A while back Dan asked what seems to be a difficult text-critical question regarding Jude 5: whether it says "Jesus" or "the Lord" led the people out of the land. One of the reasons the UBS committee decided on the κύριος reading was that the Ἰησοῦς reading "was difficult to the point of impossibility."

However, even with "the Lord" as the reading, I'm wondering who is identified by that title here? In verse 8, Moses refers (probably?) to God as the Lord, saying "The Lord rebuke you." But elsewhere he seems to refer to Jesus as the Lord. To whom is he referring here?

  • NWT Jude 5 "Although you are fully aware of all of this, I want to remind you that Jehovah, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those not showing faith."
    – user26950
    Feb 12, 2019 at 9:00
  • NWT's placement of the divine name here isn't based on any manuscript evidence.
    – Soldarnal
    Feb 5, 2022 at 15:42
  • Yes, see biblestudying.net/history-of-judaism7.html
    – Michael16
    Jun 16, 2022 at 12:30

2 Answers 2


First some facts:

The previous question on this at Who led the people of Israel out of Egypt in Jude 5? was posed and answered before some of the data below became available.

The following edited editions of the GNT have the reading in Jude 5, "Jesus": NA28, UBS5, THGNT.

All the rest I could find have the reading "Lord" including NA4, NA27, UBS4, Majority Text, W&H, Souter, Byzantine Text, Orthodox Text, TR, NIV, F35, etc. In Metzger's Textual Commentary on UBS4, he regards the textual evidence for "Jesus" as both "weighty" and consistent with "Critical Principles" (Perhaps he disagreed with the committee??)

So, now to the question. If the reading is "Lord" to what does this refer? The title, Kyrios" is certainly used by Jude to refer to Jesus such as v4, 14, 17, 21, 25. He possibly uses it to also refer to the Godhead generally in v9, but this could also be specifically Jesus as well. The same is true of v5.

1 Cor 10:4 is probably a precedent for saying that Jesus is the person who saved Israel out of Egypt. In the rest of the NT, of the approx. 740 occurrences of "kyrios" most often refers to Jesus.

Such a decision is a matter of personal judgement. In view of the above, I believe the evidence is that in Jude 5, if the reading is "Lord" it refers to Jesus.

  • @ethos Comments are not a discussion forum. Please don't use them to carry on subject matter debates.
    – Caleb
    Feb 14, 2019 at 7:00

In Jude 1:1, 4, 21, and 25 as seen in English bibles, the word God is translated from the Greek words θεω, θεου, or θεον, each a form of θεός, and each referring to the supreme deity of Israel.

In Jude 1:4, the first appearance of the English word Lord is rendered from the Greek word δεσπότην, a form of δεσπότης meaning absolute ruler; i.e., a despot, and refers to the supreme deity of Israel. The second appearance of Lord in Jude 1:4 is translated from a different Greek word, κυριον, a form of κυριος, meaning supreme controller and also refers to the supreme deity of Israel

Lastly, in Jude 1:5, 9, 14, 17, and 21, the English word Lord is translated from the Greek word κυριον, a form of κύριος (also seen in Jude 1:9) meaning supreme controller. As explained in Jude 1:4 (see above), this word refers to the supreme deity of Israel.

Accordingly, the words "God" and "Lord" appearing in English translations of the book of Jude do NOT refer to Jesus, but to יהוה (YHVH), the Jewish name for the supreme deity of the ancient tribes and modern nation of Israel).

  • To clarify, you're saying in verses 17 and 21 that the word "Lord" in the phrase "Lord Jesus Christ" does not refer to Jesus?
    – Soldarnal
    Feb 17, 2019 at 19:02
  • This does not address the question and while up until the last paragraph is technically correct but somewhat irrelevant. The last paragraph is almost bizarre! Even in Jude and many other places in the NT, "Kyrios" refers (most often) to Jesus which the NT makes clear was YHWH of the OT and many places.
    – user25930
    Feb 17, 2019 at 20:23
  • 2
    The Judeo-Christian writer of the book of Jude might have applied the Greek words κυριον and κύριος to Jesus but, by definition, that's not the biblical meaning of those words; ergo, it isn't Jesus to whom the words refer. Yes, Jesus is believed by many to be "God" since his apotheosization by the early Catholic Church. But did Jesus ever claim to be a dictator-like δεσπότης? Or a κύριος ("supreme controller")? You decide. Feb 18, 2019 at 21:32

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