Jude 1:1-13 Commentary

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Jude 1:1-4

Jude 1:5-16

Jude 1:17-23

Jude 1:24-25

Salutation &

Exposure & Examples
of the
False Teachers

to the
Beloved in God


Contend for
The Faith

Their Doom (Jude 1:5-7)
Their Denunciation (Jude 1:8-10)
Their Description (Jude 1:11-16)

Defense Against
False Teachers






Date: A.D. 70-80 (difficult to date)

Jude's Purpose: Expose the false teachers who had crept into the fellowship unnoticed and encourage the saints to stand firm in the faith and rescue the perishing.

Key Verses: Jude 1:4, Jude 1:20, Jude 1:24, 25

Key Words: Lord (Jude 1:4, 5, 9, 14, 17, 21, 25), Faith (Jude 1:3, 20) Keep/Kept (Jude 1:1, 6, 21, 24), Ungodly (Jude 1:4, 15, 18), Beloved (Jude 1:1, 3, 17, 20), Judgment (Jude 1:6, 9, 15), Remember (Jude 1:17), Angel/Archangel (Jude 1:6, 8, 9), Holy Spirit (Jude 1:19, 20). See discussion of key words, a vital component of inductive Bible study.

The following outline is adapted from J Sidlow Baxter's Outline entitled "Contend for the Faith"

GREETING, Jude 1:1,2.


  • Their subtle perversions: Two basic denials (Jude 1:3-4).
  • Their certain doom: Three historic examples (Jude 1:5-7).
  • Their impious ways: Three historic examples (Jude 1:8-11).
  • Their utter falsity: six awful metaphors (Jude 1:12-13).
  • Enoch's prophecy: Coming destruction (Jude 1:14-16).


  • Realize that the apostasy has been foretold (Jude 1:17-19).
  • "Build," "pray in the Spirit," "keep," "look" (Jude 1:20,21).
  • Show compassion towards certain who contend (Jude 1:22).
  • Others seek urgently to rescue: but keep pure (Jude 1:23).

JUDE'S DOXOLOGY: Coming consummation. (Jude 1:24, 25)

In all contending for the faith we must "keep ourselves in the love of God," the counterpart of which is that the love of God must be in us. We must love, even while we contend against the errors of apostatisers (Contend without being contentious!). We must love their souls even while we oppose their words and deplore their ways. Sometimes it is delicately difficult to keep these separate, but the love of Christ in our hearts (cf Ro 5:5,) will put wisdom on our lips… There are some who "contend" against us. Endless counter-contention with them is useless. But there are others who need "snatching out of the fire"; they have been deceived, and in one sense or another, i.e. by bewilderment, remorse, doubt or danger, are in the fire. And there an still others on whom we are to "have mercy with fear," i.e. being cautious lest in seeking to bring them back we should defile our own garments. (J Sidlow Baxter)

Jude is the only NT book devoted exclusively to confronting “apostasy,” meaning defection from the true, biblical faith. Jude does not quote the OT directly, but there are at least 9 obvious allusions to it. Contextually, this “epistolary sermon” could be called “The Acts of the Apostates.” - John MacArthur

Application: Fight for the truth! Stand up against error! The book of Jude is the very definition of punchy and pithy proclamations—with its short commands and statements popping off the page like machine-gun fire. But in our day and age, punchy has become rude or unacceptable. In many circles the forcefulness of Jude will not be tolerated, the crowds preferring a softer and gentler side of the Christian faith. But Jude reminds us that there is a time and a place for the aggressive protection of the truth from those who would seek to tear it down. How can you participate in defending the truth from error? - C R Swindoll


Click chart to enlarge
Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
See summary chart by Swindoll

Jude 1:1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: Ioudas Iesou Christou doulos adelphos de Iakobou tois en theo patri egaphemenois (RPPMPD) kai Iesou Christo teteremenois (RPPMPD) kletois:

  • Jude = Mt 13:55, Mark 6:3
  • a bond-servant = Jn 12:26; Acts 27:23; Ro 1:1; 6:22; 16:18; Jas 1:1; 2Pe 1:1
  • to those = Jn 15:16; 17:17,19; Acts 20:32; 1Co 1:2; 6:11; Eph 5:26; 1Th 5:23; 1Pe 1:2
  • kept = John 6:39; Jn 10:28-30; 17:11-12,15; 2Ti 4:18; 1Pe 1:5
  • and called = Ro 8:30; 9:24; 1Th 2:12; 2Th 2:13,14; 2Ti 1:9; Heb 3:1; 1Pe 2:9; 5:10

Related Passages:

Click for over 60 versions of this verse.

Matthew 13:55   “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?

Mark 6:3   “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.

John 12:26 “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

John 15:16  “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

John 6:39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

John 10:28-30; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 “I and the Father are one.” 

John 17:11-12  11“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

John 17:15 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.


Jude (note)(2455)(Ioudas Hebrew = Yehudah. is translated Judas, Jehudah, Judah = Praise Yahweh), Jude. Judas misunderstood the popularity of Jesus (Mt 12:46+). In his estimation, Jesus was a foolish enthusiast (Mk 3:21+). Mt 13:55 clearly states that Judas and James, were also the brothers of Jesus. Before the resurrection of Jesus, he apparently did not acknowledge his Brother as the Messiah (Jn 7:3-5+.)

Swindoll on Jude - Like most of the other general epistles, the title of this little book takes its name from its author. Most scholars identify the writer as Jude the half-brother of Jesus for at least two reasons. First, he identified himself as the “brother of James” (Jude 1:1), meaning he was probably not the apostle named Jude, a man who was called “the son of James” (Luke 6:16). That the author of the book of Jude identified himself as the brother of James likely aligns him with the family of Jesus. (See Who Wrote the Book in the chapter on James for more information.) Second, Matthew 13:55 records the names of the brothers of Jesus as James and Judas. Whereas the gospels record his name as Judas, English translations shorten it to Jude—probably for the same reason no one in the present day wants to name a child Judas, because of the association it has with Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Like his older brother James, Jude did not place his faith in Jesus while the Lord was still alive (Jn 7:5). Only after the crucifixion and resurrection did the scales fall from Jude’s eyes and he become a follower of his half-brother, Jesus. 1Corinthians 9:5 offers a tantalizing piece of information, noting that the Lord’s brothers and their wives took missionary journeys. From this scant portrait, we begin to picture Jude as a man who lived in skepticism for a time but eventually came to a powerful faith in Jesus. And as he traveled on behalf of the Gospel—telling the story in city after city with his name Judas butting up against that of Judas Iscariot—he would stand as a living example of faithfulness, a stark contrast to the betrayer. - (Jude Overview):

Vincent on the identity of Jude - One of the brethren of Jesus; not the brother of James the Apostle, the son of Alphaeus, but of James the superintendent of the church at Jerusalem. He is named among the brethren of the Lord. Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3.

Spurgeon on a bondservant of Jesus Christ - He does not say, “and brother of our Lord,” for we know that James and Judas were both of them among the Lord’s kinsman according to the flesh; but now, after the flesh, knoweth he even Christ no more, but is content and happy to be known as “the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,” We have here a very blessed description of the whole work of our salvation, — set apart by the Father, joined unto Christ, and preserved in him, and then, in due time, called out by the Spirit of God.

Barclay comments on Jude referring to himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ - Few things tell more about a man than the way in which he speaks of himself; few things are more revealing than the titles by which he wishes to be known. Jude calls himself the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James. At once this tells us two things about him. (i) Jude was a man well content with the second place. He was not nearly so well known as James; and he is content to be known as the brother of James. In this he was the same as Andrew. Andrew is Simon Peter's brother (John 6:8). He, too, was described by his relationship to a more famous brother. Jude and Andrew might well have been resentful of the brothers in whose shadow they had to live; but both had the great gift of gladly taking the second place. (ii) The only title of honor which Jude would allow himself was the servant of Jesus Christ. The Greek is doulos and it means more than servant, it means slave. That is to say, Jude regarded himself as having only one object and one distinction in life--to be for ever at the disposal of Jesus for service in his cause. The greatest glory which any Christian can attain is to be of use to Jesus Christ. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Bondservant(1401)(doulos from deo = to bind) (Click additional notes on doulos) was an individual bound to another in servitude and conveys the idea of the slave's close, binding ties with his master, belonging to him, obligated to and desiring to do his will and in a permanent relation of servitude. In sum, the will of the doulos is consumed in the will of the master. A bondservant is one who surrendered wholly to another’s will and thus devoted to another to the disregard of his own interest. Paul and Timothy were not their own but had been bought with the price of the blood of Christ. They were now the property of our Lord Jesus Christ and were His slaves exclusively. No man can serve two masters (Mt 6:24+). Paul and Timothy had been slaves of Sin (see note on "the Sin") by their birth into Adam's likeness, but now they are slaves of Christ by their new, second birth. They had no will of their own, no business of their own, no time of their own and were acting for their Master, Christ; dependent upon Him and obedient to Him.

Bondservant is used in the introductions of the epistles by Paul, James, Peter, Jude and John - Ro 1:1, Php 1:1, Titus 1:1, James 1:1, 2Pe 1:1, Jude 1:1, Rev 1:1

The doulos…

  • Was owned by and totally possessed by his master.
  • Existed for his master and no other reason.
  • Had no personal rights.
  • Was at the master’s disposal "24/7".
  • Had no will of his own but his will was completely subservient to the master.
  • Or to say it another way his will was subsumed in His will!

Paradoxically a bondservant of the Most High God is one of the most privileged, noblest professions in the world. Little wonder that notable men of God in the have always been called the servants of God. The illustrious list of names includes…

  • Moses (Dt 34:5+ Ps 105:26 Mal 4:4)
  • Joshua (Josh 24:29+)
  • David (2Sa 3:18 Ps 78:70)
  • Paul (Ro 1:1+; Phil 1:1+; Titus 1:1+)
  • Peter (2Pe 1:1+)
  • James (James 1:1+)
  • Jude (Jude 1:1)
  • Prophets (Amos 3:7; Jer 7:25).
  • Ideally believers (Acts 2:18+; 1Co 7:22+; Eph 6:6+; Col 4:12+; 2Ti 2:24+).

ILLUSTRATION OF BONDSERVANT - A businessman once asked his Bible study group, “How can you tell if you have a servant attitude?” The reply came back… “By the way you react when you are treated like one.” It’s not easy to find an attitude like that. But for a disciple, servant-hood is one of the keys to growing in Christ-likeness. (From Howard Hendricks)

Vincent on Brother of James -That Jude does not allude to his relationship to the Lord may be explained by the fact that the natural relationship in his mind would be subordinate to the spiritual (see Luke 11:27, Luke 11:28), and that such a designation would, as Dean Alford remarks, “have been in harmony with those later and superstitious feelings with which the next and following ages regarded the Lord's earthly relatives.” He would shrink from emphasizing a distinction to which none of the other disciples or apostles could have a claim, the more so because of his former unbelief in Christ's authority and mission. It is noticeable that James likewise avoids such a designation.

The called (2822) (kletos from kaleo = basic meaning is to call - see amplification below. See study of related word klesis) is a "verbal adjective" which is sometimes used as a verb and sometimes used as a noun referring to believers.

Literally kletos means invited or welcomed and was originally used to designate those invited to a banquet. In the NT kletos is generally used of one who has accepted a calling or an invitation to become a guest or member of a select group. Believers have been invited by God in the proclamation of the Gospel to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom through Christ. The idea is they have been invited by God through the proclamation of the Gospel to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom. As used in the epistles "called" is synonymous with "chosen" -- specifically called is used by Paul and Peter and John (Rev 17:14) to identify those who have received and have accepted the divine call of God to salvation.

Wuest on called - Kletos is placed at the end of the sentence for emphasis. It is an adjective used to describe those who were called in the sense of being invited, for instance, to a banquet. The word here speaks of that effectual call of God whereby the sinner called to salvation is constituted willing to receive that which he by nature rejects, namely, salvation, this being the pre-salvation work of the Holy Spirit in which He brings the sinner to the place of repentance and the act of faith in the Lord Jesus as Saviour. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Barclay - Kaleo has three great areas of use. (a) It is the word for summoning a man to office, to duty, and to responsibility. The Christian is summoned to a task, to duty, to responsibility in the service of Christ. (b) It is the word for summoning a man to a feast or a festival. It is the word for an invitation to a happy occasion. The Christian is the man who is summoned to the joy of being the guest of God. (c) It is the word for summoning a man to judgment. It is the word for calling a man to court that he may give account of himself.The Christian is in the end summoned to appear before the judgment seat of Christ. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

The called are those who have been summoned by God, called…

  • according to His purpose (Kletos - Ro 8:28+)
  • to salvation (Kaleo - Ro 8:30+)
  • saints by calling (Kletos - 1Co 1:2+)
  • both Jews and Greeks (Kletos - 1Co 1:24+)
  • having been called (kaleo) "with a holy" calling (klesis) (2Ti 1:9+)
  • heavenly calling (klesis) (Heb 3:1+)
  • out of darkness into His marvelous light (Kaleo - 1Pe 2:9+)
  • to walk worthy (Kaleo - Eph 4:1- +)
  • by grace (Kaleo - Gal 1:6+)
  • not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles (Kaleo - Ro 9:24+)
  • through the "gospel" that we "may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Kaleo - 2Th 2:14+)
  • and be brought "into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (Kaleo - 1Co 1:9+)
  • and return in triumph "with Him" at the end of this age (Kletos - Re 17:14+).

These magnificent truths on "called" should cause all the "called of Jesus Christ" to cry out "Glory!"

Beloved in God the Father - In the sphere of God's love (permanently as explained below). So here in Jude 1:1 we see God's sovereign dispensation of His love, whereas in Jude 1:21+ we see man's responsibility to keep himself in the love of God.

Beloved (25)(agapao) is from the verb agapao which speaks especially of love as based on evaluation and choice, a matter of will and action. God chose to love us! Amazing love how can it be that Thou my God should lovest me? The perfect tense speaks of this as an abiding (eternal) love of God for all who are in (in covenant, in union with) His Beloved Son Christ Jesus.

MacArthur on beloved - The perfect tense indicates that God placed His love on believers in eternity past (Eph. 1:4-5), with results that continue in the present and into the future.

Wuest on beloved - The participle is in the perfect tense, speaking of a past complete act having present, and in a context like this, permanent results. The distinctive word for "love" here is the word for God's self-sacrificial love which was shown at Calvary. This love here is the outgoing of God's love for the saints in which He gives of Himself for their good. He will do anything within His good will for the saints. He went all the way to Calvary for them when they were unlovely and naturally unlovable. He will do as much and more for His saints who in Christ are looked upon by God the Father with all the love with which He loves His Son. The perfect tense speaks of the fact that the saints are the permanent objects of God's love. Jude is therefore writing to those who have been loved by God the Father with the present result that they are in a state of being the objects of His permanent love, and that love extends not merely through the brief span of this life, but throughout eternity. And then some dear children of God fear that they might be lost. (Bolding added) (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Agapetos describes the love of another, this love being called out of the "giver's" heart by preciousness of the recipient of the love (the "beloved'). Agapetos is used only of Christians as united (by covenant, the New Covenant) with God and/or with each other in love. Beloved is a term of endearment and is someone that you love, and someone you are deeply devoted to. In the context of the New Testament agape love speaks of God’s divine and infinite love, a love that seeks the ultimate spiritual welfare of the one loved. Agapetos could be translated “divinely loved ones.” Jude mentions that his readers are beloved three times (Jude 1:1, Jude 1:17+, Jude 1:20+) and in Jude 1:2 prays for God's love to be "multiplied to" them! Clearly Jude wants these believers' to know their standing with God - Beloved! And this applies to you dear reader if you have placed your faith in Christ Jesus.

Ironside - Our Lord Himself declared it (the love of the Father) when He said, "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one. I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:22-23). This is the measure of the Father’s love to every child of grace. There are no degrees in His affection for His children. The feeblest and the strongest are alike “[beloved of] God the Father” as truly as His Son is the Beloved of His heart. (Jude - Ironside's Notes)

Hiebert says the word "beloved at the very beginning of an epistle is unusual, occurring elsewhere only in 3Jn 1:2. Jude at once assured his readers that the unpleasant theme of his present communication did not negate his personal love for them. His love was grounded in the reality of God's love and redemptive purpose for them (Jude 1:1b) and prompted him aggressively to seek to eliminate the dangers which threatened the beloved." (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 216)

Kept (5083) (tereo from teros - a guard or warden) (4x in Jude 1:1, 6, 13, 21 cf 4x in 2Pet 2:4, 9, 17; 3:7) means to keep an eye on, to keep something in view, to hold firmly, to attend carefully, or to watch over it (watchful care - Jesus' prayer to His Father for His disciples - Jn 17:11). Tereo speaks of guarding something which is in one’s possession. It means to watch as one would some precious thing. The idea is to observe attentively and to retain in custody. Jude's readers are kept safe, guarded, watched over. The perfect tense indicates we have been and are in the present state of being watched, being kept safe from harm, being preserved. Tereo expresses watchful care given to someone, conveying a sense of security -- in this case we are being maintained by and for our Lord! Recall Jesus' prayer to His Father…

“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep (tereo) them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. (John 17:11)

Barclay - "The Christian is never left alone; Christ is always the Sentinel of his life and the Companion of his way." (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Adrian Rogers - Now if you are a baby, and your mother is taking care of you, where is the source of your security? In you, or in the one who is taking care of you? You see—listen and pay attention—your security is no better than the one who is making you secure. Isn’t that true? Now if you’re kept by Jesus Christ, do you think you’re secure? You see, do you think He’s going to lose you? (Read Jn 10:28-30) . You’re in better hands than Allstate, friend. You’re in His hands. It is not that you keep your salvation; it is that He keeps you. You are preserved by Jesus Christ, and to feel insecure is really to doubt Him. (See 92 pages of sermon material on Jude by Adrian Rogers - super practical and pithy as always!)

NET NOTE - Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It used national Israel times (Isa 43:10) but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2Sa 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”

Jamieson - Jude, beforehand, mentions the source and guarantee for the final accomplishment of believers‘ salvation; lest they should be disheartened by the dreadful evils which he proceeds to announce [Bengel].

Matthew Henry - Believers are preserved from the gates of hell, and to the glory of heaven.

Ironside - Whatever may be the difficulties of life, however great the trial of our faith, in the love of God we are preserved by the One who has saved us. He it is who, “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). Were it not for His preserving grace not one saint would persevere. “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). There is no ground for self-confidence, or fleshly elation. Such grace calls for reverent and adoring gratitude, and a walk that corresponds to the lovingkindness lavished on creatures so unworthy. (Jude - Ironside's Notes)

Tereo describes God's guarding the fallen angels (Jude 1:6) and "these men" (Jude 1:12, 13) for judgment, but He is preserving His own children for glory. Meanwhile, He is able to preserve us in our daily walk and "keep (verb phulasso) us from stumbling" (Jude 1:21)

Wuest on kept for Jesus Christ - Tereo (kept) means "to guard, to hold firmly, to watch or keep," expresses watchful care, and is suggestive of present possession. Here again Jude uses the perfect participle. The saints have been kept guarded by God the Father with the present, and here, permanent result that they are the objects of His permanent, watchful care. The words "Jesus Christ" are in the simple dative case. God the Father is keeping them guarded for Jesus Christ. Our Lord prayed (John 17:11), "Holy Father; keep (tēreō, same word) through thine own name those whom thou hast given Me, that they may be one as we are." Our Lord committed the saints into the watchful care of God the Father, and He is keeping them for Jesus Christ not in the sense that the Father is keeping the saints in lieu of His Son keeping them, but in the sense that the Father is keeping them so that they might continue to be forever the possession of the Lord Jesus.(Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

James Smith - KEPT (JUDE.) The words “keep” and “kept” are mentioned five times, and form a helpful study.

I. The Lord’s People are Kept Ones. Kept by God from sin for the Lord Jesus. “Preserved in Jesus Christ” (1) is the R.V. “Kept for Jesus Christ.”
II. Some Angels “Kept Not their First Estate” (6), so are “kept” (R.V., instead of Reserved) in chains.
III. We Must Keep Ourselves in the full constant assurance that God loves us (21).
IV. He is Able to Keep Us, not merely from “falling,” but as R.V., from “stumbling,” for it is stumbling which precedes falling (24).

QUESTION - Who was Jude in the Bible?

ANSWER - There were several men named Jude, or Judas, in the New Testament. Jude is a derivative of the names Judas and Judah, much as the nickname Sam is a derivative of the name Samuel. But three men named Jude (Judas) had significant roles in Jesus’ day:

1. Judas Iscariot, who betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver, was a chosen disciple who later hanged himself (Luke 6:16; Matthew 27:4–5).

2. Judas the apostle is identified in the gospels as “not Iscariot.” So Jesus chose two men by the name of Jude (or Judas) to be among the twelve disciples (John 14:22; Acts 1:13).

3. Jude was a half-brother of Jesus and brother of James, leader of the first Jerusalem church. This Jude was the son of Mary and Joseph and would have been raised as a brother to Jesus Christ (Mark 6:3). This Jude is the author of the New Testament book by that name. In Jude 1:1, he identifies himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.” It is interesting that neither he nor his brother, James, claimed familial relationship with Jesus when they penned their letters. Pride would have nudged them to include that fact, but reverence and an understanding of Jesus’ divine identity motivated them to consider themselves as only His servants.

Jude was among the siblings of Jesus who, at first, did not believe His claims to be the Messiah (John 7:3–5). At one point, they along with Mary waited outside the place where Jesus was teaching in order to bring Him home with them (Matthew 12:46–47). Their purpose was “to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind’” (Mark 3:21). It was most likely after the resurrection that Jude and his brother James came to understand that their half-brother, Jesus, was indeed the Son of God. It was that shift in perspective that motivated Jude to define himself not as “the brother of the Messiah” but as “a servant of Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:1).

Although not one of the twelve apostles, Jude was a leader in the early church. He begins his letter with a deep concern about believers abandoning the faith and turning to false teachers (Jude 1:3–4). His manner of addressing “those who are called, loved by God the Father, and kept in Jesus Christ” is kind and loving. Yet he is direct and unapologetic in addressing the wickedness of false teachers (Jude 1:12–13). He speaks easily of Jesus, as one who knew Him intimately. It is also noteworthy that Jude credits the Lord Jesus with saving His people from Egypt (Jude 1:5), although at the time of the exodus Jesus had not yet been revealed. It may have been that after his conversion Jude recalled the stories and claims of his older brother during their growing-up years that he had discounted at the time. As the eyes of his heart were opened (see Ephesians 1:18), Jude began to see Jesus in a completely different light and had insights and knowledge not available to everyone else.

Jude and his brother James also teach us that familiarity with Jesus is not sufficient to save us. They lived in the same household with the Son of God for years, yet they did not believe in Him. They knew about Him, but they did not know Him. The same is true for many professing Christians today. Cultural Christianity places people in proximity to the truth, but many have not allowed that truth to redefine their lives. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well” (John 14:6–7). There were no shortcuts for Jude, James, or Mary. Living in the household with the Son of God could not save them. They had to be saved by grace through faith just like everyone else who wants to know God (Ephesians 2:8–9).GotQuestions.org

SpurgeonThreefold sanctification (full sermon)

‘Sanctified by God the Father.’ Jude  1
‘Sanctified in Christ Jesus.’ 1 Corinthians 1:2
‘Through sanctification of the Spirit.’ 1 Peter 1:2

We may without the slightest mistake speak of sanctification as the work of the Spirit, yet we must take heed that we do not view it as if the Father and the Son had no part therein. It is correct to speak of sanctification as the work of the Father, of the Spirit, and of the Son. Jehovah says, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,’ and thus ‘we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.’ My brethren, I beg you to notice and carefully consider the value which God sets upon real holiness, since the Trinity is represented as co-working to produce a church without ‘spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.’ Holiness is the architectural plan upon which God builds up his living temple. We read in Scripture of the ‘beauties of holiness;’ nothing is beautiful before God but that which is holy. All the glory of Lucifer, that son of the morning, could not screen him from divine abhorrence when he had defiled himself by sin. ‘Holy, Holy, Holy,’—the continual cry of cherubim is the loftiest song that creature can offer, and the noblest that the divine Being can accept. See then, he counts holiness to be his choice treasure. It is as the seal upon his heart, and as the signet upon his right hand. I pray you who profess to be followers of Christ, set a high value upon purity of life and godliness of conversation. Value the blood of Christ as the foundation of your hope, but never speak disparagingly of the work of the Spirit.

FOR MEDITATION: Some overemphasise the work of the Holy Spirit so much that they appear to worship him alone as a unity. Others in reaction seem to overlook the work of the Holy Spirit so much that they appear to worship only the Father and Son as a duality. Real Trinitarians give due honour to all three persons of the Godhead. Something is seriously wrong if any one is belittled or omitted (John 5:23; Acts 19:2).

Spurgeon - Morning and Evening - Mark the union of the Three Divine Persons in all their gracious acts. How unwisely do those believers talk who make preferences in the Persons of the Trinity; who think of Jesus as if he were the embodiment of everything lovely and gracious, while the Father they regard as severely just, but destitute of kindness. Equally wrong are those who magnify the decree of the Father, and the atonement of the Son, so as to depreciate the work of the Spirit. In deeds of grace none of the Persons of the Trinity act apart from the rest. They are as united in their deeds as in their essence. In their love towards the chosen they are one, and in the actions which flow from that great central source they are still undivided. Specially notice this in the matter of sanctification. While we may without mistake speak of sanctification as the work of the Spirit, yet we must take heed that we do not view it as if the Father and the Son had no part therein. It is correct to speak of sanctification as the work of the Father, of the Son, and of the Spirit. Still doth Jehovah say, “Let us make man in our own image after our likeness,” and thus we are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” See the value which God sets upon real holiness, since the Three Persons in the Trinity are represented as co-working to produce a Church without “spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” And you, believer, as the follower of Christ, must also set a high value on holiness—upon purity of life and godliness of conversation. Value the blood of Christ as the foundation of your hope, but never speak disparagingly of the work of the Spirit which is your meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. This day let us so live as to manifest the work of the Triune God in us.

Jude 1:2 May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you: eleos humin kai eirene kai agape plethuntheie (3SAPO):


May… be multiplied - The verb is in optative mood which expresses a wish and in the NT usually signifies a prayer. Jude is not asking for "addition" but "multiplication" of these gracious gifts. Webster says multiply means to increase in number especially greatly or in multiples!

Spurgeon - Christian letters should be full of love and good will. The Christian dispensation breathes beneficence, it is full of benediction: “Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.” May the Divine Trinity give you a trinity of blessings!

Multiply (4129) (plethuno from plethos = fullness from pletho = to fill) means to be made full, grow, increase or be multiplied. In the active sense it means to cause to increase, to cause to become greater in number, to multiply (increase in number especially greatly).

Expositor's Greek - The mercy of God is the ground of peace, which is perfected in the feeling of God’s love towards them… “The Divine love is infused into them, so that it is their own, and becomes in them the source of a divine life (Ro 13:10). In virtue of this gift they are inspired with a love which is like the love of God, and by this they truly claim the title of children of God as partakers in His nature, 1 John 4:7; 1John 4:19.” The same salutation is used in the letter of the Smyrnaeans (c. 156 A.D.) giving an account of the martyrdom of Polycarp, (Jude - The Expositor's Greek Testament)

Mercy (1656) (eleos is the outward manifestation of pity and assumes need on the part of those who are recipients of the mercy and sufficient resources to meet the need on the part of those who show it. The idea of mercy is to show kindness or concern for someone in serious need or to give help to the wretched, to relieve the miserable. Here the essential thought is that mercy gives attention to those in misery.

God in His mercy does not give us what we deserve. Instead, He gave our punishment to His own Son on the cross. (Isa 53:4,5). Grace is God giving us what we don't deserve and mercy is not giving us what we do deserve. 

Bishop Trench compared grace and mercy - Although charis is related to sins and is the attribute of God that they evoke, God's eleos, the free gift for the forgiveness of sins, is related to the misery that sin brings. God's tender sense of our misery displays itself in his efforts to lessen and entirely remove it, efforts that are hindered and defeated only by man's continued perverseness. As Bengel said: "Grace removes guilt, mercy removes misery."… In the divine mind, and in the order of our salvation as God conceives it, God's eleos precedes his charis. God so loved the world with a pitying love (eleos) that he gave his only begotten Son (charis) that the world through him might be saved (cf. Luke 1:78-79; Ephesians 2:4). But in the order of the manifestation of that salvation, God's grace precedes his mercy, charis comes before eleos. The same people are the subjects of both, since they are both guilty and miserable, yet the righteousness of God demands that the guilt should be absolved before the misery can be assuaged: only the forgiven may be blessed. God must pardon before he can heal; men must be justified before they can be sanctified. Just as the righteousness of God absolutely requires relating the two terms, so does man's moral constitution, which links misery with guilt and makes the first the inseparable companion of the second. (Grace - Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament)

Peace (1515)(eirene from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony is the opposite of war. Peace was used as a greeting or farewell corresponding to the Hebrew word shalom - "peace to you". Peace is a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies or inwardly, as in the current context, within the soul. Peace implies health, well-being, and prosperity.

John Eadie explains that "Peace, is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Shalom—a term of familiar and beautiful significance. It includes every blessing—being and well-being. It was the formula of ordinary courtesy at meeting and parting. “Peace I leave with you,” said our Lord; but the term was no symbol of cold and formal politeness—“not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” (John 14:27). The word in this connection denotes that form of spiritual blessing which keeps the heart in a state of happy repose.

A REAL LIFE ILLUSTRATION OF "PEACE" - Jim Walton was translating the NT for the Muinane people of La Sabana in the jungles of Colombia. But he was having trouble with the word peace. During this time, Fernando, the village chief, was promised a 20-minute plane ride to a location that would have taken him 3 days to travel by walking. The plane was delayed in arriving at La Sabana, so Fernando departed on foot. When the plane finally came, a runner took off to bring Fernando back. But by the time he had returned, the plane had left. Fernando was livid because of the mix-up. He went to Jim and launched into an angry tirade. Fortunately, Walton had taped the chief's diatribe. When he later translated it, he discovered that the chief kept repeating the phrase, "I don't have one heart." Jim asked other villagers what having "one heart" meant, and he found that it was like saying, "There is nothing between you and the other person." That, Walton realized, was just what he needed to translate the word peace. To have peace with God means that there is nothing--no sin, no guilt, no condemnation--that separates us. And that peace with God is possible only through Christ (Ro 5:1+). Do you have "one heart" with God today?

Peace floods the soul when Christ rules the heart.

Love (26) (agape) is unconditional, sacrificial love and refers to a love that God is (1Jn 4:8,16), that God shows (Jn 3:16, 1Jn 4:9) and that God enables in His children (see note on fruit of the Spirit - Gal 5:22+). Agape is poured out within the hearts of His surrendered saints (cf Ro 5:5). Biblical agape love is the love of choice, the love of serving with humility, the highest kind of love, the noblest kind of devotion, the love of the will (intentional, a conscious choice) and not motivated by superficial appearance, emotional attraction, or sentimental relationship. Agape is not based on pleasant emotions or good feelings that might result from a physical attraction or a familial bond. Agape chooses as an act of self-sacrifice to serve the recipient. Agape in the Greek classics spoke of a love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the object loved. This is the idea inherent in the Father's proclamation "This is My beloved Son… " Agape is the love that was shown at Calvary. Thus agape is God’s love, and is the love that God is.

Mayor on agape love in the saints - The divine love is infused into them, so that it is their own, and becomes in them the source of a divine life (Ro 13:10+). In virtue of this gift they are inspired with a love which is like the love of God, and by this they truly claim the title of children of God as partakers of His nature (1John 4:7, 10).

Jude's use of love is peculiar in the NT salutations.

Spurgeon - Christian letters should be full of love and good will. The Christian dispensation breathes beneficence, it is full of benediction: “Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.” May the Divine Trinity give you a trinity of blessings!

Jamieson - Mercy — in a time of wretchedness. Therefore mercy stands first; the mercy of Christ (Judges 1:21). Peace — in the Holy Ghost (Jude 1:20). love — of God (Jude 1:21). The three answer to the divine Trinity.

Matthew Henry - From the mercy, peace, and love of God all our comfort flows, all our real enjoyment in this life, all our hope of a better. 1. The mercy of God is the spring and fountain of all the good we have or hope for mercy not only to the miserable, but to the guilty. 2. Next to mercy is peace, which we have from the sense of having obtained mercy. We can have no true and lasting peace but what flows from our reconciliation with God by Jesus Christ. 3. As from mercy springs peace, so from peace springs love, his love to us, our love to him, and our brotherly love (forgotten, wretchedly neglected, grace!) to one another. These the apostle prays may be multiplied, that Christians may not be content with scraps and narrow scantlings of them but that souls and societies may be full of them. Note, God is ready to supply us with all grace, and a fulness in each grace. If we are straitened, we are not straitened in him, but in ourselves.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints: Agapetoi pasan spouden poioumenos (PMPMSN) graphein (PAN) humin peri tes koines hemon soterias anagken eschon (1SAAI) grapsai (AAN) humin parakalon (PAPMSN) epagonizesthai (PMN) te apax paradotheise (APPFSD) tois hagiois pistei:

Click for over 60 versions of this verse.

Barclay - Beloved, when I was in the midst of devoting all my energy to writing to you about the faith which we all share, I felt that I was compelled to write a letter to you to urge you to engage upon the struggle to defend the faith which was once and for all delivered to God's consecrated people. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Wuest - Divinely-loved ones, when giving all diligence to be writing to you concerning the salvation possessed in common by all of us, I had constraint laid upon me to write to you, beseeching (you) to contend with intensity and determination for the Faith once for all entrusted into the safe-keeping of the saints. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

  • when = Ro 15:15,16; Gal 6:11; Heb 13:22; 1Pe 5:12; 2Pe 1:12-15; 3:1
  • common = Isaiah 45:17,22; Acts 4:12; 13:46,47; 28:28; Gal 3:28; Titus 1:4; 2Pe 1:1
  • that ye = Neh 13:25; Jer 9:3; Acts 6:8-10; 9:22; 17:3; 18:4, 5, 6,28; Php 1:27; 1Th 2:2; 1Ti 1:18; 6:12; 2Ti 1:13; 4:7,8; Rev 2:10; 12:11
  • which = Dt 9:10; 21:9; Acts 20:27; 1Co 15:3; Gal 2:5; 2Pe 3:2
  • the saints = Eph 1:1; Php 1:1; Col 1:2


Beloved = Occurring at the beginning of an epistle only here and 3 John 2. NIV's translation of "dear friends" loses some of the tenderness of agapetos. NLT is not bad "dearly loved friends", but best of all is being called "beloved."

Beloved (27) (agapetos from agapao = to love, agape = unconditional love borne by Spirit - Gal 5:22-) means very much loved. “Divinely-loved ones,” loved by God, God’s beloved ones. Dear to the heart of God!

While I was making every effort (spoude) to write (grapho) you about our common (koinos) salvation (soteria - Making every effort portrays him as earnestly and aggressively occupied with a project that involved his readers.

NET NOTE - Grk “while being quite diligent to write to you,” or “while making all haste to write to you.” Two issues are at stake: (1) whether σπουδή (spoudē) here means diligence, eagerness, or haste; (2) whether ποιούμενος γράφειν (poioumenos graphein) is to be taken conatively (“I was about to write”) or progressively (“I was writing”). Without knowing more of the background, it is difficult to tell which option is to be preferred.

Effort (4710)(spoude from speudo = hasten, make haste) refers to eagerness, earnestness, willingness or zeal. It denotes quick movement or haste accompanying the eagerness, etc, in the interest of a person or cause. Thus spoude can refer to swiftness of movement or action and means haste or speed (like our expression "in a hurry"). It can refer to an earnest commitment in discharge of an obligation or experience of a relationship. Spoude was often used in Greek and Roman literature and found on inscriptions in reference to extraordinary commitment to civic and religious responsibilities, which were frequently intertwined, and also of concern for personal moral excellence or optimum devotion to the interests of others. Henry Alford - Spoude “implies more than mere earnest desire; a man’s spoude is necessarily action as well as wish. ‘Giving diligence’ seems the exact idea required.”

Write (1125) (grapho from root graph- = primarily means to scratch on or engrave as on an ornament, reports, letters, etc; English = graph, graphic, etc) means to engrave or inscribe with a pen or stylus characters or letters on a surface which can be wood, wax, metal, leather, stone, parchment, dirt (John ), paper, etc

Common  (2839)(koinos) means that which is open to all. Some uses have the sense of inferior, but that is not Jude's intended meaning. He is describing the salvation that genuine believers everywhere share. "The word “common” is koinos, the verbal form being koinoneo, “to become a sharer, a partner.” Thus, the idea is of “a common salvation” possessed in common with others." (Wuest (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) )

Salvation (4991) (soteria) describes rescue or deliverance from danger, destruction, peril. In context soteria is deliverance from slavery to and consequences of sin and to restoration to a former state of safety, health, well being and preservation.

  If you don’t have a cause that is worth dying for,
you very likely don’t have anything worth living for.


I felt the necessity (anagke) to write (grapho) to you appealing (parakaleo) that you contend earnestly (epagonizomai) for the (definite article = "the") faith (pistis) which was once for all handed down to the saints - CSB  = "I found it necessary to write and exhort you." Jude was constrained. NET =  I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you." The verb contend earnestly (epagonizomai) is an intensive form (epi) of agonizomai and thus conveys the picture of a heightened degree of struggling, fighting, contending, etc. "The faith here is not faith as exercised by the individual, but Christianity itself in its historic doctrines and life-giving salvation." (Wuest - Eerdmans Publishing - by permission) 

NET NOTE - Grk “I had the necessity.” The term anankē, “necessity” often connotes urgency or distress. In this context, Jude is indicating that the more comprehensive treatment about the faith shared between himself and his readers was not nearly as urgent as the letter he found it now necessary to write.

Wuest - Jude had originally intended writing a letter containing a positive presentation of the doctrines of the Christian faith. The Holy Spirit laid upon his heart the necessity of writing in defense of the faith. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Jude is like the duty of a watchman given to Ezekiel - At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. “When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. “Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself. “Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself.” (Ezek 3:16-21)

Necessity (318)(anagke from ana = up, again + agcho = to compress, press tight) literally means to compress. It refers to feeling of an necessity, constraint or compulsion. Because of the surreptitious nature of the attack on the believers he is preparing to address, Jude senses a compelling obligation (I would suggest that it is one energized by the Holy Spirit in a Spirit controlled man) to correct the subtle doctrinal errors.

Earnestly contend (1864)(epagonizomai from epí = toward + agonizomai = to strive, contend earnestly) with the prefix epi in this context (Jude 1:3), this prefix is used as an intensifier conveying the meaning of a little additional (epi) striving to the already strong agonizomai (agon = contest). Only here in New Testament (hapax legomenon). This word group gives us our English "agony" suggesting pain too intense to be borne! This describes Jude's internal turmoil and consternation upon hearing of the "creepers" in Jude 1:4. Compare our English = agonize = picture of a devoted athlete, competing in the Greek games and stretching his nerves and muscles to do his very best to win. You never fight the Lord’s battles from a rocking chair or a soft bed! Constable adds "This unique compound verb pictures a person taking his or her stand on top of something an adversary desires to take away, and fighting to defend and retain it." 

Hiebert - “To ‘contend earnestly for’ (epagonizesthai) is an expressive compound infinitive which appears only here in the New Testament. The simple form of the verb (agonizomai), which appears as ‘agonize’ in its English form, was commonly used in connection with the Greek stadium to denote a strenuous struggle to overcome an opponent, as in a wrestling match. It was also used more generally of any conflict, contest, debate, or lawsuit. Involved is the thought of the expenditure of all one’s energy in order to prevail.”  (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 218)

MacArthur contend earnestly. While the salvation of those to whom he wrote was not in jeopardy, false teachers preaching and living out a counterfeit gospel were misleading those who needed to hear the true gospel. Jude wrote this urgent imperative for Christians to wage war against error in all forms and fight strenuously for the truth, like a soldier who has been entrusted with a sacred task of guarding a holy treasure (cf. 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7). 

Wuest - The Greek athletes exerted themselves to the point of agony in an effort to win the contest. With such intense effort does Jude say that saints should defend the doctrines of Christianity. Peter, in his first epistle (1Pe 3:15+), tells us how we are to do so. He says that we should “be ready always to give an answer” to the opposition. The words “give an answer” are in the Greek a technical term of the law courts, speaking of the attorney for the defense “presenting a verbal defense” for his client. This is part of the ministry of every pastor. He must guard the flock of God under his charge from the inroads of Modernism by presenting evidences of the divine source of Christianity and the falsity of the modernistic position. The intensity of the defense must be adjusted to the intensity of the opposition which comes from Satan through Modernism. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Guy Woods - These efforts are, it is surely unnecessary to add, of a moral and persuasive nature only; all force of a physical nature being expressly forbidden the faithful. When Peter sought to defend the Lord with a sword he was rebuked for his pains; and in bidding him sheathe it, he forevermore made it clear that his followers are not to fight with carnal weapons in his behalf.” (A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude)

Cedar says "Jude has two major concerns—that they [his readers] will not be led astray by false teachers. He prays that they will instead take the initiative and contend for the faith.”

As Paul warned the elders at Ephesus "Therefore be on the alert, (present imperative = command for continual alertness so as to be able to detect savage wolves) remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears." (Acts 20:31)

THOUGHT - How does one "CONTEND EARNESTLY"? See [Titus 1:9, Acts 18:28, 2Ti 2:25, Jer 13:15-17] for some possible ideas on what it means to contend earnestly. Also just about any of the OT prophets are a good picture of those who contended earnestly for OT truth.. Involved is the thought of the expenditure of all one's energy in order to prevail. Here, as often, the verb is used metaphorically to denote a spiritual conflict in which believers are engaged.


Scripture repeatedly reminds us that we are in a "life and death" spiritual battle (Eph 6:10-13; 1Th 5:8; 1Ti 6:12; 2Ti 2:4, 4:7), a competition (1Co 9:24,25; 2Ti 2:5) against the forces of evil. Jude later reminds his readers that one fights for the faith not only by opposing false teachers but by prayer, mercy, and love (Jude 1:17-23). In the name of tolerance, many tend to ignore questionable teachings in the modern church. Jude says defending the faith and warning against false teaching can actually be a sign of love for the brethren.

John MacArthur has an excellent discussion of the modern church's lack of discernment emphasizing that the need for discernment is underscored throughout Scripture (Pr. 2:3; 23:23; 1Cor. 16:13; Phil. 1:9; Heb. 5:14; Rev. 2:2, 2Cor 11:1-4). MacArthur goes on to explain that "Tragically, there are many in the contemporary church who also lack spiritual discernment. Such people are far better at staying in tune with cultural trends than they are at appreciating and understanding biblical doctrine. In some cases, whole churches have shifted their focus from the clear teachings of Scripture to the felt needs of sinners. They want to make the church service “comfortable” and “non confrontational.” As a result, the messages they champion are theologically weak, and the people they serve are doctrinally naïve. Those churches are defenseless against error. There are at least six reasons for the disturbing lack of discernment that characterizes much of contemporary Christianity. Obviously, the first is the recent trend among many evangelicals to minimize the importance of doctrine. Those in this camp argue that biblical clarity is both divisive and unloving—to them it puts up walls, lacks humility, and hinders unity… A second reason is that the church has become less objective in its outlook, substituting unconditional truth for moral relativism and postmodern subjectivity. Instead of seeing truth in terms of black and white, many Christians treat it as a gray area… Third, as part of its contemporary evangelistic strategy, the church has abandoned its commitment to the power of Scripture and become preoccupied with its image. In order to reach the culture, it has become like the culture… Fourth, and in consequence of the previous point, the church's current lack of discernment stems from a failure to properly study and interpret the Scriptures. Pastoral laziness, exegetical sloppiness, and a general attitude of indifference to God's Word have plunged God's people into error… A fifth reason is the general abandonment of church discipline in evangelical circles (cf. Matt. 18:15-18). When God's people fail to confront sin and heresy, wickedness within the body goes unchecked. The congregation inevitably accumulates more and more unregenerate members—unbelievers who feel comfortable because their sin issues are never addressed… A final reason for the church's lack of discernment is the rampant void of spiritual maturity within its ranks. Those with a superficial understanding of Scripture (cf. Mark 12:24), a weak grasp of sound doctrine, and a deficient view of God cannot be discerning. Yet those are the very people who fill most pews each Sunday. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – 2 Peter & Jude) (See his related sermon - Survival Strategy for Apostate Times, Part 2)

The Faith - see discussion of the faith (pistis) = The sum of what Christians believe. Approximately one-half of the 38 occurrences of the specific phrase the faith refer not to the ACT of believing but rather to WHAT is believed. Robertson remarks that the faith refers to "the gospel, the faith system as in Gal 1:23; Jude 1:3, etc. (It) means more than individual trust in Christ."

In short, "the faith" here refers not to the ACT of believing but rather to WHAT is believed = the unchangeable message of the Gospel, that body of Christian truth which brings salvation (past, present and future). In Jude this faith has been delivered to the saints once for all and these who have crept in have distorted "the faith," this venerable body of doctrinal truth by which we are sustained and grow in grace. The descriptive phrase, "which was once for all delivered to the saints," makes it obvious that the reference is not to the believers' subjective faith but to the objective truths to which believers firmly adhere. (cp Gal 1:23 "preaching the faith" - clearly refers to the body of truth to be believed which corresponds to "the gospel").

MacArthur the faith. This is the whole body of revealed salvation truth contained in the Scriptures (cf. Gal. 1:23; Eph. 4:5, 13; Phil. 1:27; 1 Tim. 4:1). Cf. v. 20. Here is a call to know sound doctrine (Eph. 4:14; Col. 3:16: 1 Pet. 2:2; 1 John 2:12–14), to be discerning in sorting out truth from error (1 Thess. 5:20–22), and to be willing to confront and attack error (see notes on 2 Cor. 10:3–5; Phil. 1:7, 27; 1 Tim. 1:18; 6:12; 2 Tim. 1:13; 4:7, 8; Titus 1:13). 

The faith refers to that body of doctrine that was given by God through the Apostles to the church. The word doctrine is found at least sixteen times in the Pastoral Epistles alone. Paul admonished both Timothy and Titus to make sure the believers were being taught “sound doctrine,” which means “healthy doctrine,” doctrine that promotes the spiritual health of the local church. While individual teachers and preachers may disagree on the fine points of theology, there is a basic body of truth ("the faith") to which all true Christians are committed. God is not looking for volunteers. He has already enlisted you! The question is not, "Shall I become a soldier?" Rather, it is, "Will I be a loyal soldier in this life and death battle?"

The faith - Acts 3:16; Acts 6:7; Acts 13:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 16:5; Ro 4:11-12, 16; 14:22; 1Co 16:13; 2Co 13:5; Gal 1:23; Gal 3:23; 6:10; Eph 1:15; 4:13; Phil 1:25, 27; Col 1:23; 1Ti 1:2, 14; 3:9, 1Ti 3:13; 4:1, 6; 5:8; 6:10, 21; 2Ti 1:13; 2:18; 3:8; 4:7; Titus 1:1, 13; Titus 3:15; Philemon 1:5; Jude 1:3; Rev 13:10

Marvin Vincent's note on "the faith"…

Opinions differ greatly as to whether this (Acts 6:7 - the faith) is to be taken as meaning faith in Jesus Christ, or faith considered as Christian doctrine—the Gospel; the faith in the ecclesiastical sense. This passage and Galatians 1:23 are the strong passages in favor of the latter view; but the general usage of the New Testament, added to the fact that in both these passages the former meaning gives a good, intelligible, and perfectly consistent sense, go to confirm the former interpretation.

1. In the great majority of New Testament passages faith is clearly used in the sense of faith in Jesus Christ: "the conviction and confidence regarding Jesus Christ as the only and perfect mediator of the divine grace and of eternal life, through his work of atonement" (Meyer).

2. This interpretation is according to the analogy of such expressions as obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), where the meaning is, clearly, obedience to Christ: obedience of the truth (1Peter 1:22). Accordingly, faith, though it becomes in man the subjective moral power of the new life, regenerated through the power of the Spirit, is regarded objectively as a power—the authority which commands submission.

3. This interpretation is according to the analogy of the expression hearing of faith (Galatians 3:2), which is to be rendered, not as equivalent to the reception of the Gospel, but as the report or message of faith; i.e., which treats of faith, akoe, hearing being always used in the New Testament in a passive sense, and often rendered fame, rumor, report (see Matthew 4:24; 14:1; Mark 1:28; John 12:38; Ro 10:16). Compare, also, obedience of faith (Ro 1:5; Ro 16:26), where faith is to be taken as the object, and not as the source, of the obedience; and hence is not to be explained as the obedience which springs from faith, but as the obedience rendered to faith as the authoritative impulse of the new life in Christ.

The great majority of the best modern commentators hold that faith is to be taken as the subjective principle of Christian life (though often regarded objectively as a spiritual power), and not as Christian doctrine.} (Acts 6 - Vincent's Word Studies)

The faith (pistis) which was once (hapaxfor all handed down (entrusted) to the saints Once (hapax) means not formerly, but once for all. Hapax refers to something that is accomplished or completed one time, with lasting results and no need of repetition. In this case the delivery of God's Word was full and final. 

NET NOTE says "The term “faith” has a variety of meanings in the NT. Here, the faith refers to the doctrinal content embraced by believers rather than the act of believing. Rather than discuss the points of agreement that Jude would have with these believers, because of the urgency of the present situation he must assume that these believers were well grounded and press on to encourage them to fight for this common belief.

NET NOTE on once for all - The adverb once for all (hapax) seems to indicate that the doctrinal convictions of the early church had been substantially codified. That is to say, Jude could appeal to written documents of the Christian faith in his arguments with the false teachers. Most likely, these documents were the letters of Paul and perhaps one or more gospels. First and Second Peter may also have been among the documents Jude has in mind (see also the note on the phrase entrusted to the saints in this verse).

NET NOTE on handed down (entrusted) to the saints -  Apparently news of some crisis has reached Jude, prompting him to write a different letter than what he had originally planned. A plausible scenario (assuming authenticity of 2 Peter or at least that there are authentic Petrine snippets in it) is that after Peter’s death, Jude intended to write to the same Gentile readers that Peter had written to (essentially, Paul’s churches). Jude starts by affirming that the gospel the Gentiles had received from Paul was the same as the one the Jewish Christians had received from the other apostles (our common salvation). But in the midst of writing this letter, Jude felt that the present crisis deserved another, shorter piece. The crisis, as the letter reveals, is that the false teachers whom Peter prophesied have now infiltrated the church. The letter of Jude is thus an ad hoc letter, intended to confirm the truth of Peter’s letter and encourage the saints to ground their faith in the written documents of the nascent church, rather than listen to the twisted gospel of the false teachers. In large measure, the letter of Jude illustrates the necessity of clinging to the authority of scripture as opposed to those who claim to be prophets.

MacArthur once for all delivered…saints. God’s revelation was delivered once as a unit, at the completion of the Scripture, and is not to be edited by either deletion or addition (cf. Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18, 19). Scripture is complete, sufficient, and finished; therefore it is fixed for all time. Nothing is to be added to the body of the inspired Word (see notes on 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Pet. 1:19–21) because nothing else is needed. It is the responsibility of believers now to study the Word (2 Tim. 2:15), preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2), and fight for its preservation.

Delivered (3860) (paradidomi) from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something, especially to give over to the power of another. to deliver to one something to keep, use, take care of, manage.” The idea is that God gave the Christian doctrines to the saints as a deposit of truth to be guarded. He entrusted truth to the church collectively (cf this sense of paradidomi in Acts 16:4), and to each individual Christian, which is now our stewardship to fulfill (cp " Guard [aorist imperative], through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." 2Ti 1:14+). This faith was "delivered"; it was "not something which we have manufactured and discovered for ourselves." It was authoritatively delivered as a precious deposit. It is interesting to note that "delivered" is paradidomi which is the root word for the Greek word for tradition (paradosis). So by analogy Paul said we are to "stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught" (2Th 2:15). They had received this message of salvation, the faith, from others; now they must fight to preserve it (1Co 11:2, 23: 2Th 3:6; 1Ti 6:20,21). This message of faith was normative. It was not to be changed.

Paradidomi is the same verb Peter used to warn that…it would be better for them (false teachers) not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered (paradidomi) to them. (2Pe 2:21+)

Saints (40) (hagios) describes set apart ones, separated ones, sanctified ones, holy ones. Hagios is literally a holy one and depending on the context refers to whoever or whatever is set apart (sanctified) for a special purpose. Saints have been supernaturally set apart (sanctified by the Holy Spirit, 1Pe 1:2+; 2Th 2:13, Ro 15:16+, Acts 20:32, 26:18, 1Co 1:30, 6:11) for a special purpose (cp Isa 43:7, Eph 2:10+, Mt 5:16+, Php 2:15+), set apart from the world (Gal 6:14+, cp Jas 4:4, 1Jn 2:15, 16, 17), the power of Sin and the fallen flesh (Ro 6:6+, Ro 6:11+, Ro 6:12, 13, 6:14+) and the dominion of the devil (Col 1:13+, Acts 26:18, Heb 2:14, 15+) and unto God (Ro 14:7, 8, 9notes). Hagios designates the believer's position in Christ (see discussion of in Christ and in Christ Jesus) as holy or set apart from that which is secular, profane, and evil and dedicated unto God, His worship and His service (note order - worship before service, cp Mary and Martha - Lk 10:38, 39, 40, 41, 42). But remember -- Our privileged position calls for a passionate practice!

Spurgeon - In the sense of being once for all given to the saints, the faith of Christians is not a variable quantity. It is not a thing which changes from day to day, as some seem to suppose, vainly imagining that fresh light is bestowed upon each new generation. No, the truth was delivered once for all, it was stereotyped, fixed; and it is for us to hold it fast as God has given it to us.

ILLUSTRATION - "What do these schools have in common? Harvard, Yale, Columbia, William and Mary, Dartmouth, Princeton. "Well," you say, "They're all colleges." You're right—all universities. Right, but what do they have in common? You say, "Well, they're Ivy League schools." Most of them, but what do they have in common? They were all founded and built for the propagation of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Every one of them had a Bible foundation; every one of them was founded for the preaching of the gospel, the training of ministers, and godly Christian laymen, to spread the gospel across America. What a tragedy! The same thing that has happened to these schools has happened to many once-great denominations. And, the same thing that has happened to many once-great denominations has happened—God help us—to many churches. There has been an apostasy. The word apostasy means "a falling away from the faith," or, "a turning from the faith." And, that is what the little Book of Jude is all about. It is a warning of the apostasy—the lapsing from the faith, the turning from the faith—that is going to take place in the last days." (ADRIAN ROGERS - Read full sermon online - The Believer's Security Blanket)

SpurgeonThe common salvation (full sermon)

‘The common salvation.’ Jude 3

We are all Englishmen, and we all sing, ‘Britons never will be slaves’; so, in this case, when the gospel of Jesus Christ is assailed, it does not matter by whom, I feel I may call upon all Christians to take action for the common salvation. Brothers, rouse you to the fight, for more than our hearths and homes is now attacked. Do they deny the deity of Christ? It is not only my religion that is assailed, but yours as well. Do they turn ‘the grace of our God into lasciviousness’? It is not this branch of the church that is now endangered. The entire church is placed in jeopardy. This gospel is not my heritage or yours; it is the common domain of all the faithful, and I beseech you feel it to be so. In your own spheres and in your own ways hold the truth, and hold it firmly. You who can neither preach nor write in defence of sound doctrine can at least give negative help by refusing to countenance error. Do not go to hear those who preach false doctrine; do not encourage them in any way; do not bid them God speed. Love ‘all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity’, but if a word be spoken against the Lord or against the gospel which he has revealed, turn your back upon the speaker. Be like the loving John, who, when he went to take a bath, found Cerinthus, the heretic, there, and departed at once with all speed. I want to see more backbone in all professors, more determination never to stultify their faith by pretending to believe that black is white and that white is a shade of black. Love: do I not preach it with all my heart, and do I not bid you manifest it in your deeds? But with that love mingle a firm adherence to the truth as it is in Jesus, and a zealous resolve that it shall not lose its honour while you are capable of upholding it.

QUESTION - What does it mean to contend for the faith?

ANSWER - The epistle of Jude is written to Jewish Christians living in Jerusalem. In the opening passages, the author explains that he had initially intended to write a general letter of encouragement on the topic of “the salvation we share.” Instead, Jude explains, “I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 1:3).

Jude is concerned because “the faith”—the Christian message of the gospel—is under attack from false teachers who are spreading dangerous heresies. Jude urges his readers to contend for the faith against those who seek to undermine and erode it. The Greek word Jude chooses, translated “contend earnestly,” usually describes an athlete striving with extreme intensity to win the victory in a physical competition. The Amplified Bible translates the command as “fight strenuously for [the defense of] the faith.”

Jude wants all believers to contend earnestly for the faith. A true contender vigorously endeavors to win the competition, not holding anything back. In this case, the struggle is for “the faith,” which is the saving truth of Jesus Christ and His teachings (2 Corinthians 11:3–4; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 1:2).

Since this faith was “entrusted to God’s holy people,” all believers, not just Christian leaders, are called to defend the truth of Jesus Christ. And since this faith was entrusted “once for all,” Jude intends to stand against those who claim to receive “new” revelations of truth. Through Christ’s personal teachings and the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has already given the full message of truth to the apostles (John 14:2616:12–13). Paul gives a similar warning not to let anyone pervert the gospel of Christ with new and different teachings (Galatians 1:6–9). God has spoken, and any new, continuing, or special revelations of “truth” are to be rejected.

The two basic false teachings Jude contends with are stated in Jude 1:4: “For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” First, Jude opposes the false teachers in their sanctioning of immoral behavior—they “pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality.” Second, Jude calls them on their rejection of the deity of Christ—they “deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”

The faith entrusted to God’s holy people for which they must contend is grounded in Jesus Christ. He is the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16), He is God with us (Matthew 1:23), He is the Word, and He is God made flesh (John 1:1–18). This faith is expressed through holy living to which all believers are called (Leviticus 20:7; 1 Peter 1:16; Romans 6:1–14; 12:1).

Several verses in the New Testament reinforce Jude’s call to contend for the faith. Paul charges Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith” as a soldier of God in pursuit of holy living, persistent service, and defending the gospel (1 Timothy 6:11–21). To the church in Corinth, Paul advises believers to see themselves as runners in a race who “run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24–27). To the Philippian church, Paul writes, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27). Fight, run, and strive—in other words, “contend earnestly” for the faith.

In a practical sense, what does it mean to contend for the faith? What does contending for the faith look like? Fortunately, the book of Jude sets out several disciplines showing us how to contend for the faith:

1. Build yourself up in the faith (Jude 1:20). We are to keep pressing ourselves to grow spiritually. A big part of spiritual development involves reading and studying God’s Word so that we know and understand it. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The inspired Word of God has the power to teach, train, rebuke, and correct us in righteousness so that as God’s servants we are wholly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

2. Pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20). By praying under the direction of the Holy Spirit, we receive help in our human weakness to understand God’s truth and not be deceived by false teachers (Romans 8:26).

3. Keep yourself in God’s love (Jude 1:21). Staying in God’s love means living by faith and obedience to God. Jesus told us, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (John 15:10). We obey God because He has captivated our hearts and won our allegiance (Romans 6:17). The ultimate expression of our obedience to God is shown through our loving others (1 John 3:11–24; 1 Peter 1:22).

4. Wait with hope (Jude 1:21). To contend for the faith, we must keep the fire of hope alive in our hearts. When Jude says to wait “expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life,” he is referring to living every moment of life with the confident expectation that Jesus Christ may return at any moment (Titus 2:13).gotquestions.org

James Smith - COMMON SALVATION (JUDE 3) Salvation is called “common,” not because it is cheap and worth little, but because:

I. It comes from a Common Source—God, the Love of God.
II. It is Offered to All Classes. “Commons” are open spaces belonging to the public, and held by Corporations or Councils for all to share and enjoy alike. So salvation is for all.
III. It Supplies a Common or General Need.
IV. It is the Common Theme of all the sacred writers.

TRUTH - A man once said to me, “All roads lead to God. It’s like climbing a mountain. You can start anywhere at the base, but eventually everyone comes to the same place at the top.”

Such inclusivism is very popular in our world today. Yet it runs counter to Jesus’ words: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). But there is more.

The New Testament tells us “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Jude’s expression “the faith” refers to the body of teaching believed by first-century Christians and lived out in the power of the Spirit. Why such an admonition? Because false teachers were subverting the truth. They were “ungodly,” they turned “the grace of our God into lewdness,” and they denied “the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4).

We must not compromise the exclusiveness of Jesus’ words. And we must not fail to proclaim the all-inclusiveness of the gospel. God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son to die for our sins. Therefore anyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Yes, the truth is both exclusive and inclusive. —D J De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE - There are times when we must “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 1:3). But in doing so, we must never be ungracious or antagonistic. The 17th-century English Puritans were right when they said that faith can never be foisted on another person. Consent must be gained by gentle persuasion and reason.

Today’s Bible reading underscores that principle. Paul told Timothy that “a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all” (2Timothy 2:24+). He wanted Timothy to be thoughtful and relevant in proclaiming the truth, not defensive. When people opposed the truth, he was to gently correct them in the hope that God would “grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil” (2Ti 2:25-26+).

What was true for a young leader like Timothy applies to all believers. Those who oppose us are not the enemy but victims of the enemy. They can be delivered, Paul insisted, but we are to speak the truth in love.

Truth without love is dogma that does not touch the heart. Love without truth is sentimentalism that does not challenge the will. When truth is spoken with love, God’s Spirit can use it to change another’s mind. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

To speak of the Savior in glowing terms,
To tell how He died in our place,
Will be unconvincing to those who hear
If we fail to show forth His grace.
—D. De Haan

Truth spoken in love is hard to refuse.
(Ed: I would add "and hard to refute!")

Jude 1:4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ: pareisedusan (3PAAI) gar tines anthropoi hoi palai progegrammenoi (RPPMPN) eis touto to krima asebeis ten tou theou hemon charita metatithentes (PAPMPN) eis aselgeian kai ton monon despoten kai kurion hemon Iesoun Christon arnoumenoi (PMPMPN)

Click for over 60 versions of this verse.

Barclay - Beloved, when I was in the midst of devoting all my energy to writing to you about the faith which we all share, I felt that I was compelled to write a letter to you to urge you to engage upon the struggle to defend the faith which was once and for all delivered to God's consecrated people. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

TLB - I say this because some godless teachers have wormed their way in among you, saying that after we become Christians we can do just as we like without fear of God's punishment. The fate of such people was written long ago, for they have turned against our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Wuest - For certain men entered surreptitiously who were of old predicted with reference to this judgment, (men) destitute of reverential awe towards God, putting anarchy in the place of the grace of God, and denying the only absolute Master and our Lord Jesus Christ.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Compare 2Peter 2:1 (see notes) But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

  • crept = Mt 13:25; Acts 15:24; Gal 2:4; Eph 4:14; 2Ti 3:6; 2Pe 2:1,2
  • who = Ro 9:21,22; 1Pe 2:8; 2Pe 2:3
  • ungodly = Jude 1:15; 2Samuel 22:5; Ps 1:1; 1Pe 4:18; 2Pe 2:5,6; 3:7
  • turning = Ro 6:1,2; Gal 5:13; Titus 2:11,12; Heb 12:15,16; 1Pe 2:16; 2Pe 2:10,18-22
  • denying = Titus 1:15,16; 2Pe 2:1; 1 John 2:22
  • only = Ps 62:2; John 17:3; 1Ti 6:15,16; Rev 15:4

The Wolves Blend in with the Sheep

For (gar) - Always pause to ponder this strategic term of explanation, asking at least what is the author explaining? (Why? How? What has Jude just stated previously?, et).

Wuest - Now Jude gives the reason why the saints should contend for the faith. False teachers crept into the Church. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Hiebert - With for (gar) Jude explains the reason he changed the nature of his communication with them. He informs them that the change was due to the intrusion of "certain men." (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 220)

Certain persons have crept in unnoticed - Peter warned that men like these were coming (2Pe 2:1). How could false brethren get into true assemblies of the saints? The soldiers had gone to sleep at the post! The spiritual leaders in the churches had grown complacent and careless. This explains why Jude had to “blow the trumpet” to wake them up. Our Lord and His Apostles all warned that false teachers would arise, yet the churches did not heed the warnings. Sad to say, some churches are not heeding the warnings today.

They come in secretly, without notice, like a thieves (and their effect would be like that of a thief!!! Loss would occur to those who listened to their lies). Spiritual leaders grow complacent, careless or concerned about nickels and noses had better be warned: danger lurks around the next pew. So Jude was BLOWING THE TRUMPET call to alert the troops of Jehovah. These false brethren would say you are saved by grace so go for the gusto. Live as you please. Anything goes. After all, all you have to do is "confess" it. They promised freedom but it was the kind of freedom that led to terrible bondage (2Pe 2:13-14, 19+).

These certain men had slipped in, stealing in undercover, as under the cover of darkness (if the light of God's Truth is dim it makes it easier for them to creep in.) Thus the importance of men and women in the body who are LIGHTS because the light shines into the darkness and the darkness does not overcome the light (Jn 1:5). In fact when exposed to the light of Christ, ''rats'' tend to flee for cover (Jn 3:18) and may even leave completely. The TRUTH exposes The LIE, so once again the critical importance of holding fast to the Word of Life, the Word of Truth. (Titus 1:9)

Crept in implies an "inside job," and that these purveyors of error are even now among the brethren. Paul had warned the elders of the church at Ephesus "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:29-30+)

MacArthur Certain persons - These were infiltrating, false teachers pretending to be true, who on the surface looked like the real thing, but whose intentions were to lead God’s people astray (cf. Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:29; Gal. 2:4, 5; 1 Tim. 4:1–3; 2 Pet. 2:1, 20; 1 John 2:18–23). These apostates were Satan’s counterfeits, most likely posing as itinerant teachers (cf. 2 Cor. 11:13–15; 2 Pet. 2:1–3; 2 John 7–11). Their stealth made them dangerous. They were characterized by 3 features: 1) they were ungodly; 2) they perverted grace; and 3) they denied Christ.

MacArthur - ungodly -  Lit. “impious” or “without worship.” Their lack of reverence for God was demonstrated by the fact that they infiltrated the church of God to corrupt it and gain riches from its people. Cf. Jude 1:15, 16, 18, 19.

Crept in unawares (3921) (pareisduno. from pará =beside, at the side of + eisdúo = enter in <> eis = into + dúo = go down, sink) is a vivid verb which means "to go down into and alongside of" and settle down alongside those already there. This verb occurs only here in Scripture.

And so Jude depicts these false believers slipping in secretly as if by a side door, going into and alongside of, settling down alongside those already there (in the faith), sneaking in and sitting on the same row as believers. Bogus believers cloaked in counterfeit faith and piety. They didn't come in via the door but another way (Jn 10:1)

Barclay on "crept in unawares" - The Greek (pareisduno) is a very expressive word. It is used of the spacious and seductive words of a clever pleader seeping gradually into the minds of a judge and jury; it is used of an outlaw slipping secretly back into the country from which he has been expelled; it is used of the slow and subtle entry of innovations into the life of state, which in the end undermine and break down the ancestral laws. It always indicates a stealthy insinuation of something evil into a society or situation. Certain evil men had insinuated themselves into the church. They were the kind of men for whom judgment was waiting. They were impious creatures, godless in their thought and life. Jude picks out two characteristics about them. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Adrian Rogers observes that Jude is "talking about the apostates and how they get in. This word crept means that they came in the side door. Also, the word is used of a person who would slip into water without making a ripple. Oh, how clever they are! They come in very clandestinely; they come in very quietly and very stealthily. They come in; and, from the inside—like termites destroying the foundation of the building—they work… the devil has tried two ways to destroy the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ and the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. A. The Devil Has Tried to Destroy Faith Through Persecution - First of all, he has tried through persecution—that is, he's tried to persecute the saints and to put them in danger—even of their own lives, much less of their property. But, persecution does not work very well. There's a saying among missionaries that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. Not only did love grow where the blood fell, but churches grow where the blood falls. B. The Devil Has Tried to Destroy Faith Through Infiltration - I mean, when we are willing to die for the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than stopping the work of Christ, it simply impels the work of Christ. And so, many times, when the enemy comes to try to stamp out the fire, he only scatters the embers, and new fire is started. So, the devil backed off, and said, "Well, if I can't beat them, I'll join them; and, if I cannot work from the outside with persecution, I will work from the inside with infiltration; and, I will destroy the biblical base upon which those churches operate." And, that is what he has done. And, you see the key in verse 3—Jude says, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith" (Jude 1:3). (The Believer's Security Blanket)

In another sermon (The Battle for the Bible) Adrian Rogers says this about crept in unnoticed (some repetition) - I’ve already told you that this word was used in the language of that day to speak of someone who could slip into water with out making a ripple. It was also used for people who would come in uninvited. For example, it is the idea of slipping in the side door. Here’s a party, and everybody is coming in the front door—all of the invited guests—and somebody crashes the party. He just slips in through the side door and mingles with the other guests, as though he’s invited; he sort-of sneaks in. This word was also used of a person who had been exiled from a country—banned and banished from a country—and yet, that person sneaks across the border and comes back into that country, without being repatriated. That’s the idea. It was used in a court of law for a very clever lawyer. When this clever lawyer was arguing a case, he would just slip an idea in. He would drop a few words. He would put a thought in there that, at that particular time, didn’t seem to be all that relevant; it didn’t seem to make all that much difference. But what he was doing was planting a seed. And later on, he would come back and play upon that thing—a very clever lawyer, who knew how, just at the right time, to slip that idea in, ever so carefully, ever so stealthily. And that’s the way the devil works.

Spurgeon - They did not boldly avow their heresy when they came in; — they would not have been allowed to enter if they had done so, — but they sneaked in, they climbed into the pulpit, professing to be preachers of the gospel, when they knew, all the while, that they intended to undermine it. Basest of all men are those who act thus: “There are certain men crept in unawares,” Proscribed by God as traitors long ago. Those who have not the courage of their convictions probably have no convictions at all, but seek to undermine the faith which they profess to hold. Antinomians, “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness,” falsely declaring that the law has no binding force upon the Christian’s life, and saying that we may do evil that good may come; — and Socinians, “denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

See similar descriptive verb in 2 Peter 2:1 = Secretly introduce = pareisago [word study]] Only here in New Testament. The kindred adjective occurs Galatians 2:4, "false brethren secretly brought in" (pareisaktos: 3920 = relates to someone joining a group with false motives or false pretenses). The metaphor is of spies or traitors introducing themselves into an enemy's camp. Compare Jude 1:4, crept in unawares. The verb means, literally, to bring into (eis) by the side of (para).

Wuest - There is a Greek word in 2Cor 11:13-15 which admirably describes the methods of the Modernist, who takes after his father, the Devil. It is metaschematizo, translated “transformed”. It refers to the act of an individual changing his outward expression by assuming an expression put on from the outside, an expression that does not come from nor is it representative of what he is in his inner character. Lucifer did that after he struck at God’s throne and became the fallen angel, Satan. As a fallen angel he gave expression to his sin-darkened heart. But he knew that he could not attract the human race that way. He must impersonate God if he expected to be worshipped as God. He therefore assumed an outward expression of light, put on from the outside and not representative of his inner sinful being. He disguised himself as an angel of light. His ministers, (servants), Modernistic preachers, have done the same (v. 15). Using evangelical terms such as “salvation, faith, regeneration, atonement, resurrection,” they put their own private meanings upon them (which negate the orthodox view), and pose as orthodox exponents of Christianity. Reader, do not trust a Modernist any farther than you would a rattlesnake. A rattlesnake will give you warning before it strikes, but not a Modernist. The eternal welfare of your soul depends upon what you believe regarding the person and work of our Lord on the Cross. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Those who were long beforehand marked out ("Long ago the Scriptures predicted the condemnation they have received." = TEV; men spoken of in ancient writings as pre-destined to this condemnation = WEY) - These false teachers did not surprise God Who wrote beforehand about their coming and their condemnation even before they existed.

MacArthur Long ago…marked out.  -- Apostasy and apostates in general were written about and condemned many centuries before, such as illustrated in vv. 5–7 and spoken of as Enoch did in vv. 14–16. Cf. Is. 8:19–21; 47:9–15; Hos. 9:9; Zeph. 3:1–8. Their doom was “pre-written” in Scripture as a warning to all who would come later. Jesus had warned about them in Matt. 7:15–20 (cf. Acts 20:29). The most recent warning had been 2 Pet. 2:3, 17; 3:7. this condemnation. This refers to the judgment spoken of by others “long ago.” Jude’s present exposé of apostates placed them in the path of the very judgment of God, written of previously. 

Marked out (4270) (prographo from pró = before, openly, plainly + grapho = write) means literally to write for public reading, publicly portrayed, announced on a poster. To write previously or before. Figuratively prographo means to announce or prescribe. Wuest feels this is a "reference is to the prophecy of Enoch with regard to these false teachers (Jude 1:14)."(Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Prographo is used of posting important official notices on a placard in the marketplace or other public location for citizens to read (See NT use in Gal 3:1). The word is found in early secular documents where a father posted a proclamation that he would no longer be responsible for his son’s debts. It is also used for putting up the announcement of an auction sale.

Zodhiates - In Jude 1:4 prographo means to proscribe, appoint, ordain, post up publicly in writing. Those who were summoned before courts of justice were said to be progegramménoi, posted up ahead of time, because they were cited by posting up their names in some public place. Even in our day the cases to be heard by a judge are written beforehand and appended in a public place in the courthouse. Thus what Jude is declaring is that judgment was published or declared in writing ahead of time. Those called progegramménoi, those whose names were posted up in writing in some public place, were proscribed as persons doomed to die with a reward offered to whoever would kill them. Thus Jude 1:4 may mean those who not only must give an account to God for their crimes and are liable to God’s judgment, but who are destined to the punishment they deserve. As to where they are proscribed, we must look at Jude 1:5-7, 11. (BORROW The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Prographo occurs four times in New Testament. In two of these instances pro has clearly the temporal sense before (Ro 15:4+; Ephesians 3:3+). In Galatians 3:1, it is taken by some in the sense of openly, publicly. It seems better, on the whole, to take it here in the temporal sense, and to render written of beforehand, i.e., in prophecy as referred to in Jude 1:14, 15.

Prographo - 4x in 4v - NASB Usage: beforehand marked(1), earlier times(1), publicly portrayed(1), written in earlier times(1), wrote before(1).

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?

Ephesians 3:3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.

Jude 1:4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Ungodly persons Note this excellent Biblical definition of the ungodly. They pervert and abuse the free gift of God's amazing grace to sinners. Grace is getting something (from God) we did not deserve and in fact ''binds'' us and empowers us to certain responsibilities (cp Paul's argument in Ro 6:1 to explain how grace does not equal license to sin). This ungodly characterization declares how the irreverence of these "creepers" expresses itself in their conduct (they behave this way because of what they believe). These individuals failed to acknowledge and humbly submit to the transforming nature of this God's superabounding grace. Being devoid of reverence for God and lacking any appreciation of His holiness, they professed a wholehearted reception of "God's grace" but in daily conduct they were "turning" or altering the intended impact of that grace "into a license for immorality" (NIV). They maintained that God's grace freely and abundantly pardoned their sins, released them from the requirements to and bondage of law, and gave them liberty to follow freely the instincts and yearnings of their inner nature. Arguing from mercy to liberty, they justified their antinomian conduct in the name of their "gospel" (really another gospel Gal 1:6-9+) turning this liberty into "licentiousness" or moral debauchery. Shamelessly they plunged into the excesses of open indecency, into various kinds of carnal defilement and fleshly debauchery. Since this was their habitual practice, it should make it easy to detect them.

Ungodly (765) (asebes) means lack of interest in the things of God and a behavior and lifestyle consistent with such an irreverent attitude. See the depth study of the related word ungodliness (asebeia [word study]). Asebes pertains to violating norms for a proper relation to deity, and in short means irreverent (lacking proper respect of God) or impious. In simple terms it is choosing to live as if God did not exist and without regard for Him. Asebes - 8v - godless man(1), ungodly(6), ungodly persons(1).Rom. 4:5; Rom. 5:6; 1 Tim. 1:9; 1 Pet. 4:18; 2 Pet. 2:5; 2 Pet. 3:7; Jude 1:4; Jude 1:15


Who turn (metatithemi in present tense - continually) the grace (charis) of our God into licentiousness (aselgia)These persons preach license (almost a "pun" as license leads to licentiousness!), debauchery, excess (especially sexual excesses), absence of restraint, and exhibit an insatiable desire for pleasure. If one has girded their mind for action and is sober in spirit, they can discern this person's lifestyle. They can't keep it hidden forever (Nu 32:23). A person who is licentious thinks only of satisfying his lusts and whatever he touches is stained by his base appetites. The idea is they preach and pursue "debauchery" and this is the same word Peter uses to predict what the false teachers will be like (2 Pet 2:2, 7, 18).

To Paul’s question, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” (Ro 6:1+), these men in Jude would answer with a resounding, “Yes!” These ungodly persons wanted salvation without following the Savior Who as Sovereign and Lord demands that we die to sin as we follow Him. They may have intellectually accepted Christ as Truth, but they had never received Him into their heart as their Treasure. Impostors. Deceivers. Going from bad to worse. Deceiving and being themselves deceived (2Ti 3:13+). O horrible sad state, destined to meet their fate in Mt 7:21-23+!

Barclay - They perverted the grace of God into an excuse for blatant immorality. The Greek which we have translated blatant immorality is a grim and terrible word (aselgeia). The corresponding adjective is aselges. Most men try to hide their sin; they have enough respect for common decency not to wish to be found out. But the aselges is the man who is so lost to decency that he does not care who sees his sin. It is not that he arrogantly and proudly flaunts it; it is simply that he can publicly do the most shameless things, because he has ceased to care for decency at all. These men were undoubtedly tinged with Gnosticism (What is Christian Gnosticism) and its belief that, since the grace of God was wide enough to cover any sin, a man could sin as he liked. The more he sinned, the greater the grace, therefore, why worry about sin? Grace was being perverted into a justification for sin.  (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

NET NOTE on Turned the grace of our God into a license for evil. One of the implications that the gospel in the apostolic period was truly a gospel of grace was the fact that the enemies of the gospel could pervert it into license. If it were a gospel of works, no such abuse could be imagined. Along these lines, note Rom 6:1 - "Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase?" This question could not have even been asked had the gospel been one of works. But grace is easily misunderstood by those who would abuse it.

Turn (3346)(metatithemi from meta = change of place or condition + tithemi = to put or place) literally means to put in another place, as used  in Heb 11:5 in the passive sense meaning to be taken or transferred. We find another literal use in Acts 7:16 where bodies are transferred to a burial place in Shechem. In the figurative sense as in Jude 1:4 metatithemi means to effect a change in state or condition and so to alter something (as when the priesthood is changed Heb 7:12). Metatithemi - 5v - changed(1), deserting*(1), removed(1), taken(1), took(1), turn(1).
 Acts 7:16; Gal. 1:6; Heb. 7:12; Heb. 11:5; Jude 1:4

Grace (5485) (charis) is not just God's unmerited favor but is also His supernatural enablement and empowerment for salvation and for daily (progressive) sanctification. Little wonder that the devil's emissaries would seek to "sink" God's good ship "Grace!" 

Licentiousness (766) (aselgeia from aselges = licentious <> a = negates next word + selges = continent) originally referred to any excess or lack of restraint but came to convey the idea of shameless excess and the absence of restraint, especially with sexual excess. Thus like koite, aselgeia was used almost exclusively of especially lewd sexual immorality, of uninhibited and unabashed lasciviousness. It refers to the kind of sexual debauchery and abandonment that characterizes much of modern society and that is often flaunted almost as a badge of distinction! Aselgeia refers to uninhibited sexual indulgence without shame and without concern for what others think or how they may be affected (or infected). Aselgeia - 10v - licentiousness(1), sensual(1), sensuality(8). Mk. 7:22; Rom. 13:13; 2 Co. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19; 1 Pet. 4:3; 2 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 2:7; 2 Pet. 2:18; Jude 1:4

And deny our only Master (despotes) and Lord (kurios), Jesus Christ - Deny (arneomaipresent tense which depicts their denial as habitual. They were repeatedly denying, repudiating or disowning Jesus by words and by deeds (licentious lifestyle). They are reminiscent of the men Paul described on the isle of Crete, warning Titus to watch out for those who "profess (present tense) to know God, but (strategic term of contrast!!!) by their deeds they deny (present tense) Him (IT'S NOT WHAT THEY SAY BUT WHAT THEY DO), being (present tense) detestable and disobedient and worthless (adokimos = failing to stand the test, unqualified) for any good deed." (Titus 1:16+). 

THOUGHT - Does your practice line up with your profession? Does your life match your lips? If not then you need to take a test! Paul's gives you the test in 2Cor 13:5+ "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test (adokimos)?" God does not grade on a curve. It's either pass (receive Christ) or fail (reject Christ)! 

Barclay - There is more than one way in which a man can deny Jesus Christ. (a) He can deny Him in the day of persecution. (b) He can deny Him for the sake of convenience. (c) He can deny Him by his life and conduct. (d) He can deny Him by developing false ideas about him. If these men were Gnostics, they would have two mistaken ideas about Jesus. First, since the body, being matter, was evil, they would hold that Jesus only seemed to have a body and was a kind of spirit ghost in the apparent shape of a man. The Greek for "to seem" is dokein (1380); and these men were called Docetists (see note). They would deny the real manhood of Jesus Christ. Second, they would deny his uniqueness. They believed that there were many stages between the evil matter of this world and the perfect spirit which is God; and they believed that Jesus was only one of the many stages on the way. No wonder Jude was alarmed. He was faced with a situation in which there had wormed their way into the church men who were twisting the grace of God into a justification, and even a reason, for sinning in the most blatant way; and who denied both the manhood and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.   (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Deny (720)(arneomai from "a" = negation + rheo = say) literally means "to say no", to say one does not know about or is in any way related to some person or something. Webster says that to deny implies a firm refusal to accept as true, to grant or concede or to acknowledge the existence or claims of. The picture is of those who "say no" to Jesus' offer of freedom from their bondage to sin. They want their sin more than they want Jesus but that tune will probably change when they end up eternally in the lake of fire!

Deny (arneomai) is used by Peter writing

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce (pareisago COMPARE "CREPT IN UNNOTICED") destructive heresies, even (present tense - continually) denying the Master (despotes) who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.(2 Peter 2:1+

John uses deny  (arneomai) 

Who is the liar but the one who (present tense - continually) denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who (present tense - continually) denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever (present tense - continually) denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. (1Jn 2:22-23+)


Wuest on arneomai - It is used of followers of Jesus who, for fear of death or persecution, deny that Jesus is their Master, and desert His cause; also of those who deny God and Christ, who by cherishing and disseminating pernicious opinions and immorality, are adjudged to have apostatized from God and Christ (Thayer). (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Master (1203)(despotes; English = despot) means one who possesses undisputed ownership and absolute, unrestricted authority, so that the Greeks refused the title to any but the gods. The despotes was one who has legal control and authority over persons, such as slaves. In the NT despotes and kurios are used interchangeably of God, and of masters of servants. In Greek culture and terminology, servant and despotes went together. The English word despot often congers up a negative image of one who exercises power tyrannically, harshly or abusively, but the Biblical uses do not convey such a connotation. Despotes is one who has legal control and authority over persons, such as subjects or slaves and was used especially as the ruler over a household.

Lord (2962)(kurios from kuros = might or power) describes the supreme one, one who is sovereign and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership and uncontested power. Kurios is used of the one (God) to Whom a person or thing belongs, about which He has the power of deciding.

The construction our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ in v4 follows Granville Sharp’s rule (see What is the Granville Sharp Rule?). The construction strongly implies the deity of Christ.

In sum, note the three reasons listed in this verse that deserve condemnation - ungodliness, licentiousness, and denial that Jesus is Master and Lord.

THOUGHT - How are you doing in these three areas, beloved? We all "wrestle" with each of these from time to time and in varying degrees, although clearly these attitudes and actions can never be a genuine believer's continual practice, for if that is the case, there is no evidence that he or she has the indwelling Holy Spirit (Who prompts holy impulses and "pushes against" unholiness), Who is given to all believers at the new birth. Ultimately "We can't (live holy)! He never said WE could. But He can and He always said HE would."

ILLUSTRATION OF CREPT IN UNNOTICED - ADRIAN ROGERS - When I was a little boy, on Saturday afternoons, I used to like to go to the movies. It cost about a dime or fifteen cents to get in the matinee. And we liked to see Tarzan. I enjoyed seeing Tarzan, and we watched Tarzan and all of his episodes. There was one time when I would get especially frightful, and worried, and concerned about Tarzan, and that would be when Tarzan would be swimming, and there would be a crocodile on the shore. Do you remember that? And that crocodile would be there, like a log; and then, he’d open those eyes and blink a couple of times. And then, the crocodile would slide off the bank and into the river. And Tarzan would be there, swimming, and the crocodile would not hardly make a ripple but just, very silently, would slip into the river. And I used to think, “Oh, Tarzan, swim faster! He’s going to get you!” Somehow, Tarzan always out-swam the crocodile—obviously. But that was a time of trauma for a little fellow. Now something like that is what Jude is describing here, in the Book of Jude. He talks about the apostasy that is going to come. Now the word apostasy means “to fall away from the faith.” And Jude is warning about the apostasy of the last days. And he tells how apostates get into the Church and into the institutions. (Read full sermon - The Battle for the Bible)

To Pray Or Prey - A local official sadly observed, “The place to pray has now become a place to prey—that’s P-R-E-Y.”

When Jesus lived on earth, He said to the money changers in the temple, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves’” (Lk. 19:46). And Jude spoke of another kind of thievery. He referred to certain men in the church who had “crept in unnoticed” and were motivated by greed (Jude 1:4).

Still today, dishonest and scheming men lurk within the church. They use their positions to prey on the unsuspecting with their false teaching. Jude exhorted believers to be strong in their faith so they could repel these “ungodly men” (Jude 1:4).

We thank God for every born-again servant of the Lord who preaches the gospel and teaches the Word, and whose methods are consistent with His message. We must beware of “thieves and robbers,” however, who are more interested in preying on people than in praying for people. - Mart De Haan (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Leaders who talk but do not teach,
Who fail to practice what they preach,
Blind leaders of the blind are they,
Causing the flock to go astray.

Follow the leader who follows Christ.

Abusing Grace? - Paul said in Romans 5:20, “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” But that radical concept opens a theological floodgate. The biblical writer Jude warned that it is possible to “change the grace of our God into a license for immorality” (Jude 4 NIV). Why be good if you know you will be forgiven? Not even an emphasis on repentance erases this danger completely.

In Romans 6, Paul spoke directly to the point. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” He gave a short, explosive answer: “Certainly not!” (vv.1-2) and used an analogy that starkly contrasts death and life. “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (v.2). No Christian resurrected to new life should be pining for sin.

Yet wickedness does not always seem to have the stench of death about it. Sin can be downright appealing.

Paul recognized this, so he advised: “Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” and “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body” (vv.11-12).

If we truly grasped the wonder of God’s love for us, we would spend our days trying to fathom and share, not exploit, His grace. -By Philip Yancey (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

I am unworthy to take of His grace,

Wonderful grace so free;

Yet Jesus suffered and died in my place

Even for a soul like me.


God does not save us by grace so that we may live in disgrace. —Faber

BEWARE! - When Secret Service agents train bank tellers to identify counterfeit bills, they show them both fake money and real money, and they study both. To detect a counterfeit problem, they must look for the differences in the genuine bill compared to the counterfeit—and not the similarities.

In 1 John 2, the apostle John helps to protect believers from heresy by showing them examples of counterfeit Christians and teachers. One of the signs of the last days is the coming of antichrists (1 John 2:18). Antichrists are those who claim to have His power and authority but don’t, or those who reject and oppose Him and His teachings.

John gave three marks of false teachers who are controlled by the spirit of the antichrists: They depart from the fellowship (v.19), they deny Jesus as the Messiah (v.22), and they draw the faithful away from Jesus (v.26). He encouraged believers to protect themselves against the spirit of the antichrists by depending on the indwelling presence of the Spirit, knowing the truth, and remaining in fellowship with Jesus.

We can protect ourselves from error and deception by knowing the false but relying on the Truth—Jesus Christ. - Marvin Williams (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Beware: The devil may add a few grains of truth to what is false.


Take heed that you not be deceived. — Luke 21:8

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

An acquaintance of mine was “taken in” by a smooth-talking salesman who stopped at his place of business. The man displayed some attractive jewelry that he said he had purchased at a tremendous discount. He was especially proud of some very expensive-looking watches that had a well-known name on the dials.

My friend was impressed and bought several watches. But after the salesman left, he examined his “bargains” more carefully. He was surprised to discover that the trademark was not that of a famous brand after all. Two letters in the name were different, but the print was so small he hadn’t noticed it before. The watch straps were not genuine leather but “genuine lizard,” and on the back of the cases were the words “Swiss base metal.”

The incident reminded me of what the Savior said in Luke 21:8, “Take heed that you not be deceived.” Even as some in the business world cleverly pervert the facts and victimize their customers, there are also false teachers in the church who distort the truth. They use biblical terminology and appear to be orthodox. But beware! They are evil and will lead you astray. Be firmly grounded in the Word of God and you won’t be “taken in” by deception. By:  Richard DeHaan (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

O grant us grace, Almighty Lord,
To read and mark Your holy Word,
Its truths with meekness to receive,
And by its holy precepts live.

Examine all teaching in the light of God's Word.

Gotquestions has an excellent article on apostasy What is apostasy and how can I recognize it? | GotQuestions.org as described in Jude and the following is an excerpt...

The Characteristics of Apostasy and Apostates

Jude was the half-brother of Jesus and a leader in the early church. In his New Testament letter, he outlines how to recognize apostasy and strongly urges those in the body of Christ to contend earnestly for the faith (vs. 3). The Greek word translated “contend earnestly” is a compound verb from which we get the word “agonize.” It is in the present infinitive form, which means that the struggle will be continuous. In other words, Jude is telling us that there will be a constant fight against false teaching and that Christians should take it so seriously that we “agonize” over the fight in which we are engaged. Moreover, Jude makes it clear that every Christian is called to this fight, not just church leaders, so it is critical that all believers sharpen their discernment skills so that they can recognize and prevent apostasy in their midst.

After urging his readers to contend earnestly for the faith, Jude highlights the reason: “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (vs. 4). In this one verse, Jude provides Christians with three traits of apostasy and apostate teachers.

First, Jude says that apostasy can be subtle. Jude uses the word “crept” (found in no other book of the Bible) to describe the apostate’s entry into the church. In extra-biblical Greek, the term describes the cunning craftiness of a lawyer who, through clever argumentation, infiltrates the minds of courtroom officials and corrupts their thinking. The word literally means “slip in sideways; come in stealthily; sneak in; hard to detect.” In other words, Jude says it is rare that apostasy begins in an overt and easily detectable manner. Instead, it looks a lot like Arius’ preaching in which, in a nonchalant manner, only a single letter differentiates his doctrine from the real teaching of the Christian faith.

Describing this aspect of apostasy and its underlying danger, A. W. Tozer wrote, "So skilled is error at imitating truth, that the two are constantly being mistaken for each another. It takes a sharp eye these days to know which brother is Cain and which is Abel." The apostle Paul also speaks to the outwardly pleasing behavior of apostates and their teaching when he says, "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14). In other words, do not look for apostates to appear bad on the outside or speak dramatic words of heresy at the outset of their teaching. Rather than denying truth outright, apostates will twist it to fit their own agenda, but as pastor R. C. Lensky has noted, “The worst forms of wickedness consist in perversions of the truth.”

Second, Jude describes the apostates as “ungodly” and as those who use God’s grace as a license to commit unrighteous acts. Beginning with “ungodly,” Jude describes eighteen unflattering traits of apostates so his readers can more easily identify them. Jude says the apostates are ungodly (vs. 4), morally perverted (vs. 4), denying Christ (vs. 4), ones who defile the flesh (vs. 8), rebellious (vs. 8), people who revile angels (vs. 8), who are ignorant about God (vs. 8), those who proclaim false visions (vs. 10), self-destructive (vs. 10), grumblers (vs. 16), fault finders (vs. 16), self-satisfying (vs. 16), people who use arrogant words and false flattery (vs. 16), mockers of God (vs. 18), those who cause divisions (vs. 19), worldly minded (vs. 19), and finally (and not surprisingly), devoid of the Spirit/unsaved (vs. 19).

Third, Jude says apostates “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” How do apostates do this? Paul tells us in his letter to Titus, "To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed" (Titus 1:15-16, emphasis added). Through their unrighteous behavior, the apostates show their true selves. Unlike an apostate, a true believer is someone who has been delivered from sin to righteousness in Christ. With Paul, they ask the apostates who promote licentious behavior, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2)

But the apostates’ false teaching also shows their true nature. Peter says, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves” (2 Peter 2:1). Another aspect of true believers is that they have been delivered out of spiritual darkness into light (Ephesians 5:8) and therefore will not deny core truths of Scripture like Arius did with the divinity of Jesus.

Ultimately, the sign of an apostate is that he eventually falls away and departs from the truth of God’s Word and His righteousness. The apostle John signifies this is a mark of a false believer: “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19). (Gotquestions - Apostasy)

Jude 1:5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe: hupomnesai (AAN) de humas boulomai (1SPMI) eidotas (RAPMPA) humas panta hoti o kurios apax laon ek ges Aiguptou sosas (AAPMSN) to deuteron toua me pisteusantas (AAPMPA) apolesen.

  • put = Ro 15:15; 2Pe 1:12,13; 3:1
  • having = 1Co 10:1-12
  • afterward = Nu 14:22-37; 26:64,65; Dt 2:15,16; Ps 106:26; Heb 3:16, 17, 18, 19; Heb 4:1-2

Click for over 60 versions of this verse.

NET Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe.

NET NOTE: The reading Iēsous, “Jesus” is deemed too hard by several scholars, since it involves the notion of Jesus acting in the early history of the nation Israel. However, not only does this reading enjoy the strongest support from a variety of early witnesses, but the plethora of variants demonstrate that scribes were uncomfortable with it, for they seemed to exchange kurios, “Lord” or theos, “God” for Iēsous (though P72 has the intriguing reading theos Christos, “God Christ“ for Iēsous)… As difficult as the reading Iēsous is, in light of Jude 1:4 and in light of the progress of revelation (Jude being one of the last books in the NT to be composed), it is wholly appropriate. 

Barclay - It is my purpose to remind you--although you already possess full and final knowledge of all that matters--that, after the Lord had brought the people out of Egypt in safety, he subsequently destroyed those who were unbelieving;  (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Wuest - Moreover, after mature consideration, I desire to remind you, (who) know all things once for all, that the Lord, having saved the people out of Egypt, then destroyed those who did not believe. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 


Hiebert - Having remarked that such men will surely be judged (v. 4), Jude now illustrates the truth that divine judgment upon such flagrant evildoers is no novelty. He cites three historic instances that establish the certainty of the fate that awaits such rebels against God’s established order. God’s revelation of His love and mercy in Christ Jesus will not hinder Him from judging such wicked individuals now. The message which these examples declare is intended to assure and embolden Jude’s harried readers. Kelly suggests that he also intends “to steady the resolution of wobblers” by setting forth the terrible punishment that awaits such individuals.  (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 228)

Now I desire to remind you - Thomas Schreiner refers to this as "The new section begins with a disclosure formula, “I want to remind you,” signifying the beginning of a new section. Disclosure formulas are common in other letters as well (Ro 1:13; 11:25; 1Cor 8:1; 10:1; 12:1; 2Cor 1:8; Gal 1:11; Phil 1:12; 1Th 4:13), and here it functions as the transition to the next section of the letter." (The New American Commentary- 1, 2 Peter, Jude)

Wuest - After referring to the occasion of his letter, namely, the presence of apostate teachers in the visible organized church on earth (Jude 1:3, 4), Jude speaks of apostasy in Israel and among the angels, and the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jude 1:5-7). (Ed: This section closely parallels Peter's descriptions of fallen angels and Sodom and Gomorrah, except that Peter replaces Israel's apostasy with the story of unbelievers in the day of Noah.) (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Desire (1014)(boulomai) refers to a settled desire, one born of or springing from reason and not from emotion. To will, to wish, to will deliberately, to intend, to have a purpose, to be minded. Boulomai expresses the idea of the deliberate and specific exercise of volition (an act of making a choice or decision). Stated another way boulomai conveys the sense of more than simply wanting a desire or wish to be fulfilled. It conveys the stronger sense of choosing one thing over another or of preference of one thing before another.

Remind (5279)(hupomimnesko from hupó = under + mimnesko = to remind) means to put another in mind of something, to cause one to remember, bring to one's mind, remind (remind suggests a jogging of one’s memory by an association or similarity). Note that hupomimnesko is first in order in the Greek sentence for emphasis, which means to put one in mind of. In Jn 14:26 Jesus says ultimately the Holy Spirit carries out this function ("He will… bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."). Root word mimnesko gives us our English word memorial. In a sense Jude is exhorting them to recall those memorials of what God had done in their life (the Gospel) and in Biblical history (which he will now review)!

THOUGHT - It is a good practice for all of us to make memorials, because the memorials serve as markers of past faithfulness, goodness and grace of God in our life. Remembering these memorials serves to renew and/or revive the way we think and subsequently the way we behave.

Barclay - In a sense it is true to say that all preaching within the Christian church is not so much bringing to men new truth as confronting them with truth they already know, but have forgotten or are disregarding… Jude chooses his examples to make clear that, even if a man has received the greatest privileges, he may still fall away into disaster, and even those who have received the greatest privileges from God cannot consider themselves safe (Ed: Although if one is genuinely saved, he cannot lose his salvation! See Can a Christian lose salvation?) but must be on constant watch against the mistaken things.  (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Know (1492)(eido is used only in the perfect tense = oida) means in general to know by perception. Eido/oida is distinguished from ginosko (epiginosko, epignosis- the other major NT word group for knowing) because ginosko generally refers to knowledge obtained by experience or "experiential knowledge". On the other hand, eido/oida often refers more to an intuitive knowledge, although this distinction is not always clear cut. Eido/oida is a perception, a being aware of, an understanding, an intuitive knowledge which in the case of believers can only be given by the Holy Spirit.

Jude is saying that at one time ''all things'' were revealed to their hearts and they still know these things (perfect tense speaks of permanence of their knowing). But we are a forgetful lot and all of us need reminders, of the radical change wrought in our depraved hearts by the glorious Gospel and of God's hatred and condemnation of sin. And so Jude presents several OT reminders of divine judgment, beginning with God's Chosen People, Israel!

All things - Jude is emphasizing how well acquainted his readers were with the Gospel in contrast to the perversion of the Gospel by their opponents, as well as how well they knew the OT examples he is now going to review.

NET NOTE - Jude is stressing that the readers have been informed once for all of the OT illustrations he is about to mention. Where would they get this information? Most likely from having read 2 Peter. Earlier Jude used the same adverb to indicate that these believers had a written record of the faith. This seems to be his implication here, too. Thus, for the second time Jude is appealing to the written documents of the early church as authoritative as opposed to the messages of the false teachers. As the 1st century began to draw to a close, the early church found itself increasingly dependent on the letters and gospels of the apostles and their associates. Once those apostles died, false apostles and false teachers sprang up, like wolves in sheep's clothing (cf. Acts 20:29-30+). To combat this, some of the latest books of the NT stressed the authority of what had been written (so Hebrews, Jude, Ephesians, 1 John). Although these writers anticipated the return of the Lord, they also braced their audiences for a delay of the parousia (the Second Coming of Christ) by suggesting that when they were gone the NT documents should guide them. 

Lord (2962)(kurios from kuros = might or power) describes the supreme one, one who is sovereign and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership and uncontested power.

Some versions have "Jesus" instead of Lord, regarding which the ESV Study Bible says "Jesus … saved a people out of the land of Egypt (cf. Ex 1-15). This may seem puzzling, because the name “Jesus” is not applied to the Son of God in the OT. It is a prime example of the apostolic understanding of the OT, according to which the Son of God, in His eternal divine nature, was active in the world from the beginning of creation, long before His incarnation (cf. Lk 24:27; Jn 1:3; 8:56-58; 12:41; 1Cor. 10:4, 9; Col 1:16; Heb. 1:8-12; 11:26). Jesus, then, judged and destroyed those in Israel who escaped from Egypt but failed to keep trusting in God, and therefore they did not reach the Promised Land (cf. 1Cor. 10:5; Heb. 3:16-19).

After saving (delivering) a people out of the land of Egypt - God saved Israel out of Egypt physically (A summation of Exodus 6-14, the Exodus), and gave them many signs and opportunities to believe in Him, which, if they had believed, would have resulted in their spiritual salvation. Yet they rejected His revealed presence and consequently He judged and destroyed them (meditate on 1Cor 10:1-12). This aptly illustrates the heretic’s history, for he, like Israel, has experienced and knew God’s word, and thus had ample opportunity to accept Jesus as his Savior (cp 2Pe 2:20-21+). Yet he, like Israel, preferred to pursue his own interests and therefore refused to subject himself in faith to God. And so he, like Israel, will suffer God’s judgment.

Out of Egypt - (1Co 10:1-12, Ex 12:37-41, 51, Acts 7:36,43, 51, Nu 13:1-3, 21-33, Nu 14:1-35) - Although many of these Scriptures illustrate how they had been rescued out of Egypt, Egypt was (their love of the world instead of love of God - cp 1Jn 2:15-17+) was not out of them. As Stephen summarized, they were stiff-necked, rebellious and uncircumcised in heart (See Excursus on Circumcision) (Acts 7:39, 43, 51+).

Saving (4982)(sozo) basically means to rescue from peril, to protect, keep alive. It involves preservation of life, physical or spiritual. Whenever sozo is used, the context must be considered to determine whether preservation of physical life or spiritual life is in view. While all of Israel was physically rescued, not all of Israel was spiritually rescued (saved), as Jude's following description explains…

The Lord… subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

Destroyed (622) (apollumi from apo = away from or wholly + olethros = state of utter ruin <> ollumi = to destroy <> root of apollyon [Rev 9:11+] = destroyer) means to destroy utterly but not to caused to cease to exist. Apollumi as it relates to men, is not the loss of being per se, but is more the loss of well-being. It means to ruin so that the person (or thing) ruined can no longer serve the use for which he (it) was designed. To render useless. The gospel promises everlasting life for the one who believes. The failure to possess this life will result in utter ruin and eternal uselessness (but not a cessation of existence). Apollumi then has the basic meaning of describing that which is ruined and is no longer usable for its intended purpose.

Subsequently (1208) (deuteros) is literally second or second time. After the "first time" having delivered the people out of Egypt.

The consequences of unbelief are eternally costly!

Believe (4100) (pisteuo from pistis; pistos; related studies the faith, the obedience of faith) means to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something or someone. To accept the word or evidence of. To consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust. To accept as true, genuine, or real. To have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something or someone. To consider to be true. To accept the word or evidence of.

The Septuagint (Lxx) translation uses pisteuo in Nu 14:11-12 which is apparently the event Jude appeals to in order to illustrate Israel's unbelief…

The LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe (Lxx = pisteuo) in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?: I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them (cp "subsequently destroyed those who did not believe") , and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.” (Nu 14:11-12)

The respected Greek lexicon author W E Vine defines genuine (spiritually saving) belief as consisting of

(1) A firm conviction which produces full acknowledgment of God's revelation of Truth - (2Th 2:11+ -"in order that they all may be judged who did not believe [pisteuo] the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.")

(2) A personal surrender to the Truth (Jn 1:12+ "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe [pisteuo] in His name" - See Spurgeon's Sermon on John 1:12) and

(3) A conduct inspired by and consistent with that surrender. (See relationship between conduct and belief = Obedience of faith and the Relationship of faith and obedience in covenant; See also James explanation of faith and works = James 2:14-26+)

Jude's point is that intellectual belief in truth does not save anyone. If those… did not believe then they were non-believers, emphasizing that while they had been physically delivered (saved as it were), they had never experienced circumcision of their hearts (cp Ezekiel 36:27+, Dt 10:16, Ro 2:25, 26+, Col 2:11+), their unregenerate state being dramatically illustrated by their unremitting rebellion against God in the wilderness. A parallel teaching in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb 3:10+, Heb 3:18,19+, Heb 4:1,2+) also strongly supports that most of those "saved" out of Egypt were not truly regenerate, because what they had heard from God was not united ("mixed with") genuine saving faith. And thus most of Israel died in their trespasses and sins in the wilderness. (Nu 14:22-37+).

 If we have no real faith, we may appear to go a long way towards heaven,
but we shall not enter the heavenly Canaan.
-- C H Spurgeon

Wuest - The instance to which Jude has reference is that of the Jews, after having been convinced by the spies of the truth of God’s assertion that the land of Canaan was a land flowing with milk and honey, most productive as proved by the grapes they brought out, yet refused to enter it, not trusting God to give them the land as He said He would do. This was apostasy, sinning with the eyes wide open, and could only be dealt with by the infliction of the death penalty. That generation died a physical death in the wilderness. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Thomas Schreiner - Israel’s apostasy stands as a warning to all those who think that an initial commitment secures their future destiny without ongoing obedience. Those who are God’s people demonstrate the genuineness of their salvation by responding to the warning given. The warnings are one of the means by which God preserves his people until the end. Those who ignore such warnings neglect the very means God has appointed for obtaining eschatological salvation. Nor should such a perspective be considered a form of works righteousness. Jude pinpointed the fundamental reason Israel was judged. They failed to “believe” in God. The call to perseverance is not a summons to something above and beyond faith. God summons his people to believe in his promises to the very end of their lives. Christians never get beyond the need to believe and trust, and all apostasy stems from a failure to trust in God’s saving promises in Christ, just as the wilderness generation disbelieved that God would truly bring them into the land of Canaan, thinking instead that he had maliciously doomed them to die in the wilderness… The Israelites destroyed in the wilderness probably believed they were truly part of God’s people. Their disobedience demonstrated otherwise. Similarly, some in Jude’s community may have thought they were genuinely part of God’s people, but Jude insisted that continued faithfulness is the only way to demonstrate this. Those who “Apostasize” reveal that they were not truly members of God’s people (cf. 1John 2:19). Responses to warnings reveal, retrospectively, who really belongs to the people of God. (The New American Commentary- 1, 2 Peter, Jude)

Barclay - The first example is from the history of Israel. He goes for his story to Numbers 13:1-33; Numbers 14:1-45. The mighty hand of God had delivered the people from slavery in Egypt. What greater act of deliverance could there be than that? The guidance of God had brought the people safely across the desert to the borders of the Promised Land. What greater demonstration of His Providence could there be than that? So, at the very borders of the Promised Land, at Kadesh Barnea, spies were sent out to spy out the land before the final invasion took place. With the exception of Caleb and Joshua, the spies came back with the opinion that the dangers ahead were so terrible and the people so strong, that they could never win their way into the Promised Land. The people rejected the report of Caleb and Joshua, who were for going on, and accepted the report of those who insisted that the case was hopeless. This was a clear act of disobedience to God and of complete lack of faith in him. The consequence was that God gave sentence that of these people, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, all over twenty would never enter the Promised Land but would wander in the wilderness until they were dead (Numbers 14:32-33; Numbers 32:10-13)… Johnstone Jeffrey tells of a great man who absolutely refused to have his life-story written before his death. "I have seen," he said, "too many men fall out on the last lap." John Wesley warned, "Let, therefore, none presume on past mercies, as if they were out of danger."  (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Wiersbe - The main point of the account is that privileges bring responsibilities, and God cannot lightly pass over the sins of His people. If any of Jude’s readers dared to follow the false teachers, they too would face the discipline of God. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1Cor. 10:12). (Be Alert 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude- Beware of the Religious Impostors)

Jude 1:6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day: aggelous te tous me teresantas (AAPMPA) ten heauton arche alla apolipontas (AAPMPA) to idion oiketerion eis krisin megales hemeras desmois aidiois upo zophon tetereken (3SRAI),

  • angels = John 8:44
  • first estate or, principality = Eph 6:12
  • he hath = Mt 25:41; 2Pe 2:4
  • unto = Mt 8:29; Heb 10:27; Rev 20:10

Click for over 60 versions of this verse.

Barclay - and that he has placed under guard in eternal chains in the abyss of darkness, to await the judgment which shall take place on the great day, the angels who did not keep their own rank but left their own proper habitation.  (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Wuest - And angels who did not carefully guard their original position of preeminent dignity, but abandoned once for all their own private dwelling-place, with a view to the judgment of the great day, in everlasting bonds under darkness, He has put under careful guard. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

NET You also know that the angels who did not keep within their proper domain but abandoned their own place of residence, he has kept in eternal chains in utter darkness, locked up for the judgment of the great Day.


And - Continuation of the sentence in Jude 1:5.

Barclay on angels - The Jews had a very highly developed doctrine of angels, the servants of God. In particular the Jews believed that every nation had its presiding angel. In the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures, Deuteronomy 32:8 reads, "When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God." That is to say, to each nation there was an angel. The Jews believed in a fall of the angels and much is said about this in the Book of Enoch which is so often behind the thought of Jude. In regard to this there were two lines of tradition. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Peter said the angels sinned writing

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment. (2Peter 2:4)

Did not keep (5083) (tereo) means they did not keep their proper domain in view, and did not watch over it carefully. Tereo speaks of guarding something which is in one’s possession, something these angels did not do. These angels did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them. The verb expresses the act of watchful care. That is, these angels did not fulfil their obligation of carefully guarding and maintaining their original position in which they were created, but transgressed those limits to invade territory which was foreign to them, namely, the human race. "The idea is that certain angels acted improperly, going outside the bounds prescribed by God (their proper domain)." (NET NOTE)

Their own (2398)(idios) means belonging to oneself and not to another, one’s own, peculiar.

Wuest on "their own domain" - Their own is idion which means “one’s own private, personal, unique possession,” Heaven was made for the angels, not for man. It is the temporary abode of the departed saints until the new heavens and new earth are brought into being, but man’s eternal dwelling-place will be on the perfect earth (Rev 21:1-3+). (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Domain (dominion, authority, power) (746)(arche) refers to the commencement of something as an action, process, or state of being. Arche originally signified beginning but from this comes a secondary meaning of the beginning or first place of power = sovereignty, dominion, magistracy (principalities = Ro 8:38; rule = 1Co 15:24). Thus arche refers to the domain or rule or sphere of influence given to the angels. The implication is that God assigned angels stipulated responsibilities (arche, "dominion") and a set place (oiketerion).

NET NOTE "The idea is that certain angels acted improperly, going outside the bounds prescribed by God (their proper domain)." 

Wuest - Arche is used in the Book of Enoch 12:4 of the Watchers (Angels) who have abandoned the high heaven and the holy eternal place and defiled themselves with women (Mayor). (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Vincent - The Jews regarded the angels as having dominion over earthly creatures; and the angels are often spoken of in the NT as arche, principalities (Ro 8:38; Ephesians 1:21), so that this term would be appropriate to designate their dignity, which they forsook.

Spurgeon - See, then the need of stability, the need of abiding in the faith, and abiding in the practice of it, lest we should turn out to be like the Israelites, who, though they came out of Egypt, left their carcasses in the wilderness, or like the angels, who, though they once stood in God’s presence in glory, have fallen to the depths of the abyss because of their apostasy.

Abandoned (620) (apoleipo from apo = from + leipo = lack, leave, forsake) means literally to leave behind. The deserted at some point in time past. "These angels left heaven behind. That is, they had abandoned heaven. They were done with it forever. The verb is aorist in tense which refers to a once-for-all act. This was apostasy with a vengeance. They had, so to speak, burnt their bridges behind them, and had descended to a new sphere, the earth, and into a foreign relationship, that with the human race, foreign, because the latter belongs to a different category of created intelligences than they." (Wuest Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

Henry Morris - A certain segment of the devil's angels not only followed Satan in his primeval rebellion against God, but also attempted to corrupt all mankind by taking physical possession of "the daughters of men" to produce "giants in the earth in those days" (Ge 6:1-4; Job 4:18; 2Peter 2:4). They "left their own habitation" in heaven, and have been confined in the lowest and darkest compartment of Hades awaiting the final judgment. Satan still has a great host of fallen angels (or demons) under his direction (Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:3-9), and these will ultimately be cast into the Lake of Fire forever (Mt 25:41; Rev 20:10-15).

Related Resource:

Thomas Schreiner - We can be almost certain that Jude referred here to the sin of the angels in Gen 6:1-4. The sin the angels committed, according to the Jewish tradition, was sexual intercourse with the daughters of men. Apparently Jude also understood Gen 6:1-4 in the same way. Three reasons support such a conclusion. First, Jewish tradition consistently understood Gen 6:1-4 in this way (1 En. 6-19; 21; 86-88; 106:13-17; Jub. 4:15, 22; 5:1; CD 2:17-19; 1QapGen 2:1; T. Reu. 5:6-7; T. Naph. 3:5; 2 Bar. 56:10-14; cf. Josephus, Ant. 1.73). Second, we know from Jude 1:14-15 that Jude was influenced by 1 Enoch, and 1 Enoch goes into great detail about the sin and punishment of these angels. Jude almost certainly would need to explain that he departed from the customary Jewish view of Ge 6:1-4 if he disagreed with Jewish tradition. The brevity of the verse supports the idea that he concurred with Jewish tradition. Third, the text forges a parallel between the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah and the angels (“In a similar way,” Jude 1:7; hōs and ton homoion tropon toutois). The implication is that sexual sin was prominent in both instances. (The New American Commentary- 1, 2 Peter, Jude)

Abode (3613)(oiketerion from oikéo = to dwell; Only other use 2Co 5:2) means dwelling, habitation, abode.

Has kept (5083) (tereo) is in the perfect tense which means at a point in time they were kept and that continues to be their condition. Perfect tense describes the permanence of this keeping. "There is an interesting play on words used in this verse. Because the angels did not keep their proper place, Jesus has kept them chained up in another place. The same verb keep is used in Jude 1:1 to describe believers' status before God and Christ." (NET NOTE)

Eternal (126) (aidios from aeí = ever, always) means everlasting, having infinite duration, lasting or enduring forever, existing or continuing without end. Only other use in Ro 1:20.

Hiebert - Their present fettering is only temporal, looking forward to the final judgment; but the expression underlines the unbreakable nature of their chains, their prison is escape-proof. No prospect of restoration awaits them; their fall is final. Because they are bound, these angels must be distinguished from other fallen angels who are now unbound and active against mankind (Lk 8:31; Ro 8:38; Col. 2:15). (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 234)

Enoch 69:26-29 describes the Jesus as sitting in judgment over the bound angels.

Darkness (2217) (zophos) describes darkness that ranges from partial to total and conveys a suggestion of foreboding and gloom and in here specifically referring to the thick darkness associated with the region of those who are lost, "a designation for the underworld." (See 2Pe 2:4+) Compare Hesiod:

There the Titanian gods, to murky gloom
Condemned by will of cloud-collecting Jove,
Lie hid in region foul.
Theogony v., 729.

Hiebert - Ward suggests that appropriately, God punishes these angels with this darkness “symbolically, inasmuch as God is light; and it also imports an atmosphere of terror. They cannot move; they cannot see; and therefore they cannot unite.”  (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 235)

The judgment of the great day - The confinement of the angels to darkness is not their final abode, which will be assigned on the great day. And remember what Jude is doing in this section -- with these examples of flagrant sin which brought God's judgment, in the same way those who creep in unaware will also be judged. Hence Jude encouraged the believers to stand fast in the face of their false teaching.

Ronald Ward - If the highest beings known in creation were subject to judgment, how much more sinful men! (The Epistles of John and Jude: A Study Manual)

Jude 1:7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire: hos Sodoma kai Gomorrha kai ai peri autas poleis ton homoion tropon toutois ekporneusasai (AAPFPN) kai apelthousai (AAPFPN) opiso sarkos heteras prokeintai (3PPMI) deigma puros aioniou diken hupechousai (PAPFPN)

  • just as Sodom and Gomorrah = Ge 13:13; 18:20; 19:24-26; Dt 29:23; Isa 1:9; 13:19; Jer 20:16; 50:40; La 4:6; Ezek 16:49,50; Hos 11:8; Amos 4:11; Luke 17:29
  • strange flesh = Ge 19:5; Ro 1:26,27; 1Co 6:9
  • are exhibited as an example = Mt 11:24; 2Pe 2:6
  • punishment of eternal fire = Dt 29:23; Isa 33:14; Mt 25:41; Mk 9:43-49+

Click for over 60 versions of this verse.

Barclay - Just so Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, who in the same way as these took their fill of sexual sin and strayed after perverted sexual immorality, are a warning by the way in which they paid the penalty of eternal fire. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Wuest - Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, in like manner to these, having given themselves out and out to fornication and having gone off to a different kind of flesh, are set forth as an exhibit, undergoing the punishment of everlasting fire.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

Related Passages:

2Peter 2:6-10+ - and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,

Matthew 11:24+ “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”


Just as (Even as) (hos) denotes a close comparison with the angels in Jude 1:5-6. "Like the angels before them, they gave themselves over to immorality. Like the angels before them, they too went after strange flesh." (Tony Garland - Jude 1:5-8 - Departing from God's Design)

Sodom and Gomorrah (Ge 13:10, 18:20,19:1, 4-5, 29, Lv 18:22, 20:13) - The destruction of these cities at the SE corner of the Dead Sea is used over 20x as an illustration of God’s judgment during the days of Abraham and Lot (cf. Ge 18:22-19:29). This destruction was in view of their apostasy, since it occurred about 450 yrs after the Flood, when at least one of Noah’s sons, Shem (Ge 11:10,11) was still living. Since this was only 100 years after Noah’s death (Ge 9:28), people would have known about the message of righteousness and judgment from God which Noah preached, and which they rejected. "The names of “Sodom and Gomorrah” (are) proverbial for gross immorality. This is illustrated by the fact that some Jew or Christian “some time before the eruption of A.D. 79, scribbled on a wall in Pompeii ‘SODOMA GOMORRA.’" (Hiebert)

Sodom - 49x in 48v in Old and New Testaments - Ge 10:19; 13:10, 12-13; 14:2, 8, 10-12, 17, Ge 14:21-22; 18:16, 20, 22, 26; Ge 19:1, 4, 24, 28; Dt 29:23; 32:32; 1Kgs 22:46; Isa 1:9-10; 3:9; 13:19; Jer 23:14; 49:18; 50:40; Lam 4:6; Ezek 16:46, 48-49, 53, 55-56; Amos 4:11; Zeph 2:9; Mt 10:15; 11:23-24; Luke 10:12; 17:29; Ro 9:29; 2Pe 2:6; Jude 1:7; Rev 11:8

Gomorrah - 23x in 23v in Old and New Testaments - Ge 10:19; 13:10; 14:2, 8, 10-11; 18:20; Ge 19:24, 28; Dt 29:23; 32:32; Isa 1:9-10; 13:19; Jer 23:14; 49:18; 50:40; Amos 4:11; Zeph 2:9; Mt 10:15; Ro 9:29; 2Pet 2:6; Jude 1:7

And the cities around them (See Dt 29:23; Hos 11:8; Ge 14:2, 8, Ge 19:19-22) - There were apparently a total of 5 cities which stresses the universality of the debauchery in this region. = Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar, the latter being spared the disaster.

Related Resource -

Barclay - Sir George Adam Smith in The Historical Geography of the Holy Land points out that no incident in history ever made such an impression on the Jewish people, and that Sodom and Gomorrah are time and time again used in Scripture as the examples par excellence of the sin of man and the judgment of God; they are so used even by Jesus himself (Deuteronomy 29:23; Deuteronomy 32:32; Amos 4:11; Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 3:9; Isaiah 13:19; Jeremiah 23:14; Jeremiah 49:18; Jeremiah 50:40; Zephaniah 2:9; Lamentations 4:6; Ezekiel 16:46; Ezekiel 16:49; Ezekiel 16:53; Ezekiel 16:55; Matthew 10:15; Matthew 11:24; Luke 10:12; Luke 17:29; Romans 9:29; 2 Peter 2:6; Revelation 11:8). "The glare of Sodom and Gomorrah is flung down the whole length of Scripture history."… The sin of Sodom is one of the most horrible stories in history. Ryle has called it a "repulsive incident."… This disaster was localized in the dreadful desert in the region of the Dead Sea, a region which Sir George Adam Smith calls, "This awful hollow, this bit of the infernal regions come to the surface, this hell with the sun shining into it."… Jude is insisting that they should remember that sin and judgment go hand in hand, and that they should repent in time. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Since they in the same way as these - Who is these? In context this has to refer to the rebellious angels in Jude 1:6.

In the same way (3668)(homoios from hómoios = like, resembling) means similarly, likewise, of equal degree or manner and denoting perfect agreement. In most of the NT uses homoios conveys the sense of "to do likewise".

Hiebert - This connection with the men of Sodom throws additional light on the sin of these angels. Both groups were guilty of lusting after forbidden things and violating the divinely established order to satisfy their lust. The sin of both was sexual in nature; yet, as “in like manner” implies, their sins were not identical. Ward observes, “The sin of the angels was fornication; that of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality (cf. Ro. 1:27).” Both were guilty of going after “strange flesh” (sarkos heteras). (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 236)

Gross immorality (1608) (ekporneuo from ek = out or from + porneuo = commit fornication or lewdness) is used only here in the NT and means to be to be utterly unchaste. To give self over to fornication and indulge in flagrant immorality. The force of ek is out and out and depicts the Sodomites as giving themselves up utterly to fornication. The inhabitants of these depraved cities have made "an “out and out surrender to” extravagant sexual lust. Ge 19:5-9 clearly portrays the sin of the Sodomites as homosexuality. They were thoroughly committed to its practice." (Hiebert)

Ekporneuo - 37v in the OT where it often translates zanah which means Played the harlot - Ge 38:24; Ex 34:15, 16; Lev. 17:7; 19:29; 20:5f; 21:9; Num. 15:39; 25:1; Deut. 22:21; 31:16; Jdg. 2:17; 8:27, 33; 2 Chr. 21:11, 13; Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 6:9; 16:16f, 20, 26, 28, 30, 33; 20:30; 23:3, 5, 30, 43; Hos. 1:2; 2:5; 4:12f, 18; 5:3

Ezekiel 16:49-50+ explains Sodom's sin was not solely sexual debauchery…

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance (PRIDE), abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy (SELFISHNESS, LACK OF COMPASSION). Thus they were haughty (PRIDE - Heb = gabah = to be high, exalted, speaking of pride) and committed abominations (Hebrew = toebah; Lxx = anomema in plural = iniquities; lawless actions ) before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.

Comment: Note that toebah translated abominations refers to something that is morally disgusting and is also used in Lev 18:22 to describe homosexuality.

Went (565)(aperchomai from apó = separation + érchomai = come or go) literally means to go away or to depart, but here used in a metaphorical sense. "The force of apo- is away; turning away from purity, and going after strange flesh." (Vincent) Aperchomai is an aorist participle indicating "having gone." Aperchomai is found in combination with opiso (= after, a position behind, back) in Mk 1:20 (James and John leaving their father and going after Jesus) and Jn 12:19 ("The world is gone after him"). "The compound expression “went after” (apechomai opisō) indicates a departure from the established order in nature to follow a practice contrary to nature. Deserting the established male-female relationship, they deliberately pursued a relationship with “strange flesh” (sarkos heteras, literally, “other flesh”); that is, they followed a course of action in conjugal matters other than that prescribed by God." (Hiebert)

Strange flesh (sarx) - Strange is heteros ~ flesh of a different kind. (Cp 2Pe 2:10+; Ro 1:27+; Lev 18:22-23) See lengthy explanatory note on strange flesh ("Unnatural desire" = NET)

NET Note Grk “strange flesh.” This phrase has been variously interpreted. It could refer to flesh of another species (such as angels lusting after human flesh). This would aptly describe the sin of the angels, but not easily explain the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. It could refer to the homosexual practices of the Sodomites, but a difficulty arises from the use of ἕτερος (heteros; “strange,” “other”). When this is to be distinguished from ἄλλος (allos, “another”) it suggests “another of a different kind.” If so, would that properly describe homosexual behavior? In response, the language could easily be compact: “pursued flesh other than what was normally pursued.” However, would this find an analogy in the lust of angels (such would imply that angels normally had sexual relations of some sort, but cf. Matt 22:30)? Another alternative is that the focus of the parallel is on the activity of the surrounding cities and the activity of the angels. This is especially plausible since the participles ἐκπορνεύσασαι (ekporneusasai, “having indulged in sexual immorality”) and ἀπελθοῦσαι (apelthousai, “having pursued”) have concord with “cities” (πόλεις, poleis), a feminine plural noun, rather than with Sodom and Gomorrah (both masculine nouns). If so, then their sin would not necessarily have to be homosexuality. However, most likely the feminine participles are used because of constructio ad sensum (construction according to sense). That is, since both Sodom and Gomorrah are cities, the feminine is used to imply that all the cities are involved. The connection with angels thus seems to be somewhat loose: Both angels and Sodom and Gomorrah indulged in heinous sexual immorality. Thus, whether the false teachers indulge in homosexual activity is not the point; mere sexual immorality is enough to condemn them.


Are exhibited (4295) (prokeimai from pros = in front of + keimai = lie outstretched) means to be set before one or in front of. To be placed before the eyes so as to expose Here in Jude prokeimai refers to destroyed cities exhibited as an example for all to see. Prokeimai was used of meats on the table ready for the guests; of a corpse laid out for burial; of a question under discussion. Thus the corruption and punishment of the cities of the plain are laid out in plain sight.

As an example (1164)(deigma from deiknumi = to display or exhibit) means something which is held up to view as a warning. Deigma is used only in Jude 1:7 (3Macc 2:5 [mouseover for popup] uses paradeigma = a pattern of the thing to be executed -) where it presents the suffering of Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of the future suffering which is a consequence of God’s judgment (cf. 2Pe 2:6+).

Hiebert - Let it never be forgotten that Genesis 13:10, which describes it as “well watered everywhere,” was once true of this bleak and blasted area. The very character of the region is a timeless warning that evil will not triumph… “Suffering the punishment of eternal fire” points to the lasting retribution for such flagrant sin. The fire that destroyed the cities was a type of the fire of eternal punishment that will befall all rebels. (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 238)

In undergoing the punishment of eternal fire (Mt 3:12; 18:8; 25:41; Mk 9:43, 44, 46, 48; Lk 3:17; Rev 19:20; 20:14,15; 21:8) Sodom and Gomorrah illustrate God’s fire of earthly judgment (Rev 16:8,9; 20:9) but it was only a preview of the fire that will never be quenched throughout eternity in hell, the second death (Mk 9:48, Isa 66:24, Rev 20:6+, Rev 20:14-15+) for all rebellious hearts who reject Jesus as their Savior. The truth in passages such as Jude 1:7 should make believers overwhelmingly grateful, knowing we are in Jesus and are rescued from the wrath to come (1Th 1:10+). And it should stimulate a deep compassion for the lost and an undying passion to share Christ with them (2Cor 5:18-21+). It was said of D. L. Moody (see some of his classic sermons) that he never referred to Hell without tears. The amazing results of Moody's sermons likely would never have occurred had they not been inspired by the Holy Spirit and soaked in old Moody's heartfelt tears. Do you weep for those who stand on the edge of the abyss ever in danger of eternal fire and worst of all eternal separation from their Creator? (2Th 1:8-10)

Punishment (KJV = vengeance) (1349)(dike) speaks of punishment on the basis of what is rightly deserved. This makes one recall the immutable divine law of sowing and reaping (Gal 6:7+).

Eternal fire - this exact phrase in NAS - 3x = Jude 1:7, Mt 18:8, Mt 25:41 (read for whom Hell was actually created!)

See Jonathan Edwards "sobering" article: To Help Your Conception of What Hell Is (Woe! Woe! Woe!)

Eternal (166)(aionios from aion) means existing at all times, perpetual, pertaining to an unlimited duration of time (Ro 1:20 - God's power, Mt 18:8 - God's place of judgment, Ro 16:26 - God's attribute).

And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the Lake of Fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented (see basanizo) day and night forever and ever. (Rev 20:10+, see Isa 30:33)

"A destruction so utter and so permanent as theirs has been, is the nearest approach that can be found in this world to the destruction which awaits those who are kept under darkness to the judgment of the great day" (Lumby).

Undergoing (KJV = suffering) (5254)(hupecho from hupó = under + écho = have) (Only here in NT) means literally to hold under, and so metaphorically to undergo, endure or experience something. "The participle is present tense, indicating that they are suffering to this day the punishment which came upon them in Lot's time." (Vincent)

QUESTION - What is the strange flesh in Jude 1:7?

ANSWER - Jude 1:7 speaks of “Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh” (KJV). In context, Jude is assuring his readers that God has punished sin in the past and, therefore, He will continue to do so in the future. Jude gives a list of incidents as evidence of God’s judgment, and one of the incidents that he cites is the case of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The King James Version and the New American Standard Version are similar in the translation of Jude 1:7, and both use the term strange flesh. “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire” (NASB).

The ESV has a more interpretive translation: “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” The ESV includes an alternate translation, “different flesh,” in a footnote.

The NIV provides the most interpretive translation: “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”

The traditional understanding of this passage is that the “strange flesh” refers to homosexual desire similar to what was exhibited in Sodom in Genesis 19. Two angels (appearing as men) visited Sodom. Lot, not knowing that they were angels, asked them to come into his home. The men of the city learned of the visitors and mobbed Lot’s house, saying, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them” (verse 4).

In recent years, there has been an attempt to legitimize homosexual desire and even to look for ways to make it compatible with biblical teaching. Some have challenged the traditional understanding that the pursuit of “strange flesh” refers to homosexual lust.

Jude 1:7 begins with “in the same way,” which calls our attention to the situation in the previous verse. Verse 6 says, “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.” This has often been understood as a reference to Genesis 6. The first verses of that chapter highlight the wickedness that precipitated the flood. Many interpret the Genesis passage as referring to angels who in some way had sexual relations with human women. According to some, the logic in Jude 1 runs this way: in verse 6 angels have sexual desire for human beings, and in verse 7 human beings have sexual desire for angels. The conclusion is that the desire for “strange flesh” in Jude 1:7 refers to human-angel relations, not any kind of human-human relations.

This interpretation has several problems. First, it is far from clear that Jude 1:6 is a reference to Genesis 6:2–4. Second, it is far from clear that “the sons of God” in Genesis 6:2–4 refers to angels or that human-angel sexual activity is what is in view. Third, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah warranted judgment before the angels ever showed up (Genesis 19:20). In fact, pending judgment was the reason the angels went to Sodom in the first place. It is not as though angels were being assaulted on a regular basis in Sodom. And, finally, the men of Sodom had no idea that the “men” visiting Lot’s house were angels, so the issue could not be an unnatural attraction to angels.

The next issue that needs to be addressed is the term translated “strange “ in the phrase “strange flesh.” The word translated “strange” is hetero, which means “different.” The issue is complicated by the fact that we use the term heterosexual to refer to attraction to the opposite gender and homosexual to refer to same-sex attraction. Jude 1:7 says that Sodom and Gomorrah were judged because of hetero attractions. However, the context is clear that hetero in this case does not mean “different gender” but “different from the norm,” as in “strange.” Romans 1:26–27 calls these urges and actions “unnatural”—that is, they are different (hetero) from the God-ordained design.

Finally, some have charged that the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality per se, but violence and attempted homosexual rape. They claim that Genesis 19 has nothing to do with loving, mutual homosexual desire. Certainly, the violence of the men of Sodom adds an additional layer to the problem. It may account for why Jude describes the incident in Sodom as one of “gross immorality,” but it does not explain why Jude says they desired “strange flesh.” Furthermore, it was not for the single incident with Lot that Sodom was judged; rather, that incident simply demonstrated and confirmed the kind of immorality that was rampant in Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding areas.

When all the evidence is considered, the traditional understanding is still the most consistent with the biblical data. Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding areas gave themselves over to all sorts of sexual perversion (rape would be included in this), but homosexual attraction and activity, described as a desire for “strange flesh,” is also included. Jude describes homosexual desire as a desire for hetero flesh because it is “different” from the God-ordained plan for sexuality. Jude says that the men of Sodom were judged for this and stand as an example of God’s willingness and ability to judge such actions in the future.GotQuestions.org

Jude 1:8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties: homoios mentoi kai houtoi enupniazomenoi (PPPMPN) sarka men miainousin (3PPAI) kurioteta de athetousin (3PPAI) doxas de blasphemousin (3PPAI)

  • these men, also by dreaming = Jer 38:25-28
  • defile the flesh  = 1Co 3:17; 1Ti 1:10; 2Pe 2:10-12
  • reject authority, = Ge 3:5; Nu 16:3,12,13, Ps 2:1-6; 12:3, 4; Lk 19:14; Acts 7:27,39; 1Th 4:8; Heb 13:17
  • and revile angelic majesties = Jude 1:9,10; Ex 22:28; Pr 30:11,17; Ec 10:20; Acts 23:5; 1Pe 2:17

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NET Yet these men, as a result of their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and insult the glorious ones.

NIV In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.

Barclay - In the same way these, too, with their dreams, defile the flesh, and set at naught the celestial powers, and speak evil of the angelic glories. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Wuest - In the same manner nevertheless, also these who are beguiled with sensual images and carried away to an impious course of conduct, defile indeed the flesh, and set at naught authority, and speak evil of preeminence. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

2 Peter 2:10-12+  and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, 11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,

Jude 1:8-16

Jude now turns from the OT examples to a description of the characteristics of the insidious infiltrators (Jude 1:8-16).

Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming (enupniazo), defile (miainothe flesh, and reject (atheteoauthority (kuriotes), and revile (blasphemeo) angelic majesties (doxa) - Yet (mentoi) conveys the idea of this word is "Nevertheless" or "However." Yet "marks the fact that though these modern apostates have these clear warnings before them, they brazenly continue on in like offenses. Their arrogance blinds them to the warnings of history." (Hiebert) This word emphasizes that though the these men ("certain persons" Jude 1:4) have these "fearful examples before them, yet they persist in their sin." (Vincent) Like these godless cities once found at the tip of the Dead Sea. The preceding three examples of willful apostasy (Heb 10:26) all intentionally left their "saved status" to pursue an ungodly way of life. They did not lose their salvation, for they had never been genuinely saved (and of course angels cannot be saved at all). These men were not pagans, but those who had seen miracles and even God Himself, and yet they choose to reject Him and His authority. (

Spurgeon - Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. They cast off all restraint; they claim to have liberty to do whatever they like; and when reproved, they utter railing words against those who honestly rebuke them.

Dreaming (1797)(enupniazo from enupnion from en = in + hupnos = sleep) means to have the impression of seeing something while one is sleeping. Dreaming and the 3 following verbs are all in the present tense indicating that this is not a passing practice but their lifestyle, their continual practice. Gilbrant - Enupniazō carries the connotation of supernatural activity while one is sleeping, especially in the sense of dreaming. Used only twice in the New Testament, the word is neutral concerning judgment regarding good or evil in the dreaming. Hence, in Acts 2:17 the word is used to describe dreaming activity of which God is the source. In Jude 8 the emphasis is upon the “dreamers” (participial form) who had crept in “unawares” (Jude 1:4) and who defile their bodies, defy their Creator, and deride the angels (cf. Jude 1:9)." (Complete Biblical Library

Enupniazo in the Septuagint - Gen. 28:12; Gen. 37:5; Gen. 37:6; Gen. 37:9; Gen. 37:10; Gen. 41:5; Deut. 13:1; Deut. 13:3; Deut. 13:5; Jdg. 7:13; Isa. 29:7; Isa. 29:8; Isa. 56:10; Jer. 23:25; Jer. 27:9; Jer. 29:8; Joel 2:28

The only other NT use is Acts 2:17+ "


It is notable that the participle (enupniazomenoi) modifies "all three verbs, and the dreams are understood as the basis for the moral baseness of the opponents. They appealed to their dreams as a source of revelation, as a justification for their lifestyle. Others (Ed: see Hiebert, Wiersbe below) understand Jude as criticizing the interlopers as ignorant, hypnotized, or dreamers, but it is more likely that the opponents justified their moral laxity by appealing to dreams which they believed functioned as divine approval for their behavior… First, apparently the intruders appealed to dreams to justify their sexual licentiousness." (Thomas Schreiner). And so we see the ESV translation emphasizes this association…

Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.

ESV Study Note: They are led astray by relying on their dreams, thus mistakenly following subjective experiences that they claim are from God but that lead them to disobey God’s written Word. Following their “dreams,” they are sexually immoral (defile the flesh), reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. (Ed: Similar to the ESV, the NIV rendering conveys a similar idea - "on the strength of their dreams") (See ESV Study Bible )

MacArthur comments that Jude uses "dreaming" as descriptive of "the apostates as phony visionaries" basing his interpretation on the fact that enupniazo is used only one other time in the NT, in Acts 2:17, which "may refer to revelatory dreams." Their dreams would then be like prophecies which provide support or justification, if you will, for their ungodly doctrines (Biggs) (cf Dt 13:1-5, cf also "false prophets" in 2Pe 2:1). This description reminds us of those so-called modern day "prophets" who get a "word from God," and yet prove over time to be morally corrupt.

Related Resources:

Hiebert favors dreaming does not speak of literal (revelatory) dreams, but describes the fact that these men "live in a subjective dream world of unreality." Thayer similarly favors enupniazo in Jude 1:8 as conveying the meaning of “to be beguiled with sensual images and carried away to an impious course of conduct.” (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 242)

Wiersbe favors that "These people live in a dream world of unreality and delusion. They believe Satan’s lie (ED: the father of lies John 8:44, the father of all who love and practice lying - Rev 22:15+), “Ye shall be as gods” (Gen. 3:5+). Having turned away from God’s truth, they feed their minds on false doctrine that inflates their egos and encourages their rebellion." (The Wiersbe Bible Commentary)

THOUGHT - The point is that they have been deluded by their rejection of divine truth and by introduction of Satan's lies, and consider their sinful practices as "normal," and not deserving of divine judgment. Frankly, this is a description of all of us when we are caught in the clutches of deceptive sin's deception (cf Heb 3:13b+)!

Defile the flesh - Speaking of the polluting or sullying the literal flesh, which bespeaks of immorality. Butler quips these "apostates propagate bad doctrine and this leads to bad deportment. Apostates do not lift the moral standard, but lower it. Bad doctrine breeds bad deportment!" (Analytical Bible Expositor). In light of the fact that these men are "devoid of the Spirit" (Jude 1:19), it is not surprising that they defile the flesh, because they have no inherent ability to control or restrain the lusts of their flesh (cp Gal 5:18-21, Ro 8:13, 1Pe 2:11).

 “Bodies that should be temples of the Holy Spirit (1Co 6:19-20+)
are soiled and polluted with immoral excesses.”
-- Lawlor

Defile (3392)(miaino cf miasmos = the state of being tainted, polluted, corrupted, defiled or stained by) means literally to dye with another color. Figuratively miaino describes a mind and conscience that is morally contaminated, corrupted, tainted, tinged and polluted. In a ceremonial or cultic sense it means to defile or make unclean or to be unacceptable. In John 18:28 miaino denotes ceremonial impurity, but in Titus 1:15, Heb 12:15, and here in Jude 1:8 it denotes moral defilement and correlates well with their "preaching" of licentiousness (Jude 1:4).

They reject authority, ultimately divine authority, and in so doing set themselves up as their own authority.

Guzik applies this truth to our modern society - "Today, our culture encourages us to reject authority and to recognize self as the only real authority in our lives. We can do this with the Bible, by choosing to only believe certain passages. We can do it with our beliefs, by choosing at the “salad bar” of religion. Or we can do it with our lifestyle, by making our own rules and not recognizing the proper authorities God has established. In the darkest days of Israel, society was characterized by a term: every man did what was right in his own eyes. (Jdg 21:25+) Today, this is the pattern of all the world and especially Western civilization." (Jude Commentary)

Reject (set aside)(114)(atheteo from áthetos = not placed from a = without + thetós = placed) means to set aside something that is established (like authority). To do away with what has been laid down. In Classic Greek atheteo is used to describe setting aside of a treaty or promise. In short these evil men set aside God's law and Christ's Lordship, so they can be their own law and "lord."

Thayer writes that atheteo means "to act toward anything as though it were annulled; hence, to deprive a law of force by opinions or acts opposed to it, to transgress… to thwart the efficacy of anything, nullify, make void, frustrate… to render prudent plans of no effect (1Cor 1:19+)… to reject, refuse, slight (eg, "the grace of God" Gal 2:21+)."

Atheteo is used by Jesus addressing the Pharisees and the Scribes who rejected authority declaring "You nicely set aside (reject = atheteo) the commandment of God (the Fifth Commandment - Honor your father and your mother) in order to keep your tradition." (Mark 7:9)

Authority ("Lordship")(2963)(kuriotes from kurios = Lord, owner, master) means lordship, ruling power, one who possesses dominion, authority or magistracy. It refers here to supernatural beings that possess dominion and authority and is used to describe angels in Eph 1:21+, Col 1:16+, 2Pe 2:10+. (What is lordship salvation?)

Wiersbe comments on the effects of rejection of divine authority - "As a result of their rebellion and pride, they “defile the flesh,” living to satisfy their animal lusts. When a person despises God’s authority, he feels free to disobey God’s Laws and live as he pleases. What he forgets is that those laws have penalties attached to them so that he cannot disobey and escape the consequences." (See The Wiersbe Bible Commentary)

Revile angelic majesties: Peter describes the evil men in his letter as those who "do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties." (2Pe 2:10) Hiebert writes "The fact that these apostates “revile” such glorious beings is the ultimate expression of their daring." 

Schreiner - Some commentators see a reference here to good angels, arguing that Jude would not be worried about scorn heaped on evil angels. But the parallel with Jude 1:9, where Michael refused to pronounce his own judgment on the devil, suggests that Jude referred to evil angels in Jude 1:8. Jude’s argument runs as follows: The intruders insult demons, but the archangel, Michael, did not even presume to blaspheme the devil himself but left his judgment to God. If Michael as an angel with high authority did not even presume to judge Satan, how can the opponents be so filled with pride that they insult demons, who have a certain glory, even though they have subsequently sinned? (The New American Commentary- 1, 2 Peter, Jude)

Why did these apostates blaspheme angels? This is a more difficult question to answer and there is no consensus. Hiebert (Second Peter-Jude) writes…

The fact that these apostates “rail at” (blasphēmousin) such glorious beings is the ultimate expression of their daring. This verb, from which we derive our word “blaspheme,” has the general sense of speaking reproachfully or injuriously of someone, “to revile, calumniate.” When used of God or that which is holy, our word “blaspheme” conveys the sense. Jude does not explain why these arrogant men thus continue “to insult celestial beings” (NEB). Green summarizes the more probable conjectures that have been advanced:

Perhaps the undue deference paid to angels in some sections of Judaism (see Col. 2:18) produced this revulsion among the headstrong errorists, who became disenchanted with the whole notion of angels, and regarded such enlightened Christians as themselves as emancipated from such primitive ideas. Perhaps they scoffed at the very existence of transcendent powers of evil… Perhaps the orthodox reproached them with having fallen, in their immorality, under diabolical powers, to which they returned a mocking answer, regarding such powers, if they existed, as utterly impotent over themselves. (BORROW Green, Michael. The Second Epistle General of Peter and the General Epistle of Jude. In The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. London: The Tyndale Press, 1968)

Revile (987) (blasphemeo) means to speak to harm, to slander, to speak evil of and especially to speak in a profane manner regarding holy matters (cf 2Ki 19:22).

Majesties (1391) (doxa from dokeo = to think) in simple terms means to give a proper opinion or estimate of something and thus the glory of God expresses all that He is in His Being and in His nature, character, power and acts.

Jude 1:9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!": ho de Michael o archaggelos hote to diaboloo diakrinomenos (PMPMSN) dielegeto (3SIMI) peri tou Mouseos somatos ouk hetolmesen (3SAAI) krisin epenegkein (AAN) blasphemias alla eipen Epitimesai (3SAA0) soi kurios

  • Michael: Da 10:13,21 12:1 Rev 12:7
  • archangel: 1Th 4:16
  • the body: De 34:6
  • dare: Ex 22:28 Isa 36:13-21 Mk 15:29 Lu 23:39,40 1Pe 3:9 2Pe 2:11
  • The Lord: 1Ch 12:17 Isa 37:3,4,10-20 Zec 3:2

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Barclay - When the archangel Michael himself was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, he did not venture to launch against him an evil-speaking accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Wuest - Yet Michael, the archangel, when disputing with the devil, arguing concerning the body of Moses, dared not bring a sentence that would impugn his dignity, but said, May the Lord rebuke you. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

NET - But even when Michael the archangel was arguing with the devil and debating with him concerning Moses' body, he did not dare to bring a slanderous judgment, but said, "May the Lord rebuke you!"


The thrust of Jude 1:8-10 is to compare the behavior of the apostate's with the archangel Michael. In verse 8 the apostates "speak contemptuously and spitefully against authority, whether it be divine, angelic, or human. In this respect they take liberties which even Michael the archangel would reject." (MacDonald) And now in verse 9, we see that even the powerful angel Michael (powerful enough to cast Satan out of heaven! Rev 12:7,8,9+) left it in God's hands to pronounce judgment on another angel, rather than do it himself. Michael would not take the law into his own hands as the apostate false teachers were doing.

At the outset, it should be understood that verse 9 is difficult, in part because this incident is recorded no where else in Scripture. We can however be assured that whatever the source, the ultimate Source was the Holy Spirit Who inspired Jude to write this epistle. It follows then that this incident between Michael and Satan arguing over Moses' body is true! God said it. That settles it, regardless of whether we understand it or not!

The venerable prince of preachers C H Spurgeon asked…

To what does this refer? I am sure I do not know. I cannot think it refers to anything recorded in the Old Testament, but to some fact, known to Jude, who here speaks by revelation, and records it. We believe it, and learn from it that, when an archangel disputes with the devil, he does not use hard words even against him, for hard words are an evidence of the weakness of the cause which they are used to support. Hard arguments softly put, are the really effective weapons, but it takes some of us a long time to learn this; and generally, in our younger days, we wear away our own strength by the violence with which we use it.

But - This is a dramatic contrast. Whenever you encounter this term of contrast, pause and ask, "What is the writer contrasting?"

Michael the archangel - Michael is one of only 2 good angels who are specifically named in Scripture (Gabriel = Da 8:16+; Da 9:21+; Lk 1:19, 26). Satan is a third angel named but of course is evil. Michael's name means "Who is like God?," which is ironic because his opponent Satan had arrogantly declared "I will make myself like the Most High!" (Isa 14:14) and deceived Adam with the lie "You will be like God!" (Ge 3:5) Michael had special charge over the nation of Israel. Daniel refers to Michael first by name as "one of the chief princes" (Da 10:13+), next as the "prince" of Israel who stood firmly with the angel who was bringing a message to Daniel and then would return to fight with the Prince of Persia (angelic "warfare") (Da 10:21+), and finally as "the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people" (Da 12:1+).

John Lees (ISBE) adds that " In all these passages Michael appears as the heavenly patron and champion of Israel; as the watchful guardian of the people of God against all foes earthly or devilish. In the uncanonical apocalyptic writings, however, Jewish angelology is further developed. In them Michael frequently appears and excretes functions similar to those which are ascribed to him in Daniel. He is the first of the "four presences that stand before God"--Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel or Phanuel (Enoch 9:1; 40:9). In other apocryphal books and even elsewhere in En, the number of archangels is given as 7 (Enoch 20:1-7; Tobit 12:15; compare also Rev 8:2). Among the many characterizations of Michael the following may be noted: He is "the merciful and long-suffering" (Enoch 40:9; 68:2,3), "the mediator and intercessor" (Ascension of Isaiah, Latin version 9:23; Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, Levi 5; Dan 6). It is he who opposed the Devil in a dispute concerning Moses' body (Jude 1:9). This passage, according to most modern authorities, is derived from the apocryphal Assumption of Moses (see Charles' edition, 105-10). It is Michael also who leads the angelic armies in the war in heaven against "the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan" ("And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war… " Rev 12:7-9see commentary). According to Charles, the supplanting of the "child" by the archangel is an indication of the Jewish origin of this part of the book." (Michael-Dictionary Articles)

When he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses - Jude describes a historical event not described elsewhere in the Scripture. It is not surprisingly that we see Michael engaged in a form of "warfare" as all the other passages allude to some aspect of spiritual (even angelic) warfare. Jude does not say when this occurred nor exactly why it occurred, so we need to be careful to avoid excessive speculation, lest we miss Jude's main point. We know that these two high echelon angels disputed and argued, and God does not denigrate Michael for these actions.

Body of Moses - Deuteronomy records Moses' death and explains that God was in charge of the funeral arrangements and burial, but makes no mention of Michael's dispute with Satan…

So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day. (Deut 34:5-6)

Comment: Moses died on Mt Nebo after seeing the Promised Land he so longed to enter (Dt 34:1-4). Listen to Twila Paris' haunting instrumental "Mt Nebo" which beautifully captures (for me) the pain and pathos Moses must have felt as he gazed on the Promised Land (Read Richard Hawker's description of Mt Nebo). Oh, that we might be warned (cp 1Cor 10:6,11) of the consequences of our sin (cf Nu 20:12), as we ponder the consequences of just one sin by one of God's greatest leaders, Moses, the servant of the LORD (Dt 34:5)!

Vincent commenting on Michael the Archangel - Here we strike a peculiarity of this epistle which caused its authority to be impugned in very early times, viz., the apparent citations of apocryphal writings. The passages are Jude 1:9, 14, 15. This reference to Michael was said by Origen to be founded on a Jewish work called "The Assumption of Moses," the first part of which was lately found in an old Latin translation at Milan; and this is the view of Davidson, so far at least as the words "the Lord rebuke thee" are concerned. Others refer it to Zechariah 3:1; but there is nothing there about Moses' body, or Michael, or a dispute about the body. Others, again, to a rabbinical comment on Dt 34:6, where Michael is said to have been made guardian of Moses' grave. Doubtless Jude was referring to some accepted story or tradition, probably based on Dt 34:6. For a similar reference to tradition compare 2Ti 3:8+; Acts 7:22.

Adam Clarke - Let it be observed that the word archangel is never found in the plural number in the sacred writings. There can be properly only one archangel, one chief or head of all the angelic host. Nor is the word devil, as applied to the great enemy of mankind, ever found in the plural; there can be but one monarch of all fallen spirits.

Archangel (743) (archaggelos from árchon = chief + ággelos = angel, envoy, messenger, one who is sent) refers to the first or highest angel, the leader of the angels and is a term applied only to Michael. Though not named, Michael may be the archangel in 1Th 4:16+.

Disputed (1252) (diakrino from diá = separation, root meaning = "two" + kríno = distinguish, decide, judge) literally means to judge between and in this context means to contend or strive with another.

Hiebert - The present tense participle “contending” (disputed - diakrino) points to a continuing altercation between these two adversaries which expressed itself in a battle of words in a judicial contest. (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 248)

The devil - This is one of 5 names John ascribes to Satan (including "who deceives" ~ Deceiver) in Rev 12:9+, and speaks especially of his activity as a slanderer. In Rev 12:10+ John says he is "the accuser (kategoros from katá = against + agora = place of public speaking) of our brethren" who "accuses them before" God "day and night" (Accuses = kategoreo = to charge with an offense: accuse especially in a legal setting like a public tribunal, in contrast to the idea of slander in diabolos).

Devil (1228)(diabolos from diá = through, between + ballo = to cast, throw) means a false accuser, slanderer (one who utters false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation), backbiting (malicious comment about one not present), one given to malicious gossip or a calumniator (one who utters maliciously false statements, charges, or imputations about, this term imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions). Notice how the root words (diá = through + bállō = throw) picture what the devil does. He constantly throws between seeking to divide whether it be between a husband and wife, a child and parent, a church, etc. Resist his divisive, condemnatory accusations firm in your faith (1Pe 5:9+, James 4:7+).

Argued (1256)(dialegomai from diá = separation + légo = speak) means to engage in an interchange of speech in order to convince (by reasoning). In Mk 9:34 it conveys the sense of a discussion which was also a dispute, much like here in Jude 1:9.

Hiebert - “He argued” (dielegeto) further underlines the verbal character of the conflict. The preposition dia (“between”) in both compounds (diakrino, dialegomai) makes vivid the distinct positions of the two contestants. (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 248)

Did not dare pronounce against him - The powerful archangel Michael refrained from doing the very thing the "daring" apostates were doing.

Railing (988) (blasphemia from blapto = hinder, injure, hurt + pheme = report, rumor, fame from phemí = to speak) refers to verbal abuse against someone and denotes the very worst type of slander.

Judgment (2920)(krisis from krino = to judge) means to decide a question of legal right or wrong, thus determine the innocence or guilt of the accused. Krisis denotes the expression of a verdict. Michael refused to pass sentence on the Devil on his own authority.

But said, "The Lord rebuke you!" - The point is that if a mighty archangel had respect for celestial powers, how much more should these false teachers? Notice again the but, a strategically placed term of contrast which marks the clear contrast between what Michael did and did not do.

Peter has a similar description…

and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. (2Pet 2:10-11+)

Rebuke (2008)(epitimao) means literally to put honor upon and then to mete out due measure and then to find fault with, to censure severely, to rebuke, to express strong disapproval of, or to denounce (cp the incredible example in Mt 16:22).

The words the LORD rebuke you occur in Zechariah 3 where the angel of the Lord replies to the charges of Satan.

The LORD (Angel of the LORD = a pre-incarnate Christophany - see Zech 3:1) said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” (Zech 3:2) :

MacArthur: Rather than personally cursing such a powerful angel as Satan, Michael deferred to the ultimate, sovereign power of God, following the example of the Angel of the LORD in Zech 3:2. This is the supreme illustration of how Christians are to deal with Satan and demons. Believers are not to address them, but rather seek the Lord's intervening power against them. (Ed: Indeed, if an archangel is cautious about how he deals with Satan, how much more cautious ought believers to be!) (See MacArthur Study Bible)

Hiebert - This mild response by “Michael the archangel” displays the appalling arrogance of these evil men who “rail at glories.” “They use language of good angels (+: some think they were speaking to evil angels in Jude 1:8) which Michael would not use of a bad one.” (quoting Plummer) (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary - page 248)

In sum, the reviling of angelic majesties by the apostates in Jude 1:8, stands in stark contrast with the archangel Michael's actions of not even daring to revile Satan.

Bauckham - The point of contrast between the false teachers and Michael is not that Michael treated the devil with respect, and the moral is not that we should be polite even to the devil. The point of contrast is that Michael could not reject the devil's accusation on his own authority. Even though the devil was motivated by malice and Michael recognized that his accusation was slanderous, he could not himself dismiss the devil's case, because he was not the judge. All he could do was ask the Lord, who alone is judge, to condemn Satan for his slander. The moral is therefore that no one is a law to himself, an autonomous moral authority. (See Jude-2 Peter, Volume 50)

QUESTION - Why were Michael and Satan disputing over the body of Moses (Jude 9)?  SEE VIDEO

ANSWER: Jude verse 9 refers to an event which is found nowhere else in Scripture. Michael had to struggle or dispute with Satan about the body of Moses, but what that entailed is not described. Another angelic struggle is related by Daniel, who describes an angel coming to him in a vision. This angel, named Gabriel in Daniel 8:16 and Da 9:21, tells Daniel that he was “resisted” by a demon called “the prince of Persia” until the archangel Michael came to his assistance (Daniel 10:13). So we learn from Daniel that angels and demons fight spiritual battles over the souls of men and nations, and that the demons resist angels and try to prevent them from doing God’s bidding. Jude tells us that Michael was sent by God to deal in some way with the body of Moses, which God Himself had buried after Moses’ death (Deuteronomy 34:5-6). 

arious theories have been put forth as to what this struggle over Moses’ body was about. One is that Satan, ever the accuser of God’s people (Revelation 12:10), may have resisted the raising of Moses to eternal life on the grounds of Moses’ sin at Meribah (Deuteronomy 32:51) and his murder of the Egyptian (Exodus 2:12).

Some have supposed that the reference in Jude is the same as the passage in Zechariah 3:1-2, “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, O Satan!’” But the objections to this being the same incident are obvious: (1) The only similarity between the two passages is the expression, “the Lord rebuke you.” (2) The name “Michael” does not occur at all in the passage in Zechariah. (3) There is no mention made of the “body of Moses” in Zechariah, and no allusion to it whatever.

It has also been supposed that Jude is quoting an apocryphal book that contained this account, and that Jude means to confirm that the account is true. Origen (c. 185–254), an early Christian scholar and theologian, mentions the book “The Assumption of Moses” as extant in his time, containing this very account of the contest between Michael and the devil about the body of Moses. That book, now lost, was a Jewish Greek book, and Origen supposed that this was the source of the account in Jude.

The only material question, then, is whether the story is “true.” Whatever the origin of the account, Jude does in fact seem to refer to the contest between Michael and the devil as true. He speaks of it in the same way in which he would have done if he had spoken of the death of Moses or of his smiting the rock. And who can prove that it is not true? What evidence is there that it is not? There are many allusions in the Bible to angels. We know that the archangel Michael is real; there is frequent mention of the devil; and there are numerous affirmations that both bad and good angels are employed in important transactions on the earth. As the nature of this particular dispute over Moses’ body is wholly unknown, conjecture is useless. We do not know whether there was an argument over possession of the body, burial of the body, or anything else.

These two things we do know, however: first, Scripture is inerrant. The inerrancy of Scripture is one of the pillars of the Christian faith. As Christians, our goal is to approach Scripture reverently and prayerfully, and when we find something we do not understand, we pray harder, study more, and—if the answer still eludes us—humbly acknowledge our own limitations in the face of the perfect Word of God.

Second, Jude 9 is the supreme illustration of how Christians are to deal with Satan and demons. The example of Michael refusing to pronounce a curse upon Satan should be a lesson to Christians in how to relate to demonic forces. Believers are not to address them, but rather to seek the Lord’s intervening power against them. If as powerful a being as Michael deferred to the Lord in dealing with Satan, who are we to attempt to reproach, cast out, or command demons? GotQuestions.org

Related Resource:

Jude 1:10 But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed: houtoi de hosa men ouk oidasin (3PRAI) blasphemousin (3PPAI) hosa de phusikos os ta aloga zoa epistantai (3PPPI) en toutois phtheirontai (3PPPI)

  • revile = 2Pe 2:12
  • in those = Ro 1:21,22 Compare 2Peter 2:12.

Click for over 60 versions of this verse.

Barclay - But these people speak evil of everything which they do not understand, whereas they allow themselves to be corrupted by the knowledge which their instincts give them, living at the mercy of their instincts, like beasts without reason. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Wuest - But these on the one hand revile as many things concerning which they do not have absolute knowledge, and on the other hand as many things, by instinct, like the unreasoning animals, which they understand, by these they are being brought to ruin.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission) 

NET - But these men do not understand the things they slander, and they are being destroyed by the very things that, like irrational animals, they instinctively comprehend.


But - Another term of contrast - "What is the Jude contrasting?" "“But these” (houtoi de) again centers the attention on the conduct of these arrogant sensualists." (Hiebert) How doest this verse compare to 2Peter 2:12?

They continuously (present tense) revile, slander and rail against that which they are have no knowledge. They have no more knowledge than the brute beasts and make a lot of noise about things they know nothing about! "They speak contemptuously of these spiritual realities because they do not personally “know” them; these realities are beyond their ability to perceive and comprehend mentally. Lacking the Spirit (Jude 1:19), they are spiritually blind to spiritual realities (cf. 1Cor. 2:7-14)… Their verbal reaction is a revelation of their inner nature. (Hiebert)

Revile (blasphemeo) the things which they do not understand (eido) - What things? Vincent says this refers to "the whole range of invisible things, while the other verb in this verse, translated know (epistamai, originally of skill in handicraft), refers to palpable things; objects of sense; the circumstances of sensual enjoyment." "Apostate teachers, in their brash, bold, egotistical infatuation with imagined power and authority, rail on that which they don't even understand. Apostates are intellectually arrogant and spiritually ignorant in that they don't now because they have been blinded by Satan (2Cor 4:4-+) and spiritual matters are beyond their unregenerate capacity to understand." (MacArthur)

It is notable that blasphemeo (and blasphemia) is used 5x in 3v, which clearly identifies their hurtful, evil, slanderous tongues as one of their major markers, which should help us identify them as chaff in the midst of wheat.

Spurgeon - It is a horrible thing when a man’s sin goes the full length of his knowledge, and he sins up to the degree of his possibilities.

Know (1987)(epistamai) means to gain a firm mental grasp of something or to become acquainted with something. Epistamai was "originally used of skill in handicraft, and refers to palpable things, objects of sense, the circumstances of sensual enjoyment." (Vincent) This "know" introduces a striking contrast - they don't know spiritual truths but only know the things of their base instincts and their seeking to gratify their flesh would be their destruction.

Barclay - "They allow themselves to be corrupted by the things they do understand. What they do understand are the fleshly instincts which they share with the brute beasts. Their way of life is to allow these instincts to have their way; their values are fleshly values. Jude describes men who have lost all awareness of spiritual things and for whom the things demanded by the animal instincts are the only standards. The terrible thing is that the first condition is the direct result of the second. The tragedy is that no man is born without a sense of the spiritual things but can lose that sense until for him the spiritual things cease to exist. A man may lose any faculty, if he refuses to use it. We discover that with such simple things as games and skills. If we give up playing a game, we lose the ability to play it. If we give up practicing a skill--such as playing the piano--we lose it. We discover that in such things as abilities. We may know something of a foreign language, but if we never speak or read it, we lose it. Every man can hear the voice of God; and every man has the animal instincts on which, indeed, the future existence of the race depends. But, if he consistently refuses to listen to God and makes his instincts the sole dynamic of his conduct, in the end he will be unable to hear the voice of God and will have nothing left to be his master but his brute desires. It is a terrible thing for a man to reach a stage where he is deaf to God and blind to goodness; and that is the stage which the men whom Jude attacks had reached."(Jude - Daily Study Bible)

By instinct (5446) (phusikos) means instinctively or naturally. Phusikos is used only one other time in 2Peter 2:12+ and means natural or that which is produced by and belongs to nature or is governed by the natural instincts. Here in Jude 1:10 phusikos refers to those who are like animals and thus are governed by natural instincts. They followed their natural desires. Like animals in a jungle, their only value is in being caught and destroyed. This harsh language but is an indication of how dangerous their heresies are to the body of Christ.

Webster says instinct is a "largely inheritable (cp Ro 5:12+) and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason. It describes behavior that is mediated by reactions below the conscious level."

NET NOTE - Like irrational animals, these false teachers do grasp one thing - the instinctive behavior of animals in heat. R. Bauckham (Jude, 2 Peter [WBC], 63) notes that “Though they claim to be guided by special spiritual insight gained in heavenly revelations, they are in fact following the sexual instincts which they share with the animals.” Jude’s focus is somewhat different from Peter’s: Peter argued that, like irrational animals who are born to be caught and killed, these men will be destroyed when destroying others (2Pet 2:12). Jude, however, does not mention the destruction of animals, just that these false teachers will be destroyed for mimicking them.

Like unreasoning animals - Notice that "like" is a term of comparison, specifically a simile. Always pause and ponder what (why, etc) the writer is comparing and how this insight illuminates the text you are studying. The phrase unreasoning animals in Peter's description of the false teachers and helps us understand these men

But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, (2 Pe 2:12+)

Philosophers (e.g., Epictetus and 2nd-century Stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius) characterized animals as creatures ruled by instinct as opposed to humans, who were ruled by reason, and considered unreasoning humans “wild beasts.”

These false teachers act like instinct driven animals, guided not by true intelligence (they cannot think rightly - they are deceived and don't even know it - cp 2Ti 3:13+), but only by their animalistic cravings and base passions. Rather than following reason and revelation, they are guided by ignorance and instinct (sinful at that), a manner of thinking that derives from their unredeemed totally depraved flesh. They are ultimate religious hypocrites who profess to have deep religious insights when in reality they are led about by the natural sense and cravings rather than by Biblical truths (cp "form of godliness" 2Ti 3:5+; Titus 1:16+) . Like wild (and even domesticated) animals, these spiritual masqueraders react only to present circumstances, without giving thought to the consequences of their actions (cp the principle of sowing and reaping -- Gal 6:7, 8+, Job 4:8, Pr 22:8, Jer 12:13, Ho 8:7, 10:13, 2Pe 2:12,19, Rev 22:11, cp Jn 8:34, Pr 5:22+, Jer 2:19). They act like wild beasts and so reap the same destiny.

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.
—Samuel Smiles

Unreasoning (249) (alogos from a = without + logos = word, reason) means literally without speech or reason and so irrational, brute (not working by reason, characteristic of an animal in quality, action, or instinct), destitute or unendowed with reason. In short they are not governed or acting according to reason because they lack reasoning capacity!

Animals (2226) (zoon from zao = to live, breathe - zoe = life) is a living creature, the exact phrase that reverberates through the unfolding of the book of the Revelation (Rev 4:6-9; 5:6, 8, 11, 14; 6:1, 3, 5-7; Rev 7:11; 14:3; 15:7; 19:4). Jude describes these men, like "surreptitious snakes" who have crept in unnoticed and turned the grace of God into licentiousness (Jude 1:4) (See Animal) The English definition of animal presents a good picture of these false teachers = "a human being considered chiefly as physical or non-rational; a brutish person; of or relating to the physical needs or desires; carnal; sensual; a very cruel, violent, or uncivilized person."

Matthew Henry - Men, under the power of sin, are so far from observing divine revelation that they do not exercise reason, nor act according to the direction thereof. They walk by sight, and not by faith, and judge of things according to their senses; as these represent things pleasant and agreeable, so they must be approved and esteemed. Brute-creatures follow the instinct of their sensitive appetite, and sinful man follows the inclination of his carnal mind; these refuse to employ the understanding and reason God has given them, and so are ignorant of what they might and ought to know.

Strachan says of these false teachers that "Their chief characteristic is that they are ‘alive,’ (Ed: But see Eph 2:1+, Eph 2:2+, Eph 2:3+) and have no sense of the moral issues of life. Like animals, they exist to be taken and destroyed."

Sin will take you further than you ever intended to stray.
It will keep you longer than you ever intended to stay.
And it will cost you more than you ever dreamed you would pay.

By these things they are destroyed - Ask "What things?"

Green - "Jude is stating a profound truth in linking these two characteristics together. If a man is persistently blind to spiritual values, deaf to the call of God, and rates self-determination as the highest good, then a time will come when he cannot hear the call he has spurned, but is left to the mercy of the turbulent instincts to which he once turned in search of freedom."

Are destroyed (5351) (phtheiro from phthío or phthíno = waste, decay, wither, pine away) means to cause harm to in a physical manner or in outward circumstances. To shrivel, to wither, to spoil. It means to ruin or destroy something with the implication of causing something to be corrupt. Figuratively it means to ruin, to cause deterioration of a man's inner life (as by erroneous teaching or immorality) Classic Greek used phtheiro to describe buildings which crumbled with age and a derivative kataphtheiro to described economic ruin. "Phtheireste" was used as a curse to mean "be damned" or "go to the devil". Often in contracts it is laid down that the nurse engaged should not “spoil” her milk. Many papyri refer to animals that have "fallen." The word group can refer to loss of food, of fruits destroyed by grasshoppers. In sum, this is a tragic description of the end for men originally created in the image of God with the express purpose of giving Him glory (Isa 43:7). (See also W E Vine's discussion of this word group - verbs = phtheiro, diaphtheiro, nouns = phthora, diaphthora - Corrupt, Corruption, Corruptible, Vine's Expository Dictionary)

Phtheiro is in the present tense, passive voice, indicating that they are in a state of continual destruction (destruction is an inevitable, unavoidable process so to speak), the passive voice emphasizing that this destruction derives from an outside force or power. "It is passive in voice, thus, “by these things they are being brought to ruin.” (Wuest) Their condition is indeed a fearful condition! Their life is ruined temporally in this life and eternally in the life to come!

These men have "lowered themselves to the level of animals and in the sexual pursuits (Jude 1:8) are guided by instinct. Yet, unlike the animals which abide by the laws of nature, these godless men are destroyed by the very things they fail to understand. When men by instinct, they abandon even natural law and consequently perish. They place themselves on a par with the animals, but because of their refusal to obey even the laws God has placed in nature, they are destroyed (cp Ro 1:24+)." (Kistemaker)

ESV Study Bible - Following subjective feelings and desires, for someone whose conscience is not trained and governed by God’s Word, will lead that person ultimately to be destroyed by his own sinful compulsions.

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah: ouai autois hoti te hodo tou Kain eporeuthesan (3PAPI) kai te plane tou Balaam misthou executhesan (3PAPI) kai te antilogia tou Kore apolonto (3PAMI)

  • Woe = Isa 3:9,11; Jer 13:27; Ezek 13:3; Zech 11:17; Mt 11:21; 23:13, 14, 15, 16; Lk 11:42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47
  • for = Ge 4:5-14; 1Jn 3:12
  • ran = Nu 22:1-24; 31:16; Dt 23:4; Josh 24:9-11; Mic 6:5; 2Pe 2:15; Rev 2:14
  • perished = Nu 16:1-35; 26:9,10

Click for over 60 versions of this verse.

Barclay - Woe to them because they walk in the way of Cain; they fling themselves into the error of Balaam; they perish in Korah's opposition to God. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

NET - Woe to them! For they have traveled down Cain's path, and because of greed have abandoned themselves to Balaam's error; hence, they will certainly perish in Korah's rebellion.

Rotherham - because—In the way of Cain have they gone, And in the error of Balaam’s wage have they run riot, And in the gainsaying of Korah have they perished.


Woe to them - Paul's words of warning in Romans 2 would be apropos…

Because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God 6 who WILL RENDER TO EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation (cf Jude 1:10 "destroyed," Jude 1:11 "perish"). (Ro 2:5-8+)

Woe (How dreadful!) (3759 - click and select "Phonetics" to hear "ouai" pronounced) (ouai pronounced "oo-ah'ee," an eerie, ominous foreboding sound some say is like the cry of an eagle) is an onomatopoeic word (an imitation of the sound) which serves as an interjection or lamentation (e.g., at funerals 1Ki 13:30) expressing an outburst of emotion, a cry of intense distress, displeasure, pain, sorrow or horror. An exclamation denoting pain or displeasure. Sometime woe was used to attract attention (Isa. 55:1). Less frequently, it occurs as a noun denoting a disaster or calamity. The OT prophets would often open their prophetic utterances of coming divine judgment with the word "Woe!" (Isa. 5:8-10; Mic 2:1-5) An interjection expressing great distress or sorrow; or a noun signifying a condition of deep suffering due to a calamity that has befallen or will befall a person or community. It may convey a warning of impending disaster to the hearers. BDAG - ① interjection denoting pain or displeasure, woe, alas ② a state of intense hardship or distress, woe

Jesus used "Woe" in the Gospels (see below) often in an eschatological context (Mt 24:19; Mk 13:17).

Most NT uses of ouai are in the context of warning about inevitable, impending judgment, often intermingled with a feeling of pity (Mt 11:21-22, Lk 22:22 = Judas' betrayal). Rev 8:13+ has woe in triplicate which seems to provide the greatest possible emphasis on God's coming judgment on the world, much as the cry of "holy" in triplicate emphasizes His holiness. Indeed, His perfect holiness demands His perfect judgment! In the Lxx a double woe is addressed to unfaithful Jerusalem because of her idolatry and immorality (Ezek 16:23). Ouai does not depict sorrow on the part of those who have sinned (as some have mistakenly taught).

Ouai in used in the Septuagint (Lxx) to translate two Hebrew interjections, Oy (0188) and Hoy (01945 Hoy = [1] 8x = funeral lament [2] 4x = cry to get attention [3] 41x =announcement of doom). Hoy and oy are usually a cry of despair and/or a call for one's attention because of impending divine judgment (cf Isa 5:8, Amos 6:1, Hab 2:9).

Ouai is a NT "Semitism" (hoy, oy) and also a Latinism (Latin - vae).

Ouai is an interjection of grief, pain, lament, threat, doom or indignation.

Ouai is an an expression of pain and pity for the misfortune that awaits someone in a certain condition. Ouai is often an announcement of disaster to come. Woe warns of danger and the nearness of judgment. In a sense "to bless" or "blessing" stands in opposition to woe.

"Ouai is an interjection or emotional cry that is essentially like exclaiming, "Alas, how horrible it will be!"" (MacArthur's comment on Jude 1:11)

In 1Cor 9:16 Paul use ouai to express his personal pain and sorrow were he not to fulfill his ministry (his stewardship) and preach the Gospel.

THOUGHT - Do we feel that deeply about the stewardship God has granted us?

Woe is an interjection denoting pain, discomfort, and unhappiness. It is a distinctive form of prophetic speech, and is found both in the OT and in the NT.

Vine - an interjection, is used  (a) in denunciation, Mt 11:21; 18:7 (twice); eight times in ch. 23; 24:19; 26:24; Mark 13:17; 14:21; Luke 6:24,25 (twice),26; 10:13; six times in ch. 11; Lk 17:1; 21:23; 22:22; 1 Cor 9:16; Jude 1:11; Rev 8:13 (thrice); 12:12; as a noun, Rev 9:12 (twice); 11:14 (twice); 
1. The act or an instance of denouncing, especially a public condemnation or censure.
2. The reporting of a person to the authorities for possible criminal prosecution. (b) in grief, "alas," Rev 18:10,16,19 (twice in each).
The word is also used an imprecation (curse) of doom

MANSER'S DICTIONARY OF BIBLE THEMES - woe - An exclamation of judgment upon God’s enemies, or of misfortune on oneself, or, in the ministry of Jesus Christ, of sadness over those who fail to recognise the true misery of their condition.  Woe as an exclamation of judgment on others

  1. Woe to God’s enemies Isa 33:1 Probably referring to Assyria. See also Jer 48:1-2; Na 3:1-7; Hab 2:6-20; Zep 2:5
  2. Woe to God’s faithless people Hos 7:13-16 See also Isa 30:1-2; 45:9-10; Jer 4:13-18; Eze 16:23-27
  3. Woe to careless leaders of God’s people Jer 23:1-2 See also Eze 13:1-9; 34:1-10; Zep 3:1-4; Zec 11:15-17
  4. Woe to those who are complacent in their prosperity or religion Am 6:1-7 See also Am 5:18-24
  5. Woe to those who neglect social justice Isa 10:1-4 See also Isa 5:8-23; Jer 22:13-19; Mic 2:1-3
  6. Woe to a godless world Rev 8:13 See also Rev 12:12; 18:10,16-17,19
  7. Woe as an exclamation of misfortune on oneself
  8. Woe as a consequence of circumstances or events Jer 10:19 Jeremiah is describing the pain he feels at the impending destruction of his nation. See also 1Sa 4:6-8; Ps 120:5-7; Jer 4:13
  9. Woe as a consequence of one’s own sin La 5:16 See also Isa 3:8-9; 6:5
  10. Woe as a consequence of God’s call on one’s life 1Co 9:16 See also Jer 45:1-5; Eze 2:9-3:11
  11. Woe as an exclamation of sadness over others
  12. Woe to those who do not recognise their own needs Lk 6:24-26
  13. Woe to those whose religion blinds themselves and misleads others Lk 11:52 See also Mt 23:13-33; Lk 11:42-51
  14. Woe to those who cause others to sin Mt 18:7 See also Lk 17:1-3
  15. Woe to those on whom judgment is coming Lk 10:13-14 pp Mt 11:20-22
  16. Woe to the one who betrays the Son of Man Mt 26:24 pp Mk 14:21 pp Lk 22:22
  17. Woe to those who experience the signs of the end of the age Mt 24:19-21 pp Mk 13:17-19 pp Lk 21:23 The word translated “how dreadful” is the same word that elsewhere is translated “woe”.
  18. Woe may give way to forgiveness, comfort and deliverance
  19. Isa 6:5-7 See also Isa 29:1-8; 40:1-2 After the woes of earlier chapters, Isaiah now prophesies the comfort that will come to God’s people; Jer 45:2-5; La 3:16-26

Barclay comments twice on Jesus' use of ouai in Matthew: (First in Mt 11:21) - We must be careful to catch the accent in Jesus' voice as he said this… "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!" The Greek word for woe which we have translated "alas" is ouai; and ouai expresses sorrowful pity at least as much as it does anger. This is not the accent of one who is in a temper because his self-esteem has been touched; it is not the accent of one who is blazingly angry because he has been insulted. It is the accent of sorrow, the accent of one who offered men the most precious thing in the world and saw it disregarded. Jesus' condemnation of sin is holy anger, but the anger comes, not from outraged pride, but from a broken heart. (Ref) (Second in Mt 23:13) - "Woe to you!" The Greek word for woe is ouai - it is hard to translate for it includes not only wrath, but also sorrow. There is righteous anger here, but it is the anger of the heart of love, broken by the stubborn blindness of men. There is not only an air of savage denunciation; there is also an atmosphere of poignant tragedy. (Ref) (Bolding added)

The New Bible Dictionary - WOE. The rendering of the Gk. interjection ouai, meaning ‘Alas for’. When Jesus says ‘Woe unto you’, he is not so much pronouncing a final judgment as deploring the miserable condition in God’s sight of those he is addressing. Their wretchedness lies not least in the fact that they are living in a fool’s paradise, unaware of the misery that awaits them. The state of the materially-minded blinded by wealth to their spiritual needs, of the self-satisfied, of the impenitent and unsympathetic, and of those who are universally popular is declared by Jesus to be wretched (Lk. 6:24–26). Similarly, the woeful condition of the Pharisees and scribes (Lk. ‘lawyers’) lies, Jesus tells them, in the hypocritical zeal, the lack of proportion, the love of display and the self-complacency which disfigure their religion (Mt. 23:13–33; Lk. 11:42–52). When Jesus addresses the words ‘Woe to you’ to the unrepentant cities Chorazin and Bethsaida, he follows them with a prophecy of the doom that awaits them (Mt. 11:21) as they are in a woeful state for having refused the gospel. Paul says he would be in a woeful state if he failed to preach it (1 Cor. 9:16). The seer in the Revelation uses the word ouai as an interjection in his dirge over fallen Babylon (Rev. 18:10–16), and as a noun to describe three ‘woes’, a comprehensive term covering various plagues and disasters which will herald the final judgment (Rev. 9:12; 11:14).

The Tyndale Bible Dictionary - WOE An exclamation denoting pain or displeasure. Less frequently, it occurs as a noun denoting a disaster or calamity. For example, in Revelation 9:12+, following the release of the demonic locusts from the abyss and their scourge upon those who follow the Beast, John announces, “The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come” (NIV). Again, in Revelation 11:14+, immediately before the seventh trumpet is sounded John writes, “The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon” (NIV). The woes that Revelation describes are equivalent to the plagues of the OT, although somewhat more intense in that they are demonic in origin. The Greek word is onomatapoeic: ouai (cf. the Hebrew oi and hoi). It is not necessarily a pronouncement of judgment in every case. At times it is an expression of regret or sorrow about the miserable situation that prompted the exclamation. In each case the context needs to be taken into consideration. In Matthew 11:21 (Lk 10:13) when Jesus says, “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!” he was reproaching the people of those cities for their unbelief. The same is true in Luke 17:2 where Jesus pronounces woe upon the one who causes another to sin: “It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck” (NIV). In the Lucan Sermon on the Plain, the Beatitudes are followed by four woe statements. These statements are not so much threats as they are expressions of regret or compassion.

Mounce - WOE

Old Testament Interjection: הוֹי (hôy), GK 2098 (S 1945), 51×. hôy is an onomatopoeic particle that is often translated “woe, alas.” It expresses personal pain and anguish because of some present or impending situation. After the death of the man of God from Judah, another prophet places the man in his own tomb and cries, “Oh, my brother” (1 Ki. 13:30). Perhaps it could better be translated, “Ooooooo, my brother.” One can hear the cries of anguish in this word. Isaiah too cries out in personal anguish, “Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with grief” (Isa. 1:4). A similar-sounding word with the same meaning is ʾôy (GK 208). Most of the uses of hôy are for impending disaster, not present anguish (note that all such uses are in the prophetic books). In such cases it is often translated “alas” (e.g., Jer. 22:18) or “woe to” (e.g., Isa. 5:8, 11, 18; 18:1; 28:1; Ezek. 13:3, 18). But it is not improper to say that this word here depicts the future sounds of agony that will be made by those on whom the predicted “woe” will soon occur. See NIDOTTE, 4:1032.

New Testament Interjection: οὐαί (ouai), GK 4026 (S 3759), 47×. ouai is an onomatopoeic word; the sound of the word suggests its meaning such as “bang” or “ouch.” paristēmi can be an expression of intense sorrow or pain. “Alas” for the women who are pregnant or have newborns in the last days (Mt. 24:19). “Woe” to Judas for betraying Jesus (26:24). ouai is also used as a statement of condemnation of a person or group. “Woe to Bethsaida,” for if the miracles that were done there had been done in Sidon and Tyre, those pagans would have repented (Mt. 11:21). The “woes” are opposites of blessings and express the judgment of God (Lk. 6:20–23, compared with 6:24–26; cf. also Mt. 23; Rev. 8:13; 9:12; 18:10, 16, 19). ouai is also used figuratively in a special sense of burden felt by Paul for his obligation to preach the gospel: “Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16, NIV). All uses of ouai express an intensity of emotion. In Scripture, Christians express both strict condemnation (Jude 11) and intense sorrow for the unbeliever (Rom. 9:2–3). See NIDNTT-A, 421. (See Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New )

Friberg - 1) expressing extreme displeasure and calling for retributive pain on someone or something woe! alas! (Mt 11.21); doubled or tripled for emphasis (Rev 8.13; 18.10); (2) woe, disaster, calamity (Rev 9.12)

BDAG (summarized) - 1. interjection denoting pain or displeasure, woe, alas 2. a state of intense hardship or distress, woe

QUESTION - What is the meaning of woe in the Bible?

ANSWERWoe means “grief, anguish, affliction, wretchedness, calamity, or trouble.” The Dictionary of Bible Themes categorizes the uses of the word woe in the Bible: “Woe as an exclamation of judgment on others,” “Woe as an exclamation of misfortune on oneself,” “Woe as an exclamation of sadness over others,” and “Woe may give way to forgiveness, comfort, and deliverance” (Manser, M., ed., Zondervan, 1999).

Sometimes in the Bible, the suffering person has brought about his or her own woeful condition as a natural result of foolish choices (see Proverbs 23:29–30). More often, woe is tied to sin and rebellion against God, and the resulting judgments are referred to as “woes.” In Matthew 23, Jesus pronounces seven “woes” on the hypocrites of His day; in Revelation, a group of God’s final judgments on mankind are called the three “woes.”

Dr. John MacArthur examines Jesus’ use of woe in the Bible: “In His castigation of the false Jewish leaders, Jesus repeatedly used two words, woe, and hypocrites” (emphasis is the author’s). MacArthur goes on to say, “But Jesus used Woe against the scribes and Pharisees not as an exclamation but as a declaration, a divine pronouncement of judgment from God. . . . As was already noted, it was not His desire that they be condemned but rather that they repent and come to salvation. But He knew that if they did not repent and believe they were doomed to hell under God’s righteous and just wrath. When God utters Woe against evil men He sets divine judgment in motion” (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Matthew 16—23, ch. 35, Moody Publishers, 1988, p. 375).

The fiery language of the Old Testament uses the word woe in several passages of judgment. For example, in Ezekiel 16:23–27, we read of God’s anger toward Jerusalem over their idolatry: “Woe! Woe to you, declares the Lord GOD” (verse 26). In 1 Samuel 4:6–8, we see that even pagans feared the presence of God and the woes that He could bring upon them: “And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, ‘What does the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?’ Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, ‘God has come into the camp!’ And they said, ‘Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who will save us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness’” (NASB). Hosea, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, and many other prophets pronounced woe against sinful people (Hosea 7:13; Zephaniah 2:5; Habakkuk 2:15).

Job understood that sin leads to woe: “If I am guilty—woe to me!” (Job 10:15). And in this we see the way to avoid woe: be forgiven. The Bible says that forgiveness of sin comes through Jesus Christ. By Jesus’ death and resurrection God cleanses guilty sinners and declares them to be righteous in His sight. The command is to repent and believe in Christ (Matthew 4:17; Acts 16:31). “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Hard times may come in this life, but the one who has faith in Christ will never know the eternal woe of God’s judgment. GotQuestions.org

Ouai - 46x in 35v Most often used by Jesus the prophet Moses had predicted Dt 18:15 - Matt 11:21; 18:7; 23:13, 15-16, 23, 25, 27, 29; 24:19; 26:24; Mark 13:17; 14:21; Luke 6:24, 25, 26 (Woe to… rich… well-fed… laugh… speak well of you); Lk 10:13; 11:42-44, Lk 11:46, 47, 52; 17:1; 21:23; 22:22; 1 Cor 9:16; Jude 1:11; Rev 8:13+; Rev 9:12+; Rev 11:14+; Rev 12:12+; Rev 18:10, 16, 19+

Ouai - 45v in non-apocryphal Septuagint (Lxx) Most often used by OT prophets and usually for the Hebrew interjections Oy (0188) and Hoy (01945 ). Note that Hoy "is used to express grief (Pr. 23:29), despair (1Sa 4:7), lamentation (1Ki 13:30), dissatisfaction (Isa 1:4), pain (Jer 10:19)." (NIDNTT)- Nu 21:29; 1Sa 4:7-8, 21; 1Kgs 12:24; 1Ki 13:30; Pr 23:29; Eccl 4:10; 10:16; Isa 1:4, 24; 3:9, 11; 5:8, 11, 18, Isa 5:20-22; Isa 10:1, 5; 17:12; 18:1; 24:16; 28:1; 29:1, 15; 30:1; 31:1; 33:1; Jer 4:13; 6:4; 10:19; 13:27; 22:18; 46:19; 48:1; 50:27; 51:2; Lam 5:16; Ezek 2:10; 7:26; 13:3, 18; Hos 7:13; 9:12; Amos 5:16, 18; 6:1; Mic 7:4; Nah 3:17; Hab 2:6, 12, 19; Zeph 2:5; 3:18.

For - Always be alert for "for" (especially at the beginning of a verse or clause), because it is a very often a strategically placed term of explanation, which warrants at least a momentary pause to ponder "What is the writer explaining?" (See interrogation with the 5W/H questions) Some uses are easy to discern and will yield great insights into the meaning of the respective passage or paragraph. Other cases (especially some of Paul's uses, which are frequent) are more difficult to "decipher" but are still always worth pausing to prayerfully seek the Spirit's illumination (cf 1Cor 2:10-16, 1Jn 2:20, 27 - "anointing" ~ indwelling Spirit) -- God promises to richly bless all who take time to meditate on His Word (Ps 1:1-3, note v1; note v2; note v3)

Cain (Ge 4:5-8)Balaam (Nu 22:5-7; 2Pe 2:15)Korah (Nu 16:1-3, 31-35) - Each of these names begs the question - "What is Jude teaching his readers through these OT characters?" As an aside, Jude's use of these examples suggests that they were well versed in the Old Testament Scriptures, because Jude does not elaborate on the sins of these three men. Soapbox time - One of my "pet peeves" is that many in the modern church are "functionally illiterate" regarding the Old Testament, largely because few pastors preaching expositional sermons from the OT. In 30 years as a believer, I have never heard a sermon series on Ezekiel, and yet C H Spurgeon preached 57 sermons from this great book (Ref) and Charles Simeon preached 25 (Ref)! Paul wrote "Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For (term of explanation!) I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole (Gk = pas = all without exception) purpose of God." (Acts 20:26-27) One wonders how many modern believers could even name the OT books where these stories are mentioned? Okay, I will cease and desist, but you get my point!

All three of these OT men had Scriptural light. All three refused to obey the light of God's revealed truth. All three perished. Similarly these apostates in Jude rebelled against light and would receive the severe judgment described in Hebrews…

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth (Cain, Balaam, Korah, the apostates in Jude, cf 2Pe 2:20-22+), there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. (Heb 10:26-27+)


They have gone the way of Cain (21x in Scripture = Ge 4:1-6, Ge 4:8-9, 13, 15-17, 24-25; Lk 3:36-37; Heb 11:4see commentary; 1Jn 3:12; Jude 1:11) - Greed, covetousness, envy, failure to believe God as shown by withholding his best. Cain refused to submit to the authority of God and His word. Abel was a prophet according to Jesus (Lk 11:49-51), so Cain must have surely heard the truth, but he refused to submit to the truth. Ultimately it was an issue of faith, remembering that our faith is shown to be genuine by obedience. While faith is the "root," obedience (or works - Jas 2:14-22) is always the "fruit." (See study of meaning of the phrase - Obedience of faith) In a sense, Cain was a professor of "religion" (brought his offering) but his deeds were evil (1Jn 3:12) proving he did not possess saving faith and ultimately demonstrating in whose family he belonged (1Jn 3:12).

Ryrie on the way of Cain - Cain's rejection of God's provision for acceptance with Himself (Ge 4:1-12). Today, it is the rejection of God's offer of forgiveness through Christ.

W A Criswell - Cain represents the heart of a murderer (cf. Ge 4:1-15).

Hiebert - In the light of Hebrews 11:4 and 1 John 3:11-12 Cain may well be viewed as the type of the faithless man consumed by jealous hate and self-centered desires. (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary)

Henry Morris - way of Cain. Like Cain (Ge 4:2-5; Heb 11:4), they reject the doctrine of redemption through the shed blood of a sinless substitute, the Lamb of God. (Defender's Study Bible Notes Online)

C H Mackintosh - God's remedy to cleanse is rejected, and man's effort to improve it put in its place. This is the 'way of Cain.'"

William Barclay - Balaam stands for two things. (a) He stands for the covetous man, who was prepared to sin in order to gain reward. (b) He stands for the evil man, who was guilty of the greatest of all sins—the sin of teaching others to sin. So Jude is declaring of the wicked men of his own day that they are ready to leave the way of righteousness to make gain; and that they are teaching others to sin. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Wiersbe - Cain rebelled against God’s way of salvation (Ge 4; 1Jn 3:11-12). By clothing Adam and Eve with the skins of slain animals (Ge 3:21), God made it clear that the only way of forgiveness is through the shedding of blood. This is the way of faith, not the way of good works (Eph 2:8-10). But Cain rejected this divinely authorized way and came to the altar with the fruits of his own labor. God rejected Cain’s offering because God rejected Cain: his heart was not right before God. It was by faith that Abel’s sacrifice was offered, and that was why God accepted it (Heb 11:4). The “way of Cain” is the way of religion without faith, righteousness based on character and good works. The “way of Cain” is the way of pride, a man establishing his own righteousness and rejecting the righteousness of God that comes through faith in Christ (Ro 10:1-4; Php 3:3-12). Cain became a fugitive and tried to overcome his wretchedness by building a city and developing a civilization (Ge 4:9ff). He ended up with everything a man could desire everything except God (Ed: And I call that "perishing" even while one is still alive on earth! To have everything and miss Jesus is to end up with nothing now and forever!). (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Here is an aside for all you Bereans (Acts 17:11-+) - Like many other early Christian commentators, the respected theologian, Augustine treated Cain as symbolic of the envious “Jews by whom Christ was slain,” while Christ himself, “the shepherd of the flock of men, [is] prefigured in Abel, the shepherd of the flock of sheep.” In short, Augustine interpreted the text allegorically. rather than the "safe" way which is always to interpret it Literally. One needs to be very discerning when reading commentaries (including mine) no matter how well-known the writer is. See the impact of Augustine's "interpretation" - Augustine’s exposition of the Cain and Abel story - Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel.


For pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam - This explains why these apostates did what they did - greedy for gain! (cf 1Sa 2:12-17, Isa 56:11, Jer 6:13, 8:10, Ezek 34:3, Micah 3:11, Php 3:2, Php 3:19, 2Pe 2:3) If Balaam had printed a "business card" it would have read "Prophet for hire." Using "religion" to get rich! (cf Balak's offer Balaam could not refuse = Nu 22:17)

Peter's parallel passage…

forsaking the right way they (the false teachers -2Pe 2:1) have gone astray (planao), having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved (agapao) the wages of unrighteousness, (2Pe 2:15+)

Pay (reward, wage) (misthos) literally refers to pay which is due for labor performed or dues paid for work. Balaam in a sense made the house of God, a house of merchandise (cf Jn 2:16). Dear preacher or teacher of God's Word, while we may not fall into the pit of Balaam (money pit), the temptation for us is to do what we do to receive the applause of men, popularity, etc. This is a dangerous snare, that must be assiduously avoided.

Rushed headlong (ekcheo) means poured out in abundance. Jude uses a vivid metaphor for excessive indulgence. Note the importance of context in proper interpretation of the nuance of a Greek word as same verb is used in Ro 5:5 of the Spirit!

Hiebert - Jude’s strong verb, “ran riotously”, “were poured out” like a river bursting its banks and running on a rampage, pictures these men as wholeheartedly abandoned to their covetous course of action, without self-restraint pursuing their selfish goal.  (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary)

Vincent writes ekcheo is literally "were poured out. Rev., ran riotously. A strong expression, indicating a reckless, abandoned devotion of the energies, like the Latin effundi. So Tacitus says of Maecenas, "he was given up to love for Bathyllus;" lit., poured out into love." Like a herd of spooked wildebeests on the African plains.

Error (plane) literally describes a roaming, a straying about or a wandering (whereby one is led astray from the right way). Figuratively plane means a going astray (as from orthodox, sound doctrine) or a wandering out of the right way. Vincent says plane is an "error which shows itself in action… It may imply deceit as accompanying or causing error"

Balaam - 59v in OT and NT -

Num 22:5, 7-9, 12-14, 16, 18, 20-21, 23, 25, 27-29, 34-36; Nu 23:1-3, 11, 16, 25-27; 24:1-3, 10, 12, 15, Nu 24:25; Nu 31:8, 16; Deut 23:4-5; Josh 13:22; 24:9-10; Neh 13:2; Mic 6:5; 2Pet 2:15; Jude 1:11; Rev 2:14

Balaam reminds me of Demas (Read about Demas' decline over time = Philemon 1:24 circa 60AD > Col 4:14+ circa 62AD > 2Ti 4:10+ circa 67AD). Demas was so close to the Truth (cp Heb 6:4-6+, Heb 10:26-31+, Heb 12:25+ 2Pe 2:20+) but ultimately showing his true "love" by deserting Paul (and God, ~denying Jesus by his actions = Mt 10:33), he failed to endure to the end (cp Heb 3:6+, Heb 3:14+, Mt 24:13).

W A Criswell - Balaam is typical of the adulterous mind (cf. Nu 22:1-41, Nu 23:1-30, Nu 24:1-25, Nu 25:1-18).

Warren Wiersbe - The false teachers were greedy for material gain and, like Balaam, would do anything for money. The “error of Balaam” is thinking that they can get away with this kind of rebellion. (Be Alert 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude- Beware of the Religious Impostors)

William Barclay - Korah stands for the man who refuses to accept authority and reaches out for things which he has no right to have. So Jude is charging his opponents with defying the legitimate authority of the church, and of, thereto re, preferring their own way to the way of God. We should remember that if we take certain things which pride incites us to take, the consequences can be disastrous. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Mayor - Balaam not only went wrong himself, but he abused his great influence and his reputation as a prophet, to lead astray the Israelites by drawing them away from the holy worship of Jehovah to the impure worship of Baal Peor. So these false teachers use their prophetical gifts for the purpose of self-aggrandizement, and endeavor to make their services attractive by excluding from religion all that is strenuous and difficult, and opening the door to every kind of indulgence.” (Jude - The Expositor's Greek Testament)

Henry Morris - Like Balaam (Nu 22:1-41, Nu 23:1-30, Nu 24:1-25, Nu 25:1-18; 2Peter 2:15,16+), they use their religious connections not for the honor of God or the spread of His Word, but for their own personal agendas, whether money, pleasure or power. (Defender's Study Bible Notes Online)

Scofield - Cain is an example of the religious natural man who believes in God, and in "religion," but after his own will, and who rejects redemption by blood. Compelled as a teacher of religion to explain the atonement, the false teacher explains it away.

Balaam had a serious, eventually fatal "Heart Condition" - The heart of Balaam's problem was his heart! (1). He wanted those fees of divination… see Nu 22:6-41. Balaam wanted to curse the Israelites. He should have immediately said "I can't curse that which God has blessed." (2). He hedged and he compromised the Word of God when he said ''Spend the night and I will see what the Lord will say to me. Maybe I can get a different word from God. Maybe He will change His mind." When God told Balaam to ''Go ahead" is that really what He meant? No. We have the clear word… don't curse them in Ge 12:3. There is a verse where God says He gave them the desires of their heart but sent leanness to their souls (Ps 106:14,15). Sometimes God tests us and allows us to be in situations where we will obey what we know is His Truth or we will follow the way of Balaam. God even then tries to stop Balaam's donkey by running him into the wall. (3). He consorted with the enemies of God while prophesying the true words of God. False teachers can speak the Word but not live the Word. Nu 24:11. (4). He counseled co-habitation (to have relations with the Moabite women). So while Balaam could not curse the Children of Israel, he could tell Balak how to seduce them! All because of greed! Dt 23:5 What was Balaam's end? (Nu 31:8).

MISHNAH is relatively accurate: “The characteristics of the talmidim of Bil‘am the wicked are an evil eye [i.e., stinginess or greed; see Mt 6:22,23] a proud soul …. [They] inherit Gey-Hinnom and descend to the pit of destruction.” (Avot 5:19)


Perished in the rebellion of Korah - Korah of the tribe of Levi rebelled against the divinely established priesthood as from the tribe of Levi, and then specifically from the line of Aaron of the tribe of Levi. He rebelled against God's authority. To rebel against God's chosen leaders is tantamount to rebellion against Him (and that's how God interpreted it in Nu 16:30 = spurned the LORD).

Notice that perished is "past tense" - so sure is the doom of these deceivers that Jude says they have already perished! Woe! The NET Bible translation emphasizes the certainly "they will certainly perish in Korah's rebellion," but does note that perish is not future but aorist indicative and "is almost surely proleptic (referring to the certainty of their future judgment)." The so-called proleptic aorist in Ro 8:30+ where Paul writes "these whom He predestined (aorist - past tense)… He also glorified (aorist with a future sense)." In other words, so sure is our future glorification, that Paul speaks of it as if it were a past event that had already transpired (proleptic aorist).

Perished (apollumi) means to destroy utterly but not to cause to cease to exist (annihilation is the Christ rejecting world's false "hope!") Apollumi presents a graphic, heart breaking picture, for it does not signify the loss of being but the loss of well-being, even the loss of a Christ rejecting man or woman's reason for being (created to glorify God - Isa 43:7, Mt 5:16)! Apollumi means to ruin and thus the person that is "ruined" can no longer fulfill the purpose for which he or she was created! Woe! This is the ultimate tragedy which will haunt these individuals throughout the eternal ages! Their very existence in time and eternity is rendered useless!

MacDonald - Error and apostasy are never static. They lead people pell-mell to the precipice, then over it to destruction. (Believer's Bible Commentary)

Moses records the terrifying, dramatic destruction of Korah (and his family -- fathers, our sins may be practiced in private, but the consequences can permeate through our families! Woe!)

Moses pronouncing "sentence" on Korah -- “But if the LORD brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you (the children of Israel) will understand that these men (Korah, et al) have spurned (treated with contempt; Lxx = paroxuno) the LORD (Not Moses, but God!).” As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them (Ed: And there they have remained for over 3000 years, still alive in Sheol today, awaiting their final disposition at the Great White Throne judgement - Rev 20:11-15+), and they perished (Hebrew = abad; Lxx = apollumi) from the midst of the assembly. (Nu 16:30-33)

Rebellion is antilogia (anti = against + lego = speak; see also antilego) literally means speaking against or "talking back" reflective of opposition and/or rebellion. In Numbers 16:1-3 Korah spoke against (antilego - he "opposed" or "contradicted") God's servant Moses. It is interesting that the water which Moses brought forth from the rock at Kadesh was called the "waters of Meribah (Strife)" which in the Septuagint (Lxx) is called "hudor antilogias" or "the water of contradiction."

W A Criswell - Korah was noted for rebellion against God's chosen leadership (cf. Nu 16:1-40).

Hiebert - Like Korah, they (the apostates) openly and defiantly resist constituted authority. 2Ti 3:1-9+ and 3Jn 1:9-10 offer further illustrations of this spirit in operation in the early churches  (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary)

Wiersbe - This (Korah's punishment) is a warning to us today (Ed: cp 1Cor 10:6, 11), for it is so easy to speak against spiritual or governmental leaders in a careless way (see Titus 3:1-2+). (Be Alert 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude- Beware of the Religious Impostors)

Henry Morris - Like Korah (Nu 16:1-3, 31-33), they reject God's authority, as expressed in his day through Moses and in our day through His inspired Word. (Defender's Study Bible Notes Online)

A WORTHY OFFERING - I was delighted when a mutual friend gave my neighbor a Bible. But my neighbor told me she stopped reading it because she couldn’t understand why God would be so unfair as to reject Cain’s offering. “After all,” she said, “as a farmer, he simply brought to God what he had. Did God expect him to buy a different kind of sacrifice?” Sadly, she had missed the point. It wasn’t that God didn’t like vegetables. Rather, He knew that Cain’s offering was masking an unrighteous attitude. Cain wasn’t fully committed to God, as expressed by the fact that he wasn’t living according to His ways. (See Ge 4:2-8, Heb 11:4, 1Jn 3:11-12)

It’s easy to worship God on the outside while stubbornly keeping territory from Him on the inside. Jude writes about outwardly religious people who use religious activities to cover the reality of their sinful lives: “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain” (Jude 1:11). We can faithfully serve God, sing His praises, and give sacrificially to His work. But God doesn’t want any of that without our hearts. Does the Lord take priority over our plans and dreams? Is He worth more than the sin that tempts us? When we express to Him that He is more worthy than anything or anyone else in our lives, it’s an offering He won’t refuse. - Joe Stowell

Lord, may our worship and our praise,

From hearts surrendered to Your ways,

Be worthy offerings of love

For all Your blessings from above.


God won’t refuse a heart that is surrendered to Him.

Jude 1:12 These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted: houtoi eisin (3PPAI) hoi en tais agapais humon spilades suneuochoumenoi (PPPMPN) aphobos heautous poimainontes (PAPMPN) nephelai anudroi hupo anemon parapheromenai (PPPFPN) (Textus Receptus has peripheromenai) dendra phthinoporina akarpa dis apothanonta (AAPNPN) ekrizothenta (AAPNPN)

  • are spots (reefs) = 2Pe 2:13,14
  • love feasts = 1Co 11:21,22, Acts 2:46, 20:7, 11,
  • caring for = Ps 78:29, 30, 31; Isa 56:10-12; Ezek 34:8,18; Lk 12:19,20,45; Lk 16:19; 21:34; Php 3:19; 1Th 5:6,7; Jas 5:5
  • clouds = Pr 25:14; Hos 6:4; 2Pe 2:17
  • carried = Eph 4:14
  • trees = Ps 1:3; 37:2; Mt 13:6; 21:19,20; Mk 4:6; 11:21; Lk 8:6; Jn 15:4, 5, 6
  • twice = 1Ti 5:6; Heb 6:4-8; 2Pe 2:18-20
  • plucked = 2Chr 7:20; Ezek 17:9; Mt 15:13; Mk 11:20

Click for over 60 versions of this verse.

Amplified - These are hidden reefs (elements of danger) in your love feasts, where they boldly feast sumptuously [carousing together in your midst], without scruples providing for themselves [alone]. They are clouds without water, swept along by the winds; trees, without fruit at the late autumn gathering time—twice (doubly) dead, [lifeless and] plucked up by the roots

Barclay - These people are hidden rocks which threaten to wreck your Love Feasts. These are the people who at your feasts revel with their own cliques without a qualm. They have no feeling of responsibility to anyone except themselves. They are clouds which drop no water but are blown past by the wind. They are fruitless trees in autumn's harvest time, twice dead and torn up by the roots. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

NET - These men are dangerous reefs at your love feasts, feasting without reverence, feeding only themselves. They are waterless clouds, carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit- twice dead, uprooted;

NLT - When these people join you in fellowship meals celebrating the love of the Lord, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are shameless in the way they care only about themselves. They are like clouds blowing over dry land without giving rain, promising much but producing nothing. They are like trees without fruit at harvest time. They are not only dead but doubly dead, for they have been pulled out by the roots.

Young's Literal - These are in your love-feasts craggy rocks; feasting together with you, without fear shepherding themselves; clouds without water, by winds carried about; trees autumnal, without fruit, twice dead, rooted up


Jude 1:12-13 employs the rich literary device known as term of comparison (specifically using five metaphors, although Wiersbe refers to "Selfish Shepherds" as a sixth metaphor) which presents a picture of something with which most readers would be familiar in order to give us a sense of who these men really on in their heart and actions. Moffatt says "Sky, land and sea are ransacked for illustrations of the character of these men." "A picture is worth a thousand words!" Whenever you encounter these figures of speech, remember as Robertson McQuilkin cautions "Picture talk is one of the greatest problems of interpretation. To treat figurative language as if it were literal and to treat literal language as if it were figurative, constitute two of the greatest hindrances to understanding the meaning of the Bible." See Roy Zuck's excellent discussion of the usefulness of figures of speech, followed by some general "Guidelines for Figuring our Figurative Language."

The 1828 Webster's defines metaphor - "A similitude reduced to a single word or phrase or a word expressing similitude without the signs of comparison (without "like" or "as"). Thus "that man is a fox," is a metaphor; but "that man is like a fox," is a simile. So when I say, "the soldiers fought like lions," I use a simile. In metaphor, the similitude is contained in the name; a man is a fox, means, a man is as crafty as a fox. So we say, a man bridles his anger, that is, restrains it as a bridle restrains a horse."


These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts - These men are like reefs or rocks in the sea (submerged and invisible beneath the surface of the water), but deadly dangerous for ships that might venture near their jagged edges cp [1Ti 1:19]. Jude's picture recalls the disciple's last supper (Passover) with Jesus, where none of the genuine disciples had a clue that there was a Judas betrayer in their midst! "The tragedy is that members of the assembly (which Jude is addressing) did not realize the true character of these men! They thought these men were spiritual!… The mariner who is unaware of the hidden rocks can quickly wreck his ship. The pilot must always be alert, for waters that look calm and sage can contain treacherous reefs. Spiritual leaders must constantly be on guard." "An apostate may be compared to the tip of an iceberg. Very little of it is visible, but it a ship runs into it, the ship will go to the bottom of the sea. Oh, how many people there are, especially young people, whose faith has not only been shaken but wrecked by a person who is an apostate!" (McGee)

THOUGHT - Beloved, sadly my experience has been that many elders have been little more than token shepherds too often (in some churches, not all) selected because of their popularity or business acumen and often functioning virtually as "yes men" for the senior pastor. And because of their failure to discern good from evil, I am personally aware of at least three "shipwrecked" churches! I even warned one elder of the deadly deception inherent in an ostensibly attractive teaching, but it was a warning he neglected, but which eventually resulted in a mass exodus of mature, Bible believing Christians! Any video series, any new program, any new teacher, any new para-church ministry, etc, that comes into your church, needs to be personally and soberly examined by one or more (I favor two) "Bibliocentric" elders. Dear elders, guard the flock! (cp Heb 13:17+)

When they feast with you without fear - These hypocrites have crept in to the fellowship that consisted of mutual sharing of food and love (and probably also the celebration of the Lord's Supper though not everyone agrees this was an integral part) as if they are part of the true flock of God and without any holy, reverential fear of God (cf holy fear believers should have regarding communion - 1Cor 11:27, 28, 29, 30 - "a number sleep" = die!) If indeed communion was part of their Love Feasts, we do well to remember that this calls for believers to approach the table with a holy fear, not a casual nonchalance (an air of easy unconcern or indifference) like these apostates.

Hidden reefs ("dangerous reefs") (spilas) is used only here in NT and is erroneously translated "spots" in the KJV because of the similarity to the word spilos (spots) which is used in the parallel description by Peter - "They are stains (spilos) and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you." (2Pe 2:13+). Homer, in the Odyssey (iii., 298) uses spilas writing "the waves dashed the ship against the rocks (spilas)." This metaphor suggests at least two characteristics of these men - they are concealed (cp wolves in sheep's clothing - Mt 7:15+) and they present a spiritual danger to the unwary and immature sheep in the flock. "The reference is not merely to the defiled nature of these men but to their pernicious impact, threatening the moral shipwreck of others." (Hiebert)

Paul warned the elders about these deceivers writing…

I know (Inspired by the Spirit) that after my departure savage wolves (metaphor) will come in among you (a prophecy), not sparing the flock (metaphor); and from among your own selves (an "inside job") men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples (mathetes) after them. Therefore (term of conclusion - Why here? What leads to this conclusion?) be on the alert, (present imperative = command for continual alertness for savage wolves) remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. (Acts 20:29-31+)

NET NOTE - The word spilas was often used of a mere rock, though it normally was associated with a rock along the shore or one jutting out in the water. Thus, the false teachers would appear as “rocks” - as pillars in the community (cf. Mt 16:18; Gal 2:9), when in reality if a believer got too close to them his faith would get shipwrecked. Some (Editorial Comment: I would say "Most" not some - NAS, ESV, CSB, etc) suggest that spilades here means “hidden rocks.” Though this meaning is attested for the word, it is inappropriate in this context, since these false teachers are anything but hidden (Editorial Comment: I would also argue this point -- Jude 1:4 says they have "crept in unnoticed" -- they did not wear a red suit with horns and a pitchfork -- what is hidden and subtle is their devilish agenda -- however it would obviously not be "hidden" forever and would be discernible by those who had an "Hebrews 5:14 appetite" [+] - "But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained [gumnazo] to discern good and evil.")

Love feasts - "Common fellowship meal of the church preceding the Lord's Supper. The Love Feast or Agape (meal) was a significant dimension of the fellowship and worship of the early church. As a concrete manifestation of obedience to the Lord's command to love one another (Jn 13:34, 15:12), it served as a practical expression of the koinonia or communion that characterized the church's life. While the only explicit New Testament reference to the agape meal is found (agapai in Greek) in Jude 1:12 , allusions to the practice may be seen in other New Testament texts. “The breaking of bread” in Acts 2:42 is most likely a reference to a special remembrance of Jesus' last supper with His disciples, but the allusion (Acts 2:46) to their taking of food “with gladness and singleness of heart” implies that a social meal was connected in some way with this celebration. Paul's discussion of the Lord's Supper (1Co 11:17-34) also suggests a combining of the ceremonial act with a common meal. Such a practice is also suggested in Acts 20:7-11 . By the second century the word agapai had become a technical term for such a common meal which seems to have been separated from the ceremonial observance of the Lord's Supper sometime after the NT period." (Holman Bible Dictionary note on Love Feasts)

MacArthur on love feasts - Originally, the love feast was intended to be a regular church gathering for the purpose of mutual instruction (cf. Acts 17:11), encouragement (Heb 10:24-25), confrontation (cf. Heb 3:13), and care (Ro 12:10; 13:8; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 4:2, 25; 5:21; Col. 3:9; 1Th 4:9; 1Peter 4:9-10). The feast was similar to a contemporary potluck dinner held on the Lord’s Day. Believers would gather to worship, hear the teaching of Scripture, celebrate Communion, and then share their common love in a meal (cf. Acts 2:42). (2Peter and Jude MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Hiebert on love feasts - The reference is not to ordinary social meals or banquets but to a communal meal eaten by the early Christians in connection with their church services to express and deepen brotherly love… Although intended to foster mutual love and sharing among believers, the situation at Corinth makes clear that the love offered ready opportunity for conduct that destroyed rather than fostered the sense of Christian brotherhood. Because of the abuses that arose, these fellowship meals were later separated from the observance of the Lord’s Supper.  (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary)

When they feast with you = Feast is suneuocheo (sun/syn = together with + euochéo = be well fed, to feast <> eu = well + écho = have) and means basically to have sustenance. "The present tense participle, “when they feast with you”, portrays these men’s practice of turning the “love-feasts” into occasions for personal sumptuous feasting." (Hiebert) See on 2Peter 2:13+. {+ = The word originally conveys the idea of sumptuous feasting, and is appropriate in view of the fact to which Peter alludes, that these sensualists converted the love-feast into a revel. Compare Paul's words, 1Cor 11:21, "one is hungry and another drunken." This seems to favor the reading agapais. The word occurs only here and Jude 1:12.)

Caring for themselves (poimaino) - Literally they were shepherding themselves, with each man doing what is right in his own eyes for his own purposes. Jude's use of this verb poimaino may suggest that indeed these snakes were masquerading as shepherds or leaders. But these men were false shepherds that fed only themselves (Contrast 1Pe 5:2+). They are like those Paul described in the Church at Corinth "for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk." (1Cor 11:21) "Te apostates shepherded no one but themselves. Their only interest was self-interest and self-gratification—at the expense of anyone else." (MacArthur) Their own schemes and lusts took precedence over the tending of the flock of God. Such "Piranhas" have always been around in religious circles…

His watchmen are blind, All of them know nothing. All of them are dumb dogs unable to bark, Dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one. "Come," they say, "let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; And tomorrow will be like today, only more so." (Isa 56:10-12)

Hiebert - These men insisted on participating in these love-feasts, not to express mutual love and concern, but to gratify their own appetites. Jude is condemning their brazen self-indulgence, revealing their true character. Williams remarks, “Satan had been found among the sons of God before this, and such intrusions have not yet ceased.” (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary)

Without fear (aphobos from a = without + phobos = fear) describes these men as conducting themselves shamelessly, ultimately without regard for God, instead expressing arrogant disregard. These men failed to heed Paul's warning "But let a man examine (dokimazo) himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly." (1Cor 11:28-29) These apostates also remind us of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10), who pretended to be generous givers but were really secretly selfish, so God exposed their hypocrisy and "took them out." Observe the impact on the Church "great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things." These apostates either had never heard this story or simply chose to ignore it. "Lacking a functioning conscience or sense of conviction, and being adept hypocrites, the apostates were able to feast with believers without fear." (MacArthur)

Wiersbe on without fear - They are an arrogant lot! This is the difference between a true shepherd and a hireling: the true shepherd cares for the sheep, while the hireling cares only for himself. “Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” (Ezek 34:2) But these apostates ought to be afraid, for their judgment is coming. (Be Alert 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude- Beware of the Religious Impostors)

Hiebert on the possible meanings of without fear - "They were devoid of reverence before the spiritual realities intended to be fostered by the love-feasts. If (aphobos is) taken with what follows, “without fear shepherding themselves” (R. Young), the meaning is that their self-serving activities are carried on without any qualms of conscience. They feel no sense of shame because of what they are doing. Under either connection the picture is much the same." (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary)

Spurgeon - Some of the best Christians, who come to the Lord’s table, come there in great fear and trembling; and I have known some, who have had an undoubted right to be there, half afraid to come. Yet those very persons who have a holy fear lest they should come amiss, are those who really ought to come. “Feeding themselves without fear” is the mark of those who are farther off from God.

William Barclay - This is one of the great passages of invective of the New Testament. It is blazing moral indignation at its hottest… Here is a series of vivid pictures, every one with significance. Let us take them one by one. They are like hidden rocks which threaten to wreck the Love Feasts of the Church. This is the one case in which there is doubt about what Jude is actually saying but of one thing there is no doubt--the evil men were a peril to the Love Feasts. The Love Feast, the Agape, was one of the earliest features of the Church. It was a meal of fellowship held on the Lord's Day. To it everyone brought what he could, and all shared alike. It was a lovely idea that the Christians in each little house church should sit down on the Lord's Day to eat in fellowship together. No doubt there were some who could bring much and others who could bring only little. For many of the slaves it was perhaps the only decent meal they ever ate. But very soon the Agape began to go wrong. We can see it going wrong in the church at Corinth, when Paul declares that at the Corinthian Love Feasts there is nothing but division. They are divided into cliques and sections; some have too much, and others starve; and the meal for some has become a drunken revel (1Cor 11:17-22). Unless the Agape was a true fellowship, it was a travesty, and very soon it had begun to belie its name… In the Love Feast people were very close together in heart and there was the kiss of peace. These wicked men were using the Love Feasts as a cloak under which to gratify their lusts. It is a dreadful thing, if men enter into the church and use the opportunities which its fellowship gives for their own perverted ends. These men were like sunken rocks on which the fellowship of the Love Feasts was in danger of being wrecked. These wicked men revel in their own cliques and have no feeling of responsibility for anyone except themselves. These two things go together for they both stress their essential selfishness. (a) They revel in their own cliques without a qualm. This is exactly the situation which Paul condemns in First Corinthians. The Love Feast was supposed to be an act of fellowship; and the fellowship was demonstrated by the sharing of all things. Instead of sharing, the wicked men kept to their own clique and kept to themselves all they had. In First Corinthians Paul actually goes the length of saying that the Love Feast could become a drunken revel in which every man grabbed at all that he could get (1 Corinthians 11:21). No man can ever claim to know what church membership means, if in the church he is out for what he can get and remains within his own little group. (b) We have translated the next phrase: "They have no feeling of responsibility for anyone except themselves." The Greek literally means "shepherding themselves." The duty of a leader of the Church is to be a shepherd of the flock of God (Acts 20:28). The false shepherd cared far more for himself than for the sheep which were supposed to be within his care. Ezekiel describes the false shepherds from whom their privileges were to be taken away: "As I live, says the Lord God, because my sheep have become a prey and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep… Behold I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep" (Ezekiel 34:8-10). The man who feels no responsibility for the welfare of anyone except himself stands condemned. So, then, Jude condemns the selfishness which destroys fellowship and the lack of the sense of responsibility for others. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)


Clouds without water - The interpretation of this metaphor is relatively straightforward. We've all seen the sky darken up with billowy, dark, water laden thunderclouds and prepared for the sure shower of refreshing rain, only to have it pass by, yielding no rain, and for desperate farmers, no crop! These apostates have an air of authenticity about themselves, offering hope to the church that they can bring needed spiritual "rain," but in fact they cannot. They are like the false teachers Peter describes, "promising freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption." (2Peter 2:19) Their promise of liberty only yields bondage! Peter characterized these false teachers as "springs without water" instead of "clouds without water." (2Pe 2:17).

Constable - Like clouds the false teachers attracted attention to themselves and promised refreshment, but they proved to be all show and no substance (Jude)

Hiebert - Kelly observes, “The traveller in Syria and Jordan, Lebanon and Israel is often exasperated by heavy clouds which fail to dissolve in rain and only augment the excessive heat.” The picture is the opposite of that given by Jesus in Luke 12:54. Jude’s figure characterizes these individuals as “men of promise but no performance.” They appear on the scene with their eloquent promises of refreshment and enrichment for those who will follow them, but they produce nothing that contributes to the spiritual nurture and establishment of believers. Like “waterless clouds” (nephelai anudroi), they proved themselves to be spiritually barren, offering nothing that nurtured the soul. The figure depicts their ostentatious and deceptive character; they arouse great expectations but leave behind no fructifying influences. (BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary)

Barclay - The wicked men are like clouds blown past by the wind, which drop no rain and like trees in harvest time which have no fruit. These two phrases go together, for they describe people who make great claims but are essentially useless. There were times in Palestine when people would pray for rain. At such a time a cloud might pass across the sky, bringing with it the promise of rain. But there were times when the promise was only an illusion, the cloud was blown on and the rain never came. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Wiersbe - The Word of God is sometimes compared to the rain and the dew. “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew” (Deut. 32:2). Isaiah 55:10 compares God’s Word to the rain and snow from heaven that bring fruit on the earth. Like the clouds in the sky, the false teachers may be prominent and even attractive; but if they cannot bring rain, they are useless. (Be Alert 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude- Beware of the Religious Impostors)

MacArthur - The term translated without water (anudros from a = without, + húdor = water. ) also occurs in Mt 12:43 in reference to the wanderings of evil spirits through dry and barren places (cf. Lk 11:24-26). By describing false teachers in the same way that Luke describes demons, Jude reiterated the connection between the apostates and their satanic sources. (2Peter and Jude MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Solomon gives us a similar picture that is an excellent description of the apostates in Jude…

Like (simile) clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely. (Pr 25:14

Comment by Charles Bridges - Suppose a drought, as in the days of Elijah, threatening desolation to the land, and a thick cloud, seemingly big with the fruitful blessing, yet passing over—the wind without rain. This is a true picture of the boaster; rich in promises, but performing nothing; exciting large expectations, then sinking them in disappointment. Whether it be a vain conceit of his own understanding, or an hypocritical desire to maintain a profession, it is a boasting in a gift of falsehood. If it be bad to promise and deceive; it is far worse to promise with an intention to deceive. This was the very character of the Great Deceiver (cf Ge 3:1, Rev 12:9+). Did he not put before our unhappy parent (Adam and Eve) a false gift—a promise, which could never be realized—“Ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil?” (Ge 3:5) Nay—did he not with a presumption, that hell itself might almost be ashamed of, boast himself of his false gift, offering the world to its own Maker, as a temptation to the vilest blasphemy (Mt 4:8-10)? How melancholy is it to find this character in those, who stand in the place of God! Yet the church has ever been chastened with false teachers; ministering delusion, instead of instruction. (1Ki 22:11, Jer. 5:31, with 2Co 11:13-15, Gal. 1:7+. Cp. 2Pet. 2:17-19+, Jude 1:12, 16) And are there none among ourselves, feeding the flock with false gifts; seeking to maintain their hollow profession even in the sight of Him, whose frown at the great day will banish them for ever from his presence? (Mt 7:22-23+) Oh! let those that bear the Lord’s message, take heed, that if they be counted “as deceivers,” they may be “yet true.” (2Cor 6:8) Not as those, which corrupt the word of God; but as of sincerity, as of God, in the “sight of God,” let them “speak in Christ.” (2Cor 2:17, cp Pr 4:2)

Carried along (periphero) by winds - This metaphor "indicates that it is unsafe to follow such men. It does not merely indicate their own instability… Not only are these men unstable in themselves, but any one who follow them will be led astray from the path of truth and purity. This meaning is in full accord with the thrust of this epistle." (Hiebert)


Autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted - "Autumn" is more accurately "late autumn" as translated in the Amplified version = "without fruit at the late autumn gathering time." Late autumn was the time when trees would have had no leaves much less fruit on their branches. "The adjective, which appears only here in the New Testament, is commonly understood to denote a time of late autumn at the very end of the fruit harvest; then the meaning is that these trees without fruit at that season demonstrate their unproductive nature. They have failed to fulfil the purpose of their existence." (Hiebert BORROW Second Peter and Jude An Expositional Commentary)

The thrust of this metaphor is that these apostates totally lack productivity (for themselves or toward others) in the spiritual realm. They may teach or preach, but they have nothing to give. And "not only are they fruitless, but they are also rootless" (Wiersbe) They are unable to bear spiritual fruit because they are not genuine believers. They lack spiritual life, because they lack spiritual roots, regardless of how eloquently or how often they themselves quote from the Bible! "Fruit has in it the seed for more fruit (Ge 1:11-12). One of the evidences that a ministry is truly of God is that the fruit multiplies. Manufactured “results” are sterile and dead, but true fruit continues to grow and reproduce itself in the lives of others." (Wiersbe)

Autumn trees (phthinopopinos from phthíno = to decay, fail, wither, waste away + opora = autumn [see below for more detail]) literally means belonging to late autumn and describes the trees in autumn which are generally fruitless and bare (most fruit is harvested by late autumn and the trees have shed their leaves). Jude uses phthinopopinos metaphorically to describe the apostate teachers of no help at all, useless. The root word opora is literally time of juice. Since autumn is the season when fruits in general are full of juice and when the juices of grapes, apples, and so forth, are pressed out. But since these trees are akarpos (without fruit), this would more likely be depicting the trees in late autumn.

Without fruit (Unfruitful) (akarpos) means barren, without fruit, unprofitable, depicting a tree without fruit under the most favorable of circumstances. Because these men bear no fruit (karpos), they clearly are not born again (cf Mt 3:8, Acts 26:20, supernatural good works of Eph 2:10+ naturally follow the supernatural transformation of Eph 2:8-9+) In this context good fruit is synonymous with good deeds (good works) - See discussion of Good Deeds

W E Vine has a nice summary of the Biblical concept of "fruit" (karpos) = Fruit, Fruitful, Unfruitful

Larry Richards summarizes the Biblical concept of spiritual fruit writing that "Fruitfulness is a consistent concept in the OT and the NT. The fruit God seeks in human beings is expressed in righteous and loving acts that bring peace and harmony to the individual and to society. But that fruit is foreign to sinful human nature (sarx) (Ed Comment: Which is why the apostates Jude describes bore no fruit -- they were energized solely by the fallen flesh, which can do absolutely nothing that is pleasing to God!). Energized by sinful passions, fallen humanity acts in ways that harm and bring dissension. God's solution is found in a personal relationship with Jesus and in the supernatural working of God's Spirit within the believer. As we live in intimate, obedient relationship with Jesus, God's Spirit energizes us as we produce the peaceable fruits of a righteousness that can come only from the Lord. (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)

Barclay - In any harvest time there were trees which looked as if they were heavy with fruit but which, when men came to gather from them, gave no fruit at all. At the heart of this lies a great truth. Promise without performance is useless and in the New Testament nothing is so unsparingly condemned as uselessness. No amount of outward show or fine words will take the place of usefulness to others. As it has been put: "If a man is not good for something, he is good for nothing." (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Uprooted ("plucked up by the root") (1610) (ekrizoo from ek = out + rhizoo = to root) means literally to pull out by the roots, and used here in Jude metaphorically of course, " leaving no question concerning their hopeless state… The epithets lead to a natural climax: fruitless, lifeless, rootless." (Hiebert)

MacArthur - They are like trees that have come out of the ground, disconnected from the life-giving source of water and nutrients. As Jesus said of the Pharisees, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted” (Matt. 15:13; cf. Mt 3:10; 7:17-20; 13:6). Such people produce no life-changing fruit, neither in themselves nor in others. (2Peter and Jude MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Doubly dead (dead = apothnesko) = Not only the apparent death of winter, but a real death; so that it only remains to pluck them up by the roots.

NET NOTE - Twice dead (doubly dead) probably has no relevance to the tree metaphor, but has great applicability to these false teachers. As in Rev 20:6+  (see chart on "Participation in Births, Deaths and Resurrections), those who die twice are those who die physically and spiritually. The aphorism is true: “born once, die twice; born twice, die once” (cf. Rev 20:5+; Jn 3, 11).

Constable on doubly dead (twice dead) - Farmers often dig trees that bear no fruit out of the ground (Ed: See Lk 3:9, 13:7). The false teachers bore no spiritual fruit and were incapable of bearing spiritual fruit; they were twice dead… Another view is that twice dead means dead through and through. [Note: The Twentieth Century New Testament.] A third view is that it means dead in reality as well as in appearance. [Note: Alford, 4:537.] A fourth view is that it means presently dead in sin and destined for eternal death. [Note: Hiebert, Second Peter … , p. 261.] An uprooted tree is an Old Testament symbol of divine judgment (cf. Ps 52:5+; Pr 2:22; Jer 1:10). (Jude)

Matthew Henry - Trees they are, for they are planted in the Lord's vineyard, yet fruitless ones. Observe, Those whose fruit withers may be justly said to be without fruit. As good never a whit as never the better. It is a sad thing when men seem to begin in the Spirit and end in the flesh, which is almost as common a case as it is an awful one… Plucked up by the roots, as we commonly serve dead trees, from which we expect no more fruit. They are dead, dead, dead; why cumber they the ground? Away with them to the fire.

Jesus gave us a similar metaphorical marker of false versus true…

Beware (prosecho in the present imperative = command for continual vigilance) of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire (cf "punishment of eternal fire" = Jude 1:7; "destroyed" = Jude 1:10; "perished" = Jude 1:11). So then, you will know them by their fruits. (Mt 7:15-20+)

UNCLOUDED TRUTH - The book of Jude contains one of the most vivid and interesting descriptions of apostate teachers. These people who heap up for themselves the severe and certain judgment of God (Jude 1:4) are likened to “clouds without water” (Jude 1:12).

Such individuals claim to be heavenly messengers with superior knowledge or power. Others more subtly put on “sheep’s clothing” (Mt. 7:15) and exhibit a superficial beauty of form and purpose but deny the Lord who bought them (2 Pet. 2:1).

Having no absolute standards of truth because they reject the infallibility of the Bible, they naturally are constantly changing their position and are thus said to be “carried about by the winds” (Jude 12). Do not many present-day preachers fall into this category? They thunder in their pulpits and give out high-sounding promises of thirst-quenching truth, but they leave the hearts of men parched deserts of death.

Because such “ravenous wolves” (Mt. 7:15) have disguised themselves as sheep and infiltrated the flock, we ought to heed the admonition of Jude, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 1:20-21). - Henry G. Bosch

Holy Bible, book divine,

Precious treasure, thou art mine:

Mine to tell me whence I came,

Mine to teach me what I am.


To avoid being pulled into error,
Keep a firm grip on the truth.

Jude 1:13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever: kumata agria thalasses epaphrizonta (PAPNPN) tas heauton aischunas kumata agria thalasses epaphrizonta(PAPNPN) tas heauton aischunas

  • Raging = Ps 65:7; 93:3,4; Isa 57:20; Jer 5:22,23
  • foaming = Php 3:19; 2Ti 3:13
  • wandering = Rev 8:10,11
  • to whom = 2Pe 2:17; Rev 14:10,11; 20:10; 21:8

Click for over 60 versions of this verse.

Amplified - Wild waves of the sea, flinging up the foam of their own shame and disgrace; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of eternal darkness has been reserved forever.

Barclay - They are wild sea waves, frothing out their own shameless deeds. They are wandering stars and the abyss of darkness has been prepared for them for ever. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

NET wild sea waves, spewing out the foam of their shame; wayward stars for whom the utter depths of eternal darkness have been reserved.


Wild waves of the sea - "Unsettled, turbulent, and arrogant spirits; boldly belching out their abominable opinions and detestable doctrines." (John Trapp) "unquiet, turbulent, restless, that cannot cease from sin." (Matthew Poole) See also Wind wave - Wikipedia,

Kistemaker - Jude portrays both the fierce brute force of the waves and their instability and unpredictability as they roll toward shore (cp James 1:6+).

Wild (066)(agria from agros = field - only 3x in NT = Mt 3:4 Mk 1:6 Jude 1:13 ) means wild in the sense of untamed or not subject to restraint (of waves as in Jude 1:13) or wild in the sense of growing in nature (growing in the fields and woods - agros).

Friberg on agria - literally, of plants and animals found in the open field or forest, wild (Mt 3.4); figuratively, of strong natural occurrences stormy, fierce; of sea waves raging, violent (Jude 1:13)

Casting up their own shame like foam - "flinging up the foam of their own shame and disgrace" (Amplified) "waves casting up their own shameless deeds like (dirty) foam." (NET Note) They were "casting up their own shame, exposing it, as the sea casts up refuse on the beach." (Cambridge Greek Testament) See also Sea foam - Wikipedia

Here is an OT description of wicked men like the sea…

(Isa 57:20) But the wicked are like (simile) the tossing sea, for (term of explanation) it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud.

The IVP Bible Background Commentary has an interesting note - In Greek tradition, Aphrodite, goddess of desire, was produced from the sea foam at the castration of the Titan Uranos (alluding to the teacher's immorality); waves appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls as an image of casting up the filth of sin.

Shame (aischune) in the plural is shames or disgraces. Aischune describes shame resulting from exposure of one’s weaknesses or sins. It is not a feeling one has but an experience which comes to someone.

NET NOTE - It is uncertain whether shameful deeds or shameful words are in view. Either way, the picture has taken a decided turn: Though waterless clouds and fruitless trees may promise good things, but deliver nothing, wild sea-waves are portents of filth spewed forth from the belly of the sea.

Schreiner - What they did is likened to the grimy foam that coats a beach, leaving a sticky residue of shame behind.

Barclay - "They are like wild sea waves frothing out their own shameless deeds." The picture is this. After a storm, when the waves have been lashing the shore with their frothing spray and their spume, there is always left on the shore a fringe of seaweed and driftwood and all kinds of unsightly litter from the sea. That is always an unlovely scene… The deeds of the wicked men are like the useless and unsightly litter which the waves leave scattered on the beach after a storm… The picture vividly portrays the ugliness of the deeds of Jude's opponents. (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Wiersbe - Jude compared the apostates to “raging waves of the sea” not because of their power, but because of their pride and arrogant speech. “Their mouth speaketh great swelling words” (Jude 1:16). Like the swelling of the sea, they make a lot of noise, but what do they produce? Have you ever walked along the beach the morning after a storm and seen the ugly refuse that has been deposited on the shore? Jude may have had Isaiah 57:20 in mind: “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” All that the “great swelling words” of the apostates can produce is foam and flotsam! The true teachers of the Word bring up the treasures of the deep, but the false teachers produce only refuse. And what they boast about, they really ought to be ashamed of! (see Phil. 3:19) (Be Alert 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude- Beware of the Religious Impostors)

Barnes - The waves are lashed into foam, and break and dash on the shore. They seem to produce nothing but foam, and to proclaim their own shame, that after all their wild roaring and agitation they should effect no more. So with these noisy and vaunting teachers. What they impart is as unsubstantial and valueless as the foam of the ocean waves, and the result is in fact a proclamation of their own shame. Men with so loud professions should produce much more. (Barnes' Notes)

Constable - Waves cast up bits of filth and debris on the shore with their foam and flotsam (wreckage, refuse). Similarly the false teachers spread evidence of their uncontrolled immorality and impurity wherever they went (cf. Isaiah 57:20). (Jude - Expository Notes)


Wandering stars = Compare 2Peter 2:17+. Possibly referring to comets, which shine a while and then pass into darkness. "They belong not to the system: they stray at random and without law, and must at last be severed from the lights which rule while they are ruled" (Lumby).

Wandering (4107)(planetes from planao = lead astray; gives us our English "planet") describes one who wanders about. Planetes was used "mostly of the planets, which appeared to ‘wander’ across the skies among the fixed stars.'' (BDAG)

Barclay - The wicked men are like the wandering stars that are kept in the abyss of darkness for their disobedience. This is a picture directly taken from the Book of Enoch. In that book the stars and the angels are sometimes identified; and there is a picture of the fate of the stars who, disobedient to God, left their appointed orbit and were destroyed. In his journey through the, earth Enoch came to a place where he saw, "neither a heaven above nor a firmly founded earth, but a place chaotic and horrible." He goes on: "And there I saw seven stars of the heaven bound together in it, like great mountains and burning with fire. Then I said, 'For what sin are they bound, and on account of what have they been cast in hither?' Then said Uriel, one of the holy angels, who was with me and who was chief over them, 'Enoch, why dost thou ask and why art thou eager for the truth? These are the numbers of the stars of heaven which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and are bound here till ten thousand years, the time entailed by their sins, are consummated'" (Enoch 21:1-6). The fate of the wandering stars is typical of the fate of the man who disobeys God's commandments and, as it were, takes his own way.  (Jude - Daily Study Bible)

Constable - Some "stars" move about in the sky differently from the other stars. We now recognize these as planets and distinguish them from stars. Similarly the false teachers behaved out of harmony with the other luminaries. The Greek word planetes, which transliterated means "planet," really means wanderer. Long ago stargazers observed that these wanderers across the sky were different from the fixed stars. Likewise the false teachers had gone off course and had led people astray. (Jude - Expository Notes)

NET NOTE - The imagery of a star seems to fit the nautical theme that Jude is developing. Stars were of course the guides to sailors at night, just as teachers are responsible to lead the flock through a benighted world. But false teachers, as wayward stars, are not fixed and hence offer unreliable, even disastrous guidance. They are thus both the dangerous reefs on which the ships could be destroyed and the false guides, leading them into these rocks. There is a special irony that these lights will be snuffed out, reserved for the darkest depths of eternal darkness.


For whom the black darkness has been reserved forever ("utter darkness of darkness for eternity") - Even without knowing the Greek meanings, this picture is frighteningly and forever bleak!

Henry Morris - They are destined both for "everlasting fire" (Mt 25:41), in the ultimate Lake of Fire (Rev 20:15+), yet also for "outer darkness" (Mt 25:30), "the mist of darkness… forever" (2Pe 2:17+). How both can be true we do not know, nor do we need to know. Possibly the final hell is a dark nebula or a black hole, or perhaps the fires are merely symbolic of even worse realities. In any case, the eternal future of such false teachers is indescribably dismal. Great had been their opportunities; therefore great will be their judgment when they misuse them in such deadly ways. (Defender's Study Bible Notes)

Wiersbe - God has reserved chains of darkness for the rebellious angels (Jude 6), and He has reserved “the blackness of darkness forever” for apostate teachers. Beware of following a falling star! It will lead you into eternal blackness! (Be Alert 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude- Beware of the Religious Impostors)

Blackness (2217) (zophos) describes the blackness of (i.e., the densest) darkness, gloom of the nether world in Homer (see below), groom (as shrouding like a cloud). Zophos describes darkness that ranges from partial to total and conveys a suggestion of foreboding and gloom and in here specifically referring to the thick darkness associated with the region of those who are lost, "a designation for the underworld." Zophos is used two times each by Peter and Jude--twice to describe the darkness in which fallen angels are now held (2Pe 2:4+; Jude 1:6) and twice to describe the coming final judgment (2Pe 2:17+; Jude 1:13). "the gloom of the world below, nether darkness." (Liddell-Scott) Homer uses zophos in a description of the underworld - "These halls are full / Of shadows hastening down to Erebus / Amid the gloom (hupo zophon)."

(The) Darkness (4655)(skotos from skia = shadow thrown by an object) is literally that sphere in which light is absent. The phrase "the outer darkness" refers to the place of punishment or exclusion from God Who is light! Skotos can refer to literal darkness as occurred on the day of Jesus' crucifixion (Mt 27:45) or darkness as opposed to light in the creation (2Cor 4:6). Skotos is used as another name for the place of punishment, eternal misery and eternal separation from God (the meaning of skotos here in Jude and in 2Pe 2:17+) .

It is interesting to recall that when Jesus was made sin for us on the Cross, "It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness (skotos) fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two." (Lk 23:44-45; cf Mt 27:45 ; Mk 15:33) Darkness at the Cross surely in part indicates God's judgment on sin, but the torn veil symbolizes opening into the presence of God that we might not have to experience darkness forever.

Guzik - The punishment of hell is forever because a mere man is paying for his own sins, offering an imperfect sacrifice which must be repeated over and over again for eternity. A perfect man can offer a single sacrifice; but an imperfect man must continually offer a sacrifice. Our obligations to God are infinite and can therefore only be satisfied in Jesus, an infinite person


  • Created by God Psalm 104:20 ; Isaiah 45:7
  • (Application: Let us as believers "never fear either natural or providential darkness, since both are of the Lord's own making" - Spurgeon)
  • Originally covered the earth Genesis 1:2
  • Separated from the light Genesis 1:4
  • Called night Genesis 1:5
  • Caused by the setting of the sun Genesis 15:17 ; John 6:17
  • Inexplicable nature of Job 38:19,20
  • Exhibits God's power and greatness Job 38:8,9


  • Great Genesis 15:12
  • That may be felt Exodus 10:21
  • Thick Deuteronomy 5:22 ; Joel 2:2
  • Gross Jeremiah 13:16
  • Outer or extreme Matthew 8:12


  • Keeps us from seeing objects Exodus 10:23
  • Causes us to go astray John 12:35 ; 1John 2:11
  • Causes us to stumble Isaiah 59:10
  • Often put for night Psalm 91:6
  • Called the swaddling band of the sea Job 38:9
  • Cannot hide us from God Psalm 139:11,12


  • The children of 1Thes 5:5
  • Live in Psalm 107:10
  • Walk in Psalm 82:5
  • Perpetuate their designs in Job 24:16
  • Are full of Matthew 6:23


  • On mount Sinai Exodus 19:16 ; Hebrews 12:18
  • Over the land of Egypt Exodus 10:21,22
  • At the death of Christ Matthew 27:45
  • Before the destruction of Jerusalem Matthew 24:29


  • Greatness and unsearchableness of God Ex 20:21 ; 2Sa 22:10,12 ; 1Ki 8:12 ; Ps 97:2
  • Abstruse and deep subjects Job 28:3
  • Secrecy Isaiah 45:19 ; Matthew 10:27
  • Ignorance and error Job 37:19 ; Isaiah 60:2 ; John 1:5; 3:19; 12:35; Acts 26:18
  • Anything hateful Job 3:4-9
  • A course of sin Proverbs 2:13 ; Ephesians 5:11
  • Heavy afflictions Job 23:17 ; Psalm 112:4 ; Ecclesiastes 5:17 ; Isaiah 5:30; 8:22; 59:9
  • The power of Satan Ephesians 6:12 ; Colossians 1:13
  • The grave 1 Samuel 2:9 ; Job 10:21,22
  • The punishment of devils and wicked men Matthew 22:13 ; 2Peter 2:4,17; Jude 1:6,13
  • Casting Off The Works Of Darkness Romans 13:11-12 .
  • The LORD Creating Darkness Isaiah 45:7 .
  • There Being No Darkness In GOD 1John 1:5 .
  • Those That Put Darkness For Light, And Light For Darkness Isaiah 5:20 .
  • Those That Walk In Darkness John 11:9-10, 12:35-36 ; Eph 4:17-18 ; 1Jn 1:5-6; 2:11 .
  • What Came Out Of Darkness Genesis 1:2-3 ; 2Corinthians 4:6 .
  • What Happens In The Night 1Thessalonians 5:7 .
  • What Is As Darkness Proverbs 4:19 .
  • When Your Body Is Full Of Darkness Luke 11:34-35 .
  • Who Is In Darkness Job 24:13-16 ; Proverbs 2:11-15 ; Ecclesiastes 2:14 ; 1 John 2:9-11 .
  • Who Is Not In Darkness 1Thessalonians 5:4-5 .

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