Bible Study Notes

 

Enter keywords to find content in the New and Old Testaments and related study papers.

Jude

Jude Bible Study Notes

Who was Jude?

There is considerable debate about who was Jude. The major clue is contained in Jude 1:1Jude 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The General Epistle of 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:  

WP-Bible plugin
where the author refers to himself as, “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.”

Some believe Jude was the apostle Judas, the brother of James (the son of Alphæus), who is also called in the scriptures Lebbæus surnamed Thaddæus; thus he was a member of the original Quorum of Twelve. Others believe the author of Jude was Judas the brother of the Lord (spoken of in Matthew 13:55Matthew 13:55
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?  

WP-Bible plugin
) which would, of course, also make him the brother of James, the brother of the Lord.

The original Greek text of the New Testament makes no distinction between the names Judah, Judas, and Jude, rendering them all as Ioudas. In many English translations of the Bible Judah is used for the Old Testament patriarch and the tribe of Judah, Judas is used for Judas Iscariot, and Jude for other New Testament persons of the same name.

As noted above, Judas and Jude are variant translation of the same name. Since the Epistle of Jude says the author is “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James” (Jude 1:1Jude 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The General Epistle of 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:  

WP-Bible plugin
). Each of the following explanations about who wrote The Epistle of Jude is possible:

  1. Jude was written by somebody now unknown who had a brother named James.
  2. Jude was written by the man who was one of the original apostles, who was known as Judas, the brother of the James, the son of Alphæus who is also called Lebbæus surnamed Thaddæus.
  3. Jude was written by the man identified as Judas in Matthew 13:55Matthew 13:55
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?  

    WP-Bible plugin
    , who was the brother of the James and the brother of the Lord.
     

Possible Authorship of Jude

Possibility 1: Jude was written by somebody now unknown who had a brother named James.

If Jude were written by somebody now unknown who had a brother named James then the author obvious felt that his brother was so well known that everyone reading his epistle was familiar with his brother. It seems unlike the identity of such as person would now be lost to history and consequently it is not a possibility advanced by scholars.

Possibility 2: Jude was written by the man who was one of the original apostles, who was known as Judas, the brother of the James the son of Alphæus and is also called Lebbæus surnamed Thaddæus.

Judas, the apostle (who is not Judas Iscariot), who was a member of the original Quorum of the Twelve, is called by various names in the New Testament, perhaps due to the stigma that became attached to the name Judas following the betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas Iscariot. The name of this apostle as given in various places in the New Testament is shown in the following table:

 

ReferenceName
Matthew 10:3Matthew 10:3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;  

WP-Bible plugin
Lebbæus, surnamed Thaddæus
Mark 3:18Mark 3:18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,  

WP-Bible plugin
Thaddæus
Luke 6:15-16Luke 6:15-16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.  

WP-Bible plugin
Judas, the brother of James, the son of Alphæus
John 14:11John 14:11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.  

WP-Bible plugin
Judas…not Iscariot
Acts 1:13Acts 1:13
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.  

WP-Bible plugin
Judas, the brother of James, the son of Alphæus

 

As shown in the above table, in the King James Version of the Bible in both Luke and Acts this apostle is called Judas, the brother of James. Note, however, that “the bother of” is shown in italics in the King James Version indicating the translators were unsure of the proper translation. Some translations (such as the Revised Standard Version) render the translation of these verses as Judas, the son of James. Due to the uncertainty of his relationship to James, he is sometimes called Judas the kinsman of James.

Judas, the kinsman of James, and Judas Iscariot are not the same person. Unfortunately, however, the similarity in names occasionally leads some to this false conclusion.

Anciently people were often identified by who was their father; this fact has been cited in support of the claim that Judas, son of James is more likely the correct translation. This argument, however, overlooks the fact that the goal was not to identify Judas (by giving him a surname), but rather to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. Judas, the son of James and Judas, the brother of James accomplish this goal equally well. It also seems likely that first century Christians would chose to identify somebody based upon his relationship to another prominent member of the Church (such as an apostle) instead of by who was his father.

It should also be noted that the New Testament calls three men named James apostles. James, the son of Zebedee, who is sometimes called James the Greater (who is the James in “Peter, James, and John”); James the son of Alphæus, who is sometimes called James the Lesser or James the Less; and James, the brother of the Lord, (the author of The Epistle of James) who is also called James, the Just.

As noted in the above table, the apostle Lebbæus surnamed Thaddæus is also called Judas the brother of James in various places in the New Testament. He is the only person to receive this appellation in the New Testament. Consequently, many scholars identify him as the author of The Epistle of Jude. (In rebuttal, it should be noted these scriptures primarily deal with the period before James, the brother of the Lord, became an apostle and the leader of the congregation in Jerusalem.)

It was Judas the brother of James (the son of Alphæus) that asks Jesus (in John 14:22John 14:22
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?  

WP-Bible plugin
) how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus’ answer, “the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” contains some of the most important teachings found in the scripture regarding the Holy Ghost.

When some read in Jude (1:5) “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not” they believe this was prompted by the answer (above) that Christ gave to this apostle Judas. This author believes that is “stretching things” too far. Although both speak of remembrance he does not believe these passages are related. Furthermore, this author believes that all the apostles were deeply moved by Christ’s discourse on the Holy Ghost and repeated the message often to others. He simply cannot accept that these verses prove Judas, the brother of James, is the author of The Epistle of James.

To summarize: The apostle known as Judas the brother of the Lord is the only person in the scriptures to be repeated referred to by this appellation. This is the crux of the argument that Jude was written by the apostle who is known as both Lebbæus surnamed Thaddæus and Judas, the brother of James (the son of Alphæus).

Possibility 3: Jude was written by the man identified as Judas in Matthew 13:55Matthew 13:55
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?  

WP-Bible plugin
, who was the brother of the James and the brother of the Lord.

If Jude was written by the man known as Judas, who was the brother of the James and the brother of Jesus, it is possible he would not identify himself as “the brother of the Lord.” In the Epistle of James, the author, indentifies himself (in James 1:1James 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The General Epistle of James 1 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.  

WP-Bible plugin
) as “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” and does not refer to himself as “the brother of the Lord.” As explained elsewhere, James the brother of the Lord (in The Epistle of James) did not refer to himself as the brother of the Lord. He did this out of humility and to avoid elevating himself to the status of Christ. It is likely that were the Epistle of Jude written by Judas (Jude) the brother of the Jesus he would follow the practice of his brother James by refraining from calling himself “the brother of Lord” for similar reasons. The author of the Epistle of Jude calls himself “the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” not “the brother of the Lord.” This, of course, might be because the author of Jude is not the brother of the Lord (in a mortal sense) or because the author of Jude is too humble to refer to himself as the brother of the Lord.

According to Matthew (13:55-56) Jesus had brothers named James and Judas. During the mortal life of Jesus Christ his brothers and sisters–James, Joses, Simon, Judas, and so forth—did not believe he was the Messiah. (See John 7:5John 7:5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.  

WP-Bible plugin
.) Paul (1 Cor. 15:71 Cor. 15:7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.  

WP-Bible plugin
) states that following his resurrection Christ appeared to his brother James. Tradition holds that because of this vision James not only became a devout disciple but was instrumental in converting his brothers and sisters who in turn became devout disciples. This tradition is supported by Luke who records in Acts 1:14Acts 1:14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.  

WP-Bible plugin
that Jesus’ mother Mary and all of his brothers joined with the other disciples in constant prayer.

Following the death of James, the brother of the Lord, in about A.D. 62 it is possible that his brother Judas might have undertaken to continue his work—such would be in keeping with the customs of the East. James, the brother of the Lord, was both and an apostle and the leader of the congregation in Jerusalem. If Judas, like his brother James, was a devout member of the Church it is not unreasonable to believe that church members would turn to him for comfort and counsel following the martyrdom of James, the brother of the Lord. Especially since they might have felt leaderless after the apostles had left Jerusalem to fulfill the commission gives them by the Lord of preaching the Gospel throughout the world.

It should be noted that the conclusion that Judas, the brother of both the Lord, and James the brother of the Lord, is the author of The Epistle of Jude is based upon the speculation the Judas, the brother of the Lord, at some point became a person of influence in the Church. While this is certainly possible there is no scriptural support for this position.

There is, however, some historical support for the belief The Epistle of Jude was written by Judas (Jude), the brother of the Lord. From a fact of Hegesippus told by Eusebius (Hist. eccl., III, xix, xx, xxii) we learn that Jude was “said to have been the brother of the Lord according to the flesh,” and that two of his grandsons lived until the reign of Trajan

 

Overview of Jude

Some scholars believe Jude was written about A.D. 65, others that it was written much later. A date of around A.D. 65 would be a few years after the death of James, the brother of the Lord, in about A.D. 62 and before the Jewish revolt which began in A.D. 66. If correct, this means Jude was probably written shortly before Paul wrote First Timothy and Titus.

Those favoring the earlier date and those the later date both cite the same scriptures (Jude 1:3,17Jude 1:3,17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

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. 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;  

WP-Bible plugin
which say, “contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” and “beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ”) in support of their position. Those favoring the later date believe that the absent of the apostle lamented by Jude indicates the passage of considerable time. Also, that the apostasy spoken of by Jude had not occurred in A.D. 65. (This seems contradicted by Second Peter, Acts, and the epistles of Paul.)

Those favoring the earlier date believe that absence of the apostles would be felt by A.D. 65. The apostles had years earlier departed Jerusalem to preach the Gospel throughout the world as commanded by Christ. (Their departure began shortly after the death of James, the son of Zebedee, in A.D. 44.) James, the brother of the Lord was martyred about A.D. 62. John, the Beloved, left Jerusalem sometime before the Jewish Revolt (which began in A.D. 66) to convey the mother of Jesus (his special charge) to Ephesus, a place of safety.

Additionally, the Epistle of Jude contains wording very similar to Second Peter. (Compare Jude 1:4-19Jude 1:4-19
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

4 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. 5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. 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. first estate: or, principality 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. strange: Gr. other 8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. 10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. 14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.  

WP-Bible plugin
with Second Peter 2:1—3:3.) Scholars argue over whither the passage in Jude was based on Second Peter or the passage in Second Peter was based on what is found in Jude. (Or if both were based on something now lost to history.) Either way, since Peter died between A.D 64 and 68, the similarities support the position that Jude was written about A.D. 65.

As state above, there are many similarities between Jude and Second Peter resulting in considerable debate about whither Jude quoted Peter, or Peter quoted Jude. If The Epistle of Jude contained doctrinal errors it is possible Peter would quote them to correct them, but this is not the case as Peter agrees with Jude. The Epistle of Jude is full of references to the writings of others (such as Enoch) that Jude uses to prove his point. Thus it seems to this author that Jude was also quoting Peter to prove his point about apostasy in the Church. (Second Peter does not quote other authors, nor would Peter need to quote others to prove his point. He spoke with the authority of the apostleship.) Additionally, Jude 1:1Jude 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The General Epistle of 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:  

WP-Bible plugin
8 quotes 2 Peter 3:32 Peter 3:3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,  

WP-Bible plugin
as past tense, indicating that Jude came after Second Peter.

Furthermore, as pointed out above, the Jewish Revolt began in A.D. 66 and the indications are Jude was written before the Jewish Revolt began. If, as is often though, Jude was written in or near Jerusalem it would have to have been written before A.D. 70 when the Romans destroyed the temple and expelled the Jews from Jerusalem.

Other scholars, however, ascribe a much later date to the Epistle of Jude. They cite passages contained with Jude (such as: contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints, and remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, etc.) as indicating Jude was written when apostasy had entered the Church. They think it was contemporaneous with The Book of Revelation, which John wrote about A.D. 95. This, of course, was a time in which apostasy was rampant in the Church and, with the martyrdom of the apostles which had come to pass; none were left to correct the false doctrines that had entered the Church.

There is also debate about where Jude was written. James, the brother of the Lord, had been the leader of the congregation in Jerusalem. Since Jude identifies himself as the brother of James the most widely held position is that Jude was written in or near Jerusalem—the region where James would be best known.

The Epistle of Jude does not say to whom it was written. It is usually thought, however, The Epistle of Jude was written the Church membership as a whole, making it what is termed a General Epistle. This would be consistent with message of Jude, which is the Church is entering into apostasy because it is departing from the teachings of the apostles.

Jude identifies himself as “the servant of Jesus Christ.” That is insufficient to conclude, as some have done, that Jude was an apostle; but it does indicate he at least held the priesthood and probably a calling in the Church. Furthermore, were he an apostle it is doubtful he would call attention to the teachings the recipients of his epistle had in times past received from the apostles. Instead he would be more likely to have spoken to them with the authority of the apostleship, as did Peter and Paul in their epistles. (This, or course, is also another argument against Lebbæus surnamed Thaddæus being the author of The Epistle of Jude.)

The Epistle of Jude warns against false teachers and leaders who undermine the faith of others and prevent the scriptures of Gospel teachings leading others astray. Jude also warns against apostasy that has already entered the Church.

 

Jude Bible Study Tool: Outline of Jude

I. Jude 1:1Jude 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The General Epistle of 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:  

WP-Bible plugin
-4. Jude’s Purpose in Writing

II. Description of False Teachers and Apostates
A. Jude 1:5-7Jude 1:5-7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. 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. first estate: or, principality 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. strange: Gr. other  

WP-Bible plugin
. Past Judgment Against False Teachers

B. Jude 1:8-13Jude 1:8-13
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. 10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.  

WP-Bible plugin
. Characteristics of False Teachers

A. Jude 1:1Jude 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The General Epistle of 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:  

WP-Bible plugin
4-16. Future Judgment Against False Teachers

III. Jude 1:1Jude 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The General Epistle of 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:  

WP-Bible plugin
7-23. Defense Against Teachers

IV. Jude 1:24-25Jude 1:24-25
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

24 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, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.  

WP-Bible plugin
. Concluding Doxology

 

Jude Bible Study Commentary

Jude 1:1Jude 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The General Epistle of 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:  

WP-Bible plugin
4–15. The Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.
The Essenes held as authoritative such works as the book of Jubilees, a text that retells the early chapters of the Bible, and the book of First Enoch which is quoted as scripture by the New Testament epistle of Jude (Jude 1:1Jude 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The General Epistle of 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:  

WP-Bible plugin
4–15).

The Epistle of Jude references two other books, one which is non-canonical in all churches, the other non-canonical in most churches. Verse 1:9 refers to the dispute between Michael the Archangel and the devil about the body of Moses. A passage in a non-canonical book, the Assumption of Moses, provides an account of this dispute. Verses 1:14-15es 1:14-15
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. make...: Heb. multiply prayer blood: Heb. bloods  

WP-Bible plugin
contains a direct quote of a prophecy from the Book of Enoch. It also attributes the quote to “Enoch, the seventh from Adam”, indicating Jude accepts the antediluvian patriarch Enoch as the author. The Book of Enoch is not considered canonical by most churches, although it is by the Ethiopian Orthodox church.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.