’s citing of non-canonical literature, such as the book of Enoch. However, it is to be understood that just because something is not inspired, it does not mean it does not contain truth. Paul is known to have cited Greek philosophers in this way. They were obviously not inspired, but the statements they made were true, and they are included in Scripture. Thus, for Jude to cite a well-known Hebrew text, citing something which is obviously true from it, does not negate the inspiration of Jude’s writing.
The letter is addressed to “those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ” (verse 1). This sets the tone for the contents of the letter. Jude acknowledges that he intended to write one thing, but he then decided to change the subject matter for necessary reasons which he will explain.
The wording and structure of Jude are very similar to the book of 2 Peter, showing that one was the source for the other. If Jude was the source for 2 Peter, then it obviously would have been written before it. 2 Peter is dated from the mid to late 60s. If Jude is dependent on 2 Peter, then its writing would obviously be dated later.
Unlike most epistles, the intended audience of Jude is not stated. Thus, like John’s writings, the audience is certainly inclusive of both Jews and Gentiles. This would fit an overall pattern in Scripture where Paul’s epistles come first, showing that the Gentile church age precedes the predominantly Jewish led church of the end times (Hebrews to 2 Peter). Whereas John and Jude harmoniously combine the two into one body.
The main theme of Jude is “Contending for the faith in the last days.” Thus, the main purpose of the epistle is “To counter apostasy that was starting to take place.” The main presentation of Christ in the epistle is “Jesus Christ, our Advocate.”
A short review of the book includes the following –
Author – Jude, The Lord’s brother
Date – Late 60s to early 70s
Theme – Contending for the faith in the last days.
Purpose – To counter apostasy that was starting to take place.
Presentation of Christ – Our Advocate
A limited outline of the book would be –
The Book of Jude – Contending for the Faith
The truth of Jesus Christ and His gospel.
Epistle closed by doxology.
Exhortation to contend for the faith and warning against false teachers.
Life application: We hope that you will spend the next 25 days of your life learning the book of Jude, one verse at a time. From there, we hope you will apply its truths to your life, molding yourself more each day into being a faithful and wholehearted follower of Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father.
Lord God, how good and pleasant it is to look into your word and to revel in the marvelous truths it presents to us. Though its compilation spans 1600 years, it speaks out one unified message – that You love the world enough to send Your Son to rectify the mess we have gotten ourselves in. How relevant that thought is in our world today. We see wickedness abounding, and yet You still hold out hands of love, appealing for people to turn back to You. Thank You for the promise of life we find in Your word and in the giving of Your Son for us. Amen.