1 From Jude,#tn Grk “Judas,” traditionally “Jude” in English versions to distinguish him from the one who betrayed Jesus. The word “From” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter. a slave#tn Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). At the same time, perhaps “servant” is apt in that the δοῦλος of Jesus Christ took on that role voluntarily, unlike a slave. The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force. sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.” of Jesus Christ and brother of James,#sn Although Jude was half-brother of Jesus, he humbly associates himself with James, his full brother. By first calling himself a slave of Jesus Christ, it is evident that he wants no one to place stock in his physical connections. At the same time, he must identify himself further: Since Jude was a common name in the 1st century (two of Jesus’ disciples were so named, including his betrayer), more information was needed, that is to say, brother of James. to those who are called, wrapped in the love of#tn Grk “loved in.” The perfect passive participle suggests that the audience’s relationship to God is not recent; the preposition ἐν (en) before πατρί (patri) could be taken as sphere or instrument (agency is unlikely, however). Another possible translation would be “dear to God.” God the Father and kept for#tn Or “by.” Datives of agency are quite rare in the NT (and other ancient Greek), almost always found with a perfect verb. Although this text qualifies, in light of the well-worn idiom of τηρέω (threw) in eschatological contexts, in which God or Christ keeps the believer safe until the parousia (cf. 1 Thess 5:23; 1 Pet 1:4; Rev 3:10; other terms meaning “to guard,” “to keep” are also found in similar eschatological contexts [cf. 2 Thess 3:3; 2 Tim 1:12; 1 Pet 1:5; Jude 24]), it is probably better to understand this verse as having such an eschatological tinge. It is at the same time possible that Jude’s language was intentionally ambiguous, implying both ideas (“kept by Jesus Christ [so that they might be] kept for Jesus Christ”). Elsewhere he displays a certain fondness for wordplays; this may be a hint of things to come. Jesus Christ. 2 May mercy, peace, and love be lavished on you!#tn Grk “may mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.”
Condemnation of the False Teachers
3 Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you#tn Grk “while being quite diligent to write to you,” or “while making all haste to write to you.” Two issues are at stake: (1) whether σπουδή (spoudh) here means diligence, eagerness, or haste; (2) whether ποιούμενος γράφειν (poioumeno" grafein) is to be taken conatively (“I was about to write”) or progressively (“I was writing”). Without knowing more of the background, it is difficult to tell which option is to be preferred. about our common salvation, I now feel compelled#tn Grk “I had the necessity.” The term ἀνάγκη (anankh, “necessity”) often connotes urgency or distress. In this context, Jude is indicating that the more comprehensive treatment about the faith shared between himself and his readers was not nearly as urgent as the letter he found it now necessary to write. instead to write to encourage#tn Grk “encouraging.” Παρακαλῶν (parakalwn) is most likely a telic participle. In keeping with other participles of purpose, it is present tense and occurs after the main verb. you to contend earnestly#tn the verb ἐπαγωνίζομαι (epagwnizomai) is an intensive form of ἀγωνίζομαι (agwnizomai). As such, the notion of struggling, fighting, contending, etc. is heightened. for the faith#tn Τῇ πίστει (th pistei) here is taken as a dative of advantage (“on behalf of the faith”). Though rare (see BDAG 820 s.v. 3), it is not unexampled and must have this meaning here.sn The term “faith” has a variety of meanings in the NT. Here, the faith refers to the doctrinal content embraced by believers rather than the act of believing. Rather than discuss the points of agreement that Jude would have with these believers, because of the urgency of the present situation he must assume that these believers were well grounded and press on to encourage them to fight for this common belief. that was once for all#sn The adverb once for all (ἅπαξ, Japax) seems to indicate that the doctrinal convictions of the early church had been substantially codified. That is to say, Jude could appeal to written documents of the Christian faith in his arguments with the false teachers. Most likely, these documents were the letters of Paul and perhaps one or more gospels. First and Second Peter may also have been among the documents Jude has in mind (see also the note on the phrase entrusted to the saints in this verse). entrusted to the saints.#sn I now feel compelled instead…saints. Apparently news of some crisis has reached Jude, prompting him to write a different letter than what he had originally planned. A plausible scenario (assuming authenticity of 2 Peter or at least that there are authentic Petrine snippets in it) is that after Peter’s death, Jude intended to write to the same Gentile readers that Peter had written to (essentially, Paul’s churches). Jude starts by affirming that the gospel the Gentiles had received from Paul was the same as the one the Jewish Christians had received from the other apostles (our common salvation). But in the midst of writing this letter, Jude felt that the present crisis deserved another, shorter piece. The crisis, as the letter reveals, is that the false teachers whom Peter prophesied have now infiltrated the church. The letter of Jude is thus an ad hoc letter, intended to confirm the truth of Peter’s letter and encourage the saints to ground their faith in the written documents of the nascent church, rather than listen to the twisted gospel of the false teachers. In large measure, the letter of Jude illustrates the necessity of clinging to the authority of scripture as opposed to those who claim to be prophets. 4 For certain men#tn Grk “people.” However, if Jude is indeed arguing that Peter’s prophecy about false teachers has come true, these are most likely men in the original historical and cultural setting. See discussion of this point in the note on the phrase “these men” in 2 Pet 2:12. have secretly slipped in among you#tn “Among you” is not in the Greek text, but is obviously implied.sn The infiltration referred to by the phrase slipped in among you was predicted by Peter (2 Pet 2:1), Paul (e.g., Acts 20:29-30), and OT prophets. – men who long ago#tn Or “in the past.” The adverb πάλαι (palai) can refer to either, though the meaning “long ago” is more common. were marked out#tn Grk “written about.” for the condemnation I am about to describe#tn Grk “for this condemnation.” τοῦτο (touto) is almost surely a kataphoric demonstrative pronoun, pointing to what follows in vv. 5-18. Otherwise, the condemnation is only implied (in v. 3b) or is merely a statement of their sinfulness (“ungodly” in v. 4b), not a judgment of it. – ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil#tn Grk “debauchery.” This is the same word Peter uses to predict what the false teachers will be like (2 Pet 2:2, 7, 18).sn Turned the grace of our God into a license for evil. One of the implications that the gospel in the apostolic period was truly a gospel of grace was the fact that the enemies of the gospel could pervert it into license. If it were a gospel of works, no such abuse could be imagined. Along these lines, note Rom 6:1 – “Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase?” This question could not have even been asked had the gospel been one of works. But grace is easily misunderstood by those who would abuse it. and who deny our only Master#tc Most later witnesses (P Ψ Ï sy) have θεόν (qeon, “God”) after δεσπότην (despothn, “master”), which appears to be a motivated reading in that it explicitly links “Master” to “God” in keeping with the normal NT pattern (see Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; 2 Tim 2:21; Rev 6:10). In patristic Greek, δεσπότης (despoth") was used especially of God (cf. BDAG 220 s.v. 1.b.). The earlier and better witnesses (Ì72,78 א A B C 0251 33 81 323 1241 1739 al co) lack θεόν; the shorter reading is thus preferred on both internal and external grounds.sn The Greek term for Master (δεσπότης, despoths) is the same term the author of 2 Peter used (2 Pet 2:1) to describe his Lord when he prophesied about these false teachers. Since δεσπότης is used only ten times in the NT, the verbal connection between these two books at this juncture is striking. This is especially so since both Peter and Jude speak of these false teachers as denying the Master (both using the same verb). The basic difference is that Peter is looking to the future, while Jude is arguing that these false teachers are here now. and Lord,#tn The terms “Master and Lord” both refer to the same person. The construction in Greek is known as the Granville Sharp rule, named after the English philanthropist-linguist who first clearly articulated the rule in 1798. Sharp pointed out that in the construction article-noun-καί-noun (where καί [kai] = “and”), when two nouns are singular, personal, and common (i.e., not proper names), they always had the same referent. Illustrations such as “the friend and brother,” “the God and Father,” etc. abound in the NT to prove Sharp’s point. For more discussion see ExSyn 270-78. See also Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 Jesus Christ.
5 Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts#tn Grk “knowing all things.” The subject of the participle “knowing” (εἰδότας, eidota") is an implied ὑμᾶς (Jumas), though several ancient witnesses actually add it. The πάντα (panta) takes on an adverbial force in this context (“fully”), intensifying how acquainted the readers are with the following points.sn That Jude comments on his audience’s prior knowledge of what he is about to tell them (you have been fully informed of these facts) may imply that they were familiar with 2 Peter. In 2 Pet 2:4ff., the same illustrations from the OT are drawn. See the note on the following phrase once for all. once for all#tc ‡ Some translations take ἅπαξ (Japax) with the following clause (thus, “[Jesus,] having saved the people once for all”). Such a translation presupposes that ἅπαξ is a part of the ὅτι (Joti) clause. The reading of NA27, πάντα ὅτι [ὁ] κύριος ἅπαξ (panta {oti [Jo] kurio" {apax), suggests this interpretation (though with “Lord” instead of “Jesus”). This particle is found before λαόν (laon) in the ὅτι clause in א C* Ψ 630 1241 1243 1505 1739 1846 1881 pc co. But ἅπαξ is found before the ὅτι clause in most witnesses, including several important ones (Ì72 A B C2 33 81 623 2344 Ï vg). What seems best able to explain the various placements of the adverb is that scribes were uncomfortable with ἅπαξ referring to the readers’ knowledge, feeling it was more appropriate to the theological significance of “saved” (σώσας, swsas).sn In this translation, Jude is stressing that the readers have been informed once for all of the OT illustrations he is about to mention. Where would they get this information? Most likely from having read 2 Peter. Earlier Jude used the same adverb to indicate that these believers had a written record of the faith. This seems to be his implication here, too. Thus, for the second time Jude is appealing to the written documents of the early church as authoritative as opposed to the messages of the false teachers. As the 1st century began to draw to a close, the early church found itself increasingly dependent on the letters and gospels of the apostles and their associates. Once those apostles died, false apostles and false teachers sprang up, like wolves in sheep’s clothing (cf. Acts 20:29-30). To combat this, some of the latest books of the NT stressed the authority of what had been written (so Hebrews, Jude, Ephesians, 1 John). Although these writers anticipated the return of the Lord, they also braced their audiences for a delay of the parousia (the second coming of Christ) by suggesting that when they were gone the NT documents should guide them.) that Jesus,#tc ‡ The reading ᾿Ιησοῦς (Ihsous, “Jesus”) is deemed too hard by several scholars, since it involves the notion of Jesus acting in the early history of the nation Israel. However, not only does this reading enjoy the strongest support from a variety of early witnesses (e.g., A B 33 81 1241 1739 1881 2344 pc vg co Or1739mg), but the plethora of variants demonstrate that scribes were uncomfortable with it, for they seemed to exchange κύριος (kurios, “Lord”) or θεός (qeos, “God”) for ᾿Ιησοῦς (though Ì72 has the intriguing reading θεὸς Χριστός [qeos Cristos, “God Christ”] for ᾿Ιησοῦς). In addition to the evidence supplied in NA27 for this reading, note also {88 322 323 424c 665 915 2298 eth Cyr Hier Bede}. As difficult as the reading ᾿Ιησοῦς is, in light of v. 4 and in light of the progress of revelation (Jude being one of the last books in the NT to be composed), it is wholly appropriate.sn The construction our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ in v. 4 follows Granville Sharp’s rule (see note on Lord). The construction strongly implies the deity of Christ. This is followed by a statement that Jesus was involved in the salvation (and later judgment) of the Hebrews. He is thus to be identified with the Lord God, Yahweh. Verse 5, then, simply fleshes out what is implicit in v. 4. having saved the#tn Or perhaps “a,” though this is less likely. people out of the land of Egypt, later#tn Grk “the second time.” destroyed those who did not believe. 6 You also know that#tn Grk “and.” Verse 6 is a continuation of the same sentence begun in v. 5. Due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation. the angels who did not keep within their proper domain#tn Grk “who did not keep their own domain.”sn The idea is that certain angels acted improperly, going outside the bounds prescribed by God (their proper domain). but abandoned their own place of residence, he has kept#sn There is an interesting play on words used in this verse. Because the angels did not keep their proper place, Jesus has kept them chained up in another place. The same verb keep is used in v. 1 to describe believers’ status before God and Christ. in eternal chains#sn In 2 Pet 2:4 a less common word for chains is used. in utter#tn The word ζόφος (zofos, “utter, deepest darkness”) is used only five times in the NT: two in 2 Peter, two in Jude, and one in Hebrews. Jude 6 parallels 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 13 parallels 2 Pet 2:17. darkness, locked up#tn The words “locked up” are not in Greek, but is expressed in English as a resumptive point after the double prepositional phrase (“in eternal chains in utter darkness”). for the judgment of the great Day. 7 So also#tn Grk “as.” Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns,#tn Grk “the towns [or cities] surrounding them.” since they indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire#tn Grk “strange flesh.” This phrase has been variously interpreted. It could refer to flesh of another species (such as angels lusting after human flesh). This would aptly describe the sin of the angels, but not easily explain the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. It could refer to the homosexual practices of the Sodomites, but a difficulty arises from the use of ἕτερος ({etero"; “strange,” “other”). When this is to be distinguished from ἄλλος (allos, “another”) it suggests “another of a different kind.” If so, would that properly describe homosexual behavior? In response, the language could easily be compact: “pursued flesh other than what was normally pursued.” However, would this find an analogy in the lust of angels (such would imply that angels normally had sexual relations of some sort, but cf. Matt 22:30)? Another alternative is that the focus of the parallel is on the activity of the surrounding cities and the activity of the angels. This is especially plausible since the participles ἐκπορνεύσασαι (ekporneusasai, “having indulged in sexual immorality”) and ἀπελθοῦσαι (apelqousai, “having pursued”) have concord with “cities” (πόλεις, poleis), a feminine plural noun, rather than with Sodom and Gomorrah (both masculine nouns). If so, then their sin would not necessarily have to be homosexuality. However, most likely the feminine participles are used because of constructio ad sensum (construction according to sense). That is, since both Sodom and Gomorrah are cities, the feminine is used to imply that all the cities are involved. The connection with angels thus seems to be somewhat loose: Both angels and Sodom and Gomorrah indulged in heinous sexual immorality. Thus, whether the false teachers indulge in homosexual activity is not the point; mere sexual immorality is enough to condemn them. in a way similar to#tn Or “in the same way as.” these angels,#tn “Angels” is not in the Greek text; but the masculine demonstrative pronoun most likely refers back to the angels of v. 6. are now displayed as an example by suffering the punishment of eternal fire.
8 Yet these men,#tn The reference is now to the false teachers. as a result of their dreams,#tn Grk “dreaming.” The participle ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι (enupniazomenoi, “dreaming”) is adverbial to the pronoun οὗτοι (|outoi, “these”), though the particular relationship is not clear. It could mean, “while dreaming,” “by dreaming,” or “because of dreaming.” This translation has adopted the last option as Jude’s meaning, partially for syntactical reasons (the causal participle usually precedes the main verb) and partially for contextual reasons (these false teachers must derive their authority from some source, and the dreams provide the most obvious base). The participle ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι was sometimes used of apocalyptic visions, both of true and false prophets. This seems to be the meaning here. defile the flesh, reject authority,#tn Most likely, the authority of the Lord is in view. This verse, then, echoes the indictment of v. 4: “they deny our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” and insult#tn The construction with the three verbs (“defile, “reject,” and “insult”) involves the particles μέν, δέ, δέ (men, de, de). A more literal (and pedantic) translation would be: “on the one hand, they defile the flesh, on the other hand, they reject authority, and on another hand, they insult the glorious ones.” the glorious ones.#sn The glorious ones refers to angelic beings rather than mere human beings, just as in 2 Pet 2:10 (on which this passage apparently depends). Whether the angelic beings are good or evil, however, is difficult to tell (hence, the translation is left ambiguous). However, both in 2 Pet 2:11 and here, in Jude 9, the wicked angels seem to be in view (for not even Michael insults them). 9 But even#tn The word “even” is not in Greek; it is implied by the height of the contrast. when Michael the archangel#sn According to Jewish intertestamental literature (such as 1 En. 20), Michael was one of seven archangels. was arguing with the devil and debating with him#tn The sentence structure is a bit different in Greek. Literally it reads: “But Michael the archangel, when arguing with the devil and disputing.” concerning Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a slanderous judgment, but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these men do not understand the things they slander, and they are being destroyed by the very things that, like irrational animals, they instinctively comprehend.#tn Or “they should naturally comprehend.” The present tense in this context may have a conative force. sn They instinctively comprehend. Like irrational animals, these false teachers do grasp one thing – the instinctive behavior of animals in heat. R. Bauckham (Jude, 2 Peter [WBC], 63) notes that “Though they claim to be guided by special spiritual insight gained in heavenly revelations, they are in fact following the sexual instincts which they share with the animals.” Jude’s focus is somewhat different from Peter’s: Peter argued that, like irrational animals who are born to be caught and killed, these men will be destroyed when destroying others (2 Pet 2:12). Jude, however, does not mention the destruction of animals, just that these false teachers will be destroyed for mimicking them. 11 Woe to them! For they have traveled down Cain’s path,#tn Or “they have gone the way of Cain.” and because of greed#tn Grk “for wages.” have abandoned themselves#tn The verb ἐκχέω (ekcew) normally means “pour out.” Here, in the passive, it occasionally has a reflexive idea, as BDAG 312 s.v. 3. suggests (with extra-biblical examples). to#tn Or “in.” Balaam’s error; hence,#tn Grk “and.” See note on “perish” later in this verse. they will certainly perish#tn The three verbs in this verse are all aorist indicative (“have gone down,” “have abandoned,” “have perished”). Although the first and second could be considered constative or ingressive, the last is almost surely proleptic (referring to the certainty of their future judgment). Although it may seem odd that a proleptic aorist is so casually connected to other aorists with a different syntactical force, it is not unparalleled (cf. Rom 8:30). in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These men are#tn Grk “these are the men who are.” dangerous reefs#tn Though σπιλάδες (spilades) is frequently translated “blemishes” or “stains,” such is actually a translation of the Greek word σπίλοι (spiloi). The two words are quite similar, especially in their root or lexical forms (σπιλάς [spila"] and σπίλος [spilos] respectively). Some scholars have suggested that σπιλάδες in this context means the same thing as σπίλοι. But such could be the case only by a stretch of the imagination (see BDAG 938 s.v. σπιλάς for discussion). Others suggest that Jude’s spelling was in error (which also is doubtful). One reason for the tension is that in the parallel passage, 2 Pet 2:13, the term used is indeed σπίλος. And if either Jude used 2 Peter or 2 Peter used Jude, one would expect to see the same word. Jude, however, may have changed the wording for the sake of a subtle wordplay. The word σπιλάς was often used of a mere rock, though it normally was associated with a rock along the shore or one jutting out in the water. Thus, the false teachers would appear as “rocks” – as pillars in the community (cf. Matt 16:18; Gal 2:9), when in reality if a believer got too close to them his faith would get shipwrecked. Some suggest that σπιλάδες here means “hidden rocks.” Though this meaning is attested for the word, it is inappropriate in this context, since these false teachers are anything but hidden. They are dangerous because undiscerning folks get close to them, thinking they are rocks and pillars, when they are really dangerous reefs. at your love feasts,#tc Several witnesses (A Cvid 1243 1846 al), influenced by the parallel in 2 Pet 2:13, read ἀπάταις (apatai", “deceptions”) for ἀγάπαις (agapai", “love-feasts”) in v. 12. However, ἀγάπαις has much stronger and earlier support and should therefore be considered original.sn The danger of the false teachers at the love feasts would be especially pernicious, for the love feasts of the early church involved the Lord’s Supper, worship, and instruction. feasting without reverence,#tn Or “fearlessly.” The term in this context, however, is decidedly negative. The implication is that these false teachers ate the Lord’s Supper without regarding the sanctity of the meal. Cf. 1 Cor 11:17-22. feeding only themselves.#tn Grk “shepherding themselves.” The verb ποιμαίνω (poimainw) means “shepherd, nurture [the flock].” But these men, rather than tending to the flock of God, nurture only themselves. They thus fall under the condemnation Paul uttered when writing to the Corinthians: “For when it comes time to eat [the Lord’s Supper,] each one goes ahead with his own meal” (1 Cor 11:21). Above all, the love-feast was intended to be a shared meal in which all ate and all felt welcome. They are#tn “They are” is not in Greek, but resumes the thought begun at the front of v. 12. There is no period before “They are.” English usage requires breaking this into more than one sentence. waterless#tn Cf. 2 Pet 2:17. Jude’s emphasis is slightly different (instead of waterless springs, they are waterless clouds). clouds, carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit#sn The imagery portraying the false teachers as autumn trees without fruit has to do with their lack of productivity. Recall the statement to the same effect by Jesus in Matt 7:16-20, in which false prophets will be known by their fruits. Like waterless clouds full of false hope, these trees do not yield any harvest even though it is expected. – twice dead,#tn Grk “having died twice.”sn Twice dead probably has no relevance to the tree metaphor, but has great applicability to these false teachers. As in Rev 20:6, those who die twice are those who die physically and spiritually. The aphorism is true: “born once, die twice; born twice, die once” (cf. Rev 20:5; John 3, 11). uprooted; 13 wild sea waves,#tn Grk “wild waves of the sea.” spewing out the foam of#tn Grk “foaming, causing to foam.” The verb form is intensive and causative. BDAG 360 s.v. ἐπαφρίζω suggests the meaning “to cause to splash up like froth, cause to foam,” or, in this context, “waves casting up their own shameless deeds like (dirty) foam.” their shame;#tn Grk “shames, shameful things.” It is uncertain whether shameful deeds or shameful words are in view. Either way, the picture has taken a decided turn: Though waterless clouds and fruitless trees may promise good things, but deliver nothing, wild sea-waves are portents of filth spewed forth from the belly of the sea. wayward stars#sn The imagery of a star seems to fit the nautical theme that Jude is developing. Stars were of course the guides to sailors at night, just as teachers are responsible to lead the flock through a benighted world. But false teachers, as wayward stars, are not fixed and hence offer unreliable, even disastrous guidance. They are thus both the dangerous reefs on which the ships could be destroyed and the false guides, leading them into these rocks. There is a special irony that these lights will be snuffed out, reserved for the darkest depths of eternal darkness. for whom the utter depths of eternal darkness#tn Grk “utter darkness of darkness for eternity.” See note on the word “utter” in v. 6. have been reserved.
14 Now Enoch, the seventh in descent beginning with Adam,#tn Grk “the seventh from Adam.”sn The genealogical count is inclusive, counting Adam as the first, for Enoch is really the sixth in descent from Adam (Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch). In this way, the picture of perfection/completion was retained (for the number seven is often used for perfection or completion in the Bible) starting with Adam and concluding with Enoch. even prophesied of them,#tn Grk “against them.” The dative τούτοις (toutois) is a dativus incommodi (dative of disadvantage). saying, “Look! The Lord is coming#tn Grk “has come,” a proleptic aorist. with thousands and thousands#tn Grk “ten thousands.” The word μυριάς (muria"), from which the English myriad is derived, means “ten thousand.” In the plural it means “ten thousands.” This would mean, minimally, 20,000 (a multiple of ten thousand). At the same time, the term was often used in apocalyptic literature to represent simply a rather large number, without any attempt to be specific. of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on#tn Grk “against” (κατά [kata] + genitive). English usage is satisfied with “on” at this point, but the parallel is lost in the translation to some degree, for the end of v. 15 says that this judgment is meted out on these sinners because they spoke against him (κατά + genitive). all, and to convict every person#tn Or “soul.” of all their thoroughly ungodly deeds#tn Grk “of all their works of ungodliness.” The adverb “thoroughly” is part of the following verb “have committed.” See note on verb “committed” later in this verse. that they have committed,#tn The verb in Greek does not simply mean “have committed,” but “have committed in an ungodly way.” The verb ἀσεβέω (asebew) is cognate to the noun ἀσέβεια (asebeia, “ungodliness”). There is no easy way to express this in English, since English does not have a single word that means the same thing. Nevertheless, the tenor of v. 15 is plainly seen, regardless of the translation. and of all the harsh words that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”#sn An apparent quotation from 1 En. 1:9. There is some doubt as to whether Jude is actually quoting from the text of 1 Enoch; the text here in Jude differs in some respects from the extant text of this pseudepigraphic book. It is sometimes suggested that Jude may instead have been quoting from oral tradition which had roots older than the written text. 16 These people are grumblers and#tn “And” is not in Greek, but is supplied for the sake of English style. fault-finders who go#tn Or “going.” Though the participle is anarthrous, so also is the subject. Thus, the participle could be either adverbial or adjectival. wherever their desires lead them,#tn Grk “(who go/going) according to their own lusts.” and they give bombastic speeches,#tn Grk “and their mouth speaks bombastic things.”sn They give bombastic speeches. The idiom of opening one’s mouth in the NT often implied a public oration from a teacher or one in authority. Cf. Matt 5:2; Luke 4:22; Acts 1:16; 3:18; 10:34; Eph 6:19; Rev 13:5-6. enchanting folks#sn Enchanting folks (Grk “awing faces”) refers to the fact that the speeches of these false teachers are powerful and seductive. for their own gain.#tn Or “to their own advantage.”
Exhortation to the Faithful
17 But you, dear friends – recall the predictions#tn Grk “words.” In conjunction with προεῖπον (proeipon), however, the meaning of the construction is that the apostles uttered prophecies. foretold by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.#sn This verse parallels 2 Pet 3:2 both conceptually and in much of the verbiage. There is one important difference, however: In 2 Pet 3:2 the prophets and apostles speak; here, just the apostles speak. This makes good sense if Jude is using 2 Peter as his main source and is urging his readers to go back to the authoritative writings, both OT and now especially NT. 18 For they said to you, “In the end time there will come#tn Grk “be.” scoffers, propelled by their own ungodly desires.”#tn Grk “going according to their own desires of ungodliness.”sn Jude cites 2 Pet 3:3, changing a few of the words among other things, cleaning up the syntax, conforming it to Hellenistic style. 19 These people are divisive,#tn Grk “these are the ones who cause divisions.” worldly,#tn Or “natural,” that is, living on the level of instincts, not on a spiritual level (the same word occurs in 1 Cor 2:14 as a description of nonbelievers). devoid of the Spirit.#tn Grk “not having [the] Spirit.”sn The phrase devoid of the Spirit may well indicate Jude’s and Peter’s assessment of the spiritual status of the false teachers. Those who do not have the Spirit are clearly not saved. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit,#tn The participles in v. 20 have been variously interpreted. Some treat them imperativally or as attendant circumstance to the imperative in v. 21 (“maintain”): “build yourselves up…pray.” But they do not follow the normal contours of either the imperatival or attendant circumstance participles, rendering this unlikely. A better option is to treat them as the means by which the readers are to maintain themselves in the love of God. This both makes eminently good sense and fits the structural patterns of instrumental participles elsewhere. 21 maintain#tn Or “keep.” yourselves in the love of God, while anticipating#tn Or “waiting for.” the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings eternal life.#tn Grk “unto eternal life.” 22 And have mercy on those who waver; 23 save#tn Grk “and save.” others by snatching them out of the fire; have mercy#tn Grk “and have mercy.” on others, coupled with a fear of God,#tn Grk “with fear.” But as this contrasts with ἀφόβως (afobw") in v. 12 (without reverence), the posture of the false teachers, it most likely refers to reverence for God.sn Joining a fear of God to mercy is an important balance when involved in disciplinary action. On the one hand, being merciful without fear can turn to unwarranted sympathy for the individual, absolving him of personal responsibility; but fearing God without showing mercy can turn into personal judgment and condemnation. hating even the clothes stained#sn The imagery here suggests that the things close to the sinners are contaminated by them, presumably during the process of sinning. by the flesh.#tn Grk “hating even the tunic spotted by the flesh.” The “flesh” in this instance could refer to the body or to the sin nature. It makes little difference in one sense: Jude is thinking primarily of sexual sins, which are borne of the sin nature and manifest themselves in inappropriate deeds done with the body. At the same time, he is not saying that the body is intrinsically bad, a view held by the opponents of Christianity. Hence, it is best to see “flesh” as referring to the sin nature here and the language as metaphorical.
Final Blessing
24 Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling,#tn The construction in Greek is a double accusative object-complement. “You” is the object and “free from falling” is the adjectival complement. and to cause you to stand, rejoicing,#tn Grk “with rejoicing.” The prepositional clause is placed after “his glorious presence” in Greek, but most likely goes with “cause you to stand.” without blemish#tn The construction in Greek is a double accusative object-complement. “You” is the object and “without blemish” is the adjectival complement. before his glorious presence,#tn Or “in the presence of his glory,” “before his glory.” 25 to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, and now, and for all eternity. Amen.
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