Jude – Introduction, False Teachers

August 17, 2009

This short lesson on Jude and the one that follows it are a direct continuation of the series on 2nd Peter.

The epistle of Jude is very short, but Jude does not shy away from controversy. Jude is the English translation of the Greek name Judas, which ultimately derives from the Hebrew word Judah. We translate it this way to avoid the association with Judas Iscariot, though the name was common in that time. Jude is identified as the brother of James, the bishop of Jerusalem, who is often identified as James the Less (though this identification is difficult to support in the light of 1 Cor 15).

Also noteworthy in the introduction: Jude appears not to see himself in the role of apostle, since he does not identify himself as one, unlike most of the other epistles. Jude appears to be writing while James, who died in the early 60s, is still alive, thus dating this epistle very early. The fact that the issues of false teachers were pressing and were being dealt with at such an early time should be a comfort to those of use who see false teachings today.

Jude says that these false teachers were bound to be, and thus we should not to be scared, since our Lord expected this. The manner in which Jude describes these false teachers is very similar to the way that this is described in 2 Peter, suggesting that there was some collaboration, possibly by a now-lost rubric for dealing with these errors.

Jude then states that the faith has been imparted once for all, implying that there will be no new doctrines, and that those teaching new doctrines are false teachers who have crept into the Church. Jude then goes on to explain that the Hebrews leaving Egypt were likewise fully informed and many fell away, which puts an end to the concept of ”once saved always saved.”

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

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