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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary
Jude 1

 

 

Verses 1-16

CONTENTS OF THE LETTER

Condemnation of the false teachers (1-16)

Jude had intended to write about more general matters concerning the Christian faith, but when he heard of the activities of evil teachers he changed his mind. He now feels that it is more important to encourage the Christians to hold firmly to the truth they first heard and to fight against those who want to destroy it. Punishment is certain for those who distort the true teaching of the gospel in order to give themselves the freedom to practise immorality (1-4).

People may belong to a Christian community, or even be known as Christian teachers, but that is no guarantee of their salvation. If they do not truly believe, they will suffer God's condemnation. Three examples are given to illustrate this fact. First, all the people of Israel were delivered from Egypt, but those who did not believe were destroyed (5; cf. Numbers 14:26-35). Second, angels have high status, but those who rebelled met a terrifying judgment (6; cf. Genesis 6:1-4). Third, Sodom and Gomorrah were great cities, but they were destroyed because of their immorality (7; cf. Genesis 19:12-25).

Controlling neither their passions nor their words, these false teachers commit immoral sexual acts and insult both God and his angels. Yet the chief angel himself refused to condemn the devil with insulting words (even though he may have had good cause to), for he would not claim for himself the authority of judgment that belongs to God alone (8-9). (This story is taken from the apocryphal 'Assumption of Moses'. Apocryphal writings are certain recognized books written in the era of the Old Testament but not included in the Old Testament. They are grouped into two collections, the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha.)

The ungodly teachers have no understanding of spiritual things, but act according to their physical instincts, like animals. They have Cain's jealousy, Balaam's greed, and Korah's spirit of rebellion against authority (10-11; cf. Genesis 4:3-8; Numbers 16:1-50; Numbers 22:1-40; Numbers 25:1-9; Numbers 31:16). Their behaviour at Christian fellowship meals is a disgrace. Like rainless clouds they bring no good; like fruitless trees they are useless and should be destroyed; like the restless sea they are without control; like falling stars they will be swallowed up in the darkness, the darkness of God's eternal punishment (12-13).

Enoch's prophecy confirms the certain punishment of people characterized by such ungodliness. Whether they criticize or flatter, whether they grumble or boast, their actions are always motivated solely by what is going to benefit them personally (14-16). (The prophecy of Enoch is taken from the apocryphal 'Book of Enoch'.)


Verses 17-25

Encouragement to Christians (17-25)

The Christians are reminded of the words of the apostles. Years earlier they had warned that ungodly teachers would trouble the church, leading people into sin and causing divisions (17-19). The way to avoid their evil influence is to learn more of the Christian truth, to be more sincere in prayer, to grow in devotion to God, to hate sin in all its forms, and to help those affected by the false teachers to find new life in God (20-23).

Jude closes his letter on a note of magnificent praise to the only God and Saviour. God is supreme in majesty and authority, and the same power by which he saved Christians in the first place is still available to them. God is able to keep his people safe and pure amid the destructive corruption of the false teaching, and one day bring them triumphantly into his heavenly presence (24-25).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Jude 1:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/jude-1.html. 2005.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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