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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Jude

Chapter 1

Book Overview - Jude

by Gary H. Everett

STUDY NOTES ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

Using a Theme-based Approach

to Identify Literary Structures

By Gary H. Everett

THE EPISTLE OF JUDE

January 2013Edition

All Scripture quotations in English are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Some words have been emphasized by the author of this commentary using bold or italics.

All Old Testament Scripture quotations in the Hebrew text are taken from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Westminster Hebrew Morphology, electronic ed, Stuttgart; Glenside PA: German Bible Society, Westminster Seminary, 1996, c 1925, morphology c 1991, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

All New Testament Scripture quotations in the Greek text are taken from Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology), eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (United Bible Societies), c 1966, 1993, 2006, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

All Hebrew and Greek text for word studies are taken from James Strong in The New Strong"s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, c 1996, 1997, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

The Crucifixion image on the book cover was created by the author's daughter Victoria Everett in 2012.

Gary H. Everett, 1981-2013

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the author.

Foundational Theme - The Perseverance of the Saints (from False Doctrines within)

Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and

beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Matthew 16:6

Structural Theme - The Sanctification of the Spirit Keeps Us

Jude , the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James ,

to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

Jude 1:1

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling,

and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Jude 1:24

Imperative Theme - Living a Godly Lifestyle (Perseverance of the Body)

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation,

it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you

that ye should earnestly contend for the faith

which was once delivered unto the saints.

Jude 1:3

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith,

praying in the Holy Ghost,

Jude 1:20

INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLE OF JUDE

Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures supports the view of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the biblical text of the Holy Scriptures, meaning that every word originally written down by the authors in the sixty-six books of the Holy Canon were God-breathed when recorded by men, and that the Scriptures are therefore inerrant and infallible. Any view less than this contradicts the testimony of the Holy Scriptures themselves. For this reason, the Holy Scriptures contain both divine attributes and human attributes. While textual criticism engages with the variant readings of the biblical text, acknowledging its human attributes, faith in His Word acknowledges its divine attributes. These views demand the adherence of mankind to the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures above all else. The Holy Scriptures can only be properly interpreted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an aspect of biblical scholarship that is denied by liberal views, causing much misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures.

The Message of the Epistle of Jude - Donald Guthrie tells us that, with the exception of 1Peter and 1John, the Catholic Epistles played a minor role in shaping the thought of the early Church during the first few centuries, and were not fully embraced until the fourth century, when the New Testament canon was closed. 1] These Epistles are often overshadowed by the Gospels and Pauline Epistles in their relative importance to the Christian faith. This appears to be the case today as well as in in the ancient Church. Because their underlying message is one of perseverance, we can understand why the other New Testament writings appear more glorious, as they emphasize the revelations of our glorious Saviour and of sacred Church doctrine. However, the necessity to persevere is part and parcel to our eternal glorification, as is clearly brought out within the Catholic Epistles. This means that their message is an equally important part of our spiritual journey into eternal glory with our Heavenly Father.

1] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grover, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 722.

Introductory Material- The introduction to the epistle of Jude will deal with its historical setting, literary style, and theological framework. 2] These three aspects of introductory material will serve as an important foundation for understanding God's message to us today from this divinely inspired book of the Holy Scriptures.

2] Someone may associate these three categories with Hermann Gunkel's well-known three-fold approach to form criticism when categorizing the genre found within the book of Psalm: (1) "a common setting in life," (2) "thoughts and mood," (3) "literary forms." In addition, the Word Biblical Commentary uses "Form/Structure/Setting" preceding each commentary section. Although such similarities were not intentional, but rather coincidental, the author was aware of them and found encouragement from them when assigning the three-fold scheme of historical setting, literary style, and theological framework to his introductory material. See Hermann Gunkel, The Psalm: A Form-Critical Introduction, trans. Thomas M. Horner, in Biblical Series, vol 19, ed. John Reumann (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress Press, 1967), 10; see also Word Biblical Commentary, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas, Texas: Word Incorporated, 1989-2007).

HISTORICAL SETTING

"We dare not divorce our study from understanding the historical setting of every passage of Scripture

if we are going to come to grips with the truth and message of the Bible."

(J. Hampton Keathley) 3]

3] J. Hampton Keathley, III, "Introduction and Historical Setting for Elijah," (Bible.org) [on-line]; accessed 23May 2012; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-and-historical-setting-elijah; Internet.

Each book of the Holy Scriptures is cloaked within a unique historical setting. An examination of this setting is useful in the interpretation of the book because it provides the context of the passage of Scripture under examination. The section on the historical setting of the epistle of Jude will address its historical background, authorship, date and place of writing, recipients, and occasion.

I. Historical Background

II. Authorship and Canonicity

In establishing the authorship of the New Testament writings, one must also deal with the issue of canonicity, since apostolic authority was the primary condition for a book to be accepted into the biblical canon of the early Church. This section will evaluate three phases in the development of the canonicity of the epistle of Jude: apostolic authority, church orthodoxy, and catholicity. The first phase of canonization is called apostolic authority and is characterized by the use of the writings of the apostles by the earliest Church father in the defense of the Christian faith (1st and 2nd centuries). The second phase of canonization is called church orthodoxy and is characterized by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2nd century thru 3rd century). The third phase of canonization is characterized by the general acceptance and use of the books of the New Testament by the catholic church, seen most distinctly in the early Church councils (4th century).

A. Apostolic Authority- Scholars generally agree that the New Testament canon went through several phrases of development in Church history prior to its solidification in the fourth century. F. B. Westcott says the earliest phase is considered the apostolic age in which "the writings of the Apostles were regarded from the first as invested with singular authority, as the true expression, if not the original source, of Christian doctrine and Christian practice." He says the "elements of the Catholic faith" were established during this period in Church history. 4] At this time, the early Christian Greek apologists defended the catholic faith during the rise of the heresies of the second century using the writings that carried the weight of apostolic authority. The Church clung to the books that were either written by the apostles themselves, such as Matthew ,, John , Peter, and Paul, or directly sanctioned by them, such as Mark and Luke , the assistances of Peter and Paul respectively, and the epistles of James and Jude , the brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, scholars believe apostolic authority was the primary element in selecting the canonical books. This phase is best represented by evaluating the internal evidence of the authorship of these New Testament books and by the external witnesses of the early Church fathers who declare the book's apostolic authorship and doctrinal authority over the Church.

4] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 21. The Muratorian Canon (c. A.D 200) alludes to the criteria of apostolic authority for the New Testament writings, saying, "The Pastor, moreover, did Hermas write very recently in our times in the city of Rome, while his brother bishop Pius sat in the chair of the Church of Rome. And therefore it also ought to be read; but it cannot be made public in the Church to the people, nor placed among the prophets, as their number is complete, nor among the apostles to the end of time." (Fragments of Caius 33) (ANF 5); Corey Keating says, "In the first two centuries, ‘apostolic authority' was the important factor in deciding to keep or reject a particular writing." See Corey Keating, The Criteria Used for Developing the New Testament Canon in the First Four Centuries of the Christian Church (2000); accessed 15 April 2012; available from http://www.ntgreek.org/SeminaryPapers/ChurchHistory/Criteria%20for%20Development%20of%20the%20NT%20Canon%20in%20First%20Four%20Centuries.pdf; Internet.

Five of the General Epistles ( James ,, 2 Peter , 2, 3 John , and Jude) were slow in being received into the New Testament canon by the early Church for several reasons. 5] (1) Slow Circulation- One of the reasons for their delayed acceptance was slow circulation. James MacKnight says this slow circulation does not mean that they were viewed as forgeries by the early Church fathers; rather, it shows that slow circulation of these epistles had not allowed them to be as quickly judged and proven authentic. 6] The New Testament church was extremely careful before accepting any book as canonical, and did in fact identify certain writings as forgeries. (2) Brevity- Another reason the epistles of James ,, 2 Peter ,, 2 John ,, 3 John , and Jude were not quickly recognized by the early Church was the brevity of these letters. This brevity gave them less attention during public readings, since they were not immediately recognized as circulatory letters. This circumstance accounts for both their slow circulation and for them being omitted from some of the earliest translations of the Christian Scriptures and canons. Because of their slower circulation and brevity, they were much less referred to by the earliest church fathers, making it more difficult to establish their genuineness. F.B. Westcott responds to this fact by saying, "As a general rule, quotations have a value positively, but not negatively: they may shew that a writing was received as authoritative, but it cannot fairly be argued from this fact alone that another which is not quoted was unknown or rejected as apocryphal." 7] Despite their slow circulation and brevity, the Church's acceptance of apostolic authorship of these five epistles won them favor by the time the canon was officially closed in the fourth century.

5] Eusebius says, "Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the Song of Solomon -called epistle of James and that of Jude , also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John , whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name." (Ecclesiastical History 3253)

6] James MacKnight, A New Literal Translation from the Original Greek, of All the Apostolic Epistles, vol. iv (Edinburgh: John Ritchie, 1809), 5-6.

7] B. F. Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillian and Company, Ltd,1896), 11.

1. Internal Evidence

a) The Author Identifies His Name as Jude , the brother of James - In the opening salutation the author identifies himself as Jude , the brother of James.

Jude 1:1, " Jude , the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James , to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:"

It is easy to see how canonicity is a testimony to apostolic authorship when we understand that the debates of the early Church fathers to accept the general epistles of 2Peter, 2,3John, and Jude was simply a debate about their authorship. Apostolic authorship meant that the works were authentic, and thus, authoritative. It was the writing's apostolic authority that granted its inclusion into the New Testament canon. Therefore, canonicity was based upon apostolic authority, and this apostolic authority was based upon the authenticity of the writing, and its authenticity was based upon the fact that it was a genuine work of one of the apostles or one who was serving directly under that apostolic authority.

B. Church Orthodoxy- The second phase in the development of the New Testament canon placed emphasis upon Church orthodoxy, or the rule of faith for the catholic Church. F. B. Westcott says, "To make use of a book as authoritative, to assume that it is apostolic, to quote it as inspired, without preface or comment, is not to hazard a new or independent opinion, but to follow an unquestioned judgment." 8] The early Church fathers cited these apostolic writings as divinely inspired by God, equal in authority to the Old Testament Scriptures. They understood that these particular books embodied the doctrines that helped them express the Church's Creed, or generally accepted rule of faith. As F. B. Westcott notes, with a single voice the Church fathers of this period rose up from the western to the eastern borders of Christendom and became heralds of the same, unified Truth. 9] This phase is best represented in the writings of the early Church fathers by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2nd century thru 3rd century). These collected works of the apostles were cited by the church fathers as they expounded upon the Christian faith and established Church orthodoxy. We will look at two aspects of the development of Church Orthodoxy: (1) the Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy and (2) Early Versions.

8] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co, 1875), 12.

9] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co, 1875), 331.

1. Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy- The early Church fathers make direct statements declaring Jude's authorship, as well as direct quotes, strong allusions and weak allusions to this epistle. Direct quotes are word for word citations from this book, strong allusions are apparent paraphrases, and weak allusions are words or phrases that appear to come from this book.. Thus, the epistle of Jude was used by the Church fathers to establish Church orthodoxy.

Here are a few of the earliest quotes from the epistle of Jude: 10]

10] There are many other citations available from the early Church fathers that I have not used to support the traditional views of authorship of the books of the New Testament. Two of the largest collections of these citations have been compiled by Nathaniel Lardner (1684-1768) in The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, 10 vols. (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829, 1838), and by Jacques Paul Migne (1800-1875) in the footnotes of Patrologia Latina, 221vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1844-55) and Patrologia Graecae, 161vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1857-66).

a) Epistle of Barnabas (A. D 70 to 100) - Charles Bigg believes the Epistle of Barnabas alludes to the epistle of Jude. 11]

11] Charles Bigg, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude , in The International Critical Commentary, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1903), 308.

"We ought therefore, brethren, carefully to inquire concerning our salvation, lest the wicked one, having made his entrance by deceit, should hurl us forth from our [true] life." (Epistle of Barnabas 210)

Jude 1:3-4, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."

b) Polycarp (A.D 69 to 155) - Charles Bigg notes how the salutation of The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians is similar to that of Jude 1:2 in the Greek text. 12]

12] Charles Bigg, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude , in The International Critical Commentary, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1903), 307.

"Mercy to you, and peace from God Almighty, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, be multiplied." (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians salutation)

Jude 1:2, "Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied."

Charles Bigg believes the closing remarks of the Martyrdom of Polycarp alludes to Jude 1:25. 13]

13] Charles Bigg, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude , in The International Critical Commentary, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1903), 308.

"…but Jesus Christ being King for ever, to whom be glory, honour, majesty, and an everlasting throne, from generation to generation." (The Encyclical Epistle of the Church at Smyrnam Concerning the Martyrdom of the Holy Polycarp 21) (ANF 1)

Jude 1:25, "To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."

Charles Bigg believes the description of building up the faith of the saints in The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians alludes to similar phrases in Jude 1:3; Jude 1:20. 14]

14] Charles Bigg, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude , in The International Critical Commentary, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1903), 307.

"…which, if you carefully study, you will find to be the means of building you up in that faith which has been given you…" (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 3:2)

Jude 1:3, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

Jude 1:20, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,"

Charles Bigg believes the phrase "edify yourselves," and The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 114alludes to Jude 1:20; Jude 1:23. 15]

15] Charles Bigg, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude , in The International Critical Commentary, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1903), 307-308.

"…but call them back as suffering and straying members, that ye may save your whole body. For by so acting ye shall edify yourselves."

Jude 1:20, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,"

Jude 1:23, "And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."

c) Shepherd of Hermas (2nd c. A.D.) - Charles Bigg believes the phrase "defile the flesh" used by the Shepherd of Hermas alludes to Jude 1:8. 16]

16] Charles Bigg, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude , in The International Critical Commentary, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1903), 309.

"If you defile your flesh, you will also defile the Holy Spirit; and if you defile your flesh [and spirit], you will not live." (Similitudes 572) (ANF 2)

Jude 1:8, "Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities."

d) Athenagoras (2nd c. A.D.) - Charles Bigg believes Athenagoras alludes to the epistle of Jude when he discusses the office of good angels, and the fall of other angels (see A Plea for the Christians 24-25). 17] (ANF 2)

17] Charles Bigg, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude , in The International Critical Commentary, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1903), 307.

Jude 1:6, "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."

e) Theophilus of Antioch (late 2nd c. A.D.) - Theophilus of Antioch alludes to Jude 1:13 when it symbolizes men as wandering stars.

"And those, again, which change their position, and flee from place to place, which also are cared planets, they too are a type of the men who have wandered from God, abandoning His law and commandments." (Theophilus to Autolycus 215)

Jude 1:13, "Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever."

f) Muratorian Canon (c. A.D 200) - The Muratorian Canon, an ancient Latin document dated around A.D 200, tells us that the epistle of Jude was accepted as a part of the New Testament canon.

"The Epistle of Jude , indeed, and two belonging to the above-named John—or bearing the name of John—are reckoned among the Catholic epistles. And the book of Wisdom of Solomon , written by the friends of Solomon in his honour. We receive also the Apocalypse of John and that of Peter, though some amongst us will not have this latter read in the Church." (Fragments of Caius 3: Canon Muratorianus 4) (ANF 5)

g) Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150 to 215) - Clement of Alexandria attributes the epistle of Jude to the Lord's brother.

" Jude , who wrote the Catholic Epistle, the brother of the sons of Joseph, and very religious, whilst knowing the near relationship of the Lord, yet did not say that he himself was His brother. But what said he? ‘ Jude , a servant of Jesus Christ,'--of Him as Lord; but ‘the brother of James.' For this is true; he was His brother, (the son) of Joseph." (Fragments of Clemens Alexandrinus: 1. From the Latin Translation of Cassiodorus 2, Comments on the Epistle of Jude) (ANF 2)

He quotes from Jude 1:5-6; Jude 1:11 by crediting the citation to the epistle of Jude.

"‘For I would have you know,' says Jude , ‘that God, having once saved His people from the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed them that believed not; and the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved to the judgment of the great day, in everlasting chains under darkness of the savage angels.' And a little after he sets forth, in a most instructive manner, representations of those that are judged: ‘Woe unto them, for they have gone in the way of Cain, and run greedily after the error of Balaam, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.'" (The Instructor 3844-45) (ANF 2)

He also quotes from Jude 1:8-17 by crediting the citation to the epistle of Jude. (PG 8 cols 1112A-1113A)

h) Tertullian (A.D 160 to 225) - Tertullian refers to the epistle of Jude , calling him apostle, which implies its authority among the churches.

"To these considerations is added the fact that Enoch possesses a testimony in the Apostle Jude." (On the Apparel of Women 13) (ANF 4)

i) Origen (A.D 185 to 254) - Origen tells us that Jude , the brother of the Lord, wrote a short epistle.

"And Jude , who wrote a letter of few lines, it is true, but filled with the healthful words of heavenly grace, said in the preface, " Jude , the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James." (Commentary on Matthew 10:17) (ANF 10)

Origen quotes Jude 1:6 in his Commentary on Matthew 15:27 (PG 13col 1333B). In his Commentary on Matthew 1730 (PG 13cols 1570C-1572A), he first mentions the epistle of Jude prior to quoting Jude 1:6. In his Commentary on John (PG 14col 463D, Latin version) he quotes Jude 1:6. In his Commentary on Romans 3:6 (PG 14col 939B Latin version) he quotes Jude. In his Commentary on Romans 5:1 (PG 14col 1016A Latin version) he refers to the epistle of Jude prior to quoting Jude 1:6. In his homilies on Ezekiel 4:1 (PG 13col 697B-C) he quotes Jude 1:6.

Origen mentions the epistle of Jude in de Principiis.

"…regarding whom, in the work entitled The Ascension of Moses (a little treatise, of which the Apostle Jude makes mention in his Epistle), the archangel Michael, when disputing with the devil regarding the body of Moses, says that the serpent, being inspired by the devil, was the cause of Adam and Eve's transgression." (Origen de Principiis 321) (ANF 4)

j) Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) - Eusebius, the ancient church historian, tells us that the early church fathers listed the book of Jude as one of the disputed writings of the New Testament, yet acknowledges that it was frequently read in the churches.

"These things are recorded in regard to James , who is said to be the author of the first of the Song of Solomon -called catholic epistles. But it is to be observed that it is disputed; at least, not many of the ancients have mentioned it, as is the case likewise with the epistle that bears the name of Jude, which is also one of the seven Song of Solomon -called catholic epistles. Nevertheless we know that these also, with the rest, have been read publicly in very many churches." (Ecclesiastical History 22325)

"Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the Song of Solomon -called epistle of James and that of Jude, also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John , whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name." (Ecclesiastical History 3253)

Eusebius also tells us that Clement of Alexandria made use of a number of non-canonical books as well as the disputed Catholic epistles.

"He [Clement of Alexandria] makes use also in these works of testimonies from the disputed Scriptures, the Song of Solomon -called Wisdom of Solomon , and of Jesus, the son of Sirach , and the Epistle to the Hebrews , and those of Barnabas, and Clement and Jude. He mentions also Tatian's." (Ecclesiastical History 6136)

"To sum up briefly, he [Clement of Alexandria] has given in the Hypotyposes abridged accounts of all canonical Scripture, not omitting the disputed books, —I refer to Jude and the other Catholic epistles, and Barnabas and the Song of Solomon -called Apocalypse of Peter." (Ecclesiastical History 6141)

k) Athanasius (A.D 296 to 373) - Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria, supported the authorship of Jude.

"Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew ,, Mark ,, Luke , and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James , one; of Peter, two; of John , three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John" (Letters 395) (NPF 2 4)

l) Ephraem Syrus (c. A.D 306 to 373) - Nathaniel Lardner cites Mill, who says Ephraem Syrus, the Syrian biblical exegete and ecclesiastical writer, makes quotations from the epistles of James ,, 2 Peter ,, Jude , and 2John on numerous occasions. 18]

18] The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol 4 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 311-312.

m) Didymus of Alexandria (A.D 313to 398) - Didymus the Blind, theologian of Alexandria, wrote commentaries on the seven Catholic epistles ( James , 1,2Peter, 1, 2, 3 John , Jude), which reveals his support for their authority as Scripture (see PG 39 cols 1747-1818).

n) Gregory Naziansen (A.D 329-389) - Gregory Naziansen, the Church theologian, says after listing the books of the Old Testament canon, "And already for me, I have received all those of the New Testament. First, to the Hebrews Matthew the saint composed what was according to him the Gospel; second, in Italy Mark the divine; third, in Achaia Luke the all-wise; and John , thundering the heavenlies, indeed preached to all common men; after whom the miracles and deeds of the wise apostles, and Paul the divine herald fourteen epistles; and catholic seven, of which one is of James the brother of God, and two are of Peter the head, and of John again the evangelist, three, and seventh is Jude the Zealot. All are united and accepted; and if one of them is found outside, it is not placed among the genuine ones." (PG 38 Colossians 845.) (author's translation) 19] Thus, he attributes the epistle of Jude and calls him "the Zealot."

19] Cited by Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 582.

He makes a similar statement again:

"Indeed Matthew wrote to the Hebrews (the) miracles of Christ, and Mark to Italy, Luke to Achaia, and above all, John , a great preacher who walked in heaven, then the Acts of the wise apostles, and fourteen epistles of Paul, and seven catholic epistles, being of James , one, and two of Peter, and three of John again, and Jude is seven. You have all. And if there is some (other than) these seven, not (are they) among the genuine ones." (Carminum 1) (PG 37 Colossians 474) (author's translation)

o) Jerome (A.D 342to 420) - Jerome tells us that this epistle was disputed for a time, but finally gained recognition as a part of the New Testament canon.

"Jude the brother of James , left a short epistle which is reckoned among the seven catholic epistles, and because in it he quotes from the apocryphal book of Enoch it is rejected by many. Nevertheless by age and use it has gained authority and is reckoned among the Holy Scriptures." (Lives of Illustrious Men 4)

Jerome calls the seven catholic epistles "canonical."

Jerome says, "…seven epistles which are called canonical…one James , Peter two, John three, and Jude one…" (Prologue to the Seven Canonical Epistles) (PL 29 cols 821-825) (author's translation)

2. Manuscript Evidence - A number of early third and fourth century manuscripts, such as p 23, containing the epistle of James , and p 72 (the Bodmer papyrus), containing the epistles of 1,2Peter, and Jude , reveal that the Catholic Epistles were being circulated as a collected corpus by the early Church. 20] These ancient manuscripts containing the collective body of the General Epistles testify to the fact that the Church at large circulated these writings as a part of its orthodox faith.

20] The Bodmer Papyrus (p 72) contains 1Peter :14; 2 Peter 1:1-3:18; Jude 1:1-25. See Philip W. Comfort and David P. Barrett, eds, The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndall House Publishers, 1999, 2001).

3. Early Versions - The earliest translations of books of the New Testament testify to their canonization. Perhaps as early as the second century, the New Testament was translated into Old Syriac and Old Latin. While the disputed epistles of Jude ,, 2 Peter ,, 2 John , and 3John were found in the Old Latin text, they are absent in the Old Syriac. 21] The Old Latin versions were later standardized into the Latin Vulgate by Jerome in the fourth century, which represent the canon as we know it today. The Syrian church has an unusual history regarding the development and acceptance of the New Testament Canon. While the Catholic epistles of James ,, 1 Peter , and 1John are found in the old Syriac, the lesser Catholic Epistles of 2Peter, 2,3John, Jude , and the Apocalypse are omitted from its canon. 22] This canon of 22New Testament books is reflected in the "Doctrine of Addai" (A.D 250-300) in which the clergy of Edessa are instructed to read from the Law, the Prophets, the Gospels and Acts and the Pauline Epistles, but not from the General Epistles. 23] Perhaps this comment was made because the Syriac versions only accepted three of the seven Catholic Epistles as canonical. The Old Syriac was soon formalized into the translation known as the Peshitta. The New Testament was translated in the Coptic languages of Egypt (Sahidic and Bhoairic) as early as the third century, representing the entire New Testament canon. The New Testament was soon translated into the languages of the Armenian (5th c), the Georgian (5th c), and the Ethiopic (6th c). 24] The Catholic Epistles would not have been translated with the other New Testament writings unless it was considered a part of the orthodox beliefs of the Church at large.

21] A. E. Brooke, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Johannine Epistles, in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1912), 220-223.

22] Bruce M. Metzger, "Important Early Translations of the Bible," in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol (Jan 1993) (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary): 44, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 30b [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2004.

23] The Doctrine of Addai, the Apostle, trans. George Phillips (London: Trbner and Co 1876), 44.

24] The Old Latin Bible manuscripts of the fifth century, Codex Bezae (Gospels, Acts , Catholic epistles), Codex Claromontanus (Pauline epistles), and Codex Floriacensis ( Acts , Catholic epistles, Revelation) were used prior to Jerome's Vulgate (beginning A. D 382), and these Old Latin manuscripts testify to the canonization of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament at an early date. See Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, eds, The Greek New Testament, Third Edition (United Bible Societies, c 1966, 1968, 1975), xxxi-xxxiv.

C. Catholicity- The third and final phase of New Testament canonicity placed emphasis upon the aspect of catholicity, or the general acceptance of the canonical books. F. B. Westcott says, "The extent of the Canon, like the order of the Sacraments, was settled by common usage, and thus the testimony of Christians becomes the testimony of the Church." 25] This phase is best represented in the period of Church councils of the fourth century as bishops met and agreed upon a list of canonical books generally accepted by the catholic Church. However, approved canons were listed by individual Church fathers as early as the second century. These books exhibited a dynamic impact upon the individual believers through their characteristic of divine inspiration, transforming them into Christian maturity, being used frequently by the church at large. We will look at two testimonies of catholicity: (1) the Early Church Canons, and (2) Early Church Councils.

25] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 12.

1. Early Church Canons -

2. Early Church Councils- The Church councils of the fourth century eventually named the General Epistles as authentic writings. This would not have been done unless the church at large believed them to be canonical.

During the fourth century, the Roman emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity and ordered Eusebius to produce fifty copies of the Scriptures. 26] The production and distribution of these Bibles, along with the Church synods that followed, served to confirm the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as canonical and authoritative. The early Church traditions of authorship and authenticity became firmly embedded within their canonicity. Therefore, citations of the New Testament Scriptures and later manuscript evidence after this period of Church history only serve to repeat traditions that had already become well-known and established among the churches of the fourth century.

26] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, fourth edition (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 422-426.

III. Date and Place of Writing

It is most likely that the General Epistles were written during the time when the early Church experienced its first large-scale persecutions at the hands of the Roman Emperors Nero (A.D 54-68) and Domitian (A.D 81-96). It was this season of persecutions that occasioned the need to write and encourage these early believers to hold fast to their faith in Christ, even at the cost of their lives. It is not possible to fix a definite date and place of writing for the epistle of Jude from internal or external evidence.

IV. Recipients

V. Occasion

LITERARY STYLE (GENRE)

"Perhaps the most important issue in interpretation is the issue of genre.

If we misunderstand the genre of a text, the rest of our analysis will be askew."

(Thomas Schreiner) 27]

27] Thomas R. Schreiner, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, second edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, c 1990, 2011), 11.

Within the historical setting of the early church, the authors of the New Testament epistles chose to write to various groups of believers using the literary style of the formal Greco-Roman epistle, which contains a traditional salutation, the body, and a conclusion. Thus, the New Testament epistles are assigned to the literary genre called "epistle genre," In the introductory section of literary style, a comparison will be made of the New Testament epistles.

VI. Comparison of the New Testament Epistles

A. Comparison of Content: It is More Practical than Doctrinal - As is characteristic of all of the General Epistles, Jude is more practical than doctrinal.

B. Comparison of Content: Its Brevity- The epistle of Jude is the one of the shortest books in the Holy Bible, with only four hundred sixty-one (461) Greek words.

C. Comparison of Content: The Epistle of 2Peter - There are many similarities in content between 2Peter and Jude , with its warnings against false teachers. This has caused many scholars to conclude that some type of literary dependence exists between the two. Whether 2Peter is dependent upon Jude , or vise verse, or if they were both dependent upon a third source cannot be determined. Nevertheless, these views do not contradict conservative scholarship, so are often left open by commentators.

THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK

"Scholarly excellence requires a proper theological framework."

(Andreas Ksenberger) 28]

28] Andreas J. Ksenberger, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2011), 161.

Based upon the historical setting and literary style of the epistle of Jude , an examination of the purpose, thematic scheme, and literary structure to this book of the Holy Scriptures will reveal its theological framework. This introductory section will sum up its theological framework in the form of an outline, which is then used to identify smaller units or pericopes within the epistle of Jude for preaching and teaching passages of Scripture while following the overriding message of the book. Following this outline allows the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to take his followers on a spiritual journey that brings them to the same destination that the author intended his readers to reach.

VII. Purpose

Hortatory- The primary purpose of the General Epistles is hortatory. We find the purpose of the epistle of Jude stated in its opening verse, which was to exhort the saints to persevere in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Jude 1:3, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

The hortatory purpose reflects the primary and second theme of the epistle of Jude , which is the perseverance in the faith against false doctrine from within the Church.

VIII. Thematic Scheme

Introduction- Each book of the Holy Scriptures contains a three-fold thematic scheme in order to fulfill its intended purpose, which is to transform each child of God into the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29). The primary, or foundational, theme of a book offers a central claim that undergirds everything written by the author. The secondary, or structural theme, of the book supports its primary theme by offering reasons and evidence for the central "claim" made by the author as it fully develops the first theme. Thus, the secondary theme is more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary content of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. 29] The third theme is imperative in that it calls the reader to a response based upon the central claim and supporting evidence offered by the author. Each child of God has been predestined to be conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures, and they alone, have the power to accomplish this task. This is why a child of God can read the Holy Scriptures with a pure heart and experience a daily transformation taking place in his life, although he may not fully understand what is taking place in his life. In addition, the reason some children of God often do not see these biblical themes is because they have not fully yielded their lives to Jesus Christ, allowing transformation to take place by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Without a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, a child of God is not willing to allow Him to manage his life and move him down the road that God predestined as his spiritual journey. This journey requires every participant to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus, and not every believer is willing to do this. In fact, every child of God chooses how far down this road of sacrifice he is willing to go. Very few of men and women of God fulfill their divine destinies by completing this difficult journey. In summary, the first theme drives the second theme, which develops the first theme, and together they demand the third theme, which is the reader's response.

29] For an excellent discussion on the use of claims, reasons, and evidence in literature, see Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003).

A. Primary Theme (Foundational) of the Epistle of Jude: The Perseverance of the Saints: Against False Doctrines from Within the Church- Introduction- The central theme of the Holy Bible is God's plan of redemption for mankind. This theme finds its central focus in the Cross, where our Lord and Saviour died to redeem mankind. The central figure of the Holy Scriptures is the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Cross is the place where man meets God and where we die to our selfish ambitions and yield our lives to the God who created all things. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are not intended to be a precise record of ancient history. Rather, its intent is to provide a record of God's divine intervention in the history of mankind in order to redeem the world back to Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary.

Every book of the Holy Bible makes a central claim that undergirds the arguments or message contained within its text. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch is found in Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD," to which all additional material is subordinate. The bulk of the material in the Old Testament is subordinate in that it serves as reasons and evidence to support this central claim. This material serves as the secondary theme, offering the literary structure of the book. In addition, the central claim calls for a response, which is stated in the following verse, "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." ( Deuteronomy 6:5) Such a response is considered the third, imperative theme that runs through every book of the Holy Scriptures.

This central claim is the primary, or foundational, theme and is often obscured by the weight of evidence that is used to drive the central message, which weight of evidence makes up the secondary theme; and thus, it contains more content than the primary theme. Therefore, the secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scripture are generally more recognizable than the primary theme. Nevertheless, the central claim, or truth, must be excavated down to the foundation and made clearly visible in order to understand the central theme driving the arguments contained within the book. Only then can proper exegesis and sermon delivery be executed.

1. The Central Themes of the New Testament Epistles: Sanctification of the Believer- There are twenty-one epistles in the New Testament, which the early Church recognized as having apostolic authority so that they were collected into one body, circulated among the churches, an eventually canonized. While the Gospels emphasize the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ in the process justification of the believer, New Testament epistles emphasize the redemptive plan of the Holy Spirit as He works in the process of sanctification for each believer. Thus, the work of sanctification serves as the underlying theme of all twenty-one epistles. In addition, each one emphasizes a different aspect of this divine process of sanctification and they are organized together so that the New Testament is structured to reflect the part of our spiritual journey called sanctification In order to express this structure, each of these epistles have different themes that are woven and knitted together into a unified body of teachings which will bring the believer through the process of sanctification and ready for the rapture of the Church into a place of rest in the glorious hope revealed in the book of Revelation. Therefore, the New Testament epistles were collected together by topic by the early Church.

Of the twenty-one epistles, there are thirteen Pauline epistles and eight designated as General, or Catholic, epistles. We can organize these twenty-one epistles into three major categories: (1) there are epistles that emphasize Church doctrine, which are the nine Pauline epistles of Romans to 2Thessalonians; (2) there are those that deal with Church order and divine service, which are 1,2Timothy, Titus and Philemon; 30] and (3) there are those that stress perseverance in the Christian faith, which are Hebrews and the seven General Epistles. 31] Within Hebrews and the General Epistles, we note that the first three epistles exhort the believer to persevere under persecutions, which come from without the Church ( Hebrews ,, James , 1Peter), while the other five epistles emphasis perseverance against false doctrines, which come from within ( 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John , Jude).

30] For the sake of developing thematic schemes, the epistle of Philemon will be grouped with the Pastoral Epistles as did the Church fathers.

31] For the sake of developing thematic schemes, the epistle of Hebrews will be grouped with the General Epistles, although many of the early Church fathers followed the tradition of grouping it with the Pauline epistles.

2. The Central Theme of the Catholic, or General, Epistles: Perseverance in the Christian Faith - We know that the nine Pauline "Church" epistles, Romans to 2Thessalonians, serve to lay the doctrinal foundation of the Church. In addition, the Pastoral Epistles establishes the order of the Church, and how the Body of Christ functions in this world. This leaves us to consider the eight remaining epistles, seven of which are called the "Catholic Epistles" because they are addressed to a much broader group of believers than the Pauline Epistles. Although the seven Catholic, or General, Epistles include James , 1, 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3, John , and Jude , for the sake of this evaluation of thematic schemes, the book of Hebrews is included. As Paul's Church Epistles establish the doctrines of the Church, the Catholic Epistles deal with the practical struggles that each believer has in fulfilling the Christian life. Thus, these Epistles tend to be more practical and ethical than doctrinal or theological.

The early church faced two great challenges that attacked their sacred doctrines. They experienced persecutions from without, as addressed in Hebrews , James and 1Peter; and, they endured heresies from within, as dealt with in 2Peter, 1, 2, and 3John and Jude. 32] The underlying theme of Hebrews and the Catholic Epistles is the perseverance in the Christian faith, 33] exhorting the saints to persevere amidst persecutions from without the Church as well as false doctrines from within the Church. 34] The books of Hebrews , James and 1Peter address the particular issue of perseverance under persecutions from without the church, a theme popularly referred to as the "pilgrim motif." 35] 2 Peter , the three epistles of John and Jude deal with the particular issue of false ministers and doctrines that attack the church from within ( 2 Peter 3:1-4, 1 John 2:26, Jude 1:3-4). Thus, there are three witnesses of perseverance under persecutions ( Hebrews , James and 1Peter) and three witnesses of perseverance under false doctrines ( 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John , and Jude). As with two epistles to the Corinthians and Thessalonians, the three epistles of John serve as one witness because they share similar themes among themselves.

32] J. B. Lightfoot recognized this two-fold aspect of Christian perseverance, saying, "The armoury of this epistle [Galatians] has furnished their keenest weapons to the combatants in the two greatest controversies which in modern times have agitated the Christian Church; the one a struggle for liberty within the camp, the other a war of defence against assailants from without; the one vitally affecting the doctrine, the other the evidences of the Gospel." See J. B. Lightfoot, Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (London: Macmillian and Co, Limited, 1910), 67.

33] I do not adhere to the doctrine popularly referred to as "Once saved, always saved," or "the perseverance of the saints," a belief that has emerged in the modern church among several denominations, which has its apparent roots in Calvinist theology.

34] P. P. Saydon offers this theme for the epistle of Hebrews. See P. P. Saydon, "The Master Idea of the Epistle to the Hebrews ," Melita Theologica XIII, no 1-2 (1961) 19-26. See also George Salmon, "The Keynote to the Epistle of the Hebrews ," in The Expositor, second series, vol 3, ed. Samuel Cox (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1882), 83.

35] Philip Mauro, God's Pilgrims: Their Dangers, Their Resources, Their Rewards (London: Samuel E. Roberts, 1921); Ernst Ksemann, The Wandering People of God: An Investigation of the Letter to the Hebrews , trans. Ray A. Harrisville and Irving L. Sandberg (Minneapolis, MN: Ausburg Publishing House, 1984); David J. MacLeod, "The Doctrinal Center of the Book of Hebrews ," Bibliotheca Sacra (July 1989): 291-300, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), 297.

B. Secondary Theme (Structural) of the Epistle of Jude - Introduction- The secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scriptures support the primary themes by offering reasons and evidence for the central "claim" of the book made by the author. Thus, the secondary themes are more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary structure of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch declares that the Lord God of Israel is the only God that man should serve, and man is to love the Lord God with all of his heart, mind, and strength, a statement found in the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which is the foundational theme of the Old Testament. The books of Hebrew poetry provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his heart as its secondary theme. The books of the prophets provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his mind as its secondary theme, as he set his hope in the coming of the Messiah to redeem mankind. The historical books provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his strength as its secondary theme.

The central claim of the four Gospel writers is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. In addition, each Gospel writer offers evidence as its secondary theme to support his claim. The Gospel of John offers the five-fold testimony of God the Father, John the Baptist, the miracles of Jesus, the Old Testament Scriptures, and the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself as its secondary theme. Matthew expounds upon the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures as its secondary theme; Mark expounds upon the testimony of the miracles of Jesus as its secondary theme; Luke expounds upon the testimony of John the Baptist and other eye-witnesses and well as that of the apostles in the book of Acts as its secondary theme.

The central claim of the Pauline Church Epistles is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone how the power to redeem and transform man into the image of Jesus, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. The epistle of Romans supports this claim by offering evidence of mankind's depravity and God's plan of redemption to redeem him as its secondary theme. The epistles of Ephesians and Philippians expound upon the role of God the Father in His divine foreknowledge as their secondary theme; the epistles of Colossians and Galatians expound upon the role of Jesus Christ as the head of the Church as their secondary theme; the epistles of 1, 2 Thessalonians , 1, 2Corinthians expound upon the role of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believers as their secondary theme.

The central claim of the Pastoral Epistles is that believers must serve God through the order of the New Testament Church. The epistles of 1, 2Timothy expound upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Titus expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a renewed mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Philemon expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a genuine lifestyle, which is its secondary theme.

The central claim of the General Epistles is that believers must persevere in the Christian faith in order to obtain eternal redemption. The epistles of Hebrews ,, James , and 1Peter modify this theme to reflect perseverance from persecutions from without the Church. The epistle of Hebrews expounds upon the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of James expounds upon a lifestyle of perseverance through the joy of the Holy Spirit, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of 1Peter expounds upon our hope of divine election through God the Father, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 2Peter, 1, 2, 3, John and Jude reflect perseverance from false doctrines from within. The epistle of 2Peter expounds upon growing in the knowledge of God's Word with a sound mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 1, 2, 3John expound upon walking in fellowship with God and one another with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Jude expounds how living a godly lifestyle with our bodies, which is its secondary theme.

The Apocalypse of John , though not considered an epistle, emphasizes the glorification of the Church, giving believers a vision of the hope that is laid up before them as a source of encouragement for those who persevere until the end. The central claim of the book of Revelation is that Jesus Christ is coming to take His Bride the Church to Glory. The secondary theme supports this claim with the evidence of Great Tribulation Period.

1. The Secondary Themes of 2Peter, 1, 2, 3 John , and Jude - While the five epistles of 2Peter, 1, 2, 3John and Jude share a common, foundational theme of perseverance from false doctrines from within the Church, they also carry secondary themes that give each of them a distinct emphasis upon one aspect of the believer's perseverance in the Christian faith. When we compare the themes of 2Peter, 1, 2, 3John and Jude , we can also find a relationship between them, just as with Hebrews , James and 1Peter. These five General Epistles deal with false doctrines that attack the believer from within the church. We find one reference to this underlying theme in 1 John 2:19, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."

This second division of the General Epistles reflects a three-fold aspect of this theme of perseverance against false doctrines. Jesus told the disciples in John 14:6 that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life.

John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

In other words, with our minds we are to learn the way of the Christian life, and with our bodies we are to walk in this truth, and with our hearts we can experience fellowship with the Father. This is the walk that will keep us from falling away into doctrinal error.

Here is a summary of the secondary themes of 2Peter, Jude 1:1-2, 3John.

a) Understanding the Way (Our Minds) - The theme of 2Peter is the message for the saints to persevere amidst false teachings. In order to do this, Peter stirs up their minds ( 2 Peter 3:1) so that they understand how to grow in the grace and knowledge of God's Word, which develops their character into Christ-likeness. For this reason, this epistle opens and closes with this very exhortation ( 2 Peter 1:2-11 and 2 Peter 3:14-18). Even though Peter did not have the revelation into the doctrine that Paul received and wrote about, he did acknowledge Paul's deep insight and the divine inspiration of his writings by equating them with "other Scriptures" ( 2 Peter 3:16). It is these Scriptures that we are to read and try to understand in order to grown in the knowledge of God's Word.

2 Peter 3:16, "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

b) Walking in the Truth (Our Bodies) - The theme of Jude is also the exhortation to persevere against false doctrines from within the Church. This epistle places emphasis upon our diligence to walk in the truth by living a godly lifestyle, and building up ourselves in our most holy faith by praying in the Holy Ghost.

c) Life Thru Fellowship with the Saints (Our Spirits) - The theme of 1John is also the exhortation to persevere against false doctrines from within the Church; but 1John places emphasis upon the believer's fellowship with the Father as the way to persevere. As the Gospel of John centers on Jesus' fellowship with the Heavenly Father, so does this epistle center on our fellowship with our Heavenly Father. We maintain this fellowship by confessing our sins and abiding in the Word. The epistle of 1John serves as a basis, or foundation, for the themes of 2,3John, since it deals with the issues of walking in fellowship with God and fellow believers as well as how to identify false brethren. His second epistle places emphasis on identifying those who are false, while the third epistle of John places more emphasis on receiving those who are genuine and how to walk in love with them. Another way to say this is that 2,3John give us real life illustrations of false and genuine brethren, of those who walk in fellowship with the Heavenly Father, and those who do not.

C. Third Theme (Supportive) - The Crucified Life of the Believer - Introduction- The third theme of each book of the New Testament is a call by the author for the reader to apply the central truth, or claim, laid down in the book to the Christian life. It is a call to a lifestyle of crucifying the flesh and taking up one's Cross daily to follow Jesus. Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29), and every child of God faces challenges as well as failures in the pursuit of his Christian journey. For example, the imperative theme of the Old Testament is that God's children are to serve the Lord God with all of their heart, mind, and strength, and love their neighbour as themselves ( Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

The child of God cannot fulfill his divine destiny of being conformed into the image of Jesus without yielding himself and following the plan of redemption that God avails to every human being. This 4-fold, redemptive path is described in Romans 8:29-30 as predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. The phase of justification can be further divided into regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance. Although each individual will follow a unique spiritual journey in life, the path is the same in principle for every believer since it follows the same divine pattern described above. This allows us to superimpose one of three thematic schemes upon each book of the Holy Scriptures in order to vividly see its imperative theme. Every book follows a literary structure that allows either (1) the three-fold scheme of Father, Song of Solomon , and Holy Spirit: or (2) the scheme of spirit, soul, and body of man; or (3) the scheme of predestination, calling, justification (regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance), and glorification in some manner.

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Figure 1 - The Themes of the General Epistles

D. Summary- Finally, it is important to note that the General Epistles do not establish Church doctrine, for this was laid down in the Pauline Church Epistles. They may refer to doctrine, but they do not establish or add to it.

IX. Literary Structure

X. Outline of Book

BIBLIOGRAPHY

COMMENTARY BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barnes, Albert. 2,3John. In Barnes" Notes, Electronic Database. Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1997. In P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000.

Barnes, Albert. The Epistle of Jude. In Barnes" Notes, Electronic Database. Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1997. In P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM]. Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000.

Bigg, Charles. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude. In The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer. New York: Charles Scribners Son's, 1903.

Blum, Edwin A. Jude. In The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol 12. Eds. Frank E. Gaebelien, J. D. Douglas, and Dick Polcyn. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1976-1992. In Zondervan Reference Software, v 28 [CD-ROM]. Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corp, 1989-2001.

Brooke, A. E. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Johannine Epistles. In The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1912.

Chapman, Benjamin C. The Epistle of Jude. In The KJV Bible Commentary. Eds. Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow M. Kroll. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1994. In Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM]. Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

Clarke, Adam. The Epistle of Jude. In Adam Clarke"s Commentary, Electronic Database. Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996. In P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM]. Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000.

Exell, Joseph S, ed. "Jude. In The Biblical Illustrator. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Pub. House, 1954. In Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM], Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2002.

Gill, John. Jude. In John Gill's Expositor. In OnLine Bible, v 20 [CD-ROM]. Nederland: Online Bible Foundation, 1992-2005.

Henry, Matthew. Jude. In Matthew Henry"s Commentary on the Whole Bible, New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 1991. In P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM]. Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000.

Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown. Jude. In Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1997. In P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM]. Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000.

Lightfoot, J. B. Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. London: Macmillian and Co, Limited, 1910.

MacDonald, William. The Epistle of Jude. In Believer's Bible Commentary. Ed. Arthur Farstad. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1995. In Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM]. Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

MacKnight, James. A New Literal Translation from the Original Greek, of All the Apostolic Epistles, vol. iv. Edinburgh: John Ritchie.

McGee, J. Vernon. The General Epistle of Jude. In Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1998. In Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM]. Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

Metzger, Bruce M, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker, eds. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas, Texas: Word Incorporated, 1989-2007.

Pfeiffer, Charles and Everett F. Harrison, eds. The Epistle of Jude. In The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Chicago: Moody Press, c 1962. In P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM]. Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000.

Plummer, Alfred. St. James and St. Jude. In The Expositor's Bible. Eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1956. In Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM]. Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001.

Poole, Matthew. Jude. In Matthew Poole's New Testament Commentary. In OnLine Bible, v 20 [CD-ROM]. Nederland: Online Bible Foundation, 1992-2005.

Radmacher, Earl D, Ronald B. Allen, and H. Wayne House, eds. The Epistle of Jude. In Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1999. In Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM]. Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

Salmond, S. D. F. Jude. In The Pulpit Commentary. Eds. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph Exell. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1950. In Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM]. Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001.

GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY

Berkhof, Louis. Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2002. Accessed 5 October 2008. Available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html; Internet.

The Book of Jubilees. Trans. R. H. Charles. In The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol 2. Ed. R. H. Charles, 1-82. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913.

The Book of Mormon. Trans. Joseph Smith, Jr. Lamoni, Iowa: The Board of Publication of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1917.

Booth, Wayne C, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Comfort, Philip W. and David P. Barrett, eds. The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndall House Publishers, 1999, 2001.

Goodspeed, Edgar J. Introduction to the New Testament. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1937. Accessed 8 September 2008. Available from http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/goodspeed/; Internet.

Gundry, Robert H. A Survey of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981.

Gunkel, Hermann. The Psalm: A Form-Critical Introduction. Trans. Thomas M. Horner. In Biblical Series, vol 19. Ed. John Reumann. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress Press, 1967.

Guthrie, Donald. New Testament Introduction. Downers Grover, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990.

Harrison, Everett F. Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971.

Ksemann, Ernst. The Wandering People of God: An Investigation of the Letter to the Hebrews. Trans. Ray A. Harrisville and Irving L. Sandberg. Minneapolis, MN: Ausburg Publishing House, 1984.

Keathley, III, J. Hampton. "Introduction and Historical Setting for Elijah." (Bible.org) [on-line]. Accessed 23May 2012. Available from http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-and-historical-setting-elijah; Internet.

Keating, Corey. The Criteria Used for Developing the New Testament Canon in the First Four Centuries of the Christian Church (2000). Accessed 15 April 2012. Available from http://www.ntgreek.org/SeminaryPapers/ChurchHistory/Criteria%20for%20Development%20of%20the%20NT%20Canon%20in%20First%20Four%20Centuries.pdf; Internet.

Ksenberger, Andreas J. Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2011.

Lardner, Nathaniel. The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, 10 vols. London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829, 1838.

MacLeod, David J. "The Doctrinal Center of the Book of Hebrews." Bibliotheca Sacra (July 1989): 291-300. In Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

Malick, David. "An Introduction to the Book of Jude." In Biblical Studies Foundation. Richardson, Texas: Biblical Studies Press, 1996. [on-line]; Accessed 1September 2000. Available from http://www.bible.org; Internet.

Mauro, Philip. God's Pilgrims: Their Dangers, Their Resources, Their Rewards. London: Samuel E. Roberts, 1921.

Migne, Jacques Paul. Patrologia Graecae, 161vols. Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1857-66.

Migne, Jacques Paul. Patrologia Latina, 221vols. Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1844-55.

Roberts, Alexander and James Donaldson, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1956. In Christian Classics Ethereal Library, v 20 [CD-ROM]. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Calvin College Campus Bookstore, 2001.

Roberts, Frances J. Come Away My Beloved. Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973.

Salmon, George. "The Keynote to the Epistle of the Hebrews." In The Expositor, second series, vol 3. Ed. Samuel Cox. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1882.

Sanday, W.The Cheltenham List of the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament and the Writings of Cyprian. In Studia Biblica ed Ecclesiastica: Essays Chiefly in Biblical and Patristic Criticism, vol 3. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1891.

Saydon, P. P. "The Master Idea of the Epistle to the Hebrews." Melita Theologica XIII, no 1-2 (1961) 19-26.

Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church, vol 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D 1-100. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955.

Schreiner, Thomas R. Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, second edition. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, c 1990, 2011.

Wace, Henry and Philip Schaff, eds. A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1956. In Christian Classics Ethereal Library, v 20 [CD-ROM]. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Calvin College Campus Bookstore, 2001.

Westcott, Brooke Foss. A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, fourth edition. London: Macmillan and Co, 1875.

EXEGESIS AND COMMENTS

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