Jude 1:22

AKJV And of some have compassion, making a difference:

ASV:And on some have mercy, who are in doubt;

BBE And have pity on those who are in doubt;

BIB Καὶ (And) οὓς (those who) μὲν (indeed) ἐλεᾶτε (have mercy on), διακρινομένους (are doubting);

KJVLite And of some have compassion, making a difference:

NET And have mercy on those who waver;

Which is the Best Translation in context and how does it Affect our understanding of the verse?


There are two matters here - one textual and the other semantic.


There is a great deal of debate about the Greek text of Jude 22 - here is a sample:

  • UBS5/NA28/NA4: Καὶ οὓς μὲν ἐλεᾶτε διακρινομένους
  • W&H: Καὶ οὓς μὲν ἐλεᾶτε διακρινομένους σώζετε ἐκ πυρὸς ἁρπάζοντες,
  • Byzantine: Καὶ οὓς μὲν ἐλεεῖτε διακρινόμενοι·
  • Orthodox/Apostolic & TR: καὶ οὓς μὲν ἐλεεῖτε διακρινόμενοι,

For a full discussion about these variants and which MSS support which text type, etc, see UBS5. The textual variants explain some of the translations' variations.


The meaning of the verb διακρίνω, in this verse, διακρινομένους, which is: Present Participle Middle - Accusative Masculine Plural. It should thus be (strictly) translated "are doubting".

The verb διακρίνω comes from δια (= "via) + κρίνω (= judge or separate). BDB provides six basic meanings of this word of which the sixth is pertinent here because of the middle voice. That is, to be at variance with oneself is to doubt:

to be uncertain, be at odds with oneself, doubt, waver, eg, Matt 21:21, Mark 11:23, Rom 14:23, Jude 22, Luke 11:38, James 1:6, 2:4, Rom 4:20, Acts 10:20.

The text as per UBS5 simply asks those who find people struggling with doubt (who does not?!) to be kind and compassionate.

Note the comments by the Cambridge commentary:

  1. And of some have compassion, making a difference …] The MSS. present a strange variety of readings. Those of most authority give, Some rebuke (or convict, the same word as that used in John 16:8; Ephesians 5:11) when they debate with you (participle in the accusative case). The Received Text rests on the evidence of later MSS., but it may be questioned whether the participle (in this case in the nominative), which is in the middle voice, can have the meaning of “making a difference,” and even if we adopt that reading it would be better to render the word rebuke, as you debate with them, as with an implied reference to the same word as used in Jude 1:9. Internal evidence, as far as it goes, agrees with the better MSS.

What is the best translation for the word “Diakrino” in this Verse

ΙΟΥΔΑ 22 1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament (WHNU)

22 και ους μεν ελεατε διακρινομενους σωζετε εκ πυρος αρπαζοντες

Strong's Concordance: 1252. diakrinó

Usage: I separate, distinguish, discern one thing from another; I doubt, hesitate, waver.

Recommend reading Jude for better understanding in context.


"Diakrino" In Context of Jude's letter.

Jude is concerned that certain ungodly people have crept into the congregation (Vs 4) and were causing some to have distressing doubts,

Jude 1:16 NASB

16 These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; [o]they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

To continue having God's mercy the congregation and especially the elders must show mercy to those that have doubts (Jude 1:13) and were worthy of it.

Jude 1:21

21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.

Hence Jude wrote:

Jude 1:22-23 NASB

22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire, and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.


In the context of Jude's letter and in the consistency of translation of the word "Diakrino" in the scriptures the best word is "doubt"

The Greek word "ἐλεᾶτε" (have mercy on) implies a continuous action , so I have added the word "continue" in the verse

Strong's Lexicon

have mercy on

ἐλεᾶτε (eleate)

Verb - Present Imperative Active - 2nd Person Plural

Strong's Greek 1653: To pity, have mercy on. From eleos; to compassionate

A correct reading of the verse should read as follows:

"And continue showing mercy to those who have doubts."

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