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                         "THE EPISTLE OF JUDE"

                              Introduction

In several passages throughout the New Testament, we find serious
warnings about impending apostasy...

   *  Jesus warned that false prophets would arise, the love of many
      would grow cold, and only those who endure to the end would be
      saved - Mt 24:11-13

   *  Paul foretold of many disciples being drawn away - Ac 20:29-30

   *  Peter warned about the rise of false teachers, and how many would
      follow their destructive ways - 2Pe 2:1-3

By the time the epistles of John and Jude were written, the danger was
no longer pending, it was very much in existence...

ē  Antichrists were present, and false prophets were in the world - 1Jn
2:18; 4:1; 2Jn 1:7

ē  Jude was forced to change his original purpose to deal with the
crisis - Jude 1:3-4

If the danger of apostasy was already present in the 1st century A.D.,
we should not be surprised that the danger exists in the 21st century.
We would do well to pay close heed to those epistles written to tell us
how to deal with apostasy, and that makes The Epistle Of Jude especially
relevant.

AUTHOR

Jude, as stated in the salutation (Jude 1:1).   That he does not
identify himself as an apostle, and appears to distinguish himself from
the apostles (Jude 1:17), suggests he was not the apostle Jude (cf. Lk
6:16; Ac 1:13).  His self-identification as "the brother of James" leads
many to believe the author to be Judas, brother of James and also of the
Lord Jesus (cf. Mt 13:55).  Like James, Jude chose not to accentuate his
physical relation to Jesus, but his spiritual one ("a bondservant of
Jesus Christ," cf. Jude 1:1; Jm 1:1).

RECIPIENTS

The letter is addressed "to those who are called" (Jude 1:1) without any
specific designation as to who they were or where they lived.  The
references to Old Testament incidents and extra-biblical sources (cf.
Jude 1:5-7,9,11,14) strongly suggests that the original readers were
Jewish Christians, perhaps living in Palestine.

DATE

Similarities between the Epistle of Jude and the Second Epistle of Peter
indicate one author may have influenced the other.  Since Peter wrote of
false teachers who were to come (cf. 2Pe 2:1) and Jude warned of those
who had already "crept in unnoticed" (cf. Jude 1:4), it is possible that
that Jude wrote after Peter.

Peterís death in during the reign of Nero (which ended in 68 A.D.)
places his own epistle sometime before 67 A.D.  The lack of any mention
of the destruction of Jerusalem (which occurred during the fall of 70
A.D.) suggests that Jude wrote before that notable event.  If so, then
the date of composition may have been between 67-70 A.D.

PURPOSE AND THEME

Judeís original purpose in penning this epistle was to write of the
common salvation he and his readers shared (Jude 1:3).  But the presence
of ungodly men and the danger of them leading Christians astray forced a
change in purpose:

   *  To encourage his readers to contend earnestly for the faith that
      had been delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3)

As for the theme, Judeís first admonition serves us well:

                    Contend earnestly for the faith

OUTLINE

Here is a simple outline of the book...

Greetings (1-2)
1. Purpose for writing (3-4)
2. Godís judgments in time past (5-7)
3. Character and doom of false teachers (8-19)
4. Exhortations to build their faith (20-23)
Concluding doxology (24-25)

REVIEW QUESTIONS

1) Who is author of The Epistle Of Jude? (1)
   - Jude, brother of James (likely the half-brothers of Jesus, Mt
     13:55)

2) Who were the recipients of this epistle?
   - "Those who were called", possibly Jewish Christians

3) When was it written?
   - Most date it between 67-70 A.D.

4) What has been suggested as its purpose?
   - To encourage his readers to contend earnestly for the faith that
     had been delivered to the saints

5) What has been suggested as its theme?
   - Contend earnestly for the faith

6) What are the main divisions of this epistle as outlined above?
   - Greetings (1-2)
   - Purpose for writing (3-4)
   - Godís judgments in time past (5-7)
   - Character and doom of false teachers (8-19)
   - Exhortations to build their faith (20-23)
	- Concluding doxology (24-25)
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