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Jude

Powerful Essays
Topics: New Testament, Jesus
Professor Derek Voorhees
NT 101 New Testament Introduction
23 September 2014
Commentary Assignment
Jude
When all is said and done as to who wrote the book of Jude, there seems to be no dispute among scholars that it was Jude the brother of James and Jesus. However, there are other men mentioned in the scriptures also named Jude, which has motivated additional debate on the subject of who really wrote the Book of Jude.
The name Jude in the New Testament is actually a form of the name Judas (Greek) or
Judah (Hebrew). Judas Iscariot has been ruled out as the writer of Jude due to his reputation as the betrayer of Jesus. There are in actuality four known Judes in the scriptures of the New
Testament. There is no mention of a Jude in Mark’s writing when he tells us of the 12 chosen
Apostles (Mark 16-19), so Jude was not an apostle, although Mark does mention Judas as one of the brothers of James and Jesus (Mark 6:4). Jude identifies himself as Jude in the first verse of the Book (or letter) of Jude as well as a “bond-servant of Jesus Christ” and “brother of James.”
James being the “brother of Christ” would also be the brother of Jude. Subsequently, there is
Judas who was called Barsabbas who was one of the ones chosen to go to Antioch with Paul and
Barnabas, as mentioned in the Book of Acts (Acts 15:22). Apparently, “Barsabbas” or Judas
(Jude) worked closely with James in Jerusalem. The last of the four named Jude was Judas of
Damascus who Saul was staying with when the Lord told Ananias to go there to the house of
Judas and lay his hands on Saul so he could regain his sight. No one is sure if Judas of Damascus was even a believer, and it is too unclear of his stature that he could have written such a letter as the letter of Jude to the church. Therefore, after examining the four men named Jude, the general consensus is that Jude, the brother of James and Jesus, is the author of this letter.
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When was Jude’s letter written to the new Christians/believers? There are a couple references which are met with a bit of skepticism; they state different timeframes. However, I believe the letter was written before the destruction of Jerusalem; the reason being that Jude does not mention anything about Jerusalem in his letter. Since Jerusalem was not destroyed until 70
A.D., then the letter had to have been written before that time, if that is any indication. One reference stated it was written some time approximately 55-80 A.D., which covers quite a wide range of time.
There is mention of Jude being written before 2 Peter in which case Peter borrowed some of Jude’s facts, since Peter’s letter is longer, or that Peter and Jude borrowed from one another, or that they were both possibly in Rome at the same time and wrote their letters with encouragement and knowledge of each other. They may have possibly gotten their information from a familiar source or occurrence. It could be that both of them were well aware of the new Christians’ frailties in the faith and the false teachers of that time that they equally felt they should include some of the same encouragements and admonitions, not knowing what the other was doing.
Since Peter was martyred during Nero’s time of reign, his death probably occurred somewhere before A.D. 68, thus 2 Peter was probably written between 65 and 68, which I would conclude Luke being written around the same time. Since, again, there is no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem in the Book of Jude, the time the Book of Jude was written was probably A.D. 64-69.
The historical background and the situation that was occurring which prompted the writing of the letter Jude wrote was that the church had been going through persecution from Rome and the Jewish leaders. Christ had already been crucified. There were some Jewish people
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who were traveling to different regions and causing a large number of problems. Some converts were already abandoning the things which they had been taught and starting up apostate (renegade) churches. This was an era when pluralism and endorsement were the only ultimate virtues. Jude felt this was a time when the faith must be defended against those who were attacking it and encouragement to persevere was definitely called for.
The general purpose for the writing of this letter was to expose false teachers and to reveal their judgment. Scholars are not sure of the exact recipients of the letter, but they believe that Jude must have known them well due to the way he wrote to them. His first intention was to talk about their common salvation, but he had decided it was in their best interests to encourage them to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude goes on to tell them that certain corrupted persons had come, “ungodly persons” who were turning the grace of the Lord into decadence and denying Jesus Christ. He describes certain instances where men had sinned and whole cities had been destroyed because of the same behaviors these persons were teaching were acceptable. Jude speaks of the unspeakable things these persons do and say and the activities which they participate in bringing God’s wrath down on themselves.
Upon closing his letter, Jude refers this group of Christians as “beloved.” He tells them to never forget the “words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” He again calls them beloved, which shows they were close to his heart, when he tells them to build themselves up on their most holy faith and to pray in the Holy Spirit. He tells them to keep themselves in the love of God and to have mercy on those who were
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doubting, and to save others. This was a letter of love and caring, but also a letter of instruction and warning to contend for the faith.
The general flow of the content of the book of Jude begins with Jude’s greeting by identifying himself as the writer and his relation to James his brother. He calls the people he is writing to “those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ.” His letter starts out kind and gentle then reminding. He reminds the readers of those who sinned and were punished for their sinning. He compares the men that have crept in bringing false teachings to those who sinned and were punished in the past as Sodom and Gomorrah and the “angels who had abandoned their proper places who God has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6-7). Jude’s letter then takes on a different demeanor. His manner becomes more stern and passionate about the wrongs these groups of people were doing. It is almost like he cannot stress enough the arrogance, evil deeds, untruths, falsehoods, and deceptions of these unruly persons and the judgment which will be brought on them and all who are like them.
The ending of Jude’s letter returns to the gentle, loving and kind beginning when he reminds them to hold to the faith, to keep themselves in the love of God, and to have mercy on those who may be in doubt. He closes his letter similar to other writers to “God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

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