You will find an introduction and outline, here.

A prayer from the Book of Common Worship, for your use before reading;

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

1-2 Address and greeting: There are, of course, several “James”, James the brother of the Lord (Gal 1:19,2:9), James son of Alpheus (Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18), James son of Zebedee (Matt 4:21, Mark 1:19). This letter, like other NT letters, is written for those in the faith (v1).

3-4 Occasion and theme:

A-3 The appeal to “contend for the faith”: The purpose of the letter, an appeal to faithfulness.

B-4 The background to the appeal: The appeal is necessary because of “intruders”. But these intruders were prophesied long ago.

5-23 Body of the Letter

B’ 5-19 The background: A commentary on four prophecies of the doom of the ungodly

5-7,8-10,9 Three Old Testament types and interpretation Verses 5 refer to the Israelites who were punished in the wilderness (Num 14). Verse 6 rebellious angels (Gen 6:1-4 and 1 Enoch). Verse 7 Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:4-11). Verse 8 The “intruders” are of a similar type as those just mentioned in verses 5-7. The “glorious ones” are angels. Verse 9 refers to a story which does not appear in the Bible but is from Jewish tradition. The devil charged that Moses, because he had committed murder was therefore not worthy of burial. The archangel Michael defended Moses, but did not “bring about a condemnation of slander” but referred the matter to God.

11,12-13 Three more Old Testament types and interpretation. Cain, see Genesis 4:5, Balaam, see Num ch 22-24, Korah, see Num 16. Thus the author accuses the “intruders” of envy, avarice and arrogance. Cain commits the first murder out of envy. Balaam through his greed ends up leading Israel to apostasy. Korah, contested Moses authority.

Verse 12 could be translated “These are the people who feast with you at your fellowship meals, without reverence, like dangerous reefs. ( like a reef is a danger to a ship). Then there are examples of nature not following the laws ordained for it. “Apocalyptic writers expected such lawlessness in nature in the last days.” (Bauckham, 1185)

14-15 The prophecy of Enoch and interpretation: Notice the repetition of “ungodly”. These verses, in a sense, sum up the section verses 5-19- ones who act in ungodly conduct will be judged. The quotation is from 1 Enoch 1:9 (on the Book of Enoch, see here.)

17-18,19 The prophecy of the apostles and interpretation: The author balances the ancient prophecy of Enoch with the modern teaching of the Apostles- the ones who founded the church.

A’ 20-23 The appeal: Recall verse 3. The author gives four things the church must do to “carry on the fight for the faith”. (v 20-21). In verse 20, notice the Trinitarian form. Verses 22-23 tell how to act toward those influenced by false teachers.

24-25 Concluding doxology.

Read More About It

Bauckham, Richard J. “Jude” in HarperCollins Bible Commentary, rev. ed.James L Mays, ed. (New York: Society of Bible Literature) 2000.

Johnson, Luke Timothy, The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, rev. ed. (Minneapolis:Fortress Press) 1999. Chapter 22 “2 Peter and Jude”.

Quanbeck, Warren A., Pheme Perkins, “Jude” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Bruce M. Metzger, Roland E. Murphy eds. (New York: Oxford University Press) 1994.