Jude – Brief Study

Jude Outline

Tod Kennedy, September 7, 2010


          Jude, the brother of James and the Lord’s half-brother wrote this letter around AD 65-80 to warn about spiritual rebels and their false doctrine. Jude urges them to recognize the problem and fight for the faith.  He presents the strategy for the spiritual conflict: 1. remember the warning, 2. growth in doctrine, 3. prayer, 4. loyal love for God, 5. eagerly await Jesus Christ, and 6. helping other believers who are influenced by rebels and false doctrine. He closes by with a doxology that says God is the one who can keep us from stumbling in our Christian lives and all honor belongs to him.


Some of Jude’s main lessons

1.    Divine guidance, 3, 4, 17.

2.    The faith has been delivered. There is no new revelation to correct or add to the faith, 3.

3.    Apostasy or departure from the faith by both believer and unbeliever, 4-16.

4.    How to protect oneself from agreeing with the departures from the faith, 17-21.

5.    How to help other under the influence of apostasy, 22-23.

6.    God who is sovereign creator and king is the ultimate source of stability and spiritual survival and we ought to continually recognize and honor him, 24-25.



Main Points


1.    The author, the recipients, and the greeting, 1-2.

1.1. General on Jude. Jude is a form of Judas. There are 8 Judas in the NT, but only one is the brother of James. This relationship indicates that James was prominent. Both James and Jude were half brothers of Jesus (Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55).

1.2. Recipients of epistle, 1:1.

1.3. Salutation, 1:2.Grace is God in action; mercy is grace in action; peace is reconciliation in action; love is humility in action; courage is faith in action. Both the words beloved and kept are perfect passive participles indicating the recipients fixed condition.


2.    Jude’s intention “that you contend earnestly for the faith,” 3.

2.1. Jude had necessity. This indicates divine guidance for Jude. Jude was aware of the conditions in the early church and the warnings of the apostles. These two combined with the inner compulsion demonstrate divine guidance.

2.2. Contend earnestly is epagonizomai, to contend with, to fight, to intensely struggle (aorist infinitive used in indirect discourse).

2.3. The faith is the biblical faith or the Christian faith, specifically its body of revealed truth, the Scripture—contend for the biblical faith.

2.4. Once for all handed down tells us that there will be no more later additions or changes to the biblical faith as we see in the many cults who think they add to the Bible or Islam which contends it corrects the OT and NT.

3.    Why? Because rebels have infiltrated the church, 4. See Galatians 2:4, 2 John 7-11, 2 Peter 2:1, Acts 20:29-30. Rebellion, infiltration, and change are key ideas here. These people

3.1. They attack grace.

3.2. They attack Christ and his authority over the world.


4.    Three illustrations of rebels, 5-7.

4.1. Exodus generation—unbelieving believers, 5. They do not believe God’s promises (, Numbers 14, 1 Corinthians 10, Hebrews 3).

4.2. Fallen angels—reject distinctions between groups of creation, 6. They try to break down order, authority, and purpose in God’s creation (Genesis 6, 2 Peter 2).

4.3. Sodom and Gomorrah—immoral unbelievers, 7. They practice sexual perversion (Genesis 19).

4.4. Jude now summarizes verses 5-7, though in reverse order. Rebels and counterfeiters promote a new morality, anti-authority, and ridicule the angelic order, 8.


5.    When Michael the archangel (highest angel who stayed with God) met Satan’s challenge he trusted the battle to the Lord and continued his job. Satan was the chief rebel, 9-10. The accusation was against God, and Michael turned the case over to the Lord. Michael had a special responsibility for Israel. This probably was to aid Israel’s survival in the face of Satanic opposition (Daniel 10:13, 21 and 12:1, Revelation 12:7).


6.    Descriptions of the present counterfeits, 8-11.

6.1. Like Cain, they want praise for human works and react when there is no praise, 11. Cain rebelled against God’s will about sacrifice, was jealous of his brother, Abel, and killed Abel (Genesis 4, Hebrews 11:4, 1 John 3:12).

6.2. Like Balaam, they compromise God’s instructions for money and scheme to get it, 11. King Balak of Moab wanted Balaam to curse Israel so that Israel would not defeat him. Balak offered money to Balaam. God told Balaam not to curse Israel. Balaam wanted the money so he devised a scheme to bring down Israel without cursing Israel. He apparently advised Balak to get the Israelites to become involved in Baal worship which would bring God’s judgment on Israel.  (Numbers 22-25, 31:16, Revelation 2:14, 2 Peter 2:15).

6.3. Like Kore, they want importance and power and reject right authority, 11. Korah was a Levite. His family was to care for the tabernacle. He, along with Dathan and Abiram, resented the authority and leadership of Moses and Aaron and rebelled by questioning their rightful authority. God judged them (Numbers 16).


7.    Illustrations from creation that describe the counterfeits, 12-13.

7.1. Like hidden rocks in the sea–hidden and very destructive, self-centered, 12.

7.2. Like clouds without water–false hope for refreshment and benefit, no service, 12.

7.3. Like autumn trees–dead, does not produce divine good, 12.

7.4. Like wild waves leaving foam–stormy, untamed, and leave trouble in their path, 13.

7.5. Like wandering stars–start with a burst of energy and attention, then leave, 13.


8.    Enoch predicted judgment of rebels and counterfeiters, 14-15.


9.    Jude further describes these present rebels and counterfeiters, 16.


10. The instruction so that you can “fight for the faith,” 17-23. The verbs have the force of imperatives.

10.1.    Verses 17-19. Remember the apostle’s warning in their previous instruction. Remember is mimneskomai in the aorist passive imperative with a reflexive idea. It means to recall, to remind oneself, to back over something. It means more than to just think of. They are to remind themselves of what the apostles were saying (imperfect active indicative) to them, namely that a falling away and a rebellion against God’s word will occur. The apostles said it over and over. Do not be shocked at the anti-biblical world view. Unbelievers, and especially rebellious unbelievers mock God’s word and God’s people; they follow individual and corporate lust patterns; they divide people; they are worldly minded (psuchoi); and they lack the Holy Spirit.

10.2.    Verse 20.Spiritual buildup through the word of God. Believers need to build themselves up. Epoikodomeo is the verb. It is in the present active participle of attendant circumstance with the imperative force because of the imperative in context. There are a number of attendant circumstance participles in this section. They indicate an action that is associated with the finite verb and equal in action with the finite verbs. They take the same mood as the finite verb. Often it is the author’s way of varying his sentence structure. Building is a biblical and spiritual buildup in the biblical faith. It is personal. They participate by listening, thinking, believing, and applying God’s word. This requires gifted men (Ephesians 4 and others) and individual participation (See 1 Peter 2.2, Colossians 1:9-10, and others).

10.3.    Verse 20. Pray while walking by the Holy Spirit. We know that prayer is important. It is especially important is times of extreme spiritual attack. The verb proseuchomai is the present middle participle of attendant circumstance. Jude recognizes the need to pray under the direction of the Holy Spirit. See Ephesians 6:20.

10.4.    Verse 21. Love for God is vital to our spiritual lives. Keep is tereo in the aorist active imperative. Tereo means to watch closely, to observe, to guard, to pay attention to. We are to pay close attention and keep ourselves in love for God. Love for God is the driving force in the Christian life. Central passages instructing us include 1 John 2:15-17, 5:1-3, and Luke 10:27. Colossians 3:1-3 teaches love for God, though using different wording. Without a loyal love and reverence for God any other spiritual thought or activity becomes duty. Love for God reminds us that God is the creator and we are the creature. We depend upon him and we owe our lives to him.

10.5.    Verse 21. Anxiously wait the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that will come to us when he returns for his church. The verb is prosdechomai in the present middle participle. It is another participle of attendant circumstance. It means to welcome, to wait for expectantly. We look forward to Jesus’ coming. We look forward to seeing him personally. We look forward to the reunion with other believers. And, we look forward to history’s climatic events. When we keep the sure blessings of the future in mind we can go through the tests and hardships of the present.

10.6.    Verses 22-23. Help others being enticed into false doctrine and subverted by counterfeits and their false doctrine. This section now instructs about our responsibility to those becoming seduced by these false teachers and others who instigate rebellion against God and God’s word. There are three groups. The three are the doubters, those playing with apostasy and rebellion, and those who have joined with the apostasy. The verbs have mercy, save, and have mercy are all imperatives indicating a command or strong exhortation to do something.

10.6.1.        Verse 22. Those doubting are believers who have questions and people with false doctrine are attempting to influence and win them. The instruction is to have mercy on them. Doubting is the verb diakrino which has a range of meanings which include to investigate, distinguish, to evaluate, to decide, and even to be uncertain and doubt. These doubters need answers and encouragement, not criticism. This is an opportunity for a faithful believer to provide those answers and encouragement. wW graciously come to their aid by encouraging, protecting, and building them up.

10.6.2.        Verse 23a. The second group under attack needs more firm help. They are more than doubters. They have become involved and are on the point of joining biblical truth with false doctrine. Syncretism results. This was the problem of Israel in the time of the Judges and the prophets. We are to snatch these people out of the figurative fire like a fireman would a person in a burning house. Fire indicates discipline and judgment which will come to those forsaking God’s word. With this group we need to be very clear about their error. We answer questions, point out error, and clearly warn of the danger ahead.

10.6.3.        Verse 23b. Have mercy on some with fear. These are fully captivated by false doctrine and a non biblical worldview and lifestyle.  These are already under God’s discipline. We must show them mercy and at the same time not be contaminated by their false beliefs, worldview, and lifestyle. We show mercy at arm’s length.

11. Honor to the only God our Savior, 24-25.

11.1.    Verse 24. God is able to keep believers from stumbling. The word keep is phulasso. It means to watch, guard, to defend, to protect. Stumbling is aptaistos. It means not stumbling like a rider keeps his horse from stumbling on rough ground. God is the one who is able to provide the spiritual resources to resist apostasy’s onslaught. He possesses the intrinsic ability. Recall the attributes of God. He is able. In order to experience this in time we must utilize his resources for us. The emphasis is not primarily on eternal security, though that is here. The emphasis is on God’s ability to keep us from stumbling in the Christian life and to stand us at the judgment seat of Christ victorious. Our responsibility is to use our spiritual resources.

11.2.    Verse 25. God always has glory, majesty, dominion, and authority. God is sovereign creator and king of all creation. God is the only savior. He brought salvation through Jesus Christ. This recalls the doctrine of reconciliation. Every believer ought to recognize God’s attributes and respond to God. The basic techniques of the Christian life begin with occupation with Christ and love for God.


Repeat of some of Jude’s main lessons

1.    Divine guidance, 3, 4, 17.

2.    The faith has been delivered. There is no new revelation to correct or add to the faith, 3.

3.    Apostasy or departure from the faith by both believer and unbeliever, 4-16.

4.    How to protect oneself from agreeing with the departures from the faith, 17-21.

5.    How to help other under the influence of apostasy, 22-23.

6.    God who is sovereign creator and king is the ultimate source of stability and spiritual survival and we ought to continually recognize and honor him, 24-25.