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Survey of the Book of Jude

The book of Jude contains just one chapter. It was written by Jude, a half-brother of Jesus. The emphasis of this short book is a call to the church to live righteously.

Author: Jude, the half-brother of Jesus (Jude 1:1; Matthew 13:55).

Date of writing: Most date the book of Jude to AD 60—80.

Purpose: The book of Jude is largely a warning against false teachers and an encouragement to believers to contend for the faith.

Key verses:

"Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:3–4).

"But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life" (Jude 1:29–22).

"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time[h] and now and forever. Amen" (Jude 1:24–25).

Themes: The book of Jude warns against false teachers, talks about judgment on false teachers, and elaborates on how false teachers are infiltrating and hurting the church. Jude encourages believers to contend for the faith and to stay encouraged in Jesus Christ.

Summary: After his salutation, Jude begins by warning against false teachers: "Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:3–4). He then looks back to the Old Testament and shares some examples of when behavior contrary to God's instructions resulted in judgment—People who did not believe were destroyed after the Israelites left Egypt (Jude 1:5), fallen angels who are being kept in chains until the final judgment (Jude 1:6), and Sodom and Gomorrah were punished with eternal fire for their sexual perversion (Jude 1:7).

Jude warns that, similar to these examples, false prophets will meet judgment for leading the body of Christ astray and defiling the faith by following their own sinful desires (Jude 1:8–16). He calls out some of the false teachers' specific practices and compares their attitudes to those of Old Testament figures like Cain, Balaam, and Korah. Jude is warning the church to be vigilant not only of false teachers, but of the subtle way that worldliness tries to infiltrate the church (Jude 1:17–19).

Jude continues his letter by encouraging believers to persevere by building themselves up in the faith, praying in the Spirit, and supporting each other: "But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh" (Jude 1:20–23). As believers, we should be helping to uphold those who are struggling and should also remind them of their calling to a higher standard of righteousness.

Finally, Jude gives all praise to Jesus, the one "who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen" (Jude 1:24–25). There are challenges associated with living out our faith in Jesus, and Jude concludes his letter by reminding us that Jesus is the One who is upholding us and He is full of mercy.

Application: The book of Jude reminds us to exercise caution regarding false teaching. It also reminds us of the importance of putting our faith into practice, caring for others, and ultimately trusting in Jesus. Jude's reminder to his readers remains true for us today, "But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, 'In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.' It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life" (Jude 1:17–21). And we, like Jude, can give all praise to Jesus Christ, who is able to keep us to the end.


Related Truth:

What is the basic timeline of the New Testament?

Are Christians supposed to defend the faith?

What is the key to recognizing false teachers?

What is a doxology, and is it found in the Bible?

Why should I spend time alone with God?


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