From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain Second Peter and Jude             Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2018



List of All Sources Quoted At End of File







Verses 12-25




Verse 12                                             Translations

Weymouth:     These men--sunken rocks! --are those who share the pleasure of your love-feasts, unrestrained by fear while caring only for themselves; clouds without water, driven away by the winds; trees that cast their fruit, barren, doubly dead, uprooted;

WEB:              These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

Young’s:         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;

Conte (RC):    These ones are defiled within their

banquets, enjoying themselves and feeding them-

selves without fear; waterless clouds, which are

tossed about by winds; autumn trees, unfruitful,

twice dead, uprooted;


Verse 12         These are spots [so rendered also by NKJV; “hidden reefs,” English Standard Version; New American Standard Version].  Seen indeed, but their true nature concealed.  [51]

In 2 Peter 2:13 a word similar in form to that used here is employed, the meaning of which is “spots.”  “Hidden” is not called for by the meaning of the word, which is simply “cliffs” or “rocks.”  As these imperil ships, so does the conduct of the false teachers endanger the salvation of those who partake of the love feasts with them.  [16]  Contextually, however, since others didn’t seem to recognize their danger, they were “hidden”  from their eyes—unseen and unnoted.  Just as reefs could sink a ship when seen, an unseen one was even more dangerous. [rw]

                        Nothing is so terrible to the sailor as the rock hidden out of sight by the ocean.  The ship striking goes down to rise no more.  An old sailor told me he witnessed a case of this kind. The collision was so sudden that seven hundred passengers were all buried in a watery sepulcher; only about forty sailors, by good fortune, were saved, while the great steamer with her contents sank immediately.  This is a fearful metaphor.  [48]

                        On whether to translate “spots” or “reefs:  “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you.”—Rather, “These are the rocks in your feasts of charity, banqueting with you fearlessly;” or, “These are they who banquet together fearlessly, rocks in your feasts of charity.”  The former is preferable. But in any case we must probably read rocks—i.e., that on which those who meet them at your love-feasts will be wrecked—not “spots,” which is borrowed from 2 Peter 2:13.  But it is just possible that as spiloi, Peter’s word, may mean either “spots” or “rocks” (though most commonly the former), so Jude’s word (spilades) may mean either “spots” or “rocks” (though almost invariably the latter).  In an Orphic poem of the fourth century, spilades means “spots “; but this is rather late authority for its use in the first century.  Here “rocks” is the safer translation.  Peter is dwelling on the sensuality of these sinners, and for him “spots” is the more obvious metaphor.  Jude, in tracing an analogy between them and Cain, would be more likely to select “rocks.”  [46]     

in your feasts of charity [love feasts, NKJV].  The reference is probably to the Lord‘s Supper, called a feast or festival of love, because:  (1) it revealed the love of Christ to the world; (2) it was the means of strengthening the mutual love of the disciples: a festival which love originated, and where love reigned.  It has been supposed by many, that the reference here is to festivals which were subsequently called “Agapae,” and which are now known as “love-feasts”--meaning a festival immediately “preceding” the celebration of the Lord‘s Supper.  But there are strong objections to the supposition that there is reference here to such a festival. [31]

Or:  There was clear-cut authority for individuals to sponsor dinners that centered on helping the poor independent of what a congregation did or did not do:  . . . When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 12, NKJV).  Similarly, when one’s spiritual brothers and sisters would be invited to such a private affair, it would also be a “love feast” to demonstrate one’s appreciation and affection for the others.  [rw]

when they feast with you.  Showing that they were professors of religion.  [31]

feeding themselves.  Literally, shepherding themselves; and so Revision, shepherds that feed themselves; further their own schemes and lusts instead of tending the flock of God.  Compare Isaiah 56:11.  [2]

Jude is evidently referring to Ezekiel 34:2, 8, “Woe unto the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves.”  [50]

“Feeding themselves without fear,” should be, “Shepherds that without fear feed themselves.”  It is characteristic of the heretical teacher that he is thinking of himself rather than the flock.  [32]

without fear.  Of such judgments as visited Anannias and Sapphira.  Possibly, as Lumby suggests, implying a rebuke to the Christian congregations for having suffered [= permitted without punishing] such practices.  [2]

That is, without any fear of God, or reverence, selfishly and as gluttons, feeding themselves, not feeding the flock (34:2, 8, 10).  Such were the sons of Eli (1 Samuel 2:12-17).  [42] 

Even at a sacred feast they had no fear to indulge in excess and license.  And by their seductions they were as rocks under surface, dangerous to the unsuspecting mariners.  [39]

clouds they are without water.  Which promise rain in time of drought, but perform nothing of what they promise.  [5]

Empty, useless, easily carried along therefore by the wind, ostentatious and deceptive wherever they go.  [51]

A like comparison is found in Proverbs 25:14 (“Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain”).  Men look in the hot climate of the East look to the cloud as giving promise of the rain from heaven.  It is a bitter disappointment when it passes away leaving the earth hard and unrefreshed as before.  [38]

The figures emphasize the idea that the professions of the “ungodly” held out a promise of spiritual helpfulness, which their practice wholly belied.  [45]

carried about of winds.  The clouds are not only useless but purposeless, driven about by winds.  [37]

Men would look in vain to these false teachers, shifting alike in their movements and their teaching, borne to and fro by “every wind of doctrine” (compare Ephesians 4:14), for any spiritual refreshment.  [38]

This figure describes the internal emptiness and deceptive ostentation of these men (Huther), as well as their want of stability in the truth.  See 2 Peter 2:17.  [50]

trees whose fruit withereth.  The word rendered “withereth” (φθινοπωρινὰ  phthinopōrina) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.  It means, properly, “autumnal;” and the expression here denotes “trees of autumn,” that is, trees stripped of leaves and verdure; trees on which there is no fruit.--Robinson‘s Lexicon.  The sense, in the use of this word, therefore, is not exactly that which is expressed in our translation, that the fruit has “withered,” but rather that they are like the trees of autumn, which are stripped and bare. [31]

Or:  Literally, autumn-withering trees. This may mean either simply “autumnal trees,” as “in the sere and yellow leaf” that is the forerunner of decay, or “trees that wither just at the very season when men look for fruit,” and which are therefore fit symbols of the false teachers who are known “by their fruits.”  The use of a cognate word in Pindar (Pyth. v. 161) suggests, however, that the part of the compound word that corresponds to “autumn” may, like our “harvest,” be taken as a collective expression for the fruits of that season, and so the term, as used by Jude, would mean “trees that wither and blight their fruit instead of bringing it to maturity.”  The addition of “without fruit” is accordingly not a mere rhetorical iteration, but states the fact that the withering process was complete.  The parable implied in the description was familiar to the disciples from the teaching both of John the Baptist and our Lord (Matthew 3:10, 7:16-20; Luke 13:6-9, and the Miracle of the Barren Fig-tree, Matthew 21:19).  [38]

without fruit.  Either they are wholly barren, like the barren fig-tree, or the fruit which was set never ripens, but falls off. They are, therefore, useless as religious instructors--as much so as a tree is which produces no fruit.  [31]

twice dead.  In sin, first by nature, and afterwards by apostasy.  [15]

Not only the apparent death of winter, but a real death; so that it only remains to pluck them up by the roots.  [2]

That is, either meaning that they are seen to be dead in two successive seasons, showing that there is no hope that they will revive and be valuable; or, using the word “twice” to denote emphasis, meaning that they are absolutely or altogether dead. Perhaps the idea is, that successive summers and winters have passed over them, and that no signs of life appear.  [31]

An emphatic way of saying that it was absolutely certain that these men would never be of any use whatever.  [45]

           plucked up by the roots.  And so never likely to bear fruit, and fit only for the fire; it notes the incurableness of their apostasy, and their nearness to destruction.  [28]

            The wind blows them down, or they are removed by the husbandman as only cumbering the ground.  They are not cut down--leaving a stump that might sprout again--but they are extirpated root and branch; that is, they are wholly worthless. There is a regular ascent in this climax.  First, the apostle sees a tree apparently of autumn, stripped and leafless; then he sees it to be a tree that bears no fruit; then he sees it to be a tree over which successive winters and summers pass and no signs of life appear; then as wholly extirpated.  [31]


                        In depth:  Differences on what “love feasts” would refer to [47].  Commentators, however, are not agreed what sort of feasts they were.  Some think they were those suppers which the first Christians ate previous to their eating the Lord’s supper, of which Paul is supposed to have spoken 1 Corinthians 11:21; but which, in consequence of the abuse of them by persons of a character like those here described, were soon laid aside.  Others think Jude is speaking of the ancient love-suppers, which Tertullian hath described, (Apol., chap. 39,) and which do not seem to have been accompanied with the eucharist.  These were continued in the church to the middle of the fourth century, when they were prohibited to be kept in the churches.  Dr. Benson observes, “they were called love-feasts, or suppers, because the richer Christians brought in a variety of provisions to feed the poor, the fatherless, the widows, and strangers, and ate with them to show their love to them.”  


                        And:  The “feasts of charity” or of love (Agapae) spoken of in these verses are not strictly the Lord’s Supper, though it is probable that the observance of the Lord’s Supper was sometimes connected with them.  The historical facts, the use of the pronoun “your feasts of love” (Jude verse 12), and the customs spoken of in 1 Corinthians 11, all point to a wider meaning.  They seem to have been social gatherings of Christians for promoting kindly feeling and helping the poor.  Dr. Lightfoot notes (on 1 Corinthians 10:16) that the Jews had meetings of this kind at the close of their Sabbath, and found a sanction for them in Deuteronomy 12:5, 7, 12; 14:23-29.  Pliny and Tertullian both speak of them, and distinguish them from the simple Eucharist, Pliny apparently (x. 97, 98), and Tertullian certainly.  In the fourth century the Council of Carthage forbade the holding of them in the churches; and the transference of the Lord’s Supper from the evening to the morning originated in part in the abuses to which the blending of the two led.  [51]        


                        In depth:  Tertullian’s description of what “love feasts” were like approaching 200 A.D. [45].  Tertullian in his Defense of Christianity, addressed to the Roman Government, about A.D. 197, gives the following account of the love-feast, chapter 39, “As it is an act of religious service, it permits no vileness or immodesty.  The participants, before sitting down to supper (literally, “reclining,” the [posture] in which the Greeks and the Romans took their meals), taste first of prayer to God.  As much is eaten as satisfies the cravings of hunger; as much is drunk as befits the chaste.  They say it is enough, since they remember that they must worship God even at night; they talk as those who know that the Lord is one of their hearers.  After washing of hands, lights are brought in, and each is asked to stand forth and sing, as he can, a hymn to God, either one from the holy Scriptures or one of his own composing—a proof of the moderation of our drinking.  As the feast began with prayer, so also it is closed with prayer.” 



Verse 13                                             Translations

Weymouth:     wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom is reserved dense darkness of age-long duration.

WEB:              wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.

Young’s:         wild waves of a sea, foaming out their own shames; stars going astray, to whom the gloom of the darkness to the age hath been kept.

Conte (RC):    raging waves of the sea, foaming

from their own confusion; wandering stars, for

whom the whirlwind of darkness has been

reserved forever!


Verse 13         Raging waves of the sea.  The image here seems to be, that they were noisy and bold in their professions, and were as wild and ungovernable in their passions as the billows of the sea.  [31]

                        Unstable in their doctrine, and turbulent and furious in their tempers and manners, having no command of their irascible passions.  [47]

foaming out their own shame.  That wickedness whereof they should be ashamed; like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt, Isaiah 57:20.  [28].

So with these noisy and vaunting teachers. What they impart is as unsubstantial and valueless as the foam of the ocean waves, and the result is in fact a proclamation of their own shame.  Men with so loud professions should produce much more.  [31]

The Greek word for “shame” is in the plural, as indicating the manifold forms of the impurity of the false teachers.  [38]

wandering stars.  Wandering from one error to another, and from one foul deed to another.  [42] 

The word for “wandering stars” is that which in the terminology of astronomy distinguishes the “planets” from the fixed stars.  Here, however, the ordered regularity of planetary motion supplies no fit point of comparison, and we may probably see in the words a reference either to comets or shooting stars, whose irregular appearance, startling and terrifying men, and then vanishing into darkness, would present an analogue to the short-lived fame and baleful influence of the false teachers whom Jude has in view. [38]

However:  Nothing is gained by understanding comets, which have their orbits, and do not wander, in Jude’s sense, any more than planets do.  The image is that of stars leaving their place in the heavens, where they are beautiful and useful, and wandering away (to the utter confusion of every one who directs his course by them) into sunless gloom, where their light is extinguished, and whence they cannot return.  [46]

The sense seems to be, that the aid which we derive from the stars, as in navigation, is in the fact that they are regular in their places and movements, and thus the mariner can determine his position.  If they had no regular places and movements, they would be useless to the seaman.  So with false religious teachers.  No dependence can be placed on them.  It is not uncommon to compare a religious teacher to a star, Revelation 1:16; 2:1.  Compare Revelation 22:16.  [31].

to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.  As the shooting stars go out in darkness, so these will pass into eternal darkness.  [22]



Verse 14                                             Translations

Weymouth:     It was also about these that Enoch, who belonged to the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "The Lord has come, attended by myriads of His people, to execute judgement upon all,

WEB:              About these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones,

Young’s:         And prophesy also to these did the seventh from Adam -- Enoch -- saying, 'Lo, the Lord did come in His saintly myriads,

Conte (RC):    And about these, Enoch, the seventh

from Adam, also prophesied, saying: “Behold, the

Lord is arriving with thousands of his saints,


Verse 14         And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam.  Thus described to distinguish him from Enoch the son of Cain (Genesis 4:17), who was only the third from Adam.  [47]

The seventh in the direct line of descent from Adam.  The line of descent is Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahaleel, Jared, Enoch; see Genesis 5:3, following.  On the character of Enoch, see Hebrews 11:5.  [31]

                        The ancient image of Enoch as evangelist to the heavenly angels [46]:  The following passage from Irenæus (IV. X vi. 2) shows that he was acquainted with the book, and throws light on Jude’s use of it:—“Enoch also, pleasing God without circumcision, was God’s ambassador to the angels, although he was a man, and was raised to heaven, and is preserved even until now as a witness of the just judgment of God.  For the angels by transgression fell to earth for judgment, while a man, by pleasing God, was raised to heaven for salvation.”  The mission of Enoch to the fallen angels is narrated in the Book of Enoch, 12-16. 

                        The number seven as having a special significance in regard to Enoch [46]:  This is not inserted without special meaning.  It was scarcely needed to distinguish the son of Jared from the son of Cain; in that case it would have been more simple to say, “the son of Jared.”  It either points to the extreme antiquity of the prophecy, or else to the mystical and sabbatical number seven.  Enoch was [considered] a type of perfected humanity, and hence the notion of “divine completion and rest” is perhaps suggested here. 

Thus, Augustine, in his reply to Faustus the Manichæan (xii. 14):—“Enoch, the seventh from Adam, pleased God and was translated, as there is to be a seventh day of rest, in which all will be translated who during the sixth day of the world’s history are created anew by the incarnate Word.”  Several of the numbers connected with Enoch in Genesis seem to be symmetrical, and intended to convey a meaning.

prophesied of these.  That is, to men of this same character, who lived in his own day, as well as to these false teachers in the early Church.  [7]   

God has had in every age some to testify against the ungodly, and to warn them of the consequences of their sin at the future judgment.  [10]  

The credibility of Enoch being a prophet:  Though Moses has said nothing concerning Enoch’s prophesying, yet by telling us that he was a person of such piety, as to be translated to heaven in the body without dying, he hath warranted us to believe Jude’s account of him; namely, that God employed him.  [47]

saying.  He doth not say wrote, and therefore from hence it cannot be proved that there was any such book as Enoch’s prophecies, received by the Jews as canonical Scripture; but rather some prophecy of his delivered to them by tradition, to which here the apostle refers, as a thing known among them; and so argues against these heretics from their own concession, as Jude 1:9.  So here; q.d. These men own [= accept] the prophecy of Enoch, that the Lord comes to judgment, &c., and they themselves are in the number of those ungodly ones, and they to whom the prophecy is to be applied.  [28]

Or:  The quotation is from a book of Enoch, which, though apocryphal, doubtless had some truth in it, for we cannot suppose that the apostle puts in Enoch’s mouth what he never uttered. [13]

Behold, the Lord cometh [the Lord comes, NKJV; the Lord has come, God’s Word, ISV, Weymouth; the Lord came, English Revised Version, NASB, WEB; the Lord did come, Young’s Literal].  As reference to yet future events:  That is, the Lord will come.  It would seem from this to have been an early doctrine that the Lord would descend to the earth for judgment. [31]

As reference to events fulfilled long before the first century:  Greek, came or as come; describing, as not unfrequently, an occurrence in the midst of which the prophet sees himself standing.  [51]

We have the past tense of prophetic vision.  So certain is the event that the prophet describes it as already fulfilled.  The delay may seem long, sinful apostates may feel secure, but the hour will strike, and the Judge surely will appear.  [7]   

If Jude cites the text as already fulfilled, he then is not citing it as proof of what would happen in the yet future.  He cites it as precedent for Divine judgment.  What God has done previously, He is quite capable of doing again.  [rw]

Behold.  The certainty of Divine promises:  The deacons in Chrysostom’s time were appointed to call often upon the people in these words, Oremus, attendamus, Let us pray, let us pay attention.  I am afraid, saith a divine [=minister], most of us do believe the predictions of Scripture but as we believe the predictions of an almanac, which tells you that such a day will be rain, and such a day will he wind; you think it may come to pass, and it may not.  So here; such a threatening may be fulfilled, and it may not; let us venture it [= the latter]; it may be “the Lord will deal” with us not according to his present menaces, but “according to all his wondrous works,” as those rebellious Jews suggested to Jeremiah 21:2.  [29]

with ten thousands of his saints.  It is not with  his saints [KJV],” but with his holy ones, or holy angels, that He will come.  All the “myriads  of them shall descend with him from their blessed abodes, to increase the solemnity of that day, and to honor Him, to whom they owe their very existence.  This accords with the description given by Daniel (Daniel 7:9, 10), by Paul (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8), and by Christ Himself (Matthew 25:31).  [10]    

I.e. with his glorious attendance of myriads of angels; so called Hebrews 12:22.  So was He present at mount Sinai when He delivered the law; whence the psalmist saith, “The chariot of God is myriads of angels:  so the Chaldee; “And the Lord is among them as in Sinai,” Psalms lxviii. 18.  So, Deuteronomy 32:2, “The Lord cometh from Sinai with his myriads of holy ones:”  “with myriads of holy angels,” says the Talmud of Jerusalem, and Jonathan; and Zechariah 14:5, “The Lord my God shall come, and all his holy ones with Him,” i.e. and all his guards of angels; those who attend Him sitting on His throne (Daniel 7:10), or coming to execute judgment (Matthew 16:27, 25:31, 2 Thessalonians 1:7).  [4]


                        In depth:  Because this incident is unmentioned in Scripture, is it automatically to be rejected?   Martin Luther:  For this reason some of the Fathers did not receive this Epistle, although there is not a sufficient reason for rejecting a book on this account.  For Paul, also, in 2 Timothy 3, makes mention of two that opposed Moses—Jannes and Jambres—names that are not even to be found in the Scriptures.  [21]                         


                        In depth:  The “Book of Enoch” as viewed by ancient church leaders [38].  The history of the book which bears this title is a sufficiently remarkable one.  Jude’s reference to the prophecy of Enoch does not necessarily prove that he was acquainted with the book, but it at least shows the existence of traditions that had gathered round the patriarch’s name.  Allusions elsewhere to the fall of the angels (Justin, Apol. ii. 5) or to the work of Enoch in preaching to them (Iren. iv. 6), or to his knowledge of astronomy (Euseb. H. E. vii. 32), in like manner do not indicate more than the widely diffused belief that he represented not only the holiness, but the science of the antediluvian world.

The first Church writer who seems really to have known it is Tertullian (De Hab. Mul., c. 3), who, after giving at length the story how the angels that fell were allured by the beauty of the daughters of men, adds that he knows that the Book (scriptura) of Enoch is rejected by some as not being admitted into the Jewish “Storehouse” of holy writings.  He meets the supposed objection that such a book was not likely to have survived the deluge by the hypothesis that it might have been committed to the custody of Noah, and been handed down after him from one generation to another, or that he might have been specially inspired, if it had perished, to rewrite it, as Esdras was fabled (2 Esdras 14:38-48) to have re-written the whole Hebrew Canon. He defends his acceptance of it on the grounds (1) that it prophesied of Christ, and (2) that it had been quoted by Jude.

In another passage (de Idol. c. 15) he names Enoch as predicting certain superstitious practices of the heathen, and so as being the most ancient of all prophets.

Augustine, on the other hand, adopting the view that the “sons of God” of Genesis 6 were righteous men who fell into the temptation of lust, rejects the book (which he clearly knew) as apocryphal, and while he admits the prophecy quoted by Jude as authentic, dismisses all the rest as fabulous (De Civ. Dei, xv. 23).

After this the book seems to have dropped out of sight, and it is not again referred to by any ecclesiastical writer.  Fragments of it were found by Scaliger in the Chronographia of Georgius Syncellus, and printed by him in his notes on Eusebius in 1658.  In 1773, however, Bruce, the Abyssinian explorer, brought over three copies which he had found in the course of his travels, and one of these, presented to the Bodleian Library, was translated by Archbishop Lawrence and published in 1821.  Another and more fully edited translation was published in German by Dillmann in 1853.


                        In depth:  The “Enochian prophecy” that has survived:  A brief overview [2].  It is quoted from the apocryphal book of Enoch, directly, or from a tradition based upon it.  The passage in Enoch is as follows:  “Behold he comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and to destroy the wicked, and to strive (at law) with all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done and committed against him.” 

The Book of Enoch, which was known to the fathers of the second century, was lost for some centuries with the exception of a few fragments, and was found entire in a copy of the Ethiopic Bible, in 1773, by Bruce.  It became known to modern students through translation from this into English by Archbishop Lawrence, in 1821. 

It was probably written in Hebrew.  It consists of revelations purporting to have been given to Enoch and Noah, and its object is to vindicate the ways of diving providence, to set forth the retribution reserved for sinners, angelic or human, and “to repeat in every form the great principle that the world--natural, moral, and spiritual--is under the immediate government of God.” 

                        Besides an introduction it embraces five parts:  1.  A narrative of the fall of the angels, and of a tour of Enoch in company with an angel through heaven and earth, and of the mysteries seen by him.  2.  Parables concerning the kingdom of God, the Messiah, and the Messianic future.  3.  Astronomical and physical matter; attempting to reduce the images of the Old Testament to a physical system.  4.  Two visions, representing symbolically the history of the world to the Messianic completion.  5.  Exhortations of Enoch to Methuselah and his descendants.  The book shows no Christian influence, is highly moral in tone, and imitates the Old Testament myths.


In depth:  The “Enochian prophecy” that has survived:  A more detailed overview [38].  As regards its contents, it is a sufficiently strange farrago. The one passage which specially concerns us is found in c. ii., and is thus rendered by Archbishop Lawrence.  It comes as part of the first vision of Enoch:  God will be manifested and the mountains shall melt in the flame, and then “Behold he comes with ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment upon them, and to reprove all the carnal for everything which the wicked and ungodly have done and committed against him.”

In c. vii., viii. we have the legend of the loves of the angels and the birth of the giants, and the invention of arts and sciences.

Then comes a prophecy of the deluge (c. x.), and visions of the city of God (c. xiv.), and the names of the seven angels (c. xx.). He sees the dwelling-place of the dead, both good and evil (c. xxii.), and the tree of life which had been in Eden (c. xxiv.), and a field beyond the Erythraean Sea in which is the tree of knowledge (c. xxxi.).

Vision follows upon vision, until in c. xlvi. we have a reproduction of that in Daniel 7. of the Ancient of Days in the Son of Man, who is identified with the Messiah (c. xlvii.), the Chosen One of God.  And so the book goes on, leaving on the reader’s mind an impression like that of a delirious dream, with endless repetitions and scarcely the vestige of a plan or purpose.

The reader of the English Apocrypha may find the nearest accessible approach to the class of literature which it represents in the Second Book of Esdras, but that, in its profound and plaintive pessimism, has at least the elements of poetry and unity of purpose.  The Book of Enoch stands on a far lower level, and belongs to the class of writings in which the decay of Judaism was but too prolific, on which St Paul seems to pass a final sentence when he speaks of them as “old wives’ fables” (1 Timothy 4:7).



Verse 15                                             Translations

Weymouth:     and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly deeds which in their ungodliness they have committed, and of all the hard words which they, ungodly sinners as they are, have spoken against Him."

WEB:              to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

Young’s:         to do judgment against all, and to convict all their impious ones, concerning all their works of impiety that they did impiously, and concerning all the stiff things that speak against Him did impious sinners.'

Conte (RC):    to execute judgment against every-

one, and to reprove all the impious concerning all

the works of their impiety, by which they have

acted impiously, and concerning all the harsh

things that impious sinners have spoken against God.”


Verse 15         To execute judgment.  i.e to pronounce the doom, and see that it is carried out.  Then follows the description of these sinners.  The characteristic of the antediluvians, as of those whom Jude addresses, is ungodliness: [three] times is this quality named [in this verse], first and last and midst, in the description.  [51]

The Greek phrase occurs only here and John 5:27.  [46]

upon all.  That is, he shall come to judge all the dwellers upon the earth, good and bad.  [31]

                        and to convince [convict, NKJV] all that are ungodly among them.  The image of a trial is presented.  The evidence is now all in; the record fully complete.  Now the only question is what to do with the rightly accused.  [rw]

                        The double meaning of the Greek word is only half represented by “convince,” and only half by “convict;” both meanings are in the word, though the second meaning is the predominant one here.  [51]

of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed.  Saying it once would be enough to establish the fact.  Saying it twice makes it even more emphatic.  In other words their behavior is viewed as without the least moral validity.  [rw]

and of all their hard speeches [harsh things, NKJV].  When you don’t have the power to actually change things, all you have left are bitter and insulting words.  Since no one can make God do anything, the only resource His haters have left is to despise Him with the most insulting and outrageous misrepresentations they can conjure up.  [rw]

Hard speeches.—Compare John 6:60, the only other place where this epithet is applied to words.  The meaning is somewhat similar in each case:  harsh, repulsive, inhuman.  It does not mean “hard to understand.”  Nabal (1 Samuel 25:3) has this epithet with the LXX, where the Authorized version has “churlish.”  In the Ethiopic version of the Book of Enoch there appears to be nothing to represent “hard speeches . . . spoken” in this passage.  [46]

Rough, coarse [language]; used here in its ethical sense, and especially to describe arrogant blasphemy (1 Samuel 2:3; Malachi 3:13).  [51]

which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.  Although the immediate target may be believers who have compromised the Divine moral code, those who have never embraced it in the first place also find it equally necessary to conjure up empty and vain excuses for laying it all aside as well.  [rw]


                        In depth:  Some are convinced that not only verse 14 but also this verse represent a part of the prophecy of Enoch [31].  In regard to this passage, thus quoted from an ancient prophecy, we may remark:  (1) That the style bears the marks of its being a quotation, or of its being preserved by Jude in the language in which it had been handed down by tradition.  It is not the style of Jude.  It is not so terse, pointed, energetic.

                        (2) It has every probable mark of its having been actually delivered by Enoch.  The age in which he lived was corrupt.  The world was ripening for the deluge. He was himself a good man, and, as would seem perhaps, almost the only good man of his generation.  Nothing would be more natural than that he should be reproached by hard words and speeches, and nothing more natural than that he should have pointed the men of his own age to the future judgment.

                        (3) The doctrine of the final judgment, if this was uttered by Enoch, was an early doctrine in the world.  It was held even in the first generations of the race.  It was one of those great truths early communicated to man to restrain him from sin, and to lead him to prepare for the great events which are to occur on the earth.  The same doctrine has been transmitted from age to age, and is now one of the most important and the most affecting that refers to the final destiny of men.


                        In depth:  The concepts of verse 15 as found in “Enoch” [38].  The following is given as a literal translation of the prophecy as it stands in the Book of Enoch:  “And He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones, that He may execute judgment upon them and destroy the ungodly, and may plead with all the carnal ones for all the things which sinners and the ungodly have done or wrought against Him.”  Jude’s version differs from this in the reiterated use of the word “ungodly” as noun, adjective, verb and adverb.



Verse 16                                             Translations

Weymouth:     These men are murmurers, ever bemoaning their lot. Their lives are guided by their evil passions, and their mouths are full of big, boastful words, while they treat individual men with admiring reverence for the sake of the advantage they can gain.

WEB:              These are murmurers and complainers, walking after their lusts (and their mouth speaks proud things), showing respect of persons to gain advantage

Young’s:         These are murmurers, repiners; according to their desires walking, and their mouth doth speak great swellings, giving admiration to persons for the sake of profit;

Conte (RC):    These ones are complaining

murmurers, walking according to their own desires.

And their mouth is speaking arrogance, admiring

persons for the sake of gain.


Verse 16         These are murmurers [grumblers, NKJV].  Against men.  [15]

Or:  What these persons murmured and complained about is not indicated.  Probably they found fault with everything that they did not like in the doctrine and administration of the church.  [16]

Only here in New Testament.  Doubtless, originally, with some adaptation of sound to sense, gongustai.  It is used of the cooing of doves.  [2]

complainers.  Literally, discontented with their lot.  Men who “shape their course according to their own lusts” can never be content, for (1) the means of gratifying them are not always present, and (2) the lusts are insatiable.  Such was eminently the case with Balaam, in his cupidity and his chafing against the restraints which prevented him from gratifying it.  There is a possible reference to this verse in the Shepherd of Hermas (Sim. IX. xix. 3).  [46]

Or:  Literally, complainers of their fate, against God.  [15]

Nothing is more common than for men to complain of their lot; to think that it is hard; to compare theirs with that of others, and to blame God for not having made their circumstances different.  The poor complain that they are not rich like others; the sick that they are not well; the enslaved that they are not free; the bereaved that they are deprived of friends; the ugly that they are not beautiful; those in humble life that their lot was not cast among the great and the frivolous.  The virtue that is opposed to this is “contentment”--a virtue of inestimable value.  [31]

The Greek word for “complainers” has a more specific meaning, and means strictly blamers of fate, or, in modern phrase, finding fault with Providence.  They took, as it were, a pessimist view of their lot of life, perhaps of the order of the world generally.  The same word is used by Philo (Vit. Mos. p. 109) to describe the temper of the Israelites in the wilderness, and appears in the Characters of Theophrastus (c. xvii.) as the type of the extremest form of general discontent, which complains even of the weather.  [38]

walking after their own lusts.  Giving unlimited indulgence to their appetites and passions.  See 2 Peter 3:3.  [31]

This stands in connection with the foregoing as cause and effect.  The temper of self-indulgence, recognizing not God’s will, but man’s desires, as the law of action, is precisely that which issues in weariness and despair.  The Confessions of the Preacher present the two elements often in striking combination (Ecclesiastes 2:1-20).  [38]

and their mouth speaketh great swelling words.  The utterances of arrogance, and of assumption to being much greater and higher personages than they truly are.  [39]

When it was safe to do so, they blustered, and bullied, and played the superior person, but they cringed to rich men, and flattered them for the sake of dinners and presents.  [45]

having men's persons in admiration [flattering people, NKJV].  Admiring, flattering men to their faces, for whom they, perhaps, have no real respect.  [39]

Paying court to the corrupt, the rich, and the great, to further their own selfish designs. [14]

Showing great respect to certain persons, particularly the rich and the great.  The idea is, that they were not “just” in the esteem which they had for others, or that they did not appreciate them according to their real worth, but paid special attention to one class in order to promote their selfish ends.  [31]

Or:  Whether they flatter the powerful, or whether they flatter the mob, it is all one.  All is done for popularity—all for profit.  [41]

because of [to gain, NKJV] advantage.  Admiring and commending them only for what they can get.  [15, 47]

Their reverence, such as they are capable of, is reserved for the possessors of wealth and influence.  [51]


Verse 17                                             Translations

Weymouth:     But as for you, my dearly-loved friends, remember the words that before now were spoken by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ--

WEB:              But you, beloved, remember the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Young’s:         and ye, beloved, remember ye the sayings spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Conte (RC):    But as for you, most beloved, be

mindful of the words which have been foretold by

the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,


Verse 17         But, beloved.  Better, as in verse 20, “But ye, beloved.”  “Ye” is emphatic in both cases:  “ye,” in contrast to these impious men.  All previous English versions insert the “ye.”  While taking the form of an exhortation, the passage still remains virtually descriptive.  “Be not ye deceived by their impudent boasting and interested pandering, for these are the scoffing sensualists against whom the Apostles warned you.”  [46]

remember ye.  He now exhorts the faithful to remain steadfast in the belief and practice of what they had heard from the apostles, who had also foretold that in after times (literally, in the last time [verse 18]), there should be false teachers, scoffing.  [12]

the words.   You have available not just the “thoughts” of the apostles as relayed through others, but their actual words.  There is simply no gainsaying what is about to be said as coming from any less an authoritative source than the very apostles themselves.  [rw]

which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The persons to whom Jude writes had received the Gospel message from the mouth of the Apostles themselves.  This warning had not only been spoken before, but it was a prophecy, which now had already received a partial fulfillment.  [50]

The passage stands in close parallelism with 2 Peter 3:2, but differs in speaking only of “apostles” and not of prophets, and apparently also in referring only or chiefly to the predictions of the apostles and not to their commandments.  If we could assume that 2 Peter was the earlier of the two Epistles, we might see in Jude’s language a reference to that of the Apostle.  [38]

The language implies that Jude was not an apostle.  [22]

On the other hand:  Jude does not exempt himself from the number of the apostles; for in the next verse he says, to you, not, to us.  [26]

                        When Jude entreats them to remember the words which were spoken by “the apostles,” it is not necessarily to be inferred that he was not himself an apostle, for he is speaking of what was past, and there might have been a special reason why he should refer to something that they would distinctly remember which had been spoken by the other apostles on this point.  Or it might be that he meant also to include himself among them, and to speak of the apostles collectively, without particularly specifying himself.  [31]



Verse 18                                             Translations

Weymouth:     how they declared to you, "In the last times there shall be scoffers, obeying only their own ungodly passions."

WEB:              They said to you that "In the last time there will be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts."

Young’s:         that they said to you, that in the last time there shall be scoffers, after their own desires of impieties going on,

Conte (RC):    who declared to you that, in the end

time, there would arrive mockers, walking according

to their own desires, in impieties.


Verse 18         How that they told [said to, ESV] you.  The New Testament does not contain any apostolic saying couched in exactly these words; the verse is probably a summary of more detailed teaching often repeated.  “Said” (elegon) means, strictly, “were in the habit of saying;” cf. on 1 John 2:18. [45]

                        you.  The churches addressed had, therefore, been ministered to by the apostles.  [45]

there should be mockers.  Better, “that there shall be scoffers.”  The quotation is direct, and is introduced formally by a word which in Greek commonly precedes a direct quotation.  This, however, scarcely amounts to proof that the quotation is from a written document. The word for “mockers” here is the same as that translated “scoffers” in 2 Peter 3:3.  The translation should be the same in both passages.  [46]

The general character of those described agrees with the picture drawn in 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1.  Jude, it will be noted, does not dwell on the specific form of mockery, the taunts as to the delay in the second coming of the Lord, on which Peter lays stress.  [38]

Those who “railed” and “blasphemed” would naturally pass to derision through their insolent assurance.  [45]

in the last time.  There is nothing to show that the author of our Epistle regards the Apostles as considerably removed in time from himself.  “In the last time” is their expression, not his; and by it they did not mean any age remote from themselves.  (Compare 1 John 2:18; 2 Timothy 3:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:6; Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20.)  [46]

The propriety of “last time” language being used in more than one sense:  The early church looked for a speedy close of the Christian era by the second coming of Christ; the years immediately before this would be “the last time.”  The period when the “ungodly” and “antichrists” came upon the scene was, however, really a “last time” [as well]; their appearance marked the close of the first great Christian epoch, that of special inspiration.  They were the most obvious symptoms that the tide of spiritual force had begun to ebb, and that a reaction had set in, through which selfish and worldly motives would gain a foothold in, and sometimes control, the church itself.  [45]

who should walk after.  They follow their desires (“lusts”).  What is right does not guide them.  What they prefer to do is their moral lodestone and they become even more indignant if circumstances or events keep them from carrying out those preferences.  At the worst extreme, life exists for them and them only and others become mere tools to make it more enjoyable.  [rw]

their own ungodly lusts.  Literally, after the lusts of their own impieties.  The last word adds a special feature to the description already given, in nearly the same words, in verse 16.  [38]

Each begetting the other; every lust rejecting the Divine that is opposed to it, and the rejection of what is Divine ending ever in aggravated immorality (see Romans 1:24, 28-29).  The expression here used is no doubt intended to call up the characteristic quality already described in verse 15.  [51]



Verse 19                                             Translations

Weymouth:     These are those who cause divisions. They are men of the world, wholly unspiritual.

WEB:              These are they who cause divisions, and are sensual, not having the Spirit.

Young’s:         these are those setting themselves apart, natural men, the Spirit not having.

Conte (RC):    These are the ones who segregate

themselves; they are animals, not having the Spirit.


Verse 19         These be they who.  One possibility as to their reasoning:  Their mocking, however, consists in this, that they make a difference between themselves as spiritual Christians and the others, whom they in derision call psychical persons, i.e. men who, without possessing higher enlightenment, know only what man can grasp with his natural psychical life.  This is clear from the manner, in which by way of contrast Jude designates them as sensual persons, who yet walk in their natural and sinful mind, because they do not possess the Spirit, who has been given us in Christ.  [9]

separate themselves [cause divisions, NKJV].  From the wise and the good who adhere to the doctrines and duties of the gospel.  [14]

They break up the Church into parties and sects:  compare 1 Corinthians 1:12.  [24] 

It was characteristic of the false teachers and mockers who are spoken of that they drew lines of demarcation, which Christ had not drawn, between themselves and others, or between different classes of believers, those, e.g., who had the higher gnosis, or exercised a wider freedom (2 Peter 2:19), and those who were content to walk in “the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship” (Acts 2:42).  They lost sight of the unity of the Church of Christ and preferred the position of a sect or party; and, in so doing, united the exclusiveness of the Pharisees with the sensuous unbelief of the Sadducees.  [38]

The context rather leads us to suppose that these libertines claimed to be the only “spiritual” Christians, inasmuch as they said that to their exalted spiritual natures the things of sense were purely indifferent, and might be indulged in without loss or risk; while they taunted other Christians, who regulated their conduct carefully with regard to such things.  [46]

sensual.  The Greek word is psychic, and has no English equivalent; “sensuous” would perhaps be best.  The LXX do[es] not use it, but it occurs six times in the New Testament.  Four times (1 Corinthians 2:14; 15:44, 46) it is translated “natural;  once (James 3:15), “sensual,” with “natural” in the margin; and here simply “sensual.”  In 1 Corinthians 15:44, 46, the moral meaning is in the background; in the other three passages the moral meaning is prominent and is distinctly bad.  Psychic is the middle term of a triplet of terms, “carnal, psychic, spiritual.”  “Carnal” and “spiritual” speak for themselves—the one bad, the other good.  Psychic, which comes between, is much closer to “carnal,” and with it is opposed to “spiritual.”  This is more clearly seen in the Latin equivalents—carnalis, animalis, spiritalis.  The carnal man is ruled by his passions, and rises little above the level of the brutes.  The psychic man is ruled by human reasoning, and human affections, and does not rise above the world of sense.  The spiritual man is ruled by his spirit—the noblest part of his nature—and this is ruled by the Spirit of God.  He rises to and lives among those things which can only be “spiritually discerned.”  Our Christian psychology is seriously affected by the absence of any English word for psychic—the part of man’s nature which it represents is often lost sight of.  [46]

Or:  I do not accept the English “sensual.”  Doubtless the preachers are sensual, but I prefer “intellectual.” The Greek is “psychikoi,” from psychee, the soul or the mind. From this we have the word psychology, the science of mind.  The most literal translation of this word is psychical, which is little used.  I prefer intellectual.  Again the antithesis with “not having the Spirit,” decidedly favors “intellectual.”  True religion is not morality, philanthropy nor churchianity, but spirituality.  False religion always gives prominence to intellectualism. These preachers “not having the Spirit,” preach by the power of their intellect and education. Hence their grandiloquent, unspiritual sermons, gathered up to please the people.  [48]

having not the Spirit.  They had body and animal soul, but they had lost their highest nature, spirit.  This does not literally mean that a part of their human constitution had been annihilated, but nullified; reduced to nullity; just as we severely say that a man is conscienceless when his conscience seems dead.  [39]

Or:  The word for “Spirit” stands without the article in the Greek, and though this does not necessarily exclude the thought that the Spirit of God is spoken of, it is, perhaps, better to rest in the meaning that the false teachers were so absorbed in their lower, sensuous nature that they no longer possessed, in any real sense of the word, that element in man’s compound being, which is itself spiritual, and capable therefore of communion with the Divine Spirit.  [38]

However:  It is rather to be understood of the Holy Spirit (De Wette-Bruckner, Wiesinger, Hofmann); the want of the article and of an epithet is no objection against this interpretation, since the simple word [spirit] is often used in the N.T. as a designation for the objective Holy Spirit.  It is erroneous to affirm that by this interpretation the conclusion of the description is too flat, for nothing worse can be said of a man who desires to be esteemed a Christian than that he wants the Holy Spirit.  [8]


                        In depth:  More on the Greek language connotations of “separate themselves [cause divisions, NKJV]” [45].  The Authorized Version, following inferior manuscripts, “separate themselves.”  The meaning of the phrase is much disputed.  It is stated that the word for “make separations” (apodiorizo) only occurs once elsewhere in the whole range of Greek literature, viz. in a passage in Aristotle, where it means “mark off by defining.”  Hence it has been understood here as “those who indulge in a subtle casuistry of immoral definitions, and—in the light of the following words—distinguish the ‘natural’ man from the ‘spiritual,’ and claim as ‘spiritual’ men to be superior to the moral conventions which are binding on the ordinary man.” 

This would be a perversion of Paul’s teaching as to the liberty of the spiritual man from the Mosaic law.  “The spiritual man,” they may have said, in the words of 1 Corinthians 2:15, “is judged of no man.”  Paul himself had found it necessary to guard against such abuse of his teaching in Romans 6. 

But the simpler word diorizo, in classical Greek [means] both to “separate” and to make “definitions” [and] occurs in the Greek version of Leviticus 20:26, in the sense of “separate,” “I have separated you from the nations.”  Hence the compound word has been taken here as “those who separate themselves;” but the sin of these men consisted partly in their attempt to be in the church and make as much out of it as they could.  As elsewhere, one feature of their iniquity always is their abuse of the powers of earth, or heaven, or both; and as they have been compared to Korah who stirred up sedition against Moses, it seems best to follow the Revised Version, “make separations,” i.e., their attacks upon church authorities divided their community into parties siding with them and against them.  [45]     



Verse 20                                             Translations

Weymouth:     But you, my dearly-loved friends, building yourselves up on the basis of your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,

WEB:              But you, beloved, keep building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.

Young’s:         And ye, beloved, on your most holy faith building yourselves up, in the Holy Spirit praying,

Conte (RC):    But you, most beloved, are building

yourselves up by your most holy faith, praying in

the Holy Spirit,


Verse 20         But ye, beloved.  Exactly as in verse 17:  “ye” in emphatic contrast to these sensuous and unspiritual men.  [46]

building up yourselves.  Paul, 1 Corinthians 3:10, &c., speaks of building upon the one foundation, Christ; the idea here is the same.  [45]

Making yourselves firm on the sure foundation of faith, in contradistinction to those “who separate,” and fancy themselves firm in their impious conceits.  The notion is not so much that of increasing and completing an edifice as of strengthening its foundations.  [46]

on your most holy faith.  The “most holy faith” is the object of faith, the person and work of Christ.  On this they were to build character and a spiritual life, partly, no doubt, through mutual conference and encouragement.  [45]

They are to build themselves up on the objective contents of faith which has been delivered to them, and which they believe, so that this faith and belief is “the foundation which supports their whole personal life, the soul of all their thinking, willing and doing” (Wiesinger).  Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which we build, and into which we must ever root ourselves deeper and deeper.  [50] 

He calls their faith most holy, in order that they might wholly rely on it, and that, leaning on its firmness, they might never vacillate.  [35]

praying in the Holy Ghost.  It means that we pray in His strength and wisdom: He moves our hearts and directs our petitions.  (See Romans 8:26.)

Or:  The precise combination [of words] is not found elsewhere in the New Testament, but the fact which it expresses corresponds with Paul’s language in Romans 8:26, and the almost identical phraseology of 1 Corinthians 14:15.  What is meant is the ecstatic outpouring of prayer in which the words of the worshipper seem to come as from the Spirit who “helpeth our infirmities” and “maketh intercession for us,” it may be in articulate speech, it may be also as with “groanings that cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).  [38]



Verse 21                                             Translations

Weymouth:     must keep yourselves safe in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which will result in the Life of the Ages.

WEB:              Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.

Young’s:         yourselves in the love of God keep ye, waiting for the kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ -- to life age-during;

Conte (RC):    keeping yourselves in the love of

God, and anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus

Christ unto eternal life.


Verse 21         Keep yourselves.  By hearkening diligently to His voice in the Scriptures, believing heartily His declarations, and cheerfully, steadfastly, and perseveringly obeying His commands.  [14]

Hence it is evident, that we are not so kept by the power of God, but that something must be done on our parts, to preserve ourselves in the divine favor.  And also, that men once in this state may neglect to keep themselves in the love of God.  [4]

in the love of God.  The words admit equally of being taken of our love for God, or God’s love for us, but the latter meaning is more in harmony with the general tenor of Scripture, and, in particular, with our Lord’s language (“continue ye in my love”) in John 15:9, and probably also Paul’s (“the love of Christ constraineth us”) in 2 Corinthians 5:14.  [38]

Or:  That is, in love to God, arising from a sense of his love to you.  [47]

looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  The mercy which He will show as Judge at the Last Day.  By prayer in the Spirit we are kept in the love of the Father for the mercy of the Son.  [46]

Desiring and expecting salvation only through rich grace in Christ.  [14]

The word here really means, especially in the present tense, “waiting to receive,” and even “receiving” itself (Hebrews 10:34, 35).  It occurs again in Titus 2:13, in the same sense as here, “expecting to receive.” [51]

of our Lord Jesus Christ.  [Acting and preparing for the future] according to His directions, under His influence, and by His aid. [14]

Note the prominence here given to the three Persons of the Trinity, “the Holy Spirit” [verse 20], “God,” and “Jesus Christ” [verse 21].  [50]

unto eternal life.  [This] might be connected with “keep yourselves” or with “mercy;” or, as Jude has not shown clearly what he meant it to qualify, we may suppose that this was the hope and object to which all the exhortations in verses 20, 21 were directed.  [45]



Verse 22                                             Translations

Weymouth:     Some, when they argue with you, you must endeavor to convince;

WEB:              On some have compassion, making a distinction,

Young’s:         and to some be kind, judging thoroughly,

Conte (RC):    So certainly, reprove them, after they

have been judged.


Verse 22         And of some.  Who have been bewildered as to truth and duty, seduced into error and sin.  [14]

have compassion.  Treating them gently and kindly and thus alluring them back to truth and duty.  [14]

making a difference [distinction, NKJV].  Between them and others that are more guilty and stubborn.  [47]

According to their character, condition, and wants.  [14]

This, then, is the first and least hopeless class—those who are still in doubt, though inclined the wrong way.  They may still be remonstrated with, convicted of error, and reclaimed (Matthew 18:15; Titus 1:13; James 5:20).  Some would make this first class the worst and most hopeless—those who are to be argued down in disputation, but without much chance of success.  Such interpreters make the third class the best:  those who can probably be saved by gentle means.  The Greek here is so ambiguous that we cannot be certain of the meaning.  But the addition of “in fear” and “hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” to the directions respecting the third class, seems to indicate that that class is the worst.  [46]


In depth:  Some thoughts on differences in the manuscript tradition of this verse [38].  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.  There is more point in the contrast between the teachers who need a severe rebuke and those who may be saved with fear than in the two degrees of pity presented by the Received Text.


                        More on the manuscript differences [45].  These two verses [22-23] are given very differently in various manuscripts and versions, and we cannot be certain what it was that Jude originally wrote.  The A.V., following inferior manuscripts, has “And of some have compassion, making a difference:  and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating,” &c.  The R.V. text, “And on some have mercy, who are in doubt; and some save, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear; hating,” &c. follows the two oldest manuscripts, the Sinaitic and the Vatican.  Instead of the first “have mercy,” the Alexandrian Manuscript and Codex Ephremi have “convict.    



Verse 23                                             Translations

Weymouth:     others you must try to save, as brands plucked from the flames; and on others look with pity mingled with fear, while you hate every trace of their sin.

WEB:              and some save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.

Young’s:         and some in fear save ye, out of the fire snatching, hating even the coat from the flesh spotted.

Conte (RC):    Yet truly, save them, seizing them

from the fire. And have mercy on others: in fear,

hating even that which is of the flesh, the defiled



Verse 23         And others save with fear.  An injunction to the same caution in the mental sphere as would be exercised toward the very garments of one having a contagious disease.  [1]

                        Lest yourselves be infected with the disease you endeavor to cure.  [15]

                        Or:  by fear orientated teaching.  The idea seems to be that the arguments on which they relied were to be drawn from the dangers of the persons referred to, or from the dread of future wrath.  It is undoubtedly true, that while there is a class of persons who can be won to embrace religion by mild and gentle persuasion, there is another class who can be aroused only by the terrors of the law.  Every method is to be employed, in its proper place, that we “by all means may save some.”  [31]

pulling them out of the fire.  Of temptation, sin, and divine wrath, into which they are fallen, or are just ready to fall.  As if he had said, And if you desire that your efforts in either of these cases should be successful, you must take great care to preserve your own purity; and while you love the sinners, to retain the utmost abhorrence of their sins.  [47]

The writer has in mind Zechariah 3:2, a brand plucked from the burning.  Compare Amos 4:11.  [2]

hating even the garment spotted [defiled, NKJV] by the flesh.  While the utmost effort was to be made to save them, they were in no way to partake of their sins; their conduct was to be regarded as loathsome and contagious; and those who attempted to save them were to take every precaution to preserve their own purity.  Not a few have been deeply corrupted in their attempts to reform [others].  [31]

The injunction as due to the extreme evil of the person you are dealing with:  As he, who hates every pollution that proceeds from the flesh, will regard as disgusting also the undergarment, because it is worn next to the body and is thereby polluted by the flesh, thus he who is anxious scrupulously to preserve himself will also regard as something hateful even the most superficial touch of him who is living in such sin.  [9]

Or--Do so lest you yourself be fatally compromised:  The words are so closely connected with the preceding that I cannot but think the meaning is:  “Let, however, your endeavors to reform them be made with great caution; be careful to avoid being ‘yourselves’ corrupted by their society, and show a hatred of whatever partakes, in the slightest degree, of vice and sin.”  [11]  

                        The conceptual underpinning of the defiled garment imagery:  The “garment” is the inner tunic worn next to the flesh, and therefore thought of as contaminated by its impurity, and it serves accordingly as a symbol of all outer habits of life that are affected by the inner foulness of the soul that is in bondage to the flesh.  As men would loathe the touch of a defiled garment, bearing the stains of a cancerous ulcer, so they were to hate whatever was analogous to it in conduct (compare Isaiah 30:22).  The allusion to Zechariah 3:2 in the previous clause makes it probable that here also there is a reference to the “filthy garments;” polluted, i.e., with some ceremonial uncleanness, in which the high-priest Joshua the son of Josedech first appears in the prophet’s vision.  In the benediction of Revelation 3:4 on those who “have not defiled their garments,” we have the same imagery.  [38]


                        In depth:  Some thoughts on differences in the manuscript tradition of this verse [38].  Here again the MSS present a striking variation, those of most authority giving “others save, snatching them out of the fire, and have compassion on others with fear.”  If we adopt this reading we have two classes of offenders brought before us, those who are to be saved as from the fire, as on the very verge of destruction, and those who are for some reason or other objects of a more tender pity, though they do not come within the range of immediate action.  That pity, however, the context shows, was not to be accompanied by any tolerance of the evils into which they had fallen.  [38]  Or:  They are not in such wretched condition that to help them is about as dangerous as trying to grab something out of a burning fire.  It is not that “immediate action” is delayed, but that the personal danger of the attempted rescue is far less.  [rw]



Verse 24                                             Translations

Weymouth:     But to Him who is able to keep you safe from stumbling, and cause you to stand in the presence of His glory free from blemish and full of exultant joy--

WEB:              Now to him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory in great joy,

Young’s:         And to Him who is able to guard you not stumbling, and to set you in the presence of His glory unblemished, in gladness,

Conte (RC):    Then, to him who has the power to

keep you free from sin and to present you, immaculate,

with exultation, before the presence of his glory at the

advent of our Lord Jesus Christ,


Verse 24         Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling.  [Falling] from truth and duty into error and sin.  [14]

The readers had been told to “keep” themselves in the love of God; now they are assured that God will keep them; in spite of pitfalls and snares, He “is able to guard you from stumbling”; regardless of moral perils and present sorrows.  [7]

The form of the concluding doxology is determined naturally by the thoughts that have led up to it. The writer had been dwelling on the various ways in which men had stumbled and fallen.  He now directs their thoughts to God as alone able to preserve them from a like disastrous issue.  [38]

and to present you faultless.  The word here rendered “faultless” is the same which is rendered “unblamable” in Colossians 1:22.  [31]

What traps and pitfalls beset us!  How many have fallen who had as good or a better chance than we!  The angels kept not their first estate; Adam, though created in innocency, fell; Cain was rejected; Balaam, who saw with open eyes, was slain; Korah, who had carried a censer filled with holy fire, was hurled into the abyss!  How can we expect to stand!  Be of good cheer!  He is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless!  [33] 

before the presence of His glory.  The “glory” spoken of is that which is to be manifested at the coming of Christ “in his own glory, and that of the Father, and of the Holy Angels” (Luke 9:26).  Compare also Titus 2:13. [38]

with exceeding joy.  Think:  jubilant, ecstatic.  [46]



Verse 25                                             Translations

Weymouth:     to the only God our Saviour--through Jesus Christ our Lord, be ascribed glory, majesty, might, and authority, as it was before all time, is now, and shall be to all the Ages! Amen.

WEB:              to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.

Young’s:         to the only wise God our Saviour, is glory and greatness, power and authority, both now and to all the ages! Amen.

Conte (RC):    to the only God, our Savior, through

Jesus Christ our Lord: to him be glory and magni-

ficence, dominion and power, before all ages, and

now, and in every age, forever. Amen.


Verse 25         To the only wise God our Saviour.  In the use of the word “Saviour” as applied to God we have a parallelism with 1 Timothy 2:3.  The Father, no less than the Son, was thought of by both writers as the Saviour and Preserver of all men.  [38]

A favorite phrase in the Pastoral Epistles, also in Luke 1:47. [45]

[Addition here by translations using a “critical” text such as ESV and NASB:  through Jesus Christ our Lord.”]   This is especially directed against those who did not acknowledge Jesus as the Christ and the Mediator between God and man.  [50]

be glory and majesty, dominion and power.  “Glory” and “dominion” are frequent in the New Testament doxologies: the Greek words represented by “majesty” and “power” occur here only. [46]   

Manuscript variation:  The better MSS insert after “power” the words “before all time” (literally, before the whole æon), so that the doxology includes the past eternity as well as the future.  [38]

The three chief manuscripts [= Vatican, Sinaitic, Alexandrian] read the latter part of this doxology as follows:  “To the only God our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord is glory, majesty, dominion and power before all time, and now and forever more.”  [40]

both now.  In the present state of life and things.  [18]

and ever.  In the words “for ever” we have literally “unto all the ages, or æons.”  [38]

Amen.  The Epistle ends with the “Amen” which was the natural close of a doxology, and, like the Second Epistle of Peter, contains no special messages or salutations.  [38]










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33        F. B. Meyer.  Thru The Bible (Commentary).  Internet Edition.  1914 edition.


34        John and Jacob Abbott.  Abbott’s Illustrated New Testament.  Internet

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36        William R. Nicoll, editor.  Expositor’s Greek Testament.   Internet



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38        Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges:  1 Peter, 2 Peter, Jude. 

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47        Joseph Benson.  Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.  Internet

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49        James Nisbett, editor.  Church Pulpit Commentary.  Internet Edition.  1876.

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