|  July 25, 2017

AUTHORSHIP – Jude, the brother of James and half-brother of Jesus.

RECIPIENTS – 3 views

  1. Jewish Christians
  2. Gentile Christians
  3. Jewish & Gentile Christians

OCCASION – given in v.3 – “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.” False Teachers had infiltrated the church and Christians needed to be warned of their destructive influence.

DATE – If 2nd Peter was written first, then Jude cannot be earlier than 65 AD. If Jude was written first, then it cannot be later than 65 AD. The best estimate would be ca. 64-67 AD.


There is a striking resemblance between 2 Peter 2:1-3:4 and Jude. The similarities in thought and structure are so clear that they cannot be accidental. But there are also clear differences. How are these things to be explained? There are 4 major views:

  1. Peter and Jude both wrote independently of the other.
  2. Peter and Jude drew from a common source.
  3. Jude took some of his material from 2nd Peter. (Priority of 2nd Peter)
  4. Peter took some of his material from Jude. (Priority of Jude)

View 3 and 4 seem to be the most likely with the preponderance of evidence in favor of view #3. (See D. Edmond Hiebert, Introduction to the New Testament, vol. 3, 168-72.)


Jude 6 is probably from 1 Enoch (200-63 BC) (Pseudepigrapha – “False Writings” – not written by the one whose names they bear). Jude knew 1 Enoch. 1 Enoch has the material about the divine messengers that is not in Genesis 6.

The narrative of Michael and the devil in Jude 9 is clearly not from the Hebrew Scriptures as we know them, but which the church fathers tell us comes from the 1st century Testament of Moses.

In Jude 14-15 he quotes 1 Enoch 1.9


Jude is more like a sermon than a letter. It follows a text-and-application style. The style is more rhetorical, more oral.

Jude loves rhetorical repetition.

He employs two triplets:

(1) (vv. 5-7)     exodus – divine messengers who abandoned their position – Sodom/Gomorrah.

(2) (v. 11)        Cain – Balaam – Korah

Before preaching this one chapter book, analysis of its overall structure is important before looking at the internal structure of each paragraph. Like most of the NT letters, Jude appears in a tripartite structure:

1-2       Opening Salutation

3-23     Body

24-25   Conclusion (Doxology)

Surprisingly, there are different variations of how the structure of the Body of Jude is analyzed. Note the use of the demonstrative pronoun “these” (Greek houtoi) in vv. 8, 10, 12, 16, 19. Note the use of the two Greek aorist imperatives in 17 and 21.

Verses 3-23 consist of the following paragraphs:








Note that each of these paragraphs with the exception of 20-23 ends with the same Greek word translated “these.”

The final paragraph, 20-23, is the most important in the body. It is introduced by the imperative in v. 21 and occurs with three modifying participles in 20-21. These three participles provide the means by which the exhortation in v. 21 is carried out.


  1. Letter Opening: Salutation (vv. 1-2)
  2. Letter Body (vv. 3-23)
    1. Body opening (vv. 3-4)
      1. (purpose) (v. 3)
      2. (shared assumptions) (v. 4)
    2. Body Proper (arguments) (vv. 5-16)
      1. First Proof (vv. 5-10)
      2. Second Proof (vv. 11-13)
      3. Third Proof (vv. 14-16)
    3. Body Closing (Concluding Exhortation) (vv. 17-23)
  3. Letter Closing: Doxology (vv.24-25)


There are several options in preaching Jude.

  1. Preach the entire letter in one sermon. Regardless of which option is followed, I think one sermon on the entire letter should be preached in order to get the full effect of the letter in one sitting.
  2. Preach the letter in two sermons:
    1. Jude 1-4 (covers the salutation and the exhortation and its grounds in vv. 3-4 from which the rest of the letter flows)
    2. Jude 5-25
  3. Preach the letter in three sermons:
    1. Jude 1-4
    2. Jude 5-16
    3. Jude 17-25
  4. Preach the letter in four sermons:
    1. Jude 1-4
    2. Jude 5-16
    3. Jude 17-19
    4. Jude 20-25

In each of the options 2-4, I would preach an overall sermon on the entire letter at the beginning of the series. That sets the stage for your treatment of each paragraph section in subsequent sermons.

The commentaries on Jude will provide you with more detailed analysis of the structure and meaning of each of the paragraphs for sermon preparation.


The following would be helpful for preachers in studying the structure of the book:

David Allen, Preaching Tools: An Annotated Survey of Commentaries and Preaching Tools on Every Book of the Bible, 2nd ed. (Fort Worth: Seminary Hill Press, 2016).

“Jude,” Southwestern Journal of Theology 58.1 (Fall, 2015), 1-85. Contains articles from the Preaching Workshop at SWBTS on “Preaching Jude.” Includes the following:

Jerry Vines, “Preaching Through Jude”

David Allen, “Contending for the Faith: Jude 3–4”

Paige Patterson, “Jude 6”

Matthew McKellar, “The Benefit of Baseline Exposition”

Vern Charette, “Keeping Your People Glued to Jude: Using Illustrations that Stick”

Steven W. Smith, “Difficult Passages in Jude”

Jerry Vines, “How to Survive and Thrive in the Apostasy”

David Allen, “Bibliography of Commentaries, Special Studies,and Monographs on Jude”

Clinton Bergman, A Structural and Exegetical Analysis of Jude (Saarbrücken, Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing, 2013).

Jerry Edwards, “The Literary Structure of Jude and How it Affects the Interpretation of ‘The Faith’ in Jude 3,” (Research Paper available online, 2012).

Category: Sermon Structure
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