The writer of this, the last of the General Epistles, calls himself “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.” The name “Jude” is another form of the name “Judas.” Which Jude (or Judas) is this? Two apostles were named Judas: Judas Iscariot and Judas the son of James. But the writer does not call himself an apostle and even distinguishes himself from the apostles (v.17). In the New Testament we hear of only one Judas who is a brother of a James. This is Judas, one of Jesus’ brothers (Mat. 13:55). This Judas, then, is the brother of the James who wrote the Epistle of James. Jude, Jesus’ brother and James the epistle writer’s brother, is therefore the probable author of this epistle. Like his brother James, Jude was not a believer in Jesus as the Christ during Jesus’ ministry (John 7:5). He was converted later, perhaps after Jesus’ resurrection. Paul may be referring to Jude in 1 Cor. 9:5. From that passage we may guess that Jude, the Lord’s brother, was a traveling missionary who was accompanied by his wife on his travels.


To whom was Jude writing? When? From where? These are questions that we do not have solid answers for. We have little to go on even to try to make guesses. Jude says only, in a general way, that he is writing “to those who have been called;” and in addressing his readers as “dear friends,” he shows that he knows them well. The similarity between Jude and 2 Peter may show that the two letters were written about the same time. We can, however, know something about the problem facing Jude’s readers. Certain false teachers had “slipped in among” the Christians addressed. These men are described as godless, denying Jesus Christ, living immoral, polluted lives, rejecting authority and slandering heavenly beings. It seems that these people used the teaching of forgiveness to mean that they could sin as much as they wanted now, since they were forgiven anyway. They thought of the gospel as a “license” to sin. Jude says that he had intended to write a different kind of letter to the Christians “about the salvation we share.” But when he heard of the work of these godless men he wrote instead to urge the Christians “to contend for the faith” (v. 3). Like John’s Second and Third Epistles, Jude’s Epistle has only one short chapter. It is short in length but very powerful in its message. Jude speaks powerfully against the false teachers and about their Judgment. “Woe to them!” he says, reminding us of some of the strong words of the Old Testament prophets. But Jude also speaks words of loving encouragement to his “dear friends.” He urges them: “Build yourselves up in your most holy faith … Keep yourselves in God’s love … Be merciful to those who doubt” (20-22).



Old Testament

Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.

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New Testament

Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!

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About the Bible

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