Selected Studies from Jude Part 1: An Exposition of Jude 3-4 -- By: D. Edmond Hiebert

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 142:566 (Apr 1985)
Article: Selected Studies from Jude Part 1: An Exposition of Jude 3-4
Author: D. Edmond Hiebert


Selected Studies from Jude
Part 1:
An Exposition of Jude 3-4

D. Edmond Hiebert

[D. Edmond Hiebert, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California]

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 delivered to the saints. 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 (Jude 3–4).

Having identified himself as “Jude,” or “Judas” (=Λούδας), “brother of James,” and having indicated the spiritual characteristics of his readers (v. 1), the writer of this epistle at once spoke of the circumstances that led him to write this brief but stirring letter. He indicated the nature of the communication he had been contemplating (v. 3a), informed his readers that he was constrained to write the present appeal to contend for the purity of the faith (v. 3b), and set forth the reason for the change (v. 4).

The Indication of His Original Purpose

The word “beloved” (ἀγαπητοί) at the very beginning of an epistle is unusual, occurring elsewhere only in 3 John 2. (The NIV rendering “Dear friends” is more contemporary but changes and weakens the indicated relationship to warm friendship rather than to God-prompted love.) 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 (v. 1b) and prompted

him aggressively to seek to eliminate the dangers which threatened the beloved. This love is “the central motif of the Christian life, indicating at the same time the love of the speaker or writer for his brethren, and, behind that and more important, the love of God in Christ for all.”1

The words “while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation” offer a glimpse of Jude’s affectionate relations to his readers. He skillfully assured them that “he would have...

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