Titus Philemon Jude New Testament Letters
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Transcript of Titus Philemon Jude New Testament Letters
The Three Letters in the New Testament:
Titus – Philemon – Jude
Research and Study by Rev. Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th.,D.D.
Sound teaching, unconditional forgiveness,
and false teachers are the respective issues
at hand in TITUS, PHILEMON, and JUDE.
Addressed to a young pastor in Crete, Paul
wrote TITUS to spur on his protégé in the
ministry. Similarly, in his letter to a slave
owner in Colossae, the epistle to
PHILEMON was the apostle’s attempt to
inspire submission, equality in Christ, and
forgiveness between the affluent and the
subjugated. And JUDE, written by the
Lord’s half-brother, took to task the many
heretics who had infiltrated the Church at
(Image: Military and Roman civilian dress)
The New Testament World
Titus was a Gentile (Greek) convert and a travelling companion of Paul. Around
A.D. 63—64, and after Timothy stayed in Ephesus, Paul and Titus continued to
Crete. Titus remained to establish the Christian church while Paul continued his
missionary journey. Philemon was a prestigious and well-respected Christian in
Colossae. Philemon's Epistle is a personal letter from Paul addressed to him
concerning his runaway slave, Onesimus.
In order of time Titus followed I Timothy. Paul, having left Ephesus, went to
Macedonia and perhaps sailed from there to Crete, where he had been a visitor
on his voyage to Rome. On this occasion he spent some time there, but left
Titus to complete the establishment of the church and to rectify its errors. One
wonders whether Paul felt that his time was short and that he wanted to return
to Ephesus, for he spoke of sending Tychicus to Crete (Titus 3:12) at a later
date. His ultimate goal was Nicopolis (probably in Epirus), where he planned
The situation in Crete was discouraging. The church was unorganized, and its
members were quite careless in behaviour. If the injunctions of chapter 2 are
any indication of what the churches needed, the men were lax and careless, the
older women were gossips and winebibbers, and the young women were idle
and flirtatious. Perhaps the preaching of the gospel of grace had given the
Cretans the impression that salvation by faith was unrelated to an industrious
and ethical life. Six times (1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14) in this short epistle
Christians are urged to do good works. Although Paul says that salvation
cannot be earned by good works (3:5), he affirms with equal vigor that
believers must be careful to maintain good works.
The disturbance in Crete had been caused by a combination of the ethical laxity
that sprang from the natural tendencies of the Cretans (1:12— 13 ) and the
disputation over Jewish fables and commandments that were promoted by a
Judaizing group (1:10) who were godless (1:16), unruly (1:10), divisive (1:11),
and mercenary (1:11). These teachers differed from those that troubled the
Galatians in that their error was moral perversity, whereas that of the Galatians
was stringent legalism. Both are condemned by this epistle.
Both I Timothy and Titus were written to counsel an understudy who was
working out the problems of a difficult pastorate. Titus, the recipient of this
epistle, had been an acquaintance and associate of Paul for fifteen years or more.
He was a Gentile convert of the early days in Antioch, whose conversion was so
convincing that he served as Exhibit A of the uncircumcised Gentile believers
when Paul and Barnabas went up for the conference at Jerusalem (Gal. 2:1, 3).
He must have been with Paul during his third journey, for he acted as Paul's
emissary during the trying days of the church's rebellion in Corinth, and he was
successful in bringing them back to penitence and loyalty (II Cor. 7:6-16). He
had travelled widely in Macedonia to collect the funds that Paul was raising and
had his hearty approval (8:16, 19, 23). He may have been included in the "us" of
Acts 20:5, though he is not mentioned by name anywhere in Acts. The last
allusion to him in the New Testament states that he had gone to Dalmatia (II
Tim. 4:17). He seems to have been a stronger character than Timothy and better
able to cope with opposition.
The Sound Doctrine in Titus
I. Salutation: The Source of Sound Doctrine 1:1-4
II. The Administration of Sound Doctrine 1:5-16
The Appointment of Elders 1:5-9
The Exposure of False Teachers 1:10-16
III. The Preaching of Sound Doctrine 2:1-15
To aged men
To aged women
To young women
To young men
IV. Counselling by Sound Doctrine 3:1-11
V. Concluding Salutations 3:12-15
The general content of Titus is like that of I Timothy, except for a stronger
emphasis on creedal formulation. In two passages Paul states the closest
approach to a formulated creed in the whole New Testament (2:1114; 3:4-7).
Note the elements contained in these passages:
1. The personality of God (2:11; 3:6).
2. The qualities of his love and grace (2:11; 3:4).
3. His title of Saviour (2:10; 3:4).
4. The saviourhood of Christ (2:13; 3:6).
5. The Holy Spirit (3:5).
6. The implication of the triune being of God (3:5-6).
7. The essential deity of Christ (2:13).
8. The vicarious atonement of Christ (2:14).
9. The universality of salvation (2:11).
10. Salvation by grace, not by works (3:5).
11. The incoming of the Holy Spirit (3:5).
12. Justification by faith (3:7).
13. Sanctification (purification)> of his own people (2:14).
14. Separation from evil (2:12).
15. Inheritance of eternal life (3:7).
16. The return of Christ (2:13).
The foregoing points constitute a fair digest of New Testament theology.
Titus, is a good summary of the doctrinal teaching of the church as it emerged
into the institutional stage. Although it was written to a pioneer missionary, he
represented a church that had passed the pioneer era and that had settled policies
and faith. The word "sound" implies that a recognized standard of doctrine had
been acknowledged, to which correct life and teaching must conform.
The magnificent bronze memorah or seven-branched candlestick which stands
outside the Knesset, Jerusalem
Onesimus was a slave who belonged to Philemon and then escaped. He fled to
Rome and wound up in jail with Paul. Onesimus embraces the Christian faith
while imprisoned with Paul. Paul now writes to Philemon asking him to take
Onesimus back but not to mistreat, abuse, or punish him for his escape. He may
have even stolen some money from Philemon, in which case Paul tells the owner
to charge it to his account instead. “If he has done you any wrong or owes you
anything, charge it to me” (Philemon 18). In ancient times, an escaped slave
could be brutally beaten, abused, or even killed. Since Onesimus was now a
believer and Philemon had been one for a while, Paul counted on his Christian
sense of mercy. He did not, however, ask for his emancipation.
Although this letter is intensely personal rather than theological, it contains the
finest picture of the meaning of forgiveness that can be found in the New
Testament. Further, it is an example of Paul’s adeptness in dealing with a touchy
social problem. The outline will be sufficient summary:
Philemon: a Picture of Christian Forgiveness
1. Salutation: The Family 1-3
2. The Fellowship 4-7
3. The Favour 8-20
4. The Farewells 21-25
In this letter are found all the elements of forgiveness: the offense (11,18),
compassion (10), intercession (10,18-19), substitution (18-19), restoration to
favour (15), and elevation to a new relationship (16). Every aspect of the divine
forgiveness of sin is duplicated in the forgiveness that Paul sought for
Onesimus. It is a practical lesson in the petition of the prayer, “Forgive us our
debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
The Temple of Karnak, Luxor. Jude reminded his readers once more of how the
Lord delivered his people out of Egypt.
The literary relation of Jude to II Peter is an important factor in determining the
background. There can be no doubt that the two are separate epistles, and yet the
similarities of occasion, thought, and vocabulary between them can hardly be
accidental. A comparison of the Epistle of Jude with the second chapter of II
Peter will convince any reader of the English or Greek text that some connection
exists between them. What is the relationship?
Four different answers have been proposed:
1. Peter and Jude have no relationship except as they are addressed to people
who are facing the same situation. This solution does not explain
adequately the minute verbal similarities.
2. II Peter and Jude were paraphrased from some common source. This
solution is improbable, for both authors were capable of originating the
content of their epistles, and predicating a third unknown epistle only
adds to the confusion.
3. II Peter took much of the data from Jude. Jude's references to history are
more exact and circumstantial, and his organization is clearer. It would
seem that the shorter epistle would be quoted by the longer, rather than
that the shorter should be condensed from the larger.
4. Jude was stimulated to write his epistle by seeing Peter's, but organized
The last of these views seems most reasonable and has the eminent support of
Zahn.1 The epistle states explicitly that its author intended to write to his
constituency concerning "our common salvation" when his purpose was
suddenly changed by some new stimulus that prompted an apologetic rather than
a theological or a devotional work (Jude 3). He said that "certain men crept in
privily," who had already been described, and that they were running rampant in
the church. In verses 17 and 18 he quoted verbatim from II Peter 3:3, which he
attributed to "the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ." From these passages it
would be reasonable to conclude that the second epistle of Peter had fallen into
Jude's hands and that he had written to his hearers concerning the apostasy that
Peter had predicted and that was already beginning in the church.
The greater explicitness of references and the closer organization of structure are
part of Jude's independent style.
The author was doubtless the brother of James, the moderator of the church of
Jerusalem, and the half brother of Jesus who is mentioned in Mark 6:3. Like
James he must have believed on Jesus as the Messiah after the resurrection and
was numbered among the waiting group on the day of Pentecost. He seems to
have taken no prominent part in the affairs of the apostolic church. In style and
vocabulary the Epistle of Jude bears a resemblance to that of James. Both are
terse and graphic in expression. Both depend largely on figures of speech taken
1 . Theodor Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament (translated from the third German
edition; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909), II, 262-270. Most modern scholars argue
for view 3, while D. Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, p. 248, concludes: "The verdict
must remain open."
from outdoor life. Both are characterized by a certain ethical sternness. The
writer did not class himself among the apostles (17).
Place and Date
No clear indication is afforded by the epistle as to where or when it was written. If
Jude ministered to the Jewish churches of Palestine, it may well have been sent to
them in the period just prior to the fall of Jerusalem. One might guess that what
Peter had predicted for the part of the church to which he wrote had already begun
to take place in the church for which Jude was responsible. If Peter's epistle had just
been circulated, Jude's may well be dated around A.D. 67 or 68. If, on the other
hand, Jude's appeal to the memory of the people (17) means that the text of II Peter
had been long in circulation, the obvious conclusion is that Jude may have been
issued as late as A.D. 80. Jerusalem could not have been the destination at this
Jude announced that his purpose was to urge his readers to "contend earnestly
for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints" (3). The
necessity for this emergency was the infiltration into the Christian ranks of
men who were "turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying
our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (4). The phraseology defining the
heresy accords with that of Peter, but it is more specific. It sounds as if the
error was a type of antinomianism, which made license out of liberty and
repudiated the lordship of Christ. So far had the heresy swung away from
legalism that it observed no restraints and it possessed no fixed moral
standards. It was idle intellectual speculation accompanied by fancy oratory,
with no duties attached.
In his general argument Jude follows the order of II Peter, but his pictures are
sharper and more cameo-like. Three historic examples of judgment are cited:
the destruction of the unbelieving group who came out of Egypt but who
would not enter the land of Canaan; the angels "who kept not their own
principality"; and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In each case the
irrevocable judgment of God fell on those who had sinned blatantly and
inexcusably. To these three groups of egregious sinners are likened the
apostates, marked out in Jude by the pronoun these (8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 19).
Their irreverence, ignorance, treachery, emptiness, and egotism are pilloried
in Jude's vigorous language. The nature of their error is described by their
likeness to the three great rebels of the Pentateuch: the way of bloodless
sacrifice—Cain; the error of thinking that God is the minister of man's
convenience rather than the Lord of his destinies Balaam; and the arrogance of
a self-devised faith—Korah.
With the last section of Jude the pronoun changes from these to ye, and the
antidote to apostasy is presented to the readers. First, remember the words of
Christ given by his apostles, echoing Peter's statement that he felt he ought to
"put them in remembrance" of the truth that he possessed. Second, Jude
commanded them to keep themselves in the love of God by prayer and
constructive action (20-21). Last of all, preservation from apostasy includes the
rescue of others from the errors that surround them, so that their doubt may not
lead them ultimately to disaster (22-23).
Jude: A Warning against Apostasy
1. Salutation 1-2
2. The Announcement of Emergency 3-4
3. The Appeal to Historic Precedents 5-7
4. The Arraignment of Apostate Teachers 8-16
5. Advice to believers 17-23
6. Concluding benediction 24-25
One of the curiosities of this small epistle is its fondness for triads of thought. It
has six main sections, which are arranged in three pairs: the first two introduce
the thought, the second two discuss the apostasy, and the last two state the
conclusion. The author described himself in three ways: his proper name, Jude;
his function, a servant of Jesus Christ; his relation to the Christian community,
the brother of James. He salutes his readers as "called," "beloved," and "kept,"
and in his greeting he wishes them mercy, peace, and love. There are many other
"threes" employed by the author that the student can find for himself. Probably
they have no special significance beyond marking a mental trait of the author.
The use of apocryphal literature has occasioned some questioning of this epistle.
The reference to Enoch in verse 14 agrees verbatim with a passage in the book of
Enoch, and the reference to the dispute between Michael and the devil for the body
of Moses appears in The Assumption of Moses. Both of these writings were
produced early in the first century by Jewish writers, who sought to advance the
teachings of their sect or party by appeal to the authority of Old Testament leaders.
The quotations pose a dilemma, for if Jude was inspired, did his quotations of
these works give authority to them? If, on the other hand, they were random
quotations that carried no authority, why should he quote them at all? There is a
fair analogy in Paul's address at Athens when he quoted the Greek poet Aratus
(Acts 17:28) to substantiate a point of his address because he knew that it would
carry weight with his audience, not because he regarded the Greek poet as inspired
or authoritative in the realm of theology. In like manner the apocryphal works
were sometimes used to illustrate certain principles for those who regarded them
with reverence. In the early Christian church some of these were highly esteemed
and were deemed profitable reading. Jude's audience must have been familiar with
this literature, for he made extensive allusions to it even apart from the express
The epistle shows that by the time it was written, quite certainly no later than
A.D. 85, there was a recognized body of belief that could be called Christianity.
Doctrinal formulation is a slow process, and the history of Christianity for the
last nineteen hundred years is the history of the rise and fall of doctrinal patterns
and emphases, some of which were extreme, others of which were erroneous,
but all of which belonged to the general stream of thought that is called
Christian. One would be tempted to think that these variations might be
inconsequential were it not for the fact that the New Testament sets certain
rigorous doctrinal standards. Some leeway may be allowed for human ignorance
and for intellectual and spiritual limitations, for "now we see in a mirror,
darkly," and "we know in part, and we prophesy in part" (I Cor. 13:12, 9).
In these epistles, however, which were written when error was prevalent and
controversy was beginning, there is a frank insistence on "the pattern of sound
words," and Jude speaks with finality of "the once-for-all-delivered-to-the-saints
faith" (Jude 3, literal translation), which was to be kept as an inviolate standard.
The proper method of treating those who deviate from this standard is also given
in Jude. Nowhere does the New Testament recommend persecution or buming at
the stake for heretics. The heretics draw their own lines. "These," says Jude, "are
they who make separations . . ." (19). The epistle, instead, counsels mercy and
an attempt to rescue those who are deluded and bewildered, though no tolerance
is to be shown to the falsehood itself.
The book closes with one of the great benedictions of the New Testament. Its
emphasis on the lordship of Christ and his ability to keep his servants from
falling into error is singularly appropriate to the theme of Jude.
Commentary on Titus
The letter Paul addressed to him provided Titus with guidelines for handling a
difficult situation among believers on the island of Crete. Cretans were among
the Jews and proselytes in Jerusalem for the first Pentecost after Jesus’
resurrection. It is not known, however, whether any of those who had come from
Crete became believers upon hearing Peter’s testimony about Jesus Christ. (Acts
The letter to Titus and comments in other preserved correspondence suggest that
the congregations on the island of Crete were comparatively new. In the Acts
account, one finds no mention of Paul’s activity there. This would seem to
indicate that the apostle did not proclaim the message about Christ on the island
until after his first imprisonment in Rome and his subsequent release, apparently
doing so with Titus as his fellow worker. Paul commonly endeavored to reach
areas where the good news had not as yet been widely proclaimed, and this
would appear to support the conclusion that no significant communities of
believers existed on the island before his arrival. (2 Corinthians 10:13-16)
In his first letter to Timothy (1:3), he dealt with the situation in Ephesus, where
there had been a congregation for some nine years at the time. So a considerable
number of the believers would not have been new converts, and the apostle
specifically directed Timothy not to appoint any recent convert as an overseer,
caring for and looking after the spiritual well-being of fellow believers. (1
Timothy 3:6) In the letter to Titus, this requirement is not included, which may
be regarded as an indication that, for the most part, believers on the island had
then only recently responded to the message about Christ.
Though not named in the book of Acts, Titus had a relationship with Paul
comparatively early in his extensive ministry among the non-Jews. In the letter
to the Galatians (2:1, 3), the apostle identified Titus as a Greek brother who had
accompanied him and Barnabas to Jerusalem, mentioning that he was not
compelled to be circumcised. This visit would fit the time when Paul, Barnabas,
and other brothers left Syrian Antioch for Jerusalem because certain believers
who had come from Judea to Antioch claimed that, to be saved or to have a
divinely approved standing, non-Jewish believers needed to be circumcised and
live according to the requirements of the Mosaic law. (Acts 15:1-26)
A number of years later, the apostle sent Titus to Corinth to care for problems
that had arisen in the congregation there and also to initiate a relief effort for
needy believers in Jerusalem. Paul was deeply concerned about developments
among the Corinthian believers and anxiously anticipated meeting Titus in
Troas, a city on the north-western coast of Asia Minor. When Titus did not
arrive as had been planned, the apostle left for Macedonia. There he did meet
Titus, and was greatly encouraged and comforted by the favorable report about
the Corinthians he then received. (2 Corinthians 2:12, 13; 7:6, 7, 13-16) Later,
Paul asked Titus to return to Corinth to complete arrangements for the relief
effort, and he eagerly responded. (2 Corinthians 8:6, 16-18)
The last reference to Titus is in 2 Timothy 4:10. Paul was imprisoned in Rome
for the second time and expected to be executed, and Titus had left for Dalmatia.
Likely Titus had either departed at Paul’s request or for another good reason.
Sacred Reading (KJV 1611)
Titus, chapter 1
1: Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the
faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after
2: In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the
3: But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is
committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
4: To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and
peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
5: For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the
things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed
6: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children
not accused of riot or unruly.
7: For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled,
not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
8: But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy,
9: Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be
able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
10: For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially
they of the circumcision:
11: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching
things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
12: One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are
always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
13: This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be
sound in the faith;
14: Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that
turn from the truth.
15: Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and
unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
16: They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being
abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Titus, chapter 2
1: But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
2: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity,
3: The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh
holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good
4: That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their
husbands, to love their children,
5: To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own
husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
6: Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
7: In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine
shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
8: Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary
part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
9: Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please
them well in all things; not answering again;
10: Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the
doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
11: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12: Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should
live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great
God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14: Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity,
and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
15: These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no
man despise thee.
Titus, chapter 3
1: Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey
magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
2: To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all
meekness unto all men.
3: For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived,
serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and
hating one another.
4: But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man
5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to
his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of
the Holy Ghost;
6: Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7: That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to
the hope of eternal life.
8: This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm
constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to
maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
9: But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and
strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
10: A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
11: Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being
condemned of himself.
12: When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come
unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.
13: Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that
nothing be wanting unto them.
14: And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses,
that they be not unfruitful.
15: All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all. Amen.
Titus analyzed verse by verse
Comments on Titus
1:1-4. Greetings to Titus
Verses 1-3. Paul’s ministry defined
Titus 1:1 Paul, a slave of God [obedience and service], and an apostle of
Jesus Christ [highest delegated spiritual authority] for the sake of God’s
elect with special relation to doctrine [as its protector and communicant],
especially the full knowledge of the truth [doctrine in the human spirit]
according to the standard of godliness [filling of the Spirit],
Titus 1:2 On the basis of confidence with reference to eternal life [eternal
security], which the trustworthy God [veracity] promised before times
eternal [eternity past],
Titus 1:3 And has revealed during His own appointed times [dispensations]
His Word [Bible doctrine] through the instrumentality of preaching, which
[as an apostle] I myself was entrusted according to the authority [divine
command] of God, our Saviour.
Verse 4. Paul’s greetings to Titus
Titus 1:4 To Titus, a reliable student according to the standard of common
doctrine: Grace and prosperity from the ultimate source of God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Saviour.
1:5-9 Qualifications of elders and bishops
Verse 5. Titus’ task outlined
Titus 1:5 Because of this grace, I left you behind in Crete, so that you might
correct [by daily Bible class] the things which are deficient [in their spiritual
life] and appoint command-overseers [presbuteros: pastor-teachers]
according to city, as I myself gave you orders,
Verses 6-9. Qualifications of elders (see also 1 Timothy 3:1-13)
Titus 1:6 If anyone [prospective man with the gift of pastor-teacher] is above
reproach, a one-woman man [no philandering], having trustworthy children,
not under the influence or accusation of riotous living [dissipation] or
disobedient and rebellious.
Titus 1:7 For it is necessary that a guardian-overseer [episcopos: pastor-
teacher] be above reproach as God’s administrative manager, not arrogant,
not quick-tempered, not a drunk, not a bully, not avaricious,
Titus 1:8 But rather hospitable [grace-oriented toward strangers], a lover of
divine good, self-controlled [mentally stable], fair and equitable, devout,
Titus 1:9 Constantly clinging to the dependable Word according to the
norms and standards of doctrine [by the consistent daily intake,
metabolization and application of the same], so that he might be able by
means of doctrinal teaching which is sound to keep on exhorting and
reproving those [false teachers] who are in verbal opposition.
1:10-16. Warning against false teachers
Verses 10-13a. The legalists especially cited
Titus 1:10 For there are many [false Christian teachers in Crete] who are
insubordinate [in revolt against doctrine and overseers], empty talkers
[speaking psychological nonsense] and mind deceivers [disoriented to the
plan of God], particularly those of the circumcision [Jewish contingent],
Titus 1:11 Whom it is necessary to silence [curb the rebellion], who are of
such a character as to disrupt entire families [home groups], teaching things
[heresies] which should never be for the sake of dishonest profit [fleecing
Titus 1:12 A certain one of them [Epimenides], their very own prophet
[poet], said [in a hymn written to Zeus]: Cretans are incessant [pathological]
liars, evil beasts [predators], useless [unemployed] gluttons.
Verses 13b-16. The remedy
Titus 1:13 This testimony [about the Cretans] is true. Because of this
accusation [national problem], keep on rebuking them severely, so that they
might become sound in doctrine,
Titus 1:14 Not paying attention to Jewish fables [myths] nor the
commandments of men [legalists] who are in the process of turning
themselves away from the truth [reverse process reversions].
Titus 1:15 All things [every creature of God] are pure to the pure [those who
are filled with the Spirit]. But to those who are defiled [mental attitude sins
as excrement in the soul] and faithless [reject Bible doctrine], nothing is
pure. Instead, both their mind and conscience are defiled [immersed in
Titus 1:16 They repeatedly claim to know God [experientially], but their
production [dead works] contradicts themselves [disproves their claim],
because they are [on the inside] detestable [full of mental attitude sins] and
disobedient [negative towards doctrine and overseers], and [on the outside]
with regard to all types and categories of good [divine] production,
worthless [disqualified: no rewards].
2:1-4a. The aged adorning the gospel
Verses 1-2. Aged men
Titus 2:1 But you [Titus], keep on communicating those things which are
clearly seen as sound doctrine.
Titus 2:2 Older men should be self-disciplined, dignified, mentally stable,
doctrinally sound, relaxed, patient,
Verses 3-4a. Aged women
Titus 2:3 Likewise, older women should be honourable in behavior [without
wide emotional swings], not slanderers, not enslaved to large quantities of
alcohol [because of their frustrations and disappointments in life], teaching
honourable things [to the younger women],
2:4-6. The young adorning the gospel
Verses 4-5. Young women
Titus 2:4 So that they [older women who are spiritually mature] may
encourage the younger women to be affectionate towards their husbands,
having affection for their children,
Titus 2:5 Self-controlled, chaste [not adulterous], home lovers, kind,
obedient to their own husband, so that the Word of God is never maligned
[ridiculed by others due to the cosmic behavior of the wife].
Verse 6. Young men
Titus 2:6 Likewise, young men should be encouraged to maintain self-
control [a sound, serious mind].
2:7-8. Titus, the pastor, adorning the gospel
Verses 7-8a. The pastoral example
Titus 2:7 With respect to all situations, show yourself to be an example of
honourable production [filled with the Spirit] by means of doctrine, sound
[incorruptible character], dignified [sober and reflective],
Verse 8b. The purpose of pastoral example
Titus 2:8 Sound speech [accurate], above reproach [nothing that can impugn
your character], so that those [in subjectivity] from the opposition may be
ashamed [turn about and have renewed respect], having nothing
underhanded [politically evil] to say about us.
2:9-10. Servants adorning the gospel
Verses 9-10a. Their conduct enjoined
Titus 2:9 Slaves, be obedient to your own masters in everything [authority
orientation], giving satisfaction, not speaking against them,
Verse 10b. The purpose stated
Titus 2:10 Not pilfering, but demonstrating the utmost in good fidelity
[trustworthiness], so that the doctrine of God our Saviour is made attractive
in all situations.
2:11-15. The gospel and adorned living
Verses 11-14. The basis of adorned living
Titus 2:11 For the educative [delivering, training] grace of God
[experiential, practical outworking] has been manifested to all kinds of men,
Titus 2:12 Teaching us [educative grace], so that by repudiating ungodliness
[legalism or any system of religiosity by works] and worldly lusts [gates of
the cosmic system], we should live [function] with stability of mind
[doctrine in the soul] and righteously [divine good produced from doctrine
in the soul] and in a godly manner [filled with the Spirit] in the current age
[Church Age dispensation],
Titus 2:13 Waiting with anticipation for the happy [blessed] expectation,
even the magnificent appearance [at the rapture] of our great God and
Saviour, Jesus Christ,
Titus 2:14 Who gave Himself as a substitute for us so that He might set us
free [experiential redemption] from every category of lawlessness [gates of
the cosmic system] and cleanse us unto Himself a special [treasured] people,
enthusiastic for honourable production [the intake, metabolization and
application of Bible doctrine].
Verse 15. The injunction to enforce
Titus 2:15 Keep on communicating [proclaiming to those in fellowship] and
admonishing [imploring those in the arrogance complex of sins] and
rebuking [those in the hatred complex of sins] these things [all the doctrines
in this letter] with full authority. Let no one [in your congregation] look
down on you [reject your authority].
3:1-7. Adorning the gospel before the world
Verses 1-2. The nature of exemplary behaviour
Titus 3:1 Keep on reminding them [Cretan Christians] to be under subjection
to designated officials, to obey those in authority, to be prepared [by
inculcating doctrine] for every kind of honourable [divine] production [good
Titus 3:2 To slander no one, to be uncontentious, tolerant, demonstrating
[from doctrine resident on the inside] abundant grace orientation face-to-face
with all types of men.
Verses 3-7. The reason for exemplary behaviour
Titus 3:3 For once upon a time, we ourselves were also foolish [lacking
doctrine in the soul], disobedient [lacking authority orientation], continually
led astray [deceived by locked-in cosmic ignorance], enslaved to various
kinds of lusts and pleasures [sins of the flesh], constantly spending our lives
in the sphere of malice and envy [arrogance complex of sins], hateful [hatred
complex of sins], detesting others of the same kind [fellow believers].
Titus 3:4 But when the generosity and benevolence of God our Saviour
appeared [at the incarnation of Christ],
Titus 3:5 Not out from the source of works by means of righteousness
[human good] which we have done, but according to the standard of His
mercy [divine good] He saved us, through the spiritual cleansing [from sin],
regeneration [new birth], and the renewal [new species] of the Holy Spirit,
Titus 3:6 Whom He [the Father] poured out upon us abundantly [baptism of
the Spirit] through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
Titus 3:7 In order that having been justified by means of His grace, we
should become heirs according to the norm and standard of confidence with
reference to eternal life.
3:8-11. Adorning the gospel with good works
Verse 8. The continual affirmation of profitable things
Titus 3:8 Trustworthy is the Word [Bible doctrine], and concerning these
things [doctrinal principles], I want you [Titus] to keep on communicating
with dogmatic insistence, so that those who have believed God [Christians
only] might be intent [due diligence] to continually engage in honorable
[divine] production. These things [doctrinal principles and divine
production] are honourable and beneficial to men.
Verses 9-11. The avoidance of unprofitable things
Titus 3:9 But make it a habit to avoid and shun stupid discussions
[controversies] and family pedigrees and contentions and legal battles
[disputes], for they are useless and vain [leading to scar tissue of the soul].
Titus 3:10 After one or two warnings, reject [dismiss] a schismatic man
Titus 3:11 Understanding [from the application of doctrine] that such a
person as this has become subverted [turned aside from true doctrine] and is
constantly sinning [perpetual carnality], with the result that he is self-
condemned [by his rejection of true Bible doctrine].
3:12-15. Closing greetings.
Verses 12-13. Instructions concerning fellow workers
Titus 3:12 After I send Artemus [pastor of Lystra] or Tychicus [another
capable replacement] to you, make every effort to come face-to-face to me at
Nicopolis, for I am determined to spend the winter there.
Titus 3:13 Escort with great haste Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on this
journey, so that nothing is lacking for them.
Verses 14-15. Instruction concerning Christian industry
Titus 3:14 And also, let ours [Cretan believers] learn by engaging in
honourable [divine] production, so that they are not unfruitful [in their
Titus 3:15 All those who are with me salute you. Greet those who care about
me in the sphere of doctrine. Grace be with you all.
Questionnaire on Titus
A. Things that need to be (Titus 3:1-2)
“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready
for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing
every consideration for all men.”
1. What does Paul tell Titus to do in 3:1?
2. How many things does he tell them to do? Is there anything odd about the
3. How many items address the topic of obedience? Why might he have this
4. From this list, what positive character attributes should characterize God’s
5. What are some negative character traits we are to refrain from?
6. Discussion Questions: Paul is here instructing Titus on how Christians should
act. Why do Christians need to be reminded about how to live? If they have the
Holy Spirit, should they not naturally do what is good?
B. Things that should not be (Titus 3:3)
For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to
various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating
7. Who is Paul talking about here in verse 3:3? Who is the ‘we?’
8. How does he describe our past lives?
9. What areas did you once entertain?
10.What is the difference between hateful and ‘hating one another?’ Why are
they two items?
11.Use other words to describe each of the above items. If one still lives in such
a way, make sure one repents and asks the Lord to cleanse.
12. Discussion Questions: Why is it that it is so common and typical that we all
would live lives contrary to what is good? Can we say what is good or bad? Is
there such a thing as children living in an innocent stage? Why or why not?
When in life does man or child become bad? Why so?
C. Things that should not be (Titus 3:3)
"But when the kindness of God our Saviour and His love for mankind
13.When did things begin to change for the better (3:3)?
14.Describe what happened in your own words.
15.Did God’s kindness appear to you? How so? How old? Did you see the
16. Discussion questions. In this and the following verses indicate that Jesus
Christ was more than just a man; He was God Himself. What difference does it
make? How is it possible?
The harbour around Silia, Crete. Titus had been left on Crete to organise the
Commentary on Philemon2
1-3. Paul’s greeting to Philemon
4-7. Paul’s commendation of Philemon
Verses 4-5. Philemon’s love and faith
Verses 6-7. Paul’s prayer for Philemon
8-13. Paul’s plea for Onesimus
Verses 8-10. The plea.
Unlike other letters that he dictated, Paul personally wrote this letter to
Philemon. (Verse 19) The apostle was then a prisoner, and a subscription in a
number of manuscripts identifies the location to have been Rome.
Paul did not explain how it happened that he crossed paths with Onesimus, but
simply related that he had become a father to him during the time of
confinement. As a result of the message about Christ that the apostle shared with
Onesimus, he became a believer, and a deep bond of affection developed,
comparable to that of a father and his beloved child. (Verse 10)
Although Paul would have greatly appreciated continuing to benefit from the
help Onesimus was able to provide, he sent him back to Philemon, his master.
Verses 11-13. Paul’s defence of Onesimus
As a slave in the household of Philemon, Onesimus had formerly been
“useless.” That, however, had changed on account of his becoming a believer,
one who sincerely desired to honour God and Christ and thus was willing to
serve. Therefore, Paul confidently referred to Onesimus as having become
useful to him and to Philemon. (Verse 11)
14-16. Not as a servant but as a brother
Verse 14. Paul’s courteous tact.
Verses 15-16. Paul’s skilful analysis
17-19. Reckon to my account
Verse 17. Welcome him as me
Verses 18-19. Put any merit to my account
2 A short commentary on the Epistle to Philemon is also found on page 19, of the Ebook “The
Pauline Imprisonment Epistles and the short Philemon Letter.” This publication is more
20-21. Paul’s confidence in Philemon
Verse 20. The request
Verse 21. The confidence
22-25. A request and closing greetings
Verse 22. The request
Verses 23-25. The greetings.
In this letter, besides commending Philemon highly for his love for fellow
believers and his faith, Paul kindly requested that he welcome Onesimus back as
more than a slave, as a “beloved brother.” (Verses 16, 17)
In his letter to the Colossians (4:7-9), Paul mentioned that Tychicus would be
coming with Onesimus. This indicates that Philemon’s home was in Colossae,
and his house there served as a meeting place for the community of believers.
It may be noted that Paul did not attack the then-existing social system that
allowed slavery. The manner in which he spoke about Onesimus, however,
reveals a complete acceptance of him as a deeply loved equal partner in God’s
family of children. In disposition, the apostle adhered to the truth he had
enunciated in his letter to the Galatians (3:28, 29) that, in Christ, there is no
more slave or free. This unqualified acceptance of others as having an equal
standing before God transcends what the mere abolition of the demeaning
system of slavery can accomplish. History amply demonstrates that the abolition
of slavery does not end hateful prejudice and false pride related to race, national
or tribal origin, or social standing. As in the case of Paul, though, the operation
of God’s spirit on believers does break down divisive barriers and produce the
marvellous changes for good that even noble human efforts simply cannot.
Analysis and Annotation of Philemon (quotations from KJV 1611)
1: Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto
Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow labourer,
2: And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to
the church in thy house:
3: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus
He speaks of himself as a prisoner of Christ Jesus; the Lord had made him a
prisoner. He addresses Philemon (meaning: friendly, loving), the beloved, and
his fellow-labourer. Apphia was probably the wife of Philemon; Archippus is
called "fellow soldier"; he ministered in the Colossian assembly ( Col. 4:17).
Greeting is also extended "to the church" which was gathered in the house of
Philemon. While the Epistle is addressed to Philemon personally and Paul
appeals to him in behalf of Onesimus, the gathered assembly was equally to be
interested in this runaway Slave, who was now returning as a brother beloved
and therefore to be received by them in Christian fellowship. The Lord had
received Onesimus and he had become through grace, a member of the body of
Christ; he belonged to the Colossian assembly. Therefore in addressing the
Colossians Paul had written of Onesimus as "a faithful and beloved brother, who
is one of you" (Col. 4:9).
4: I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,
5: Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus,
and toward all saints;
6: That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the
acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
7: For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels
of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.
He thanked God for Philemon, making mention of him always in his prayers. He
did not know Philemon personally, but had heard of his love and faith toward
the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints. And he prayed for him "that the fellowship
of the faith may become effectual by the acknowledgment of every good thing
that is in us toward Christ Jesus." His faith was to manifest itself still more by
exhibiting every good thing which Christians possess to the glory of Christ.
With these words of commendation, recognition and encouragement, he opens
the way to plead for Onesimus.
8: Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that
which is convenient,
9: Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the
aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
10: I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my
11: Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to
thee and to me:
12: Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own
13: Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have
ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:
14: But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not
be as it were of necessity, but willingly.
15: For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest
receive him for ever;
16: Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially
to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
17: If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
18: If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine
19: I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do
not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.
20: Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in
21: Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that
thou wilt also do more than I say.
For this reason, because of love which was in Paul's heart for Philemon, he did
not use his authority to enjoin upon him what was meet as to the reception of a
good-for-nothing slave, who had been saved by grace and accepted in the
Beloved. He beseeches instead, and that "for love's sake"--his love for Philemon
and Philemon's love for Onesimus, for he was entitled to this love, being a saint
in Christ. And he beseeches, "being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also
a prisoner of the Lord." Courteously he repeats "I beseech thee," and then he
mentions him who was so dear to his own heart--"I beseech thee for my child,
whom I have begotten in my bonds, who in times past was to thee unprofitable,
but now profitable to thee and to me." Onesimus (meaning helpful) shows the
power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. A miserable, unprofitable slave, a runaway
thief, had become a child of God, born again, and the loving servant of the Lord
presses him to his bosom, calls him "my child" and speaks of him as being now
profitable to him and to Philemon. Oh! the wonders of divine grace.
"Whom I have sent again; thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels.
Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have
ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel; but without thy mind would I do
nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly."
What loving words these are! He gives Philemon to understand that Onesimus
had endeared himself in such a way that he was as dear to him as his own heart.
He would have liked to retain him and keep him at his side in Rome , for he
would have performed all the services for Paul which Philemon would have
rendered to him if he were in Rome . But without Philemon's consent he would
do nothing, so that his action might not be of necessity, forced by what Paul had
done, and not voluntarily.
"For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him
forever, not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to
me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord?" How
delicately he expresses it all! He does not speak of Onesimus as having run
away, as trying to escape forever from serfdom, but that "he departed for a
season." God's providence is beautifully touched upon, when Paul thus states
that he perhaps departed for a season (Greek, an hour) so that Philemon might
receive him forever, not now as a slave, but above a slave, a brother beloved.
And so that Philemon might not take offense at Paul asking him to receive his
runaway slave as a brother beloved, he tells Philemon that he is a beloved
brother especially to himself--and then how much more to Philemon who had a
claim on him.
Human slavery, so universal in apostolic days, so full of misery, is indirectly
dealt with in this letter to Philemon. It may be rightly called the first antislavery
document and petition ever written and presented.
"Paul lays here broad and deep the foundation of a new relation between master
and servant, a relation in which, while there is subordination of the one to the
other, there is also a common brotherhood to be acknowledged and an equality
before God to be maintained. Christianity would melt the fetters from the
enslaved by the fervour of its love. Men's method commonly is, to strike them
off by armed revolution".
And he continues, "If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself If
he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee aught, put that on mine account." Verse 17
connects well with verse 12. If Philemon counted Paul as in Christian
fellowship, he is to receive Onesimus as if he were Paul, "receive him as
myself." Onesimus had probably confessed his theft to Paul, and again he uses
the choicest words to approach this delicate matter. He does not call it "theft"
outright, but writes "if he hath wronged thee" and that again he softens to "or
oweth thee aught," then he declares himself ready to make good the loss and
assume the debt in place of the slave Onesimus--"put that on mine account."
These five words "put that on mine account" are translated in Rom. 5#13, by the
word "impute." How blessedly this illustrates the gospel. indeed this Epistle to
Philemon is a perfect and practical illustration of the gospel of grace, the gospel
Paul preached, and which is unfolded in the larger Epistles. What the gospel
does for the poor slave of sin, how he becomes a son and a brother, profitable
instead of unprofitable, a member of the body of Christ, may be traced in these
He wrote this Epistle, not as he usually did, by an amanuensis, but with his own
hand! That shows again what a fine character he was. He had full confidence in
Philemon not alone that he would grant him his request, but that he would even
do more than he had asked.
We do not know from Scripture what became of Onesimus. According to the
"Apostolic Canons" he was emancipated by his master. Another tradition says
that he became a servant of the Lord ministering in Macedonia , and that he was
martyred in Rome . We shall meet him with all the other saints in glory.
22: But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your
prayers I shall be given unto you.
23: There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus;
24: Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow labourers.
25: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Paul during his first imprisonment always anticipated his release; he and others
prayed for it (Phile. 22). And so he expects to come to Colosse, and asked
Philemon to prepare him a lodging. The salutations from Epaphras, Marcus,
Aristarchus, Demas and Lucas, with the word of blessing, conclude the Epistle.
Questionnaire on Philemon
1. Why does Paul refer to himself as "a prisoner of Christ Jesus"? 2. What does verse 2 show us about the early NT church? 3. Why would Paul want this letter read to the entire church? 4. What do verses 4-7 show about Paul's attitude toward Philemon? 5. What kind of person was Philemon? 6. How did Philemon give Paul joy? 7. What was the content of Paul's prayers for Philemon? 8. What do you think is Paul's purpose in sharing these high words of praise
with Philemon? 9. Does your testimony shine brightly like Philemon's? What might someone
say about you? 10. Why could Paul give orders to Philemon? 11. What did Paul decide to do instead of ordering Philemon? 12. What does this teach us about using authority (having authority doesn't
mean you always have to use it)? 13. Who is Onesimus? What is his relationship to Philemon? What is his
relationship to Paul? What does it mean "begotten in my imprisonment"? 14. Why was Onesimus now so much more useful than before? 15. Why did Paul send him back (Onesimus had broken the law by running
away and stealing. These issues had to be resolved.) 16. If you could summarize Paul's request into one word, what is he asking
Philemon to do? (Forgive) 17. Did Philemon deserve forgiveness? 18. What does this tell us about the nature of forgiveness? 19. What would an unbelieving master do to Onesimus? 20. Was Paul clear in his request? What else can we learn about
communication between believers from Paul? 21. What is Paul offering to do in 17-19? Is this similar to any other situations
in the Bible? 22. What does the phrase "not to mention to you that you owe to me even
your own self as well" tell us about why we should forgive (Philemon
owed his spiritual salvation to Paul's grace and work in his life. We sin as
well and owe our situation completely to the grace of God.)
Papyrus Bodmer VIII (Public Domain)
Mediatus/Kopie eines Originalbriefes; Kopist unbekannt - Original in der Biblioteca
Apostolica Vaticana. Manuscript P72.
Papyrus 72 ( 72, Papyrus Bodmer VII-IX) is an early New Testament papyrus. It contains
all the text of 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude. Paleographically it had been assigned to the 3rd or
Manuscript Papyrus 78
Papyrus 78 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 78, is an early
copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle of
Jude. The surviving texts of Jude are verses 4-5 and 7-8. 78 is written in an
elegant hand. The manuscript has been paleographically assigned to the 3rd
century (or 4th century).
Notes and Commentary on Jude
This study treats the textual tradition of the Epistle of Jude. After an
introductory survey of earlier text-critical research, the two main purposes of
this investigation are formulated: to gather and to analyze the complete textual
evidence of the Letter of Jude.
Parts of Jude are preserved in two early extant papyrus manuscripts (P72 and
P78, both of the late third or early fourth century CE). Eusebius, in his
Ecclesiastical History (II, xxiii, 25; III, xxv, 2), acknowledged that, because
only few writers referred to it, the authenticity of the letter of Jude was doubted.
Nevertheless, in the time of Eusebius, many were acquainted with this letter, and
communities of believers regularly used it.
The first task, to gather the evidence, involves the collation of all Greek
continuous text MSS of the Epistle of Jude. The evidence of 560 Greek MSS,
including dozens of lectionaries, is presented in an exhaustive critical apparatus.
The major part of these textual witnesses have not received the attention they
deserve. Now, for the first time, all these MSS have been examined in a
complete book of the NT. The full collation has brought many new readings to
light, some of which were only known through ancient versions, and previously
known and important readings have gained additional support.
The second task is to analyze the evidence from different perspectives. The
pursuit of the traditional goal of textual criticism, i.e., the reconstruction of the
history of the text, and, ultimately, the "original text" (or "initial text" as here
defined), is reflected in the adopted critical text of Jude. An accompanying
textual commentary explains the rationale behind the various text-critical
decisions in over 100 passages. An innovation is the employment of a new
rating system of a more descriptive nature than counterparts.
The history of the text is also the history of scribes who read and re-created their
texts for various reasons. Hence, there is a constant focus on individual
manuscripts and interesting manuscript readings throughout the study. Every
manuscript has a unique story to tell about the ancient copyists, owners and
users. In particular, the two earliest papyrus witnesses to Jude, P72 and P78 (ca.
300 C.E.), are studied in detail. Plates of these and other selected MSS are
published in the volume along with descriptions and transcriptions.
The study of the manuscripts above also includes a treatment of the literary and
text-critical relationship between 2 Peter and Jude. It is argued that the Epistle of
Jude has literary priority. Further, the textual traditions of the two writings show
that scribal harmonization between the parallel accounts occurs relatively
infrequently. Two significant witnesses, P72 and Codex Vaticanus (B 03), lack
such harmonization altogether.
Without any clear evidence to the contrary, the opening verse may rightly be
accepted as identifying the writer of the letter to have been Jude, the brother of
James. Of the two, James the brother of the Lord, was more prominent than Jude
and so would have been more widely known. Therefore, by referring to himself
as the brother of James, Jude made his identity clear.
Ancient tradition confirms that Jude was of the tribe of Judah in the royal line of
David, which agrees with the fact that the family into which Jesus Christ was
born had descended from David. In the second century CE, Hegesippus wrote
about the grandsons of Jude in connection with an incident during Domitian’s
reign, “And there still survived of the Lord’s family the grandsons of Jude, who
was said to be His brother, humanly speaking. These were informed against as
being of David’s line.” The grandsons were devoted disciples of the Lord Jesus
Christ and reportedly told Domitian that Christ’s kingdom was “not of this
world or anywhere on earth but angelic and in heaven.” They also mentioned
that Christ would return in glory to judge the living and the dead, repaying all
according to their conduct. (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III, xx, 1, 2, 6
[translated in English by G. A. Williamson])
The letter of Jude and 2 Peter contain quite a number of parallel thoughts. This,
however, is to be expected and does not necessarily reflect any direct
dependence on the part of either writer on the other. Both Jude and Peter drew
on examples found in the Scriptures and other sources, which examples Jews in
the first century CE knew well. Peter had close association with James and
doubtless also considerable contact with Jude. In view of the same subject
matter and apparent interaction between them over a period of years, it should
not really be surprising that Peter and Jude used the same well-known examples
when addressing matters relating to similar circumstances. Believers were then
faced with corruption from inside the congregations. Proponents of error tried to
gain followers for themselves, undermined the faith that rested on Christ as the
foundation, and diminished the need for disciples of Christ to maintain upright
Letter of Jude (KJV 1611)
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:
2: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
20: But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith,
praying in the Holy Ghost,
21: Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord
Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22: And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the
garment spotted by the flesh.
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.
Jude in detail
1-4. Contending for the faith
Verses 1-2. Salutation
The Salutation (Jude 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:” (Jude
The writer identifies himself as Jude, the servant of the Jesus Christ and the
brother of James. The New Testament mentions four men by the name Judas. In
Acts 9:11, Ananias is told to go to Judas' home and seek Saul of Tarsus. Another
Judas is mentioned in Acts 15:22 who bore the surname "Barsabas" but nothing
beyond this statement is known of him.
There were two Apostles named Judas, Judas Iscariot (Matt. 26:14-16) and
another Judas who was known as Lebbeus and Thaddeus (Matt. 10:3). Luke
6:16 and Acts 1:13 identifies this Apostle as "Judas the brother of James" and it
he who would write this small Epistle.
Some have questioned who was the James that was Judas' brother. There are
several James's mentioned in the New Testament. One was the Apostle John's
brother and there was the son of Alphaeus (Luke 6:14-15). Jude in identifying
himself as the "brother of James," stated his relationship with his well-known
brother James, who was the half-brother of the Lord Jesus. Judas was a very
common name and in noting himself as the Brother James the Lord's half-
brother, those who read this Epistle would know who he was and accept his
Like Jesus', half-brother James in his Epistle, Jude does not state his relationship
to the Lord. Both brothers rather humbly stated they are the "servants" of the
Jesus Christ. The word both brothers use is doulas meaning a slave. It refers to
both an involuntary and voluntary bond slave who sold himself into slavery or
servitude. Clearly, in this case, they sold themselves into the Lord's service
voluntarily when they believed and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and
The book of Jude was written in the period of 70-80 A.D. near the end of the
First Century. At least three decades had passed since the Lord Jesus returned to
heaven. It has been said that the Book of Acts describes the beginning of the
institution of the local church and Jude deals with the ending or the end of the
Church Age. The subject of the Book of Jude is extremely serious and must be
carefully studied. The whole of the book deals with apostasy and a turning away
from the faith.
The English word apostasy does not appear in the Bible, but the phrase turn
away is the Greek word apostrepho used five times in the New Testament. [See
Rom. 11:26, 2 Tim. 3:5, 2 Tim. 4:4, Heb. 12:25] The State of Believers in Jesus
Christ "Sanctified" (Jude 1)
Jude states that he is addressing the letter to those who are. The word sanctify
means to make holy or to purify being set apart for God's use and special
service. Many things in the Bible were said to be sanctified. The Sabbath Day
was sanctified by God, meaning set apart for special service (Gen. 2:3). The
Tabernacle and its furniture was set apart as the place of God's presence and for
worship (Exod. 29:43, Lev. 8:10). Jesus was sanctified by the Father (John
10:36); food is sanctified when offered in prayer (1 Tim. 4:5). The believer is
instructed to sanctify God in his heart (1 Pet. 3:15). Sanctification does not mean
to purify or to make sinless, but to set apart something for God and for His
service. In relation to the Christian, sanctification refers to being set apart unto
God from sin. There are three distinctly different aspects of this sanctification,
which refer to time. The believer has past, present, and future sanctification.
Every Christian can say, "I have been sanctified; I am being sanctified; I will yet
be sanctified." Sanctification is in three tenses:
“Past Sanctification means the believer is already positionally set apart in
Christ (Acts. 20:32; 1 Cor. 1:2; 1:30; 6:9-11; Heb. 10:10,14). At the new birth,
every believer is eternally sanctified in Christ, is brought from the power of the
devil into the family of God (John 1:14; Gal. 4:4-6), from the devil's kingdom
into Christ's kingdom (Col. 1:12,13); from the old creation into the new creation
(2 Cor. 5:17). This sanctification is an eternal reality, and is based on a new
spiritual position the Christian has in Jesus Christ. The Corinthian believers
were far from sinless, yet they were called saints and were said to have been
sanctified (1 Cor. 1:2,30). In this sense, the Christian can say, "I AM sanctified
Present Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit gradually
changes the believer's life to give victory over sin. This is practical
sanctification. This is Christian growth, putting away sin and putting on
godliness (Rom. 6:19,22; 1 Thess. 4:3,4; 1 Pet. 1:14-16). This present process of
sanctification never ends in this life (1 John. 1:8-10). The Christian must resist
sin until he is taken from this world at death or at the return of Christ. In this
sense, the Christian can say, "I AM BEING sanctified by God's power."
Future is the perfection the believer will enjoy at the resurrection (1 Thess.
5:23). At Christ's coming, every believer will receive a new body that will have
no sin. The Christian will no longer have to resist sin within or to grow toward
perfection. His sanctification will be complete. He will be wholly and forever set
apart to God from sin. In this sense, the Christian WILL BE sanctified at Christ's
The State of Believers in Jesus Christ "Preserved" (Jude 1)
Jude states that believers are also "preserved" in Jesus Christ. The word used is
tereo which is an interesting word. It denotes a continuing aorist action of
watching and guarding and keeping one's eye on something. Vines says, "The
aorist tense regards the continuous "preservation" of the believer as a single,
complete act, without reference to the time occupied in its accomplishment."
This stresses the absolute security of the believer in Jesus Christ. We are assured
by the Lord that we are forever His and have received eternal life. Twenty six
times in the New Testament God states the believer has eternal life. An
additional ten times this word is translated "everlasting life" stating the believer
is assured of an unending salvation. The word eternal is aionios and means
something that is perpetual or without end.
In Luke 18:1-8, the Lord Jesus told a parable of a woman who persistently
appealed to the ruling judge to avenge her of an adversary. This unjust judge
being wearied by the widow's pleading finally agreed to avenge her. Jesus then
said, "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto
him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them
speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the
earth?" (Luke 18:7-8) This refers to the state of truth at the end of the coming
seven-year Tribulation which ends with the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus
Christ. Although innumerable people will be saved during these seven years,
most will be martyred by the forces of the Antichrists and the false prophet.
Jesus' stated that only a remnant of true believers will remain alive at His
Second Coming. There will be great religion on earth, led by the False prophet,
but because of the growing apostasy, religion will be devoid of truth.
Paul warned Timothy that there was coming a time when people would not
abide sound doctrine. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, "I charge thee therefore
before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at
his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of
season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time
will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts
shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn
away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in
all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of
Thus, Paul speaks of the trend towards apostasy, which means that once sound
churches will turn from God's truth to false doctrine. This apostasy will be
marked by people who practice a semblance of the truth, but turn from an
outward worship of God to a worship of carnality. In other words, these
churches change from preaching God's word and edifying the Body of Christ to
one of satisfying the "lust of the flesh." These churches and people, heap
meaning to magnify, to themselves smooth [itching ears] talking teachers who
compromise and then abandon God's word to please the people. Without
question, we in this age are seeing the results of the trend that began many years
The State of Believers in Jesus Christ "Called" (Jude 1)
Jude lastly states that believers are "called." The word Jude uses is kletos and
refers to one who is invited or summoned. 1 Corinthians 1:9 says "God is
faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our
Lord." Jesus in Revelation 3:20 presents the Lord Jesus standing outside the
door saying, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with
me." Luke 19:10 states, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that
which was lost." Thus, God has called all men to come and receive the salvation
through Jesus Christ the Lord. The calling is the preaching of the Gospel, the
Good news that Jesus the Christ has come and He suffered and died for our sins
and was resurrected on the third day, victorious over sin and death. Thus,
because of Christ Jesus’ atoning work, a man in simple faith can repent of his
sins, be forgiven, and received eternal life.
The Source of Strength in the Christian Life (Jude 2)
"Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied."
The believer receives salvation by the mercy of God. This is the result of God's
love for us as His creation. There is no more profound truth in God's word than
the fact of the love God has extended to man. Yet, all men to do not reap the
benefit of His love, because they allow their sins to separate themselves from
God. He offers totally forgiveness of sins and eternal life, but He does not force
it upon us. Many a child has broken the hearts of their parents by rejecting their
love and rebelling against them. This is the same thing that most men do toward
God. He offers His love freely and generously, however few accept His love and
the resulting benefits, His love brings.
God's love is limited by the fact that He is also just in all things. The sin debt
man owes the Lord Jesus Christ has paid. However, the payment can only be
applied to those who will accept it. If a person rejects God, he rejects the only
mean there is to pay for his sins. God's only requirement for a man is to believe
Him when He says He is our Saviour, and that He suffered and died for our sins
and that He arose from the dead and defeated both sin and death for us.
Jude in his salutation extends his well wishes for those who would read his
epistle. He first wishes for them that they experience the wonderful mercy of
God. Mercy is only needed by those that are guilty and have experienced sin.
The word "mercy" addresses need for relief from the misery that sins causes. All
sin has a destructive effect in our lives, and Jude is wishing that believers would
experience God's comfort from sin. This would naturally apply to the believer,
but it would also apply to those around us. Other men's sins affect us also. Sin
makes a victim of the one committing the sin and also those to who come in
contact with the sinner.
Jude continues by stating his desire that their peace and love be multiplied. The
peace of God is available to the one who believes and puts their trust in Jesus
Christ. [See John 14:27] Romans 5:1-2 states this truth, "Therefore being
justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By
whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice
in hope of the glory of God." That peace is something that the unsaved man
Paul said in Philippians 4:6-7 "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto
God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your
hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." God gives the Christian a new nature
which can experience this unexplainable peace that comes with salvation. The
child of God knows that whatever his circumstance, he will always be in God's
family, bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. He has the assurance
that God will keep him and see him safely to heaven. [See 2 Tim. 1:12, 1 Peter
1:3-4] This is especially meaningful because we know that we are all sinners
and prone to fail. However, we have a sure promise that God will never forsake
us. [See Heb. 13:5]
Though we have the peace of God in our hearts, it does not mean that we
automatically experience the comfort that peace brings. Paul explains this in
Romans 8:6 "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is
life and peace." There is no peace for the person who is carnally minded whether
they are a Christian or not. In Galatians 5:22, the Lord says that one of the fruits
of the Spirit is peace and verse 25 states if a believer is in fact, saved, and living
in the Spirit, we ought also to walk in the Spirit. Clearly, a believer can live
apart from the Lord, and that is why Ephesians 5:18 says, "And be not drunk
with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" Therefore, the word
of God reveals that every child of God has the ability to experience fully God's
peace in their lives. It also is true that sin will cause us one to lose their peace.
By receiving the mercy of God, we can be cleansed of our sinning and know
God's perfect peace. [See 1 John 1:9] Peace then is multiplied when one who
knows the Lord lives their lives obediently and purely for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Love too is multiplied by the same process. Loving others is not automatic, but
is based on a person's conscious commitment and desire for the welfare of
others. Ephesians 5:2 encourages us, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath
loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a
sweet-smelling savour." Both peace and love come from the quality of one's
walk in Christ. Both grow in the fertile soil of a contrite heart which directs the
believer in obedience and commitment to God.
No one can serve God apart from serving others. The one who has experienced
God's love is grateful for it. He will then past the love he received on to others.
Biblical love, [agape love] is the sincere desire for the well-being of others that
is placed into action.
Verses 3-4. The occasion of the letter (epistle)
Judas' Purpose in Writing this Epistle (Jude 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."
No pastor, evangelist or teacher likes to dwell on the negative, but rather prefers
to exhort or uplift his hears. It is much more cheerful to talk about the positive
things in God's word, and a positive message is more likely to please the
audience. Nonetheless, in reality, the Bible has more negative things to say than
positive. Jesus spoke more about hell than He did about heaven. The largest
percentage of His teaching was warning against sin and disobedience to God.
When Jesus began His ministry of teaching and performing miracles great
numbers of people followed Him. His theme was of the coming kingdom God
had promised the Jews. It along with His feeding the people was well received.
However, when He began to rebuke the Jewish leaders and people of their sin
and hypocrisy, they began to leave Him in mass. The religious leaders even
began to plot to kill Him. His message, like ours should be today, was one of
hope, salvation and also warning people about the consequences of sin.
Jude states his heart's desire was to write on the subject of their common
salvation in Jesus Christ. However, because many were turning away from the
faith, and there was a great need to bring to their remembrance the growing
apostasy and challenge them to earnestly contend for the faith.
He begins by addressing them as "beloved." The term refers to people loved by
God and also by the writer. It is a term that denotes a special endearment to
those that one has a close relationship with. The word carries the meaning of
someone deeply caring for another person. Using the title authenticates the
importance of what the writer is about to say in the letter. Jude is saying,
"Following is a message that comes from the heart, shows my concern for you
and is one of great importance."
He reminds them of the need to "contend for the faith once delivered unto the
saints." It is a sad fact that as time progresses many professing Christians and
churches abandon the biblical heritage and truth they once held. They buy into
the idea that, the things which were done in the past is of little or no value today.
Truth and doctrine become "old fashioned" and modern self-proclaimed
intellectuals belittle their biblical heritage with their new ideas they claim are
better. They promote the idea that everything in the past is outdated and has
been made ineffective by time. For example, the hymns of the faith that are
based on the word of God, that nourished and uplifted the saints of God for
decades is now boring. So these new "leaders" lead their congregation to sing
catchy entertaining two or three-line choruses that do not present Scripture, but
are rather only little religious clichés.
In most cases, the first thing to go is spiritual discernment, which is followed by
a use of modern Bible translations, a shift in the church's music toward
contemporary and worldly songs that appeal to the flesh. This is accompanied
by weak watered down preaching, that results in ignoring biblical worship and a
rejection of sound doctrine. All this develops into an emotional worldly method
of evangelism where the scriptures are not adequate in themselves to win the
lost. Their converts are won with a 1-2-3 presentation that is devoid of
repentance or a realization of man’s sinful state. Thus, the pulpit becomes a
stage for the preacher to entertain his audience and put on a show. Their
message becomes the false health and wealth gospel and God’s word is mixed
with psychology. By this time, God has long since left the congregation. God
will not be a party to apostasy and a watering down of His word.
The Pretenders - the Apostate False Teachers (Jude 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."
An excellent statement concerning the men who come into churches and lead
them astray. "The apostle (Jude) now gives a reason for thus defending the truth,
to wit, that there were artful and wicked men who had crept into the church,
pretending to be religious teachers, but whose doctrines tended to sap the very
foundations of truth." The fact these false teachers were able to creep into a
church shows the shepherd of the church and/or the people let their guard down.
They clearly were complacent and content watchmen sleep on the job. The
word "ordained" means it was "fore written." The Lord Jesus warns us of these
"wolves in sheep's clothing”:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but
inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do
men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A
good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring
forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn
down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know
them." (Matthew 7:15-20) Paul also warned of the future turning from the
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall
depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of
devils;" (1 Timothy 4:1 ) Churches are rarely destroyed from outside. It is
the Devil's cunning trick to send in a uncalled man who is poorly trained
and equipped for the ministry. These "hirelings,", having no call of God,
aspire to the ministry as a profession. They are smooth talkers often well
versed in modern psychology. Their message is weak and watery and
contains no meat. In order to hold the crowd they turn to music and
It behoves every church of God that loves the Lord and His word to be on
guard. The adversary has such a man readily and available to move and take
over every sound biblical church. These outward charismatic preachers change
the grace of God into lasciviousness, which means something indecent, wanton
and without restraint.
The acts of leading God's people away from the truth means they deny the Lord
and Jesus Christ. They clearly have no fear of God and trample on God's word
as if it were dirt. Their hearts are seared as if with a hot iron to the acceptance of
biblical truth. They use the Bible stealing from it familiar phrases and passages
which they twist into tools to aid their deception. Most of all, in glowing terms,
they proclaim how much they love the Lord.
In Paul's instructions to Titus, he admonished him to hold fast to God's truth.
Titus 1:9-11 "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may
be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For
there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the
circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses,
teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."
The last phrase of the above verse gives the main motive for these people having
“ministries.” They do so for the sake of "filthy lucre" or money. They have sold
their souls to the Devil, and their reward is filthy money. As Jesus warned in
Matthew 7:15 there are men, false teachers, the actual enemies of God, who will
come into a congregation of God's people to destroy them by corrupting God's
truth. Jesus said they are wolves who come in sheep's clothing to disguise their
true identity and intent.
The phrase ". . .before of old ordained to the condemnation," means their
appearance and sinful work was predicted. The Greek word pareisduno
translated "crept in unawares" is a unique word only used this once in the New
Testament. It describes the use of cunning words and clever deceptions. In extra
biblical use in the First Century, the word was used of a criminal who secretly
slipped back into the country after being expelled. It literally means to "go down
into and alongside." So these "certain" men who are cunning deceivers secretly
slip into a church and clever begin to destroy it. Jude uses the term
"lasciviousness" to describe the acts of these men who pervert God's grace. The
word "lascivious" means to be wanton or lustful in nature. These false teachers
engage in shameless conduct.
Paul repeatedly warned against people who creep into churches and destroy
them. When he left Ephesus, he gave them stern instructions. This was a serious
matter for the Apostle. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the
flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the
church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this,
that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing
the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to
draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the
space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."
These false teachers present themselves as being wonderful people who love the
Lord, all the while denying God and the Lord Jesus by their false doctrines and
practices. They come as nice, intellectual, and caring people. Yet, as 2
Corinthians 11:14-15 says they are the agents of Satan.
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the
ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
(2 Corinthians 11:14-15)
The adversary (Satan) is not some hideous red creature with horns and a pointed
tail, and he comes as an "angel [messenger] of light." He comes with some new
teaching that tickles the ears of his hearers, and he leads unwary people astray.
Note what Paul said about them to young Timothy.
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men
shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,
blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural
affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of
those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures
more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the
power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
They appear to be godly sincere people who have a form of godliness. These are
not outwardly evil people, but people who are very religious and have a
charisma about them that disarms people and causes people to follow
them. Jesus warned us to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees in
Matthew 16:6. Leaven in the Bible represents an evil influence that permeates
the congregation. It perverts God's truth and work and effectively limits God's
ability to work. The effect of having this element in a church is that it hinders
God's blessings and work. The Devil knows that God cannot bless false
teachings, practices, and those that compromise God's word by mixing truth
The adversary’s plan is to send unbelievers into a church to disrupt it. It is clear
that by their actions, as Jude says that they are, “. . . denying the only Lord God
and our Lord Jesus Christ." Understand that outwardly these deceivers are very
subtle in how they deny the Lord. They will outward claim to love God, but
actually are apostates who do not believe God's word.
The gambit of apostasy goes from seemingly living a Christian life, to living in
open rebellion against God. They will often even reject His deity. In a real
sense, a person who claims to be a Christian and does not live for the Lord is, in
truth, denying Him. Such people do not fear God and have no appreciation for
His person and righteousness. They live with a false sense of immunity from
God's judgment of sin, which marks them as being unbelievers.
The warning should not fall on deaf ears. Pastors and congregations should be
diligent in discernment ever watchful for Satan's attempts to corrupt God's truth
and destroy His work. They should be supportive of their godly pastor who God
has called to lead the flock and protect them from the wolves that come in
5-7. Historical warnings of God’s judgment
Verse 5. The Israelites in the wilderness
Verse 6. The fallen angels
Verse 7. The sinners of Sodom and Gomorrah
God will Judge False Teachers (Jude 5-7)
"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. 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. 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." (Jude 5-7)
Jude uses several examples of God's actions in past history as a reminder that
God is a just God and will judge sin and disobedience. When God delivered the
Children of Israel from Egypt, He did so with many miracles. Israel was crying
out in their bondage and asking God for deliverance from Pharaoh. [See Exodus
2:23-25] God then graciously brought them out of Egypt and promised to protect
and care for them. Many believed God, but others, although physically delivered
from Egypt, had not been delivered spiritually. That was apparent by their
murmuring and disobedience.
At Kadesbarnea God brought them to the threshold of their new land, a land of
milk and honey. He promised to fight for them as He had when He delivered
them from Egypt. God promised that He would deliver them also from the
Canaanites. However, when the spies returned out the land, only Joshua and
Caleb showed themselves to be believers. The rest did not believe God's
promises and refused to move into Canaan on faith trusting in God. Their
unbelief caused God to not be able to bless them. He cannot bless when people
will not in faith believe His word. So God condemned them all. They wandered
in the desert for forty years until every adult in Israel had died that had not
believed God. Only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to live and go into Canaan.
God's past blessing does not assure that He will continue to bless when people
follow false teachers and go into apostasy and reject God by their unbelief. At
Kadeshbarnea, God's man, Moses, told them of God's plan and of His promise to
give them the land. Nevertheless, the people listened to the ten faithless and
unbelieving spies. Rather than believe God's word, delivered to them by Moses,
they followed the ungodly spies who denied God.
This is the warning of Jude. God's people must be discerning and believe God or
suffer the consequences. With God's people, it is not a matter of not knowing
God's will and truth, because we have God's word, to instruct us. However, the
problem is that faithless men ignore God's promises and allow themselves to be
deceived. Today, there are many faithful men in God's pulpits preaching God's
truth and warning their congregations of sin and disobedience. Yet, often comes
along a "nice" more impressive leader with charisma who cunningly leads the
people astray. The result will always be the same as it was with Israel. God
destroyed not only the unrighteous spies, but all the unbelievers in Israel who
followed them. This a solemn warning of what He will do whenever people
Many a church because of following false teachers has gone into apostasy and
should have the name Ichabod written across it doors, meaning that the glory of
the Lord had departed. [See 1 Sam. 4:19-22] Rarely, if ever does a church that
abandons God's truth, ever repent and return to God. It is the little foxes that
spoil the vines, meaning small seemingly insignificant compromises in God's
word are the leaven that destroys the lump. God forbid that any true pastor or
child of God become complacent and give an inch of ground to the wolves that
are ever circling our congregations ready to devour. Jude in verse six gives
another example of God's unwavering justice. Satan rebelled against God and
lead a fourth of the angels in heaven to disobey God. [See Ezekiel 28:12-14,
Isaiah 14:12-15] God, however, did not spare them and has reserved them for
"everlasting chains under darkness" to be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire.
These angels committed a terrible atrocity by willingly rebelling against God
and following Satan. God judged them and confined them in a special place, and
they are there today. Note the statement, "under darkness" is added to describe
further their plight. The Lake of Fire is permeated by fire, yet this fire produces
no light. The place is in utter or complete darkness. There is no contact with
others in the darkness of the Lake of Fire, and this verse seems to imply the
inhabitants are in complete isolation. Such is the judgment of God against
It is vital that we understand that the angels chose to leave "their first estate."
With the full knowledge of God and who He is, they willingly refused to believe
Him and thus rebelled and condemned themselves. In the same way, Jude is
warning people who know of God, even with a head knowledge of His existence
which all men have, [See Romans 1:18-23] that if they reject God they too put
themselves beyond God's mercy and into His wrath.
Peter also uses the same examples in presenting the truth of the judgment of God
against those who reject God's truth.
"And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make
merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not,
and their damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that
sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of
darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but
saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the
flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them
an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly." (2 Peter 2:3-6)
At this point, it needs to be emphasized that those that went into apostasy were
unsaved angels and people. The angels were untried and when the test came of
whether they believed and honoured God a portion of them rejected Him. [This
shows angels have wills.] Those that go into apostasy are not saved born-again
people. They are people who have "religion," or a head knowledge of God, but
do not have the new birth. They give some intellectual assent to the existence of
God, but it is not from the heart and they have not submitted themselves to
Christ in faith. The true believer who puts his faith in Jesus Christ, with a heart
felt faith, are saved as Romans 10:10 states. It is true that a believer can turn
from following the Lord. 1 John 5:16 states there is sin a Christian can commit,
which will lead to his physical death. [See 1 Corinthians 11:28-31, Hebrews
12:6-10] The true child of God cannot fall away from God's grace and be lost,
but he can fall into sin. Hebrews 6:4-11 explains that it is impossible for one
who is born again, receiving the Spirit of God to be lost. The impossibility of a
Christian being lost is shown in that if it were possible Christ would have to be
In verse seven, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha are presented as a further
demonstration that God will judge and punish sin. Jude says the Sodomites gave
themselves over to the gross sin. In other words, they willingly chose the
lifestyle they knew was wrong. God destroyed both cities and its inhabitants in
judgment for their blatant sin. Here the extent of the judgment is stated in that
their judgment was the "vengeance (punishment) of eternal fire."
Jude Denounces the Apostates (Jude 8-10)
"Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and
speak evil of dignities. 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. 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."
Jesus in the parable of the sower described the seed that fell by the way side.
The Lord speaking of these seeds said in Mark 4:15-17, "And these are they by
the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh
immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these
are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard
the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves,
and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth
for the word's sake, immediately they are offended."
Clearly, Jesus is saying that although they initially assented to God's word
outwardly they never allowed it to take root in their lives. What they learned of
God was not believed from their hearts. [See Rom. 10:9-20] When something
came into their lives that distracted them from the Lord, He no longer appealed
8-16. False teachers
Verse 8. Their presumption indicated.
Verses 9-10. Their presumption illustrated
Verse 11. Reasons for their woe
While in verses 5-7, Jude warned about past apostasies in the Old Testament and
of its consequences. God judged those who turned from God's truth and He "in
like manner" [verse 8] will continue to do so with all who reject Him today.
Jude calls these false teachers "filthy dreamers." The word "filthy," correctly
added by the King James Bible translators explains the state of these apostate
teachers. It emphasizes the seriousness and degree of sin they commit. Paul
describes them in Romans 1:21-23.
"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither
were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was
darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed
the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man,
and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also
gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour
their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie,
and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed
for ever. Amen."
The apostasy of these evil people was not done ignorantly. They fully knew who
God is and yet in their pride elevated themselves over God and deliberately
changed the glory of our incorruptible God into one of corruption made in the
likeness of sinful man.
Jude identifies them "dreamers," which means to see dreams or delusions. The
word is a verb, meaning “being given over to sensuous dreaming.” The word
used by Jude for “dreamers” is not the word that normally refers to a dream.
Rather this word refers to a confused state of the soul, an abnormal imagination
that holds the dreamer captive by ungodly sensuality. In other words, their
teachings are the rooted in their delusional and sinful minds warped by sin. It is
the mark of an apostate, as well as a cult, that their teaching is unrealistic and
unnatural. [See 1 Cor. 2:14] How frustrating it is to try and explain God's truth
to these blind and unhearing people. In their own feelings of pride in their
intellect and knowledge reject God's truth off hand. The do not see themselves
as sinners and will not repent and be saved. Thinking themselves to be wise,
they make themselves to be fools and "blind guides." [See Matthew 23:16, 24]
Jude explains that these unregenerate false teachers, masquerade as speaking for
God, and will eventually expose themselves as hypocrites. In some way, in time,
their immoral hearts will be revealed and they will be shown who they are
inwardly. There are many examples of this in any branch of Christianity.
Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit. (Matthew 23:33). It has been well
said, "That you can fool some of the people most of the time, but you cannot
fool all the people all the time." What baffles the mind is that in spite of sinful
scandals and blatant false teachings these apostates prospered because millions
of people sent them money.
Another mark of these false teachers is that they hate authority. That is what the
term "despise dominion" means. Dominion refers to authority. God's plan for his
ministers is to be responsible to the local church. God's plan is that those who
lead and teach His people are accountable to God's local congregation as that
assembly follows God's word. The authority of a Bible believing church is
God’s word. The apostate will reject that God’s word is the only authority. For
example the Roman Catholic Church vehemently denies the authority of Bible
and proclaim their authority in their traditions and councils.
What they are ultimately rejecting is the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and His
authority. They set themselves up as being more enlightened and superior than
the lesser people in the church. They pride themselves in being "non-
denominational" which, in reality, means being "non doctrinal." Instead of
supporting the uncompromising principles of God's word they pride themselves
in being ecumenical and not dogmatic. They purport that they are people who
love others and do not judge them. The truth is their actions are wholly self-
centred and selfish. They truly are ravaging wolves in sheep's clothing.
Another trait of the false apostate teachers is speaking evil of dignities. In verse
nine, Jude explains the seriousness of this gross sin by saying that even Michael
the Archangel when contending with Satan over Moses' body did not speak a
word against him. Rather, Michael responded by saying the "Lord rebuke thee."
The degree of the depravity to which these false teachers descend is the point of
this statement. These people having no respect for authority other than
themselves will slander and criticize God's pastors and children who are
Jude 10 states the true condition of false teachers. They can run shod over the
Gospel, the deity of Jesus Christ, the supernatural Being of our God and Creator,
and His works and word without a twinge of conscience. Spiritually, false
teachers are morally corrupt, intellectually, and certainly spiritually blind. They
are arrogant, disrespectful and blaspheme God's truth with an false sense of
impunity. They boldly criticize God's truth, which they do not know anything
about. It is very difficult to carry on a sensible conversation or dialog with them.
I once heard a statement that I think clearly expresses the problem. It says,
"They do not even know enough to known they do not know anything." That is a
pitiful state for a person to be in. God states their predicament in the following
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they
are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)
"But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak
evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their
own corruption;" (2 Peter 2:12)
If we are realistic, we will understand that the false teachers who read the book
of Jude, which so plainly exposes them for what they are, are little impressed by
God's description of them. Being the hypocrite, they are not open to accepting
any criticism of themselves, and further will go to any length to mask who they
In referring to these unregenerate teachers both Jude and Peter refer to them as
"brute beasts." This is a harsh statement that says the state of their minds are
such, that they think like an animal. Animals are not capable of reasoning, but
are controlled by their animal nature. The highest goal of an animal is to fill its
belly and fulfil the desires of their bodies. This is a shocking description to
apply to any man, saying that he acts like a dumb animal. But this description is
not for the benefit of the false teacher, but for the instruction of God's people, so
they can be wary and discerning of those the Devil may send their way.
Describing the False Teachers (Jude 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."
Jude associates the sin of these false teachers with three Old Testament
characters. Each one of these mentioned had a particular sin that marked their
lives in opposing God and misleading God's people. Cain was an arrogant man
who knew of God and His truth, but willingly rejected Him. Instead of accepting
God's word literally as God instructed Adam and Eve, who conveyed it to their
two sons, he twisted it to fit his own ideas. Cain had no respect for God. He
rejected God's stated instruction about offering an animal sacrifice and as a
farmer offered fruit from his fields to God. Cain was the first apostate. God's
purpose in giving them the instruction of offering an animal sacrifice was to
fore-shadow the coming promised Messiah. [See Genesis 3:15] Everything that
the Lord has instructed man to do religiously, He has always explained and Cain
and Abe knew the animal sacrifice pre-pictured the coming sacrifice for sin of
However, Cain would not accept giving a blood sacrifice because he had no
faith or trust in God. [See Hebrews 11:4] When it was rejected by God, Cain
showed his rebellion by becoming ". . . very wroth, and his countenance fell."
(Genesis 4:5). Sin and evil are always accompanied with false doctrine. Cain in
anger, rose up against his brother Abe and murdered him.
Jude uses the example of Balaam in Genesis 22-25. When Balak, the king of
Moab, wanted to defeat Israel he called on a false prophet to aid him. He could
not defeat them militarily, so he sought another method. God then visited
Balaam and told him not to curse Israel because He had blessed them. Balaam,
fully knowing the will of God, and having received instruction directly from
Him went to Balak and said he could not curse Israel and he left. Balak,
unsatisfied with Balaam's refusal, sent princes to persuade him to help. Balaam
again, knowing God's will, said he would come if the king would give him "a
house full of silver and gold." (Gen. 22:18) Balaam then headed to see Balak
and collect booty. However, an angel blocked his way. The ass that Balaam was
riding saw the angel and refused to go forward. Three times Balaam beat the ass
and finally God opened the mouth of the ass and it spoke to Balaam, rebuking
him for his actions. God then opened Balsam's eyes so he could see the angel.
Balaam fell to the ground and confessed that he had sinned against God. He
returns to Balak and once again refuses to aid him telling him that God has
forbidden him to do so.
Balak the king is undeterred and again seeks Balaam sending him sheep and
oxen to entice him to come. Once again, God meets Balaam when he offers
sacrifices on seven altars. God tells Balaam He has blessed Israel and Balaam is
not to curse them. Balaam, in Balak's presence, offers a blessing on Israel.
Numbers 31:16 records in spite of what God said, Balaam advised Balak to
instruct the women of Moab to commit idolatry and immorality with the men of
Israel. They did and corrupted the men of Israel and that brought on Israel God's
judgment. God has instructed Israel not to allow relations with the women of
Moab. Thus, the sin of Balaam and Israel was in disobeying God for financially
gain and sensual lust. God then judged Israel for their disobedience and allowing
themselves to be misled.
Jude says these false teachers have "perished in the gainsaying of Co're [Korah].
The word gainsaying means "against the word." [Greek - anitlogia] Korah was
Moses' cousin who resented that he was excluded from being a priest. He, in
pride, envied Moses for being Israel's leader. Korah then lead a rebellion against
Moses telling the people the false message that they did not need Moses or
priests. Two hundred and fifty in Israel followed Korah in his rebellion against
God and Moses. They rejected God's order of having an appointed priest and
leader before Him for the people. The reason for the priesthood was to pre-
shadow the coming of the Messiah as our high priest, who would be the
intermediary for the people. [See Heb. 4:14-15; 5:5, 10; 6:20; 7:26] Korah told
the people they did not need an intermediary, and could administer for
themselves, thus denying God's promise of the Redeemer and clear instructions.
God dealt with Korah directly and the ground opened up and swallowed him, his
family and even their houses and goods. God sent a fire and consumed those two
hundred and fifty men who believed Korah and offered a false incense on the
altar to God. Korah taught a works salvation that men could save themselves by
their own works and in doing so rejected God's salvation. Those that follow in
Korah's footsteps deny the need of Jesus Christ, His atoning work on the cross,
or His word. They preach a works salvation. The idea so often heard says, "We
all are working in our way to God, only in different ways and God honours them
all." Part of their strategy is to belittle God's true servants who preach and
believe His word.
Verses 12-13. Their spiritual sterility
The Condemnation of False Teachers (Jude 12-13 )
"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;
Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to
whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever."
The feasts that Jude refers to are called "love feasts" and are addressed by Paul
in 1 Corinthians 11:20-22. The verse is saying these apostates, who were at the
love feasts, were "spots" in their fellowship. A spot normally is thought of as
something that has contaminated what otherwise would be pure. Here the word
refers to a hidden rock or reef under the sea that could rip the bottom out of a
ship. The false teacher is an ever present danger lurking just out of sight waiting
to destroy the unwary ship. They are described as being clouds without water
carried about by of winds. A cloud without water can produce no rain on which
plants must live. These waterless clouds look like productive clouds, but are
empty. Further, they are carried about of the wind. Within the last decade we
have seen examples of a number of these teachers who with great fanfare and
excitement promote new movements.
One of the worst was the Promise Keepers Movement that was in the limelight
for a number of year. With its emotional appeal and unbiblical teachings, it
made the founders a great amount of money. Other such empty promotions are
the "prayer of Jabez" that made its promoters millions of dollars. It too ignored
the context of 1 Corinthians 4:10, and the situation in which this prayer was
prayed and used it to promote the false health and wealth gospel. These
movements were promoted as offering great spiritual benefit, but they all failed
because they were not based on biblical principles and they were spiritually
empty; clouds without water.
Jude says they are like trees whose fruit withers, who are ". . . twice dead
plucked up by the roots." Jesus said in Matthew 15:13, "But he answered and
said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted
up." The analogy is that these apostate teachers are like barren, dead trees that
are good for nothing but to be plucked up and destroyed. False teachers are also
spiritually dead inside and cannot produce good fruit. Jude says they are "twice
dead" which means they are like trees in the winter, dead and devoid of leaves
and fruit. Even when summer comes these trees remain dead showing they have
no life in them.
It is easy to see the righteous indignation of Jude in his description of the
apostate teachers who stealthily invade churches. He recognizes their destructive
and evil influence on a local congregation and its ministry. Jude shows
"righteous indignation" as God's true servant, seeing these things occurring
among God’s people. Several times the Bible uses a raging sea to characterize
the unbeliever. Like a raging sea which is in turmoil, so is the one who does not
believer God. Jude paints a picture of despair which typifies the life of a man
apart from God, wandering without true purpose and headed into the darkness of
the final judgment reserved for the sinner who rejects God.
God's Faith Prophets (Jude 14-16)
Verses 14-15. Their judgment predicted
Verse 16. Their character reviewed
"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold,
the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 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. 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."
It is interesting that Jude mentions Enoch, who was the seventh generation from
Adam, and prophesied of the coming of these apostate teachers. Genesis 5:24
says of Enoch, "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took
him." He was unique because he pleased God and the Lord took him to heaven
directly, without him seeing death. Enoch was the only prophet before Noah that
the Bible mentions. Only Jude mentions the prophecy of Enoch. God revealed
through him this truth that no one else recorded. 2 Peter 1:21 says, "For the
prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as
they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
Enoch further prophesied of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus and of the
apostates who would also come. Enoch, foretold that Jesus would come with " . .
. ten thousands of his saints." (Jude 14) The word "saints" is translated from the
Greek word hagios which means a "holy one." The number “ten thousand” is the
word murias and refers to a “innumerable multitude or unlimited number” of
God’s saints. What a comfort and joy it is to know that those who have believed
and placed their faith in Jesus Christ will be among this great throng of God's
children. We will return to earth after being Raptured at the being of the
Tribulation and then stand before Christ at the BEMA judgment. [See 1 Cor.
3:10-15] The born-again Christian will return at the Second Coming, and in the
Lord's army will serve Him in His Millennial Kingdom which He promised to
Israel for all eternity.
Enoch says that when the Lord returns He comes to execute judgment. This is
given as a stern warning to the apostate teachers and predicts their doom. In this
present time, the false teachers boldly proclaim their false teachings and practice
their unbiblical deeds. By their actions, they defy Almighty God, but at this
time, they are called to task. The phrase ". . . convince all that are ungodly
among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have been ungodly
committed," should shake the apostates to their core. The word "convince"
means to bring conviction. They denied God in their lives, but at the Second
Coming, they will no more rebel and blaspheme God's word. No longer will
these rebellious people deceive the people. Their end has come; God’s
longsuffering is over, and the Lord begins swift judgment of them. These false
and apostate people can be identified by their character. They are murmurers or
grippers, forever complaining about something. Their lives are marked by
pursuing the lusts of their flesh. They are great talkers, always having a
comment on everything that is brought up, and they with "swelling words"
meaning, with pompous arrogance, present themselves as experts on everything.
The phrase, ". . . having men's persons in admiration because of advantage" is a
literal rendering of the Greek text. It means these people used flattery to get the
advantage over people. Everyone likes to be complimented and have nice things
said about them, and it is a powerful tool for those seeking to dupe other people
and control them. These are the "positive" preachers who play up to the
audience and preach to please the crowd. They are the leaders of Protestant
denominations who have removed the word "hell" from their preaching and
from their hymn or song books. Further, they never mention the shed blood of
Jesus Christ lest the mention of blood offend anyone. These are men who smile
like "Cheshire cats," all the while praising everyone and everything thing.
Preaching on sin, the blood of Christ, hell, or warning men of the consequences
of unbelief is taboo with them. They certainly would not say anything that
would offend the sinner or expose his sin. [See John 3:19-20] Theirs is a social
gospel of a false love and good that waters down God's truth and corrupts it with
human psychology that neither saves nor comforts the sinner.
Encouragement for Believers and closing benediction (Jude 17-25)
Verses 17-23. Exhortations to God’s own
Verses 24-25. Closing benediction
"But, beloved, 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, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who
separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up
yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves
in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal
life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with
fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."
If the letter had stopped at verse 16 surely the believer would be left discouraged
and frustrated at learning of the power of Satan and his apostates who work
against truth and the gospel. It is always disquieting to know that one's church
could be so easily penetrated by those that follow Satan, and who disrupt the
work of God. No one wants to learn there may be traitors in their group.
However, Jude offers encouragement and reminds the child of God of the words
of the Apostles about the Lord Jesus. Jude is saying this is not something that
was unexpected, but it was predicted. The Apostles plainly said these apostates
would be in the last times who would be in the churches and who would be
living for themselves, satisfying their ungodly lusts. [See Act 20:29; 1 Tim. 4:1-
2; 2 Tim. 3:1-5, 13; 4:3; 2 Peter 2:1, 3:3] These false teachers would separate
themselves from God's people and from truth and mislead many.
Once again, Jude uses the word "sensual." These apostate false teachers were all
exposed to the truth and the word of God, but each of the founders of the cults
rejected God's truth and like Cain invented their own religion. Jude is saying
these men present themselves as being great spiritual leaders, but they in truth
are totally physical or men driven by sensual lusts. Lust and sexual immorality
are found in all these people. These ungodly men thought themselves spiritually
higher and superior than the ordinary man. Think of the sexual scandals
associated with the founders of the modern cults and of the modern televangelist
who hawk their false gospel to line their pockets.
Further there are the intellectual theologians and liberal church leaders who look
down their long noses at the fundamentalists, and those who believe the Bible
literally. They look upon them with ridicule and disdain. With their perceived
superior intellect they belittle anyone who is not their crowd. Many are awed by
their blatant false superiority and outward charisma. But as Jude said in verse
12, “. . . they are barren of life and twice dead.”
The contrast between the false apostates and those who believe and serve God is
without comparison. One is empty, vain, ungodly, and devoid any glimmer of
anything spiritual or worthwhile. These apostates parade on their stages with
great pomp and ceremony offering those who follow them a higher religion and
a false hope. Yet, those that have the truth and true hope are those who are so
simple minded, that they in child like faith accept God’s word. The apostate has
only contempt for the humble child of God, who has believed and received the
very spirit of God, in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. True and godly believers
are growing in the Lord and building their lives on a most holy faith. They are
those that are the prayer warriors realizing their frailty and dependence on God
and are ever praying seeking God’s help and guidance for their lives. These
godly saints of God by their faithfulness and obedience keep themselves in the
love of God, seeking His mercy and salvation through the work of Jesus Christ.
These are the ones who honour our wonderful loving God and serve Him.
However, their very existence is a rebuke to the apostates and for centuries they
have borne the contempt.
Closing benediction and our consolation and sure hope (Jude 24-25)
“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, To the only wise
God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and
ever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25)
In the face of such powerful forces that are working against the cause of Christ,
one could become discouraged. It often seems like the Devil is winning all the
battles and our efforts to reach the lost are constantly being sabotaged. The false
teachers have great resources that they use to reach millions of people. Their
deceptive message is cunning, and it lures gullible men and women. We feel like
John the Baptist, who was a “. . . voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare
ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:3)
Jude is saying that in spite of the false teachers, the believer’s salvation is
secure in Christ Jesus. God is able to keep us from falling. It is God who keeps
us saved and will not allow any of His children to be lost. God assures the
believer saying, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which
according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by
the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible,
and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are
kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in
the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
God says the believer will one day be presented faultless before the presence of
the Lord. That will be a wonderful day to see unobstructed the glory of God and
experience the “exceeding joy” of finally being delivered from the sin of this
world. It will be a joyous moment for the believer, who has put his faith in the
shed blood of Jesus Christ. He will be going home and will see the One who
redeemed him and has made him His children. We should take great comfort in
the truth of our promised homecoming. We cannot, in this life understand fully,
what a great salvation God has prepared for us. However, this we know, it will
be wonderful and beyond our most imaginative expectations. This truth should
stir our hearts toward praising and honouring Him who is our Saviour. Yes, all
glory and majesty, dominion, and power are His, and best of all it is present now
and forever. The believer has the abiding presence of the Lord to aid him in his
struggles with sin and in the opposition of the Adversary.
The Dead Sea at dusk. Jude reminded his readers of the fate of the cities of the
Plain, Sodom and Gomorrah.
Questionnaire on Jude
Jude's Introduction and Purpose (1-4)
1. How does Jude describe himself (1)?
2. How does he describe God’s people (1)?
3. What is distinctive about what he wishes for them (2)?
4. What would our world wish?
5. What is the purpose for this book of Jude (3)?
6. How does Jude generally accomplish this purpose throughout this book?
7. Why is it so important to ‘contend’ for the ‘delivered’ faith (3)?
8. How do you determine the value about fighting? Is it worth going to war
in the Gulf?
9. Can someone give an example of what ‘turn grace of God into
licentiousness’ might mean (4)?
A. ISOLATING THE UNFAITHFUL (Jude 5-16)
Detecting dealings with “These men”
1. REMEMBER THE GENERAL PATTERN verses 5-7
1. What incidents does Jude remind them of in verses 5-7?
5b Out of Egypt a people then destroyed
6 Keep fallen angels for judgment eternal bonds
7 Sodom & Gomorrah all people eternal fire
2. Same way as who?
3. What was exemplified in verse 7?
2. ARTICULATE THE SIN 8-9,10-11
1. Do you think ‘dreaming’ is referring to real dreams or are ‘asleep to
God’s judgment and entertained by the temporal allusive and imaginary
character of the pleasures of their lusts’?
2. What problem is particularly focused on in verses 8 & 9?
3. How does Jude show this attitude and action is wrong?
4. Explain judgment of Cain, Balaam and Korah’s rebellion.
3. DESCRIBE THE DANGER verses 12-13,14-15,16, 19
[To church and to the ungodly]
1. What danger is there described in these verses (12, 16)?
2. Think through each symbolic description and picture what it looks like (6
of them) (12-13).
3. Who was Enoch (cf. Gen 5:18-21)? What did he prophesy?
4. What word is repeated in verse 15?
5. What is wrong with the behaviors described in verse 16?
6. Describe them one by one.
B. ENCOURAGING THE FAITHFUL (verses 17-23)
"But you, beloved, remember"
1. ESTABLISHING THE AUTHORITY (verses 17-19)
1. What distinguishes the ‘beloved’ from the ungodly men just discussed
2. What are they to remember? What is that?
3. Why is this important?
4. What important principle in verse 17 should we use when arguing with
someone over the teachings of Scripture?
2. OBEYING THE AUTHORITY (verses 20-23)
1. What are the ‘beloved’ commanded to do besides remembering the
expected divisions (20-23)?
2. Enumerate each one and explain what it means (six of them).
3. How are we to treat and think of the ungodly in the church? Is there a
difference if it is a leader?
[They and You separation; don’t be shocked (17-19); ground self on common
The Closing Blessing ( verses 24-25)
1. Why is this closing blessing especially significant for this church?
2. What is the difference between a statement of judgment and a statement
3. Are the advantages of ‘contending’ worth the possible disturbance? What
might one lose? Win?
Read the Bible Online
King James Version (Public Domain Version)
Version Louis Segond (Normalement Domaine Publique)
Sowing the seed of the Word of God, the Bible
General Introduction 1
Commentary on Titus - Foreword 11
Sacred Reading (three chapters) 12
Comments on Titus 15
Questionnaire on Titus 22
Commentary on Philemon with the Sacred Readings 24
Questionnaire on Philemon 30
Papyrus Bodmer VIII (two photographies) 31
Notes and Commentary on Jude 32
Sacred Reading: Jude 34
Jude in detail 35
Questionnaire on Jude 60
Read the Bible Online 63
Looking unto Jesus
© November 2014 – Berea School of Theology and Internet Ministries,
Ghent, Belgium Superintendant Rev. Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D.,