corner graphic   Hi,    
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
Jude 1



Verse 1

1. Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος. So in James 1:1 (where θεοῦ καί is prefixed): the word is also in 2 Peter 1:1 δ. καὶ ἀπόστολος Ἰ. Χ.

ἀδελφὸς δὲ Ἰακώβου. Jude was a “brother of the Lord” but does not say so, perhaps from motives of humility. The person he mentions is, there can be little doubt, James the first bishop of Jerusalem. Three persons of this name are mentioned in N.T., [1] James the son of Zebedee, “James the great” martyred by Herod (Acts 12), [2] James the son of Alphaeus Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, in the list of the Twelve, coupled with Thaddaeus: Luke 6:15, between Thomas and Simon Zelotes, Acts 1:13 between Matthew and Simon, [3] James the brother of the Lord, Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3. This last was the first bishop of Jerusalem, and presided at the council of Acts 15.

It has been usual in the Western Church to identify nos. 2 and 3 of the above list. The Eastern Church, however, has always commemorated three Jameses, and there can be little doubt that this is the right view. Of James the son of Alphaeus we really know nothing beyond his name.

τοῖς ἐν θεῷ πατρί κ.τ.λ. A difficult sentence. The late uncial MSS. KLP give ἡγιασμένοις for ἠγαπημένοις (אBA) which is a very much easier reading, but on that account suspicious. Westcott and Hort suggest that ἐν is out of place and that we ought to read τοῖς θεῷ πατρὶ ἠγαπημ. καὶ ἐν Ἰ. Χ. τετηρημ. The possibility has been suggested (by Bishop Chase) that after ἐν a place-name was meant to be inserted (as in Ephesians 1:1): the letter being a circular letter, and the name varied according to the place where it was read. The sentence would run “to those at—who are beloved of God the Father” etc. As they stand the words are not free from confusion, and I believe that their order must be incorrect. It would be better if ἠγαπημένοις followed κλητοῖς. The three substantives in the next verse may each refer to one of these three descriptive words, thus: ἔλεος to κλητοῖς, for the calling of God shows His mercy: εἰρήνη to τετηρημένοις, for peace is the condition of those who are kept safe: ἀγάπη to ἠγαπημένοις. I do not think it altogether safe to build much upon words which are in the nature of a formula: yet this particular salutation is not identical with any other in N.T. The substantives in Romans , 1, 2 Cor., Gal., Eph., Phil., Colossians , 1, 2 Thess., Tit., Philemon, are χάρις (ὑμῖν) καὶ εἰρήνη: so too in Rev. (Judges 1:4), 1, 2 Pet. In 1, 2 Tim. χάρις, ἔλεος καὶ εἰρήνη: also 2 John 1:3. So Jude does use a form which is varied, doubtless intentionally. The verb πληθυνθείη is common to him and 1, 2 Pet.

Verse 3

3. Ἀγαπητοί recurs in 17, 20 and often in 2 Peter. It is also frequent in 1 John, but there a great many other forms of address are used as well.

πᾶσαν σπουδὴν ποιούμενος γράφεινἀνάγκην ἔσχον γράψαι. Distinguish between the use of the present tense in the first clause and that of the aorist in the second: we may infer that Jude was contemplating the writing of a treatise (or more probably an Epistle) on more general lines περὶ τῆς κοινῆς σωτηρίας, when he was suddenly compelled to write at short notice and warn his readers against a special danger. We are reminded of the intention expressed in 2 Peter 1:12-15.

ἐπαγωνίζεσθαι: not common in the sense of defending, which is its meaning here. Plutarch (quoted by Mayor) speaks of the philosopher Cleanthes ἐπαγωνιζόμενος τῇ ἐκπυρώσει, i.e. defending the Stoic doctrine of the destruction of the world by fire.

τῇ ἅπαξ παραδοθείσῃ τοῖς ἁγίοις πίστει. ἅπαξ “once for all,” cf. Judges 1:5 and Hebrews 6:4. παραδοθείσῃ, compare the Pauline use in 1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, and the παραθήκη of 1 Timothy 6:20. ἁγίοις. Bodies of Christians are called ἅγιοι in Acts 9:32; Acts 9:41 (at Lydda and Joppa), 1 Corinthians 16:1 etc.

πίστει. Here not the act of believing but the truths believed. Paul preached the faith, τὴν πίστιν, which once he used to destroy (Galatians 1:23). The phrase belongs to a time when a creed (of however simple a kind) was delivered to converts by their teachers: a confession of faith which they were required to repeat in public at the time of their baptism.

Verse 4

4. παρεισεδύησαν κ.τ.λ. It is here that the parallelism with 2 Peter begins most obviously. To comment upon the matter common to the two Epistles would be to repeat the notes on 2 Peter. I shall therefore only call attention to selected points.

προγεγραμμένοι. Not “predestinated” but predicted by Enoch (Judges 1:14) and others.

χάριτα μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν. By making Christian liberty an excuse for licence. Cf. Romans 6:1, 1 Peter 2:16.

ἀρνούμενοι. Perhaps by teaching, as many Gnostics did, that Jesus was a mere man upon whom a heavenly spirit, Christ, descended at His baptism, leaving Him before or at the Passion. (In the apocryphal Gospel of Peter the cry of our Lord on the Cross is given in this form, “My Power, My Power, why hast thou forsaken me?”) Or else by the doctrine that the God of creation (ὁ μόνος δεσπότης) was not the supreme God.

Verse 5

5. Jude’s first example of sin and punishment is not used in 2 Peter, probably because it seemed too vague and obscure. It is indeed somewhat difficult. The general sense is like that of the passage 1 Corinthians 10:1-11. In that we are reminded how Israel was delivered, and nourished in the wilderness (1–4); and how for all that they sinned and were punished (5–11). The same theme recurs over and over again in Psalms 78. The special sin which Jude has in mind seems to be Israel’s want of faith when the spies brought back reports of the Promised Land (τοὺς μὴ πιστεύσαντας). But no good explanation of the words τὸ δεύτερον has been suggested. They are less emphatic, and therefore less awkward, if we are allowed to read (with א 68 and several versions) κύριος ἅπαξ λαὸν σώσας. With the text before us I see no other reasonable rendering but to take τὸ δεύτερον as simply equivalent to ὕστερον, “afterwards”: but no authority has been cited for such a use. There are other points of uncertainty about the text of this verse which it is worth while to note: for εἰδότας ἅπαξ πάντα אKL and others read εἰδ. ὑμᾶς (which Mayor adopts), B has εἰδ. ὑμᾶς ἅπαξ and for κύριος (read by אCKL etc.) AB 13 and four versions read Ἰησοῦς (see further Introd.). This was interpreted by some Fathers, e.g. Jerome, as signifying Joshua (who, of course, in Greek and Latin is called Jesus). But the subject of both this and the next verse is the same, and Joshua cannot be the subject of Judges 1:6. If Jude did write Ἰησοῦς, it was not without a recollection of Joshua. The identity of name appealed to many early Christian writers.

Verse 6

6. On the source see Introd. p. xlvii.

Verse 7

7. ὅμοιον τούτοις, i.e. the false teachers.

Verse 8

8. μέντοι, however, “in spite of these warnings” (Mayor).

ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι. This probably refers to the pretended revelations of the false teachers, who laid claim to a special inspiration. Cf. Deuteronomy 13:1. In what follows, Jude sums up their conduct: they are of loose life, and rebellious against constituted authority. See on 2 Peter 2:10.

Verse 9

9. For the matter see Introd. p. xli.

κρίσιν βλασφημίας = βλάσφημον κρίσιν, 2 Peter 2:11 (cf. James 1:25 ἀκροατὴς ἐπιλησμονῆς) not “an accusation of blasphemy,” but cf. Field ad loc.

Verse 10

10. Corresponds to 2 Peter 2:12 but in that place is differently turned. Here φυσικῶς means by instinct: and it is said of the false teachers that they come to ruin (φθείρονται) by means of the knowledge—and that a contemptible sort of knowledge—which they possess, while they speak evil of what they do not understand—perhaps primarily of the spiritual world—δόξας βλασφημοῦσιν, Judges 1:8.

Verse 11

11. Of the three examples of sin punished which Jude uses 2 Peter only adopts one, Balaam. Cain is perhaps chosen as an instance of one who defied the simplest and most obvious laws of God by murder, or else as having consulted only his own natural instincts in choosing an offering for God. Balaam is chosen as having prostituted the prophetic gift for gain (and the false teachers made money one of their objects). Korah rebelled against divinely appointed authority.

The phrase used of Balaam is not lucid. πλάνῃ is susceptible of two meanings, active, in the sense of deceiving others, and passive, in the sense of being deceived. ἐξεχύθησαν is used of indulging unrestrainedly in pleasure: Sirach 37:29 μὴ ἐκχυθῇς ἐπʼ ἐδεσμάτων. The whole sentence may be paraphrased: they have let themselves go in the deceiving course of Balaam, for gain. We learn what is meant by the deceit of Balaam from Revelation 2:14 “thou hast there some that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication.” The laxity of the false teachers is here again in Jude’s mind.

Verse 12

12. οὗτοί εἰσιν recurs again in Judges 1:16; Judges 1:19. As Dr Chase has remarked, it is a favourite phrase in Apocalyptic writings. The seer is shown something and asks what it is? his guide—usually an angel—introduces his explanation by these or like words, cf. Zech. (Judges 1:10 etc.), Revelation 7:14, among Biblical passages. In each of the cases where Jude uses it we may fairly suspect that he is alluding to a passage of some writing. He is certainly doing so in Judges 1:16, and as I think also in Judges 1:19. In these two places he quotes the Assumption of Moses; perhaps he is doing so in Judges 1:12 also: we cannot be certain, for the book is mutilated.

ἀγάπαις, the right reading here. It is the only mention in the N.T. under this name of the love-feasts, which were universally so called a little later. We hear of the germ of this Christian feast, as distinct from the Eucharist, in Acts 2:46 κλῶντές τε κατʼ οἶκον ἄρτον, and of the abuses and confusion which sometimes occurred in connexion with it, in 1 Corinthians 11:18 sqq. At first it was a meal for all members of the Christian community and was celebrated immediately after the Eucharist. In later times it was separated therefrom by an interval of some length. Gradually it came to be regarded as a charitable provision for the poorer members of the congregation.

σπιλάδες. 2 Peter has in the corresponding place σπίλοι, which certainly means spots or stains. The ordinary meaning of σπιλάς is ὕφαλος πέτρα, a sunken rock. In a late, perhaps fourth century, hexameter poem on the virtues of precious stones, attributed to Orpheus, and called the Lithica, there is a description of the agate as κατάστικτος σπιλάδεσσιν (l. 614) mottled with spots, and the Lexicon of Hesychius (which may be dependent on this passage of Jude) gives σπιλάδες = μεμιασμένοι. These two passages (coupled with 2 Peter) constitute all the evidence at present available for rendering σπιλάδες here as “spots.” But the evidence of 2 Peter is rather strong and that of the Lithica (a pagan composition) quite clear. I incline to accept it.

ἑαυτοὺς ποιμαίνοντες. Ezekiel 39:8 (Westcott and Hort) ἐβόσκησαν οἱ ποιμένες ἐαυτούς.

The similes employed by Jude in Judges 1:12-13 are these:

Stains (or rocks). Waterless clouds. Barren trees. Waves.

Wandering stars:

and those in 2 Peter are:

Stains. Waterless springs. Driven mists.

νεφέλαι κ.τ.λ. The clouds are not only useless but purposeless, driven about by winds. Jude accumulates attributes, both here and in the next clause.

φθινοπωρινά. Mayor has carefully investigated the use of this word (which A.V. renders “(trees) whose fruit withereth,” R.V. rightly “autumn trees”) and shows that the word comes from φθινόπωρον, late autumn. This is the time when we expect to find fruit on trees, and therefore the adjective must be taken with the next word ἄκαρπα: the trees have no fruit at the season when they ought to have it, like the barren fig tree in the Gospels.

δὶς ἀποθανόντα: twice dead: applying to the men rather than the trees. The men are twice dead because they were once dead in sin before baptism and have fallen away from the truth since baptism.

Verse 13

13. κύματα κ.τ.λ. Cf. Isaiah 57:20. “The wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Mayor).

ἐπαφρίζοντα, casting up their own shame, exposing it, as the sea casts up refuse on the beach. Moschus Idyll. Judges 1:5 (ἀ δὲ θάλασσα κυρτὸν ἐπαφρίζῃ) is the only author quoted for the rare verb.

ἀστέρες πλανῆται, on this see Introd. p. xlvii.

οἶς ὁ ζόφος κ.τ.λ. Notice that these words are applied in 2 Peter with far less appropriateness to the waterless springs and driven clouds.

Verse 14-15

14, 15. On the quotation from Enoch see Introd. p. xlvi.

Verse 16

16. Largely from the Assumption of Moses: see Introd. pp. xliv, xlv.

Verse 17

17. We find several examples in N.T. (e.g. Acts 20:29, 1 Timothy 4, 2 Timothy 3 etc.) of predictions of false teaching and wickedness in the Christian body, but not of mockers, as here. Jude need not be referring to a written document, but to a spoken warning often uttered (ἔλεγον) by the Apostles. But see above on 2 Peter 3:3. The mockers, teaching as they did the lawfulness of many lax practices, would deride those who held the stricter view.

Verse 19

19. ἀποδιορίζοντες, making distinction, saying “stand aside, touch me not: I am holier than thou.” In the Introd. p. xlv I suggest that this again is an allusion to the Assumption of Moses. The false teachers would claim possession of special knowledge in divine things.

ψυχικοί, sensual. 1 Corinthians 2:14 a ψυχικὸς ἄνθρωπος does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Corinthians 15:44 σπείρεται σῶμα ψυχικόν, ἐγείρεται σῶμα πνευματικόν. James 3:15 speaks of a wisdom which is ἐπίγειος, ψυχική, δαιμονιώδης. There it is definitely the opposite of πνευματικός.

πνεῦμα μὴ ἔχοντες, though doubtless they claimed to possess it in a special degree.

Verse 20

20. ἐποικοδομοῦντεςπίστει. Polycarp’s letter to the Philippians (iii. 2) seems to contain a reminiscence of this (Bigg and Mayor). “If you study the epistles of the blessed Apostle Paul, δυνηθήσεσθε οἰκοδομεῖσθαι εἰς τὴν δοθεῖσαν ὑμῖν πίστιν.” St Paul often uses the metaphor of building, notably in Ephesians 2:20 sqq. The solidarity of the brotherhood is contrasted with the divisions introduced by the ἀποδιορίζοντες.

πίστει, used very much as in Judges 1:3.

ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ προσευχόμενοι, cf. Ephesians 6:18 προσευχόμενοι ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ ἐν πνεύματι.

Verse 21

21. προσδεχόμενοι τὸ ἔλεος as Symeon in Luke 2:25. Cf. Titus 2:13 προσδεχόμενοι τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα κ.τ.λ.

Verse 22

22. οὓς μὲν ἐλέγχετε διακρινομένους. A. V. reads διακρινόμενοι and translates “making a difference” which is only correct as a rendering of διακρίνοντες. διακρινόμενος in James 1:6 means “wavering, doubting,” and this gives a good sense here. “Some you must convince when they are wavering.” The alternative rendering is “when they dispute with you,” and this has support from Judges 1:9 of this Epistle.

οὓς δὲ σώζετε ἐκ πυρὸς ἁρπάζοντες. The idea is that of a brand plucked out of the burning, which occurs in Amos 4:11 (coupled with a reference to Sodom and Gomorrah: cf. Judges 1:7) and also in Zechariah 3:2 of the High Priest Joshua (cf. Judges 1:9, where the words ἐπιτιμήσαι σοι Κύριος are taken by Westcott and Hort as referring to the same verse in Zech.).

Verse 22-23

22, 23. He abruptly returns to the thought of the false teachers suggested perhaps by the words ἑαυτοὺς τηρήσατε, “keep yourselves.” “And what about your relation to others? what is your duty to them?”

I have discussed the reading in Introd. pp. lvi, lvii, and prefer that which gives three clauses.

Verse 23

23. οὓς δὲ ἐλεᾶτε ἐν φόβῳ, μισοῦντες κ.τ.λ. In the reference to the garment there may be again a recollection of Zechariah 3, where the High Priest is clad in filthy garments.

The threefold division marks a growth of danger. The first class of those who have come under the influence of the false teachers are waverers. These the faithful are to dispute with, and convince. The next are in the fire and must be snatched out. The third cannot be touched without danger: perhaps all that can be done is to pity them.

Verse 24-25

24, 25. The beautiful ending of the Epistle grows naturally out of the preceding words. The thought of the fate that attends those who have gone astray leads to a prayer that the faithful may be preserved in their faith. Compare the opening words with Romans 16:25.

ἀπταίστους only here in N.T., but the verb πταίω occurs in 2 Peter 1:10 οὐ μὴ πταίσητέ ποτε in a very similar connexion: also in James 2:10; James 3:2.

στῆσαι κατενώπιον κ.τ.λ. The thought of Colossians 1:22 is very like this: παραστῆσαι ὑμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους καὶ ἀνεγκλήτους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ, εἴ γε ἐπιμένετε τῇ πίστει. Compare also Ephesians 1:4 εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ. These two passages—certainly the last—refer to the present life. Jude is speaking of the future.

ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει. The substantive occurs in the Greek fragment of Enoch, Judges 1:2 “the years of their joy πληθυνθήσεται ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει.”

Verse 25

25. μόνῳ θεῷ σωτῆρι ἡμῶν, cf. τὸν μόνον δεσπότην, Judges 1:4, Romans 16:27. Θεὸς σωτὴρ occurs in the Magnificat Luke 1:47 and in 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:10. μόνῳ perhaps emphasized because false teachers held that the God of the Jews, the Creator, was distinct from the true God.

διὰ Ἰ. Χ. (cf. Romans 1:8) is best taken with what follows, “glory to God through Jesus Christ,” not “God, our Saviour through Jesus Christ.” In 1 Peter 4:11 it is said “that God may in all things be glorified through Jesus Christ.”

μεγαλωσύνη occurs several times in the Greek fragment of Enoch but in N.T. only in Hebrews 1:3 “sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high.”

ἐξουσία, cf. Revelation 12:10 ἄρτι ἐγένετο ἡ σωτηρία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ ἡ ἐξουσία τοῦ χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ, which however is a statement of what has happened, not an ascription of praise. It does not occur elsewhere in doxologies (Mayor), though δύναμις and ἰσχύς do.

πρὸ παντὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος stands by itself: we have πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων in 1 Corinthians 2:7, and in Proverbs 8:23 Wisdom says “God founded me πρὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος.”

εἰς πάντας τοὔς αἰῶνας again is a unique variant of the ordinary εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Jude 1:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
the First Week of Advent
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology