Notes on Jude verses 1-4
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, M)
Jude 1:1-4, KJV 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: 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.
Some debate exists over who “Jude” is. Several men are named “Jude” or “Judas” in the New Testament. Only one seems to fit the description of “brother of James”, namely, “Judas”, the Lord’s half-brother according to Matthew 13:55. Interestingly, James was apparently the oldest half-brother of the Lord and Judas the youngest, if the list is chronological. Most likely none of them believed that Jesus was the Messiah (John 7:2-5) until after the Resurrection. Did all of His half-brothers and sisters come to saving faith in Him before they died?
Now Jude gives a three-fold description of his audience: those who are sanctified by God the Father, those preserved by Jesus Christ and those who are called.
2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
Jude gives a slightly different greeting than those of Paul and others. Paul began every letter bearing his name with “grace” and “peace” in the first few verses. Peter also wrote the word “grace” in both of his letters and John added “grace” in his second of three letters as well as in the Revelation. “Mercy” is used as a greeting in only 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and 2 John but appears in the text of most of the New Testament books. Jude wishes these things would be multiplied to us. Even so, amen!
3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to
Here Jude gives his two purposes for writing this letter. He wanted to write about the “common salvation” but was led to write about contending earnestly for the faith. Paul had written years before this that there was only one God, one faith, and one baptism (Ephesians 4:5) but there had been false prophets and false teachers before, currently in Jude’s time, and sadly there will be some in the future.
“Once delivered” most likely means “once and for all time” delivered. There would never be another faith besides the one that was given from God, through the Apostles and prophets, to believers.
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.
This had happened before Jude wrote this letter. Paul spoke in Galatians 2:4 about false brethren who had also “crept in unawares”. Then, these false “brothers” wanted to bring the Galatians (and others?) into bondage, perhaps the need (their opinion) to follow the Mosaic Law (but see Acts 15). Here, Jude says that false “brothers” ruined grace, making it “lasciviousness (lewd conduct, per https://www.dictionary.com/browse/lasciviousness# )” and also denied the Lord God and Jesus Christ.
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV)