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Introduction to Jude

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 - Mat 24:11-13
  • Paul foretold of many disciples being drawn away - Act 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...

  • Antichrists were present, and false prophets were in the world - 1Jo 2:18; 4:1; 2Jo 1:7
  • Jude was forced to change his original purpose to deal with the crisis - Jde 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.


Jude, as stated in the salutation (Jde 1:1). That he does not identify himself as an apostle, and appears to distinguish himself from the apostles (Jde 1:17), suggests he was not the apostle Jude (cf. Luk 6:16; Act 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. Mat 13:55). Like James, Jude chose not to accentuate his physical relation to Jesus, but his spiritual one ("a bondservant of Jesus Christ," cf. Jde 1:1; Jas 1:1).


The letter is addressed "to those who are called" (Jde 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. Jde 1:5-7,9,11,14) strongly suggests that the original readers were Jewish Christians, perhaps living in Palestine.


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. Jde 1:4), it is possible that that Jude wrote after Peter.

Peter’s 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.


Jude’s original purpose in penning this epistle was to write of the common salvation he and his readers shared (Jde 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, Jude’s first admonition serves us well:

Contend earnestly for the faith

Here is a simple outline of the book...

  1. Who is author of The Epistle Of Jude? (Jde 1:1)
    • 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?
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