These small group studies of Jude contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Jude Overview Inductive Bible Study
Overview of Jude
Warning Against Apostates
Clouds Without Water
- Introduction (VV1-2)
1. Author and readers named (V1)
2. Spiritual blessing bestowed (V2)
- Reason for Writing (VV3-4)
1. Urge to contend for the faith (V3)
2. Warning against apostates (V4)
- Historical Apostates, and the Judgment God Sent on Them (VV5-9)
1. Unbelieving Israelites, whom God first saved from Egypt, then destroyed (V5)
2. Fallen angels, whom God reserved in eternal chains in darkness for the day of judgment (V6)
3. Sodom and Gomorrah, whom God first gave over to immorality and then burned with eternal fire (V7)
4. Satan and other defilers, whom God will rebuke (VV8-9)
- Characteristics of Apostates (VV10-13)
1. Speak evil of whatever they do not know (V10)
2. Corrupt themselves in what they do know (V10)
3. Gone the way of Cain (V11)
4. Practiced the greed of Balaam (V11)
5. Rebelled as those in Korah (V11)
6. They are-
1. Hidden reefs at love feasts (V12)
2. Servers of self (V12)
3. Clouds without water (V12)
4. Carried away by the winds (V12)
5. Autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots (V12)
6. Raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame (V13)
7. Wandering stars for whom is reserved blackness forever (V13)
- Prophecy of Judgment Towards Apostates (VV14-15)
1. The Lord and 10,000 of His saints will execute judgment on all (VV14-15)
2. They will convict- (V15)
1. All who are ungodly for their ungodly deeds (V15)
2. All the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him (V15)
- How to Guard Against Apostates (VV16-23)
1. Realize their characteristics-
1. Grumblers (V16)
2. Complainers (V16)
3. Walking according to their own lusts (V16)
4. Speaking arrogantly (V16)
5. Flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage (V16)
2. Remember the warnings of the apostles (VV17-19)
1. There would be mockers in the last time (V18)
2. They would walk according to their own ungodly lusts (V18)
3. They would be- (V19)
1. Sensual persons (V19)
2. Divisive (V19)
3. Not having the Spirit (V19)
3. Guard ourselves by- (VV20-23)
1. Building ourselves up in holy faith (V20)
2. Praying in the Holy Spirit (V20)
3. Keeping ourselves in the love of God (V21)
4. Look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life (V21)
5. Having compassion on some, making a distinction (V22)
6. Saving others with fear by- (V23)
1. Pulling them out of the fire (V23)
2. Hating even the garment defiled by the flesh (V23)
- Closing Benediction (VV24-25)
Author: Jude (“Judah” in Hebrew, “Judas” in Greek; one of the 4 half-brothers of Jesus)
Although Judas was a very common name in the NT, it is thought to be this Judas because he is the “brother of James” (v 1), his greeting was similar to James, and he didn’t identify himself as an apostle, but showed that he was different than the apostles in v 17.
Date: Jude was probably written after 2 Peter (since it quotes directly from it, and deals with false teachers having arrived, when 2 Peter says they will come soon), but before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Likely time of writing was68-70 A.D., though it possibly could have been written as late as 80 A.D.
Background/History: During this time in Church history, Christianity was being assaulted from within and without. Rome was attacking the church very harshly politically, and false teachers were beginning to come in and teach wrong doctrine within the church itself. Just as John was to write combating Gnosticism (the spirit is good, and material is evil, thus, what you did in the flesh did not matter, as long as you increased your knowledge) 25 years after the writing of this book, Jude was fighting against the early stages of this wicked belief, and urging believers to fight for the truth.
Jude was probably written to Christian Jews who were familiar with the Old Testament. Since there are so many OT references (Egypt, Sodom and Gomorrah, Moses, Cain, Balaam, Korah, Enoch, Adam, the fallen angels), but no explanation of what these references mean, it would seem that the intended readers were already aware of the Biblical background behind these stories.
General Theme: Jude confronts, defines, and warns against apostasy. He urges discernment on the part of believers, not so much in recognizing specific false teaching (as John did), but in recognizing the character and activities of false teachers. Though it is necessary to know the truth and be able to identify error, it is also helpful to see the characteristics that define apostates. Though they are clever and deceptive, you will know the quality of the teaching by the fruit of the teacher. Jude also encouraged against following false teachings by using nature to colorfully describe their futility. False teachers promise much, but deliver nothing good or worthy.
Key Verse: 3-4
Important Verses: 8, 10, 12, 13, 16, 20, 21, 24
General Impressions: Jude’s writing is very descriptive and dynamic. Frequently, he describes things in groups of three. Following are a list of examples-
V1. He calls himself- Jude…servant…brother.
V1. He write to those who are- called…sanctified by God the Father…and preserved in Jesus Christ.
V2. He greets with- mercy, peace, and love.
V4. He describes apostates as- godless men(who)…change the grace of our Lord…deny Jesus Christ.
V 5-7 He describes other apostates who were judged as- people out of Egypt…angels…Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns.
V8. He says that heretics- pollute their own bodies…reject authority…slander celestial beings.
V11. He further says that heretics were- taken the way of Cain…rushed for profit into Balaam’s error…destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.
V12-13. He called apostates- blemishes…[selfish] shepherds…clouds without rain…autumn trees without fruit…wild waves…wandering stars.
V16. He said that these grumblers and fault finders- follow their own evil desires…boast about themselves…and flatter others.
V19. He characterized them as those who- divide you…follow mere natural instincts…do not have the Spirit.
V 22-23 He said his readers were to- be merciful…snatch others from the fire…to others show mercy.
(This includes simplified excerpts from The Bible Knowledge Commentary.)
Though Jude was most likely the half-brother of Jesus, he didn’t boast about their connection by birth and use that as his authority. Rather, he humbly called himself Christ’s bond servant, realizing that it was their spiritual connection (by grace, through faith) which was most important.
Jude would have preferred to write about a joyful topic, like their common salvation (V3), but he loved them enough to focus on the sober and dangerous topic of apostasy, for their safety.
An apostate is:One who has abandoned one’s religious faith, a political party, one’s principles, or a cause. Here, an apostate is one who has abandoned his/her Christian faith, showing that they were never saved in the first place. John MacArthur includes a profile of an apostate.
- Ungodly (V4)
- Morally perverted (V4)
- Deny Christ (V4)
- Defile the flesh (V8)
- Rebellious (V8)
- Revile holy angels (V8)
- Ignorant (V8)
- Dreamers (V10)
- Self-destruction (V10)
- Grumblers (V16)
- Fault finders (V16)
- Self seeking (V16)
- Arrogant speakers (V16)
- Flatterers (V16)
- Mockers (V18)
- Cause division (V19)
- Worldly minded (V19)
- Without the Spirit (V19)
False teachers are sneaky and enticing. They do not announce themselves, but they creep in unnoticed (V4). They are not backslidden Christians, but people who never truly believed in the first place, but only made a profession of faith, with no true heart change.
True believers will not use God’s grace as an excuse to follow after their own lusts.
God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Thus, history is an excellent guide for how God will react to things in the future. We see in vvs 5-7 how God righteously punished apostates, so we know to expect similar justice in the future.
Christians seek to understand. Apostates only make fun of what they don’t understand. They are characterized by a distinct lack of humility and teachableness.
Nature is full of biblical lessons, if we study it closely enough. (see also Rom. 1:19-20)
God repeats lessons and themes in Scripture in order to make sure that we do not miss them (V17).
Jude does not only warn against apostasy but give specific, concrete steps we can take to avoid it (V20-23).
Believers should be discerning between genuine apostates and people who are merely doubting and should be treated with compassion and mercy, though also with caution.
The benediction in vv24-25 solidly anchors this book with the assurance that the Lord is sovereign, strong, and faithful to His children. We do not have to fight against these evil forces alone, but have a great God who is glorious, majestic, and powerful enough to protect us, defeat the enemy, and ultimately cause us to stand in His presence blamelessly and joyfully. What beautiful verses!