Volume III - Bible and Church History

The New Testament

Letter of St Jude

It has been questioned whether “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James” who wrote the letter of St Jude is the “Judas, the brother of James” (Lk 6:16, Acts 1:13), one of the twelve apostles, “not Iscariot” (Jn 14:22). In the Tradition of the Church, the two have usually been identified as the same person.

The letter of St. Jude is a general epistle which the author “found it necessary to write to those who are called,” appealing to them “to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (1-3).

For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ (4).

These “scoffers,” some of whom the faithful may be able to save “by snatching them out of the fire” (23), are those who “defile the flesh, reject authority and revile the glorious ones” (8). They are those who follow their “ungodly passions ... [and] set up divisions, worldly people devoid of the Spirit” (18-19) who have entered the Church,

Jude commands those who are faithful to resist the ungodly.

But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. ... (21).

Of special interest in the letter, which is sometimes read in Church, is the mention of the archangel Michael (9), as well as the evil angels “that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling (with God) and have been kept by Him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day” (6). Generally speaking, there is a definite apocalyptic tone to the letter of St Jude.