The Epistle
of Jude
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I. Jude's Position in the Canon.
It is now and for a long while has been an assured one. Its rank, though not altogether that of
1 Peter and 1 John, is high, for centuries indeed undoubted. Almost from the beginning of
the Christian era men every way qualified to speak with authority on the question of
genuineness and authenticity endorsed it as entitled to a place in the New Testament
Scriptures. Origen repeatedly quotes it, in one place describing it as an "ep. of but few lines,
but full of powerful words of heavenly grace" (Matt., tom. X, 17). But Origen knew that it was
not universally received. Clement of Alexandria "gave concise expositions of all the
canonical Scriptures, not omitting the disputed books--the Epistle of Jude and the other
Catholic epp." (quoted by Westcott, Canaanite, 322-23 and Salmon, Intro, 493). Tertullian
(Cult. Fem. i.3) in striving to establish the authority of the Book of Enoch urges as a crowning
argument that it is quoted by "the apostle Jude." "We may infer that, Jude's Ep,; was an
unquestioned part of Tertullian's Canon. Athanasius inserted it in his list of New Testament
books, but Eusebius placed it among the disputed books in his classification. The Canon of
Muratori includes Jude among the books of Scripture, though it omits the Epistles of James,
Peter and Hebrews. This is one of the earliest documents containing a list of the New
Testament books now known. By the great majority of writers the date of the fragment is
given as circa 170 AD, as it claims to have been written not long after Pius was bishop of
Rome, and the latest date of Pius is 142-57 AD. The words of the document are, "The
Shepherd was written very recently in our own time by Hermas, while his brother Pius sat in
the chair of the Church of Rome." Twenty or twenty-five years would probably satisfy the
period indicated by the words, "written very recently in our own time," which would fix the
date of the fragment at circa 170 AD. Salmon, however, strongly inclines to a later date,
namely, circa 200-210 AD, as does Zahn.

Zahn (Introduction to the New Testament, II, 259, English Translation), and Professor Chase
(H D B) are of the decided opinion that the Didache, ii. 7: "Thou shalt not hate anyone, but
some thou shalt rebuke, and for some thou shalt pray, and some thou shalt love above thine
own soul (or life)," is rounded on Jude 1:22. Dr. Philip Schaff dates the Didache between
90-100 AD. L'Abbe E. Jacquier (La doctrine des Douze Apotres, 1891) is persuaded that the
famous document was written not later than 80 AD. It appears, therefore, more than
probable that the Epistle of Jude was known and referred to as Scripture some time before
the end of the 1st century. From the survey we have thus rapidly taken of the field in which
the Epistle circulated, we may conclude that in Palestine, at Alexandria, in North Africa, and
at Rome, it was received as the veritable letter of Jude, "the servant of Jesus Christ, and
brother of James."
The chief reason why it was rejected by some and regarded with suspicion by others in
primitive times is its quotation from the apocryphal Book of Enoch, so Jerome informs us
(Vir. Ill., 4). It is possible that Jude had in mind another spurious writing, namely, the
Assumption of Moses, when he spoke of the contention of Michael the archangel with the
devil about the body of Moses (1:9). This, however, is not quite certain, for the date assigned
to that writing is circa 44 AD, and although Jude might have seen and read it, yet its
composition is so near his own day that it could hardly have exerted much influence on his
mind. Besides, the brevity of the Epistle and its dealing with a special class of errorists
would limit to a certain extent its circulation among Christians. All this serves to explain its
refusal by some and the absence of reference to it by others.

--International Standard Bible Encylcopedia
THE COMMON SALVATION

The common salvation is a reference to the salvation which is shared by all those who are
believers. There is nothing special about the relationship that any of us have with God or Christ.
We are brethren. We have all believed and obeyed the faith delivered.

CONTEND FOR THE FAITH
ONCE FOR ALL DELIVERED (v. 3)

There is a need to fight for and to defend “the faith once for all delivered.” This is a reference to
the faith that had been delivered by inspiration. This faith was delivered once for all time. There is
no changing this message. There is no evolution of doctrine. There is no modernization needed.
There is no amending it to fit popular thought. Make sure it is the primitive and original message
and stand firm for it, fight all it enemies, and defend it till your dying breath.

There are no “modern revelations” to amend or enhance it. All such are counterfeits. All these
proponents are liars, false teachers and false prophets. It was delivered once, and once only.
Yet, in rebuking false teachers it is important to not become self-righteous, but to allow the Lord
to rebuke them.

THE FALSE TEACHERS

1. Crept in Privately. (v. 4)
2. Lascivious and Deniers of our Lord. (v. 4)
3. Defile and Rail. (v. 8)
4. Ignorant and Fleshly. (v. 10)
5. Selfish and Vain. (vs. 12-13)
6. Seeking their own advancement. (v. 16)
7. Divisive, having not the Spirit of God. (v. 19)
Such is the forbidding portrait drawn of the libertines in the Epistle. But Jude adds other and
even darker features. He furnishes a number of examples of apostates and of apostasy
which disclose even more strikingly the spirit and the doom of them that pervert the truth,
that deny the Lord Jesus Christ, and that mock at the things of God. These all mark a fatal
degeneracy, a "falling away," which bodes nothing but evil and judgment. Against the
corrupters and skeptics Jude writes with a vehemence that in the New Testament is without
a parallel. Matters must have come to a dreadful pass when the Spirit of God is compelled to
use such stern and awful language.

--Intermational Standard Bible Encyclopedia
JUDE’S USE OF THE APOCRYPHA

Jude makes reference to the Apocrypha in verse 9 (about the dispute between Michael and
Satan), and verse 14 (Enoch) because these are works with which the early Christians would
have been familiar. This is, in essence, an endorsement of this part of these works, but does
not follow that it is an endorsement of the entire work, which has always been considered non-
canonical, uninspired, and without authority for the people of God.

SAVE WITH COMPASSION & FEAR

All situations cannot be handled in the same manner, neither can all people be treated the
same way for effective results.

Parents with multiple children find out that their children cannot be treated the same way. Some
children can be talked to, and the desired result will be realized. Others are like a balky mule,
you have to get their attention first (usually with some sort of corporal punishment), and then you
can talk to them. Each child is different. Each child has its own personality and quirks. Each
child is at a different level of maturity. It is a mistake to treat them all the same. But, it is also a
mistake to treat any with favoritism.

The same is true with Christians, or with alien sinners. Some individuals take a “kid glove,” soft
approach, with a kindly instructional conversation. Others, however, can only be reached by a
“hell fire and brimstone” approach, reaming them for their actions and striking the “fear of God”
into their souls.

The difficulty, as with parenting, is figuring out which approach will be effective. If you have time,
in evangelism and edification, it is easier to become sterner as you understand and recognize
that they need the more harsh approach. If you come on too strong to begin with (when you
should have used a softer approach), you cannot undo what has already been done; but, you
can become stronger (when you should have used a harsher approach).
Jude’s advice here is much like Solomon’s in Proverbs, it takes wisdom and discernment to
determine which avenue to take.

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool
according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.  (Proverbs 26:4-5 KJV)