What is the Book of Jude About?

Read this 4-minute introduction to help you find your bearings in the Bible story, and be inspired to read Jude!


Historical Context

The book was written by Jude, the brother of James and Jesus (see Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3, where “Judas” is the same in Greek as “Jude”).

From Remember that the ultimate author of every book of the Bible is the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). He has written this book to equip you for life, to help you know the true God, and to give you hope (2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 15:4). The Holy Spirit wrote Jude for your good and to lead you into joy.

Jude was probably written in the mid-60s AD. Considering the letter’s apparent Jewish perspective, Jude’s audience was probably Jewish Christians, or a mixture of Jewish and Gentile readers where the Gentiles were familiar with Jewish traditions.  

Since Jude addresses a situation similar to the one addressed by 2 Peter and exhibits a literary relationship to chapter 2 of that letter (Jude may have been a source for 2 Peter), the two letters are commonly dated in fairly close proximity, even though evidence for the date of writing within the book of Jude is sparse.

Apparently he [Jude] had been eager to compose a letter to a church or churches in Palestine in which he was going to reflect on the “common salvation” (Jude 1:3 ESV) that he and they held. But Jude found himself constrained to change his tack because he some way or another had heard that there was trouble among the believers. Some teachers whose conduct was ungodly and whose doctrine was a perversion of the teaching on grace had come in from the outside (Jude 1:4)… Jude’s Epistle is an impassioned plea for the believers to engage in battle against the incursion of the error, that is, “to contend for the faith that was once and for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3 ESV). This letter exhorts the believers facing the error to be built up and stand firm in the faith (Jude 1:20-21). But the troublers of the church were persuasive in their appeal and some in the church were being swayed by them. Jude, therefore, calls the church to action. On the one hand, they are to show mercy on those who are wavering…On the other hand, they must also engage in a rescue operation toward those who have succumbed to the temptation: “Snatch some from the fire” (Jude 1:23 NIV). Yet in this operation, Jude is quite concerned that the rescuers themselves not become ensnared by the temptation that the heresy presents.

—Gene Green 

Source: Green, Gene. Jude and 2 Peter. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008.

Unless otherwise indicated, this content is adapted from the ESV Global Study Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright ©2012 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Message Series

Kept for Christ by Josh Parsons

This is an incredibly helpful, 3-part message series by Pastor Josh Parsons on the book of Jude. You will be moved to worship and love Jesus more, and you will receive wisdom from God’s Word and Josh’s insights as to how to spot, avoid, and confront false teaching.  

Message Series

Keeping Yourself in Spiritual Shape by Colin Smith

This wonderful 7-part message series by Pastor Colin Smith helps us understand what we need to stay in spiritual shape. In these messages, you will discover seven workouts for a healthy spiritual life from Jude 1:20-25. 

Jude Dictionary

As you read through Jude, you might come across words and ideas that are foreign to you. Here are a few definitions you will want to know! Note that this dictionary was created for the New International Version (NIV) Bible.

Heavenly beings created by God before he created Adam and Eve. Angels act as God’s messengers to men and women. They also worship God.

Chief angel. The term in the New Testament refers to Michael.

To say bad things against God, to swear using God’s name, or to do actions that show disrespect to God. The Bible says that blasphemy is a sin. The Jews punished blasphemers by stoning them to death. Jesus and Stephen were falsely accused of blasphemy.

(1) To find someone guilty of doing something wrong and to declare or pronounce a punishment. (2) To be against or disapprove of something because it is wrong.

To correct someone sternly; to scold someone.

A person who works for the comfort or protection of others. Jesus said he is a servant. He instructed his followers to be servants to each other instead of trying to have authority over each other. In the Bible, servant sometimes means slave.

Having authority and power over everything. God is sovereign.

Misery, sorrow, or great suffering.

Dictionary Source

This content is from What the Bible Is All About, written by Henrietta Mears. Copyright © 1953, 2011 by Gospel Light. Copyright assigned to Tyndale House Publishers, 2015. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

Tough Questions

We have found answers to some tough questions that we anticipate may arise as you read this book of the Bible. We know we can’t answer every question you will have; therefore, we have written this article, so you know how to find answers for your kids: How Do I Answer Tough Questions About the Bible?


The following insights are from pastors and scholars who have spent significant time studying the book of Jude.

The theme of Jude’s letter comes out of verse 3, “contend for the faith.” But this contending for the faith is not put forward in a vacuum. Verse 4 supports the theme by contributing the occasion for the letter with the little word “for.” Thus, the call to contend is rooted in Jude’s conviction that the faith is being challenged by opponents he only will call “certain people” (Jude 1:4, 8, 10, 12, 16, 19).  

The structure of the entire letter flows from these ideas. The conclusions Jude makes about the challenges facing Christianity in verse 4 will be defended by him in verses 5–16. Further, the appeal to contend for the faith in verse 3 will find its explanation in verses 17–23. Thus, the Bible does not leave us to our own imagination in determining how to “contend for the faith”. Rather, it actually shows us how. Here is the structure of the letter:  

– Jude 3: Contending for the Faith—Jude 17–23: Showing Us How

– Jude 4: Challenges to the Faith—Jude 5–16: Supporting His Case

This built-in construction should prove helpful as we unpack Jude.

The Greek word translated as “contend,” when verbalized, sounds like our word agonizing. It possesses the idea of athletes who, in an effort to win, find themselves intensely struggling, competing, even fighting with all their might. Interestingly, the word also seems to attach itself to things that are intrinsically worthy of full-orbed and all-engaging effort. Or, as a Greek-English Lexicon puts it, “effort expended . . . in a noble cause.”[1]  

“Effort expended . . . in a noble cause.” This is what Jude is after. He aims at enlivening the church of his day to an immediate and intense struggle, a very real fight requiring all of their available energy.  

1. Walter Bauer, ed. Frederick William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 356.  

—David R. Helm  

Source: Content taken from Jude: 1-2 Peter and Jude: Sharing Christ’s Sufferings by David R. Helm, ©2015. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. 

Two things to notice here. First, Jude wants believers to contend for the faith against other professing Christians. The foes here are those who are “inside” the church, not outside—ungodly people claiming to belong to Christ. 

Second, the error that prompts Jude to exhort us is not the denial of foundational tenets of the gospel, but a twisted view of grace that excuses or celebrates sexual immorality. In other words, “contending for the faith” in the context of Jude 1:1 is less about doctrinal fidelity and more about Christian morality and praxis. The denial of Jesus Christ in this case isn’t creedal (as in 1 John 4, where the apostle warns against those who deny Christ’s humanity); it’s moral. By their advocacy and engagement in illicit sexual activity, they are functionally denying Jesus. 

—Trevin Wax  

Source: Trevin Wax, quoted from his article, “Defending the Faith Is About Life, Not Just Doctrine.” This article originally appeared here at The Gospel Coalition. Used by permission of Trevin Wax.

The wolves who pervert the faith are professing Christians. They are pastors and church leaders and seminary teachers and missionaries… The threat to the faith is coming from among some who are now inside. They are probably saying something like this: If we are saved by grace, then it doesn’t matter what we do morally. In fact when a Christian sins, it only serves to magnify the grace of God. So they turned the grace of God against the commandments of Christ and in effect denied the lordship of Jesus. 

—John Piper  

Source: By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Source:

He [Jude] also describes himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ.” “Servant.” As it is for all of Jesus’ followers, so it was for Jude. Here is a great and comforting truth, one worth stopping to observe: The people closest to Jesus are happy to call themselves servants. 

Don’t forget it. Jesus is God’s King, and as such he is our rightful ruler. At times when each of us is tempted and even taught to take offense or act affronted at the notion of yielding to the authority of another, remember Jude. He will have more to teach us about the importance of living under authority in this short letter. And in the coming chapters we will see that this subject is very close to his heart. 

In preparing this book I have come to believe that our persistent desire to get out from under the biblical notion of authority, be it ecclesiastical, civil, vocational, or marital, is often problematic and in most cases self-destructive—in the case of Jude’s opponents eternally so. 

Our propensity to play the rebel, to answer to no one, to throw off any and all vestiges of authority is perhaps why—right out of the gate—Jude identifies himself as Jesus’ servant. He is modeling Christian maturity for every reader—strikingly by the third word in the English text. That he does so with such matter-of-fact joy ought to be encouraging. Never think it wrong or demeaning to identify yourself as one under authority. There is great sweetness in living by God’s design.  

—David R. Helm 

Source: Content taken from Jude: 1-2 Peter and Jude: Sharing Christ’s Sufferings by David R. Helm, ©2015. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. 

What Peter and Jude concentrate on, then, is not what these people [the false teachers] are teaching but the way they are living. They are obviously concerned that these false “behaviorists” will draw other Christians into their own sinful and destructive lifestyles.  

What does this lifestyle look like?…They assume that the grace of God revealed in Christ gives them the “liberty” to do just about anything they want to do (2 Peter 2:19-20; Jude 1:4). They have no use for any kind of authority (especially spiritual authority, like angels; cf. 2 Peter 2:10-11; Jude 1:8-9). And so they engage in all manner of “sins of the flesh” illicit sex, perhaps including homosexuality, excess drinking and eating, greed for money (2 Peter 2:13-16, 18-20; Jude 1:16, 19). What is especially shocking is that both Peter and Jude make clear that these profligates are claiming to be Christians (2 Peter 2:1, 21-22; Jude 1:4).[1] They are, in effect at least, “denying the Lord” and are therefore destined for the condemnation reserved for those who rebel against the Lord… 

The letters of 2 Peter and Jude warn us about any tendency to treat sin lightly, to suppose that an immoral lifestyle can be pursued without any penalty…And they teach us the way to avoid this destructive path: by “remembering” (taking to heart, internalizing) the message of Christ and his apostles.   

1. This is also the implication of Jude 1:5-6, where Jude argues that the false teachers will share the fate of the Old Testament people of God who rebelled after being delivered at the Exodus and “the angels who did not keep their positions of authority” (Jude 1:6).

—Douglas J. Moo  

Source: Taken from The NIV Application Commentary: 2 Peter and Jude by Douglas J. Moo Copyright © 2011 by Douglas J. Moo. Used by permission of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

There comes a time when God’s patience runs out (Romans 2:4-10; 2 Peter 3:8-10; Jude 1:5). Those living in continual disobedience must not presume upon God’s grace, falsely assuming that God’s kindness means that he is winking at their sin. Nor should we take God’s forgiveness for granted. We must not sin willfully, thinking that by doing so we are simply giving God another opportunity to glorify himself by showing forth his mercy. As Paul would put it centuries later, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” (Romans 6:2). To do so is to reveal by one’s hardened disobedience that the saving power of God is not really in one’s life (see Romans 6:2-14).

—Scott Hafemann 

Source: Content taken from The God of Promise and the Life of Faith by Scott J. Hafemann, ©2001. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Quote retrieved from Grace Quotes at

The flesh works to make you forget the design (that you are saved to be holy) and think only of the remedy (if you sin you’ll be forgiven). It preaches half a gospel (a twisted gospel) to us: “Go ahead and indulge—it’s already paid for.” Those who fall prey to such deception are evidently many, since the Scriptures go to such lengths to condemn it (Romans 3:5-8; 6:1-4; Jude 1:4). 

—Kris Lundgaard

Source: The Enemy Within, Kris Lundgaard, Copyright 1998, P&R Publishing, Philipsburg, NJ. Quote retrieved from Grace Quotes at

Apostasy isn’t an unintentional departure or personal struggle with doubt. It is deliberately abandoning the truth for erroneous teaching. “The faith” refers specifically to the body of Christian doctrine, not the act of believing. Some will depart from “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3). People who understand and outwardly affirm Christian doctrine but don’t have a heart for God are prime candidates for being seduced by demons away from the faith. 

—John MacArthur 

Source: MacArthur, John. The Master’s Plan for the Church. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1991. Quote retrieved from Grace Quotes at

Jude isn’t going to get entangled in trying to sort out every heresy. Do you know what he does? He doesn’t talk about their doctrine; he talks about their life. He unmasks them… Jude’s description of them has to do with life and conduct. It has to do with how they live. 

—John MacArthur  

Source: Copyright 2023, Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by permission. This Grace to You article originally appeared here at

Jude Playlist

Discover music inspired by the message and content of the book of Jude.

No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus
by The Worship Initiative feat. Davy Flowers | Praise & Worship
More Songs