As covered a few weeks ago, the book of Jude contains three cryptic references to ancient non-biblical texts. In addition, Jude also includes references to biblical accounts.
The first is in verse 6, where Jude mentions angels who abandoned their role and their home. This is likely a nod to Genesis 6:1-4, which talks about the son’s of God marrying the daughters of man. That is a bit perplexing itself, but at least it is the Bible. (Alternately, some scholars think Jude is referring to an ancient non-biblical text, The Book of Enoch. I opt for Genesis 6.)
Another non-biblical reference is found in verse 17-18. Here Jude cites other apostles who warn that in the last days there will be scoffers who follow ungodly desires. Although the New Testament of the Bible did not exist at the time of Jude’s writing, he may have been privy to Paul’s and Peter’s letters or more likely, he simply heard them—or heard of them—issuing this warning. Jude’s words are recorded almost verbatim by Peter in 2 Peter 3:3, as well as being alluded to in 2 Peter 2:1-3. Likewise, Paul, in his letters to Timothy, covers this theme in 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5, and 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
Jude was certainly well read and well-informed, peppering his letters with many references and illustrations. Though they would have been helpful to his audience then, that is not so much the case today. Even so, Jude’s central warning to guard against ungodly people in the church is well founded—and timeless.
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