ESV - 1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
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The author of the letter of Jude is usually considered to be the half-brother of Jesus, but another possible candidate is the apostle Jude. In Matthew 10:3, this Jude is called “Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus.” In Mark 3:18, he is listed as “Thaddaeus.” In Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13, he is “Judas ‘the son’ of James.” “Jude” or “Judas” may have been his birth name. Then he had two other names: ‘Lebbaeus’ and ‘Thaddaeus.’ ‘Lebbaeus’ probably means ‘a man of heart’ and ‘Thaddaeus’ his surname means ‘courageous.’ Jude calls himself “the brother of James.” The fact that this James is not further identified in Jude 1:1, means he must have been well known. He is not likely the half-brother of Jesus since Jude does not indicate he is related to Him. While he makes a point to mention he is a bondservant of Jesus, he does not mention Him as his brother, which is strange. He is definitely not the son of Zebedee. The only other James of significance is “James the son of Alphaeus” one of the twelve apostles. In lists of the apostles of Matthew and Mark, Jude follows this James suggesting some connection. In Luke and Acts he does not directly follow James, but he is identified with James. ‘The son’ in “Judas the son of James” is in italics meaning it was added for clarification. It is commonly understood as a father-son relationship, but it could possibly be a brother link as some versions have in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13. If so, this adds weight to Jude the apostle being the writer. Another reason to consider the apostle is that he was with Jesus and was learning to serve under Him. Jude’s denunciation of false teachers is reminiscent to Jesus denouncing the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23. Then there is another reason. In John 14, the Lord told the apostles of his impending death. At this point, the apostle John relates the only recorded words of Jude: “Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, ‘Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?’” John 14:21. Jude seems to have wondered why Jesus would manifest Himself to the disciples and not to the whole world as if this should be the timing of His rule. In His answer Jesus indirectly suggests there will be others if they love Him. And if they love Him they will keep His words. This indicates Jude was very attentive to Jesus’ farewell speech, which included His coming again for them, the sending of the Helper the Spirit of truth, their need to abide in His love, and the promise of answered prayer. If this Jude is the author, he seems to echo these thoughts when he wrote: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21. Many have noted that Jude compares with II Peter 2. But their content differs more than it appears. They both mention the judgment of angels and of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but they differ in what they say about Balaam. Only Peter mentions Noah being saved from the flood and righteous Lot being delivered, while only Jude speaks about Michael the archangel contending with the devil over Moses’ body, the rebellion of Korah, and the prophecy of Enoch. It is noteworthy that in his letter Jude uses eleven words found nowhere else in the New Testament. Both use different word pictures describing the false teachers. Jude seems to come after Peter since Peter warned “there will be false teachers among you,” and Jude claimed they “have crept in.” They wrote independently of each other even while presenting the same warning.
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