5

Jde 1:3 YLT - Beloved, all diligence using to write to you concerning the common salvation, I had necessity to write to you, exhorting to agonize for the faith once delivered to the saints,

Jde 1:3 MGNT - ἀγαπητοί πᾶσαν σπουδὴν ποιούμενος γράφειν ὑμῖν περὶ τῆς κοινῆς ἡμῶν σωτηρίας ἀνάγκην ἔσχον γράψαι ὑμῖν παρακαλῶν ἐπαγωνίζεσθαι τῇ ἅπαξ παραδοθείσῃ τοῖς ἁγίοις πίστει

Is he referring to a document, such as a particular gospel? Or perhaps a speech of Jesus, such as the Sermon on the Mount?

And is he using "the faith" as a synonym of "the gospel of the kingdom"?

4
  • The "NT" did not yet exist. The letters were written before the gospels and Acts! So what document had been delivered? In what form was the NT message delivered to the Holy "once and for all"?
    – Ruminator
    Aug 2 '20 at 21:45
  • The faith was promised (in Eden to start) and prefigured (in Abraham to start) but was 'once delivered' in Christ.. It is not referring to a document but to 'the faith'. Galatians 4:4-7 Aug 2 '20 at 21:45
  • Thanks for the comment Mike. So what of the later revelations in Acts 10, Acts 15 and Paul's writings?
    – Ruminator
    Aug 2 '20 at 21:48
  • Thank you for sharing your viewpoint. youtu.be/_YAclFXGGpM
    – Ruminator
    Aug 2 '20 at 22:02
5
+500

Sometimes our viewpoint of the first century church is badly skewed by our Bible-centric approach to faith. We don't intuitively understand how the first generations of church functioned without what we consider to be an essential component of Christian belief. In essence, we need to understand why we have a New Testament at all: the reason these texts were preserved was in order to preserve the original apostolic teaching as received by the early church.

The New Testament did not exist as a recognised single set of texts for the original generation of believers, and was never promised or idealised as some kind of essential component of our faith. This is a key difference between the legacies of Jesus and Mohammed - Mohammed wrote a book, but Jesus trained Disciples. As was once observed by C S Lewis, "[God] seems to do nothing of himself which He can possibly delegate to His creatures."


What Was The Faith once Delivered?

The first generation did have one clear thing in common - each was established by one of the Apostles, or another leader closely linked with them. Jesus had trained up specific individuals who were sent to establish churches:

"you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

During the early centuries of the church, there were diverging approaches to faith - some more Greek, some more Jewish, and others of Gnostic or other strands. When Jude talks about the 'faith once delivered', he's seeking to turn the people back to the original teaching received by the Apostles who founded their churches, and not to the newer variations of faith. This is borne out several times in the text:

"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." (Jude 1:4)

Jude highlights that the current wave of teaching he is addressing is one which:

  1. Emphasises grace to the expense of morality and holiness (v4 / v19)
  2. Denies Jesus Christ as δεσπότης (master/sovereign) and Lord (v4)
  3. Discards the original leadership and teaching of the church (v8)

In his response, he points them back to the teaching of the Apostles - persevering in prayer, building one another up in faith and remaining in the love and mercy of God and of the Lord Jesus:

"But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life." (Jude 1:17-20)


How was it delivered?

"Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Paul lays out the ordering of authority commonly understood by the early church - their doctrine was first of all founded on the teaching of the first generation of Apostles. Secondly, they were firmly rooted in the Old Testament, commonly referred to by early Christians as the Prophets. Thirdly, they had their own human teachers - Evangelists, pastors and teachers. As the second century progressed, 'Evangelist' soon became a recognised term for the Gospel accounts, and so these first three in Paul's list were typically understood to be a summation of the NT Letters, OT Texts and the NT Gospels, and then the latter two were the earthly teachers within their own church contexts.

The Apostolic Fathers writing in the second century (notably Clement of Rome & Ignatius) repeatedly called churches to return to obedience to the elders appointed by the Apostles and those approved by them, and so even before the NT was canonised the general thrust of church history is all about adhering to the original teaching and authority set forth by the Apostles and those they had approved/appointed to lead the church.

And so by these collective sources coupled with the living witness of the Holy Spirit, the entire church was admonished to carry on the true Apostolic tradition delivered by Christ through the Apostles to the church. The Apostles, together with all that they taught, including the preserved teaching of Christ was this 'true faith' once delivered for which the early church contended. There was no contemporary expectation of continuing 'apostleship' in the church beyond this first generation, and so this was considered a one-time event.

The 'delivery' of the faith was not a brief moment, but an extended duration encompassing the Apostles' time on earth. As "Apostles" (messengers/envoys) their very ministry was the delivery of the faith to the first churches. And so the accurate preservation and adherence to their teaching was the key concern.


Appendix A: If early Christians didn't have complete Bibles, what was their source of authority?

As not all churches had access to written accounts of Apostolic writings (and much of the church was illiterate) oral tradition had a very large but difficult to measure place to play in their understanding. The Apostles' teaching was ultimately formalised in the NT Letters, but for a long time was also maintained through oral traditions and secondary documents such as the Didache. By comparing the Didache with Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5-7, we can perhaps understand for ourselves how this first generation 'oral teaching' was often a reformulation of words and phrases handed down from the Apostles to the early church, codified into bite-sized units that could be memorised and passed on from disciple to disciple.

In part this contributed to the fracturing of agreed doctrine between churches, as churches in each region had access to slightly different sets of texts and different received traditions, and were subject to the leadership of their own leaders who might have had their own perspectives on matters. Today we understand the codification of the New Testament to be part of that effort to formalise across all churches which letters they understood to bear that original, authentic Apostolic authority - and therefore a common standard for how all churches were to pursue and adhere to the original received teachings as set forth by Christ to his Apostles.


Appendix B: Would Jude perceive disparity between the teaching of the Twelve and Paul?

Some modern scholarship influenced by the legacy of the Reformation tends to portray a big divide between Paul and the other Apostles, but based on the NT accounts of their interactions and later witnesses there's no contemporary mention of the two being in conflict. I would point to Acts 15:1-15 and 2 Peter as key evidence for this:

Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16)

As far as we can tell, Jude and the rest of the early church fathers saw the 'Apostolic generation' as being in one accord when it came to the core teaching of 'the faith'. The "once delivered" aspect does not just refer to the literal written and spoken material delivered by Jesus to the Apostles, but also the Apostles and teachers they appointed themselves as being key sources of truth. The Faith once delivered to the saints was one which held all the Apostles and their appointed representatives as authoritative sources of truth.

Jude's view of faith (as well as Paul's, incidentally) assumes unity and conformance throughout the church, its people and its teachings. On the other hand, the false teachers he targets are those whom sow discord by setting up teachings and teachers against one another, trying to fracture the church by pitting God's words against one another:

"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." (Jude 1:8)

Again, Clement of Rome and Ignatius' letters in the second century expounded these themes more fully not too long afterwards.

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  • 1
    Hi Steve. What an excellent answer! It falls just a little short of an answer, though, to my mind, in that Jesus taught the 12 one thing and it wasn't until Paul that much more was "delivered to the saints". Paul claims to have received his revelations (as did John of Revelation) directly from the risen Christ. When/how did Jude see the faith being "once and for all" delivered? It still seems to be an open question. I think you get 90% of the way there, though, so definitely +1 way up! And thanks! [It would be very easy to see Jude's letter as opposing Paul as "novel"! See Acts 1:21-22]
    – Ruminator
    Aug 3 '20 at 14:08
  • Thanks @Ruminator - I've added a second appendix with the aim of addressing this facet of the question. Have tried to pick on a sufficient number of key sources, but let me know if anything needs more detailed justification to address your original question. Have a great day.
    – Steve Taylor
    Aug 3 '20 at 14:35
  • So would you say that Paul was just repeating what Jesus taught the 12?
    – Ruminator
    Aug 3 '20 at 14:46
  • 1
    Thank you for your excellent work on this. I consider this a question of great significance and will have mull over all this for a while before I feel "settled" on what Jude is saying, given his particular historical context, etc. Peace.
    – Ruminator
    Aug 4 '20 at 14:10
  • 1
    @SteveTaylor You wrote "The appointing and sending of the one and only generation of Apostles was the 'one-time delivery'.". So why, does Jude cite the OT, and the "apocryphal" scrolls of Enoch and the Assumption of Moses to prove his point? I think your answer does not hold up. And the 4 gospels and Acts had not been written yet. Nor Revelation. Etc. Sorry, Dude, I disagree with your answer (as an answer). But this site is political, not dispassionate in pursuit of truth.
    – Ruminator
    Aug 8 '20 at 19:37
-1

Faith given to the saints once and for always

Cutting to the chase in simple terms the faith given to the saints is that Jesus Christ saves and obeying Him leads to eternal life. There is no other truth that matters and is as central to the walk of the saints as this one central belief(faith).

““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:16-18‬ ‭

For there is only one name given to man through which to be saved.

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭

This is the faith given once and forever (απαξ)

Exhortation to fight for the faith

Jude is saying that this faith needs to be fought for until the very end. One ought not feel that just on account of knowing that Jesus saves and intellectually believing this to be true is sufficient to also end in the faith. Being saved from sins and lacking sanctification and not walking a life of obedience to Christ will still end in the wrath of Jesus over said believers.

“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” ‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭

Just because someone entered into salvation and had their sins forgiven, (likened onto being saved from Egypt), does not mean one will make it into God’s kingdom if this faith is not kept until the end, through sanctification and obedience.

Keeping the faith given to the saints

Jesus explains what it means to believe in Him. It means to obey His commandments. (Again the children of Israel died though saved from Egypt because they lacked the faith that God could take them all the way to Canaan, and chose not to obey when told to attack, and attacked when told not to attack, so the Lord destroyed them all, Numbers13&14) Jude v5 uses this example that Jesus has no problem destroying those He saves if they fail to remain in the faith.

““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” ‭‭John‬ ‭14:12, 15

For it is not enough to say one believeS in Jesus but does not obey Him. In the words of Jesus

“Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (obey). I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” ‭‭John‬ ‭10:25-28‬ ‭

Paul exhorts believers to work together in keeping the faith.

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel(good news), and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:27-28‬ ‭

Because it is possible to get saved and lose faith that anchors the believer along the way as Paul explains to Timothy.

“This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”1 Timothy‬ ‭1:18-20‬

And he repeats himself later urging a Timothy to see the imperative of fighting to keep and contend for the faith.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:12‬ ‭

Jesus sanctifies the saints through faith

The purpose of knowing that Jesus is the way to eternal life is ultimately not merely to have sins forgiven but to sanctify ones life

“And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant andwitness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles— to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭26:15-18‬ ‭

Concluding remarks

And to conclude there is only one faith And it’s purpose is ultimately to build the whole body of Christ

“one Lord, one faith, one baptism, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:5, 12-16‬ ‭

Ultimately faith will be rewarded

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭4:7-8‬ ‭

-1

In Jude 1:3, when and how was the faith “once delivered to the holy”?

How was the faith “once delivered to the holy”?

From the list below Jude had access to all of the NT books except the books of John, so the faith was delivered to the holy ones by means of the inspired by the spirit word of God, the "Bible", Paul wrote:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

New Testament books, when written from Biblegateway.

https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2016/02/when-was-each-book-of-the-bible-written/

James: AD 44-49 Galatians: AD 49-50 Mark: AD 50-60 Matthew: AD 50-60 1 Thessalonians: AD 51 2 Thessalonians: AD 51-52 1 Corinthians: AD 55 2 Corinthians: AD 55-56 Romans: AD 56 Luke: AD 60-61 Ephesians: AD 60-62 Philippians: AD 60-62 Philemon: AD 60-62 Colossians: AD 60-62 Acts: AD 62 1 Timothy: AD 62-64 Titus: AD 62-64 1 Peter: AD 64-65 2 Timothy: AD 66-67 2 Peter: AD 67-68 Hebrews: AD 67-69 Jude: AD 68-70 John: AD 80-90 1 John: AD 90-95 2 John: AD 90-9 3 John: AD 90-95 Revelation: AD 94-96

Paul wrote that faith is the basis for hope and the evidence for the conviction of things about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11 (NASB)

11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old [d]gained approval.

Jesus said your word is the truth. (John 17:17) Therefore all the truths spoken by Jesus, and his inspired disciples make up the true Christian "faith", including the Hebrew scriptures to which Jesus and the writers of the Christian scriptures quoted from to support their statements.

8
  • Actually, Jude mostly cites the scrolls of Enoch and The Assumption of Moses!
    – Ruminator
    Aug 8 '20 at 19:04
  • Ruminator:Apparently, Jude wrote shortly after Peter penned his second letter. Jude no doubt was familiar with this letter. Certainly, he expressed many comparable thoughts in his own powerful letter of exhortation. Therefore, as you read 2 Peter chapter 2, you will note how similar it is to Jude’s letter. Aug 8 '20 at 19:19
  • Yes, definitely similar. Was that intended to relate to my comment?
    – Ruminator
    Aug 8 '20 at 19:22
  • Ruminator : In his short and owerful letter, Jude refutes their wicked reasonings by citing three examples of God's judgments in times past: against the Israelites who were “not showing faith”; against the “angels that . . forsook their own proper dwelling place” in order to sin with women; and against the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, who “had committed fornication excessively and gone out after flesh for unnatural use.” (Jude 5-7; Gen 6:2-4; 19:4-25; Numb 14:35) In each case, God brought a powerful judgment against the sinners. The proph of Enoch is not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible Aug 8 '20 at 19:46
  • NWT Jude 1:14 Yes, the seventh one in line from Adam, Eʹnoch,+ also prophesied about them when he said: “Look! Jehovah* came with his holy myriads*+ 15 to execute judgment against all,+ and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.”+
    – Ruminator
    Aug 8 '20 at 19:49
-2

Which Gospel accounts predate [Jude] ?

  • 'The book of [Jude] is a General Epistle (Apostolic Letter). The author is [Jude] the brother of James, both of who are half-brothers of Jesus Christ. Jude wrote it circa 75 A.D. The purpose of this book is to address false teachings and to illustrate a contrast between the error of heresy and the truth of Jesus Christ.' - Jay Smith (biblehub.com)

  • 'The Gospel of [Mark] probably dates from c. AD 66–70, [Matthew] and [Luke] around AD 85–90, and [John] AD 90–110.' [https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel]

If the author of [Jude] is describing a Gospel account as "faith once delivered" prior to composing his own epistle, then the Gospel referenced is [Mark].

1
  • As it stands, this response is without substantiation or links or other references and is thus simply an opinion. This is far below the standard expected on this hermeneutic site. Please consider a substantial edit. See the above two answers as examples of how the site runs and what is expected. Thank you.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 8 '20 at 14:05
-2

Jude wrote his epistle rather late. He would have likely already read some of the apostles' epistles including Paul's as model examples.

The key to answer this question is its target audience or lack of it.

Jude 1:1 To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ

Jude purposely addressed his letter to general audience instead of a specific congregation.

1:3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you

No names, no titles, like elders and deacons, just general Jewish and Gentile friends. Because of its general audience nature, I do not think that Jude had a specific document or a specific gathering in mind when he wrote the following:

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people.

This epistle was meant to be circulated. Whoever read this in wherever had to make sense of this. The hearers were taught the Good News of faith in Jesus dying on the Cross once and for all and now entrusted to the hearers once and for all. They were aware of the special time they were in. Jude was referring to the hearers' basic knowledge of the faith. Most of them heard the Good News and unable to read.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 We speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.

This general nature of the epistle is confirmed later in

Jude 1:17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”

This was not the first time they heard this. It was another piece of common knowledge to them at that time of church history.

Jude 1:3 and 1:17 both refer to the basic knowledge that the general audience knew and remembered at the time of Jude's writing because they were told repeatedly on different occasions.

-3

Mea culpa. When I posed this question I mistakenly read the words "the faith once delivered to the saints" (τῇ ἅπαξ παραδοθείσῃ τοῖς ἁγίοις πίστει) as something along the lines of "to the teaching delivered in a single deposit to the saints". IE: I pictured a single document somewhere that constituted the Christian religion.

But looking forward just a couple of verses I discovered evidence that what Jude is saying is that it was the first, not the only message, not the only one or even the total one:

Jde 1:5 NLT - So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful.

Jde 1:5 MGNT - ὑπομνῆσαι δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι εἰδότας ὑμᾶς πάντα ὅτι ὁ κύριος ἅπαξ λαὸν ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου σώσας τὸ δεύτερον τοὺς μὴ πιστεύσαντας ἀπώλεσεν

In the next verse also he points to the Watchers who didn't stay put but were enticed away from their "original position":

Jde 1:6 NLT - And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.

Jde 1:6 MGNT - ἀγγέλους τε τοὺς μὴ τηρήσαντας τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἀρχὴν ἀλλὰ ἀπολιπόντας τὸ ἴδιον οἰκητήριον εἰς κρίσιν μεγάλης ἡμέρας δεσμοῖς ἀϊδίοις ὑπὸ ζόφον τετήρηκεν

He mentions teachers that have abandoned their "roots":

Jde 1:12 YLT - 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;

Jde 1:12 MGNT - οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἐν ταῖς ἀγάπαις ὑμῶν σπιλάδες συνευωχούμενοι ἀφόβως ἑαυτοὺς ποιμαίνοντες νεφέλαι ἄνυδροι ὑπὸ ἀνέμων παραφερόμεναι δένδρα φθινοπωρινὰ ἄκαρπα δὶς ἀποθανόντα ἐκριζωθέντα

We see this same idea of the first truths trumping later "truths" strongly appealed to in the first chapter of 1 John:

1Jo 1:1-9 NASB - What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and [yet] walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The novel teaching that Jude is concerned with is specifically those who teach that Christ brought forensic righteousness apart from practical holiness:

Jde 1:4 NLT - I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God's marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

So the way that Jude "contends for the faith that was first taught to the saints" is to remind them of others in the past who left the first principles and were condemned and destroyed.

In verses 8-11 he seems to call attention to the way that these teachers are overconfident in their own dreams and without temerity scoff at the apostles, and even charge money for their services. But in fact they go so far as to contradict Christ's instructions.

In verse 12 he alludes to a proverb about a person who boasts of a false gift:

Jde 1:6, 12 NLT - And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. ... When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord's love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots.

Pro 25:14 NLT - A person who promises a gift but doesn't give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain.

Unlike Elijah, there is a lot of bluster but no rain. The rain comes through diligence in obedience and prayer. And worse still, they don't just disappoint but pose grave danger to those who lend them an uncritical ear, like hidden reefs threaten to sink any ship that does not pass from from them. He provides the true path to safe passage:

Jde 1:20-21, 24-25 NLT - But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God's love. ... Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

17
  • 1. Perhaps you should rely on a more literal and less paraphrastic English translation of the Bible if you are going to involve yourself in exegesis. 2. ἅπαξ does not mean “first.” Aug 4 '20 at 18:07
  • Hmm... given the context, what does Jude mean by it?
    – Ruminator
    Aug 4 '20 at 18:26
  • 2
    Re: downvote, yes, I did, although (1) it's not your business who I downvote, and (2) I downvoted you because I thought you were erroneously translating ἅπαξ. I still think you're erroneously translating it, but I now see why you did, as you're using the MGNT which places ἅπαξ at another point in the Greek text compared to, say, Textus Receptus. So, I will retract my downvote because at least you have a valid basis for understanding ἅπαξ the way you do (i.e., based on the Greek text) and not because you arbitrarily decided to translate it based on eisegesis. Well, if you edit, I can retract. Aug 5 '20 at 1:59
  • 3
    You know @Ruminator, you were very specific over the precise meaning of your question to the point I needed to add multiple new sections to cover very specific elements. And then at the end, after it has finally been answered to your satisfaction, you post your own answer that doesn't include any of the elements you said were of interest. This is a fair reflection on Jude, but not with respect to the Question you were seeking an Answer to. I think you'd be better starting a new Question and re-posting this as your answer.
    – Steve Taylor
    Aug 7 '20 at 8:04
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    @Ruminator No problem. I believe you. I'll be rewarding Steve as I believe his answer is the best answer and I do not believe the Greek text you based your answer on is correct. Aug 7 '20 at 17:09

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