Outline of the Epistle of Jude

Title

Truth War for Christ’s Glory

Theme

Fight for the sufficiency of the Scriptures for the glory of Christ.
Verses 3 and 4 unequivocally give the theme of the epistle:
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.(Jude 3-4)

Thematic Outline of the Epistle

Verse 1-2: Greetings (Mercy Peace and love from God the father and Jesus Christ)
Verses 3-4: Necessity of Truth War
Verses 5-16: Apostasy
1. Verses 5-7: Historical Examples of Insubordination and God’s Judgment  
2. Verses 8-13: Resume of False Teachers
3. Verses 14-16: Predetermined Judgment on False Teachers      Verses 17-23: Perseverance of the Saints or Duties of the Saints in the face of apostasy
Verses 24-25: Doxology (Glory to Christ for the Preservation of the Saints)

Chapter Summary 

Verse 1-2: Greetings (Mercy Peace and love from God the father and Jesus Christ)

Despite being Jesus’ half brother, Jude humbly introduces himself as the “doulos” or slave of Jesus Christ. He is addressing the recipients of his letter as those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. This address denotes God’s sovereign loving election and preservation of the saints. Finally he prays for them to increase in their experience of mercy, peace, and love.

Verses 3-4: Necessity of Truth War

Jude’s plan was to write his letter celebrating the blessings of salvation just as Paul does in the letter to the Ephesians, but the Holy Spirit compels him to warn about the false teachers who had turned the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ into sensuality and were denying the lordship of Christ in their teachings and lifestyle. He encourages the recipients of his letter to wage a truth war and protect the sufficiency of the Scriptures (contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints).

Verses 5-16: Apostasy

Verses 5-7: Historical Examples of Insubordination and God’s Judgment

Before telling us in detail what the false teachers look like, he reminds us of past apostasy and God’s judgment on them. In verse 5, he talks about the disbelief and destruction of the Israelites after their rescue from slavery in Egypt. In verse 6, he mentions God’s judgment on the angels who crossed their God-ordained limits, inhabited men and took women as their wives. And in verse 7, he draws his readers’ attention to God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah for their homosexuality, a rebellion against God-ordained roles of men and women. He gives these examples to press upon his readers that God is holy and no act of insubordination in the church of Christ will go unpunished.

Verses 8-13: Resume of False Teachers

A resume includes the qualities and achievements of a candidate, that account for his selection and hiring. Verses 8 through 13 enumerate the qualities of false teachers, that account for God’s wrath on them. The false teachers are characterized by their reliance on dreams rather than on the unshakable Word of God, fornication, insubordination, disrespect to angelic beings, blasphemy of God’s name, offering of false worship like Cain, greed for money like Balaam, insubordination to God appointed leadership like Korah and selfish exploitation and abuse of believers. Everlasting condemnation is reserved for these apostate teachers.

Verses 14-16: Predetermined Judgment on False Teachers

Enoch had long back prophesied the everlasting condemnation of these false teachers for their abysmally ungodly life style and teachings.

Verses 17-23: Perseverance of the Saints or Duties of the Saints in the face of apostasy

Jude, here, encourages his readers to keep growing in their salvation through the Word of God and prayer. He also encourages them to endeavor to save people who are caught in false teachings.

Verses 24-25: Doxology (Glory to Christ for the Preservation of the Saints)

Since the purpose of this letter was to establish the supremacy of Christ in the minds of believers who were confronted with apostasy and rebellion, Jude, in his doxology, ascribes glory, majesty, dominion, and authority to the Lord Jesus Christ. He also worships Christ for the preservation of the saints.

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