The General Epistle of Jude is very brief, only twenty-five verses. It was written to combat false teachers and the heresies by which they are distorting the Christian faith. The letter suggests that these ungodly people have “crept in unawares” among us, “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness” (verse 4), ever seeking to distort and mislead. Jude says that their appearance and their evils fulfill earlier prophesies from the Hebrew scriptures (verse 4), as well as the warnings of ancient Enoch (verse 14), and of the apostles themselves (verse 17), that false teachers would appear to cause chaos and testing for the faithful. The faithful are cautioned to hold fast to the true faith and be patient, because God's judgment on these false teachers is coming near and they will receive what they deserve. To show this, Jude then cites a number of examples from the Hebrew scriptures illustrating the judgment that comes to the unbelieving and unfaithful: Cain, Balaam, Korah, the rebellious wilderness generation, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the fallen angels. The author then quotes from First Enoch 1.9, one of the popular apocalyptic writings of the period that never became canonical, to show the readers yet again that this kind of ungodliness was foreseen. Following warnings about the last days, and an appeal for compassion for those struggling with their faith, the letter concludes with a beautiful doxology.
Greetings and a Prayer (1,2)
Defending the Faith against False Teachers (3-23)
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