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According to Jude 1:1, the author describes himself as Jude the brother of James. The name "Jude" is the English varriant of "Judas". We know that Jude was not Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. However, there are other Judas' mentioned in the new testament.

Because he describes himself as brother of James we assume that Jude was the last on this list, namely the step-brother of Jesus. In using the phrase "bondservant of Jesus Christ" he seems to deemphasis his physical relationship and emphasis his spiritual relationship to Christ and messianic authority of his step-brother (Christ = "anointed one") instead.

It is also important to note that Jude does not claim apostleship.

Purpose of the Letter

Jude is a polemical letter written to stir his readers to "contend earnestly for the faith" against heretics who "have crept in unnoticed".


5-7Examples of God's judgment on those in Egypt, on rebellious angels, on Sodom and Gomorrah
8-11Apostates reject authority
12-19Depravity and doom of Apostates
20-23Exhortation to remember the gospel, to love, and to have compassion

Discussion Questions

  • What is polemics?
  • What is the purpose Jude's polemics?
  • Does God want us to be polemical today? If so, why?
  • What does it mean to contend earnestly for the faith?
  • Why not just dwell on the truth? Why do we need to be so "negative" and attack heresy?
  • What are the dangers of being polemical? Are there situations where it is wrong to be polemical? See Jude 1:22-23.
  • Read Jude 1:1. Both "sanctified" and "preserved" are perfect passive verbs. What does this say about sanctification? Is sanctification a work of God or man?
  • Apostates have a lust for power (or "advantage"). What are the methods, described in Jude, that apostates use to gain power? (see vs. 8, 16, 18-19)