Always Believe and Obey Only God’s True Message

About Jude’s letter

Verses 3-16 Jude’s letter is a message to Christians about false teachers, who were teaching wrong things. Those teachers said that they themselves were Christians. But they were very dangerous, because they were stopping some people from obeying God. God is very angry with false teachers like that, and he will punish them.

Verses 17–23 So Jude tells the Christians that they must be very careful. They must continue to believe the right things that belong to God’s true message. They must continue to love God and other people. They must try to help their friends who have believed the wrong things.

We do not know which Christians Jude was writing to. Nor do we know when he wrote his letter. But Jude’s message is very important for all Christians at any time.

Chapter 1

False teachers are trying to turn people away from God

1 This letter is from me, Jude. I am Jesus Christ’s servant and I am James’s brother. I am writing to you people that God, the Father, loves. God has chosen you to be his own people, and he is keeping you safe for Jesus Christ.

Verse 1 Most people think that Jude (also called Judas) was Jesus’ brother. James and Jude were two of Jesus’ four brothers (see Mark 6:3). James became a leader of the Christians at Jerusalem (see Galatians 1:19; 2:9 and Acts 15:13).

But, in his letter, Jude does not say that he was Jesus’ brother. He thought about himself as Jesus’ servant. Jesus became his Master. Jude wanted people to obey Jesus. He did not want people to think that he himself was very important.

2 I want you to know more and more how very kind God is to you. I pray that he will cause you to be without trouble inside yourselves more and more. And I want you to know more and more how much God loves you.

3 My friends that I love, I was wanting very much to write to you. I was wanting to write about how God has saved all of us. But instead, now I must write to you about something else. I must ask you very strongly to be like people who fight to keep God’s true message safe. You must not let anyone stop you believing it. You must not let anyone stop you obeying it. God has given this true message to his people, and his message will never change.

4 I say this because certain bad men have come among you secretly. Those men do not want to obey God. Instead, they do whatever bad things they want to do. ‘God lets us do these things because he is so very kind’, they say. So they are trying to change God’s true message. And, because they do these things, they are turning away from our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Many years ago, people wrote that God would punish this kind of bad people.

Verse 4 The false teachers may have travelled from place to place. They said that they believed Christ. But the things that they did were not right.

Examples from the Old Testament to show that God punishes bad people

5 I want to tell you again about certain things. You know these facts already, but I want you to remember them. Remember how the Lord brought Israel’s people out of the country called Egypt. At that time, he saved them. But later he destroyed all those people who did not believe him. 6 Also, remember the angels who refused to obey God. They took authority that God had not given to them. They left their own proper place in heaven. So God has tied them up for always. He has put them in the dark place below. He will keep them there until that great day when he will decide about everyone. He will decide what should happen to everyone in the world.

7 Also, remember the cities called Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities that were near them. The people who lived in those cities were doing bad things also, like those bad angels. They were having sex with people who were not their husbands or their wives. They were wanting very much to have sex in ways that are not right. God is punishing those people. He has put them into the fire that never stops burning. And that shows us what will happen to bad people like them.

Verse 5 Israel’s people were slaves in Egypt. God saved them when Moses led them out. But most of them did not believe God. So they did not go into the land that God had promised them. Instead, they died before they arrived there. (See Numbers 14:1-37 and 26:64-65.)

Verse 6 Some of the angels in heaven thought that they were very important. So they stopped obeying God and they left heaven. (See Genesis 6:1-4; Luke 10:18 and Revelation 12:7–9.)

Verse 7 Jude uses Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of places where people did bad things. (See Genesis 18:20 and 19:1-29.)

8 These people who have come among you are doing the same kind of bad things. Because of their dreams, they do wrong things with their bodies. They refuse God’s authority. And they say bad things about the beautiful, good angels. 9 Even Michael, who was one of the most important angels, did not speak bad words like that about the Devil. Many, many years ago, Michael was arguing with the Devil about who should have Moses’ body. But Michael did not think that he himself was important enough to speak bad words to the Devil. Instead, Michael said only this: ‘The Lord must tell you that you are wrong.’ 10 But these men speak bad words against anything that they do not understand. They are like animals that cannot think. They do the things that their nature causes them to do. And those are the things that destroy them.

Verse 9 Deuteronomy 34:5–6 tells us about when Moses died.

Three more examples from the Old Testament

11 Very bad things will happen to these false teachers. They have done the same kind of things as Cain did. Also, like Balaam, they wanted money so much that they have rushed to do wrong things. And, like Korah, they have refused to obey God, so God will destroy them.

Verse 11 Cain killed his brother Abel. (See Genesis 4:1-16; Hebrews 11:4 and 1 John 3:12.)

Balaam caused Israel’s people to do bad things. (See Numbers chapters 22-25; Deuteronomy 23:4-5 and Revelation 2:14.)

Korah thought that he himself was very important. He thought that he knew better than Moses. He refused to obey what God had told Moses. (See Numbers 16:1-35.)

The false teachers are very dangerous

12 When you Christians meet as friends to eat special meals together, these false teachers meet with you. But they come only because they want to eat and to drink. They do not think about God or about other people. They think about themselves only, and they are not ashamed about that. They are like dangerous rocks in the sea that a ship must stay away from. They are like clouds that bring no rain. The wind just carries those clouds along. They are like trees that have no fruit, even at the right season for fruit. People pull trees like that out of the ground. So it is like those trees have died twice.

Verse 12 It is not completely clear what the word for ‘dangerous rocks’ in this verse means. Instead of ‘rocks’, the word could mean ‘dirty marks’. So the false teachers are like dirty marks among the good, clean Christians at their special meals together.

13 Those false teachers are like the water in the sea that moves very much during a storm. That water brings up a lot of dirt to the top of the sea. That dirt is like a picture of all the bad, dirty things that those people do. Those false teachers are like stars that have moved away from their proper places in the sky. So God has prepared a completely black, dark place for them, where they will have to stay always.

14 Enoch belonged to the seventh (number 7) family that was born after Adam. Enoch spoke about people like these false teachers also. He said: ‘Look, the Lord will come with thousands and thousands of his completely good angels. 15 He will decide what should happen to all people. He will decide to punish all the bad people who have refused to obey him. He will punish them because of all the bad things that they have done against him. He will punish them because of all the bad words that they have spoken against him.’

Verse 14 Enoch was a man who lived many, many years ago. He made God happy. (See Genesis 5:3-18, 24.) These words that Enoch wrote are not in the Bible. Enoch wrote them in a book called ‘The Book of Enoch’.

16 These people are always saying that they themselves are not happy about things. They are always saying that other people have done things wrong. But they do whatever bad things they want to do. They speak great things about themselves, to show how important they are. But they say good things about other people only when they want something from those people.

Jude tells the Christians what they must do

17 But remember, my friends, what the Lord Jesus Christ’s special teachers said before. They spoke about what would happen in future times. 18 They said this to you: ‘In the last times, some people will think that God and God’s rules are not important. They will say that it is silly to obey God. They will not want to obey him. Instead, they will do whatever bad things they want to do.’ 19 It is these people who cause you Christians not to agree with each other. They cause you to belong to separate groups. These people let the things that belong to this world rule them. They do what they want to do. They do not have God’s Spirit in them.

Verse 18 The ‘last times’ is the time before Jesus returns to the earth.

20 But you, my friends, have believed the message that comes from God himself. And you must do everything that you can to believe it more and more strongly. You must help each other to believe it. Let God’s Spirit lead you when you pray. 21 Always remember that God loves you. So you should love and obey him always. And you should love other people. Love like this while you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to come. He will cause you to live with him always, because he is so very kind.

22 Some people are not completely sure whether God’s message is really true. You must be kind to those people and you must try to help them. 23 Some people are turning away from God and they are doing bad things. If they turn away completely, God will punish them in the fire. So you must try to stop those people. Then you will save them, because you will pull them out of the fire.

Verse 23 See also verse 7. This describes how God punishes bad people like this in the fire.

There are other people that you must try to help also. They are like people with very dirty clothes, because of all the bad, dirty things that they do. But you must be very careful, so that they do not lead you away from God. You must be careful like someone who will not even touch those people’s dirty clothes.

Jude says how great and powerful God is

24 God is able to keep you safe so that you do not go the wrong way. He is able to make you completely good and clean inside yourselves. And so he can bring you near to himself. You will come near to the beautiful light that shines from him. You will stand in front of God, who is so very great and good. And you will be very, very happy. 25 He is the only God. He saves us by our Lord Jesus Christ. So everyone should thank him always! Everyone should say how very great he is always! He has had all power and authority and he has ruled since time began, until now. And he will have all power and authority always! This is true.

Word List

angel
spirit being. Good angels come from God’s home above the earth. They are God’s servants and they bring messages from God to people.
being
a person or animal that is alive.
Devil
the Devil is the leader and the worst of the bad angels. He is the worst enemy of God. He is also called Satan.
heaven
the place above the earth where God and Jesus Christ live.
Lord
master; another name for God. It means that he is greater than everyone else.
Old Testament
the first part of the Bible, which describes events before Jesus Christ was born on earth.
punish
to hurt someone, or to cause trouble for them, because they have done bad things.
spirit
a being that is always alive, even without a body. A person’s spirit is the part of them that will always be alive. It will be alive even after their body is dead. There are good spirits, like God’s Spirit and his angels. And there are bad spirits, like Satan (God’s enemy) and his angels.

Book List

Greenlee J. H. ~ An Exegetical Summary of Jude ~ Dallas, SIL 1999

Barclay W. ~ The Letters of John & Jude ~ St. Andrews Press ~ Revised edition 1998

Lucas D. & Green C. ~ The Message of 2 Peter & Jude ~ The Bible Speaks Today ~ Leicester, IVP 1995

Green M. ~ 2 Peter and Jude ~ Tyndale NT Commentaries ~ Leicester, IVP 1987

Charles R. H. (translator) ~ The Book of Enoch ~ SPCK 1997

Nigeria Bible Translation Trust ~ A Translator’s Display of Colossians and Jude

Info

© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1997-2003

This version published September 2003

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.