Thematic Outline of Jude

The book of Jude was written by Jude, who is commonly believed to be the brother of James who is also the brother of Jesus. There are many James’ mentioned in the New Testament, but only two passages link directly a Jude to a James. One of those two, who is mentioned in Luke 6:16, can be excluded since the translations read “Judas the son of James” not “brother”, so the Jude that wrote the letter must be the brother of James, the brother of Jesus. The letter of Jude was written around 64AD and was addressed to those “who have been called”1. The letter was originally intended to be sent to the believers at the time about their salvation but Jude decided to write to them about something else 2 of more importance; that false teachers had entered their groups and were spreading false teachings. The change of subject and the way Jude mentions it shows that it was something that must have come about suddenly, so a brief letter needed to be sent out as soon as possible to stop corruption. Jude starts off by reminding the believers of past times when God had saved His people but later destroyed and punished people that disobeyed and turned against Him. He mentions about the angels that didn’t keep their proper place and also Sodom and Gomorrah and how they all “suffer the punishment of eternal fire”3. He relates the false teachers to these people that have suffered at God’s judgement and gives examples of times when not even the Archangel Michael would judge the devil4 yet these false teachers are saying and doing things against that which they don’t understand. Jude tells that God’s judgement awaits and has been prepared and kept for them, and then goes on to quote from 1 Enoch 5 a prophecy about the Lord coming to punish and judge all that are against Him. Jude really makes a point of God’s judgement on people that oppose Him and tries hard to keep the group of believers strong in the faith so that they won’t share in the same punishment. Although Jude quotes from writings that aren’t canonical, it doesn’t mean that they can get the title of being ‘inspired writings’. It is more like a preacher today using stories or quotes from ‘secular’ books or other media to get a point across in a way that is easy to
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Jude 1: 1 Jude 1: 3 3 Jude 1: 5 – 6 all talk about God punishing people that turn against Him. 4 ‘Assumption of Moses’ Apocryphal work dated ca. 4BC – AD30. Jude 1: 9 5 ‘The Book of Enoch’ Apocryphal work dated ca. 170BC. Jude 1: 14 – 15

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comprehend and understand. Even though Paul has sometimes used the work of a heathen poet to illustrate points6, Jude’s letter came under fire. At first the extracanonical writings Jude cites became accepted because they had Jude’s ‘stamp of approval’, but then later those writings were attacked by Augustine and Chrysostom and even Jude came under suspicion as to whether his letter should be considered canonical or not. Didymus of Alexandria had to plead that Jude’s citation of these writings were not to be held against him and that his letter be considered canonical7. 2 Peter and Jude bear many similarities to one another in their letters; both letters touch on the same subjects and topics and almost mirror one another with what the authors are saying. These letters having so many parallels make it seem that both the authors had some kind of connection: Jude used 2 Peter; 2 Peter used Jude or they both had a common source of information. Most scholars accept the second scenario since there would be no reason for Jude to write his letter after 2 Peter if Jude’s letter is just a copy8.

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Acts 17: 28, 1 Cor. 15: 32 – 33, Titus 1: 12 http://christianbeliefs.org/bible/jude.html 8 N. Hillyer, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude. (New International Biblical Commentary Series; Vol. 16) p. 13

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Outline: 1. Welcome (1-2) 2. Why Jude was writing the letter (3-4) a. The change of subject (3) b. Reason for change (4) 3. Warning against false teachers (5-16) a. Historic examples of judgement (5-7) i. Unbelieving Israel (5) ii. Angels who fell (6) iii. Sodom and Gomorrah (7) b. Description of the unfaithful in Jude’s day (8-16) i. Their slanderous speech (8-10) ii. Their character portrayed (11-13) iii. Their destruction prophesied (14-16) 4. Encouragement to believers (17-23) 5. Concluding praise to God (24-25)

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Bibliography: 1. N. Hillyer, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude. (New International Biblical Commentary Series; Vol. 16) 2. The Holy Bible, New Century Version (Thomas Nelson Publishing, Inc. 1987, 1988, 1991, Anglicised edition, Authentic Media, 1993)

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