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Holman Bible Dictionary

Jude, the Book of

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Letter of exhortation to those who are “called” (Jude 1:1 ) and “beloved” (Jude 1:3 ,Jude 1:3,1:17 ,Jude 1:17,1:20 ), to “contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3 ). Simultaneously, it is a direct attack against the opponents of the gospel. Following his negative description of the opponents, Jude concluded the letter by urging his readers to have attitudes and life-styles different from the opponents. Then he committed them to the Lord's safekeeping in one of the most beautiful benedictions in Holy Scripture (Jude 1:24-25 ).

The authorship of this little letter has traditionally been ascribed to Jude, the half-brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3 ). Although the letter says nothing directly about the date, origin, or destination of the letter, it is generally thought that the book was written later than A.D. 60 and earlier than A.D. 100. This is because the content of the faith is clearly fixed (Jude 1:3 ) and the congregation is comprised of second-generation Christians (Jude 1:17 ). The recipients were most likely Jewish-Christians in Syria, known to have been a likely place for the kind of heresy the letter addresses.

The hard-hitting attack denounces the demoralizing faction that has slipped into the congregation (Jude 1:4 ,Jude 1:4,1:12 ). They are arrogant in theology; they boast of visions and revile angelic beings (Jude 1:8-10 ). They are self-centered (Jude 1:4 ,Jude 1:4,1:8 ,Jude 1:8,1:15 ); they create divisions (Jude 1:16-19 ) and leave disappointment behind (Jude 1:12 ).

Jude, by use of a creative interpretation of Old Testament examples (some found in noncanonical sources), responds with two sets of three exhortations. His first set of examples appeal to:

(1) the murmuring Israelites
(2) the fallen angels
(3) those in Sodom and Gomorrah.

The second set appeals to:

(1) Cain
(2) Balaam (who in Rabbinic tradition is the father of the libertines)
(3) Korah (who challenged Moses' authority).

He tells the believers to:

(1) pray in the Spirit
(2) keep themselves in the love of God
(3) await the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then he concludes by exhorting them to:

(1) show mercy
(2) snatch others from the brink of disaster
(3) avoid those who have fallen under false teaching.

Jude is a helpful book, for it reminds us that God alone can safely bring believers through the hazardous environment. While false teachers may reject Christ's authority, Jesus is our Savior and Lord now and forevermore.


I. Introduction (1-2)

II. An Appeal to Struggle for the Faith (3-4)

A. Authentic Christians contend for the true faith (3).

B. Pseudo-Christians live immoral lives and deny Christ (4).

III. The Certainty of Divine Judgment (5-7)

A. Hebrew history shows the certainty of judgment (5).

B. Fallen angels show the certainty of judgment (6).

C. Immoral Sodom and Gomorrah show the certainty of judgment (7).

IV. A Description of Heretics (8-19)

A. They defile the body (8a).

B. They flaunt authority (8b-11).

C. They practice immoralities (12-16).

D. They follow ungodly lusts (17-19).

V. An Exhortation to the Faithful (20-23)

A. Grow in the faith (20a).

B. Pray in the Holy Spirit (20b).

C. Remain in the love of God (21a).

D. Anticipate the coming of Jesus (12b).

E. Minister to erring Christians (22-23).

VI. Conclusion: Praise for the Only God and Savior (24-25)

David S. Dockery

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Jude, the Book of'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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