The letter is difficult to date but is usually placed somewhere between AD 65 and 80 because of the similarities with 2 Peter chapter 2. One difference is that in 2 Peter 2, the false teachers are to come, while in Jude’s letter, they have already come (v. 4). It is also possible that he distanced himself a little in time from the apostles in v. 17, or it could mean that he was not one of the apostles. The author is also believed to be one of the brothers of Jesus (and James) (v. 1, Mark 6:3).
The addressees appear to be Judeo-Christians due to:
- many OT references.
- references to Jewish scriptures that are not in the OT.
- adheres more to the Hebrew version of the OT than to the Greek, e.g., Paul uses it the most.
He had intended to write about the salvation they share, but then he found himself “compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” (v. 3). The purpose is therefore to exhort them to fight for the faith in the face of false teachers who abuse grace and deny Jesus (v. 4) (cf. 2 Pet 2:1, 19).
As mentioned, Jude quotes a couple of scriptures that are not found in the Old Testament. He does not call them “Scripture” and does not consider them on equal standing with the OT, but especially The Book of Enoch was widely read. His point is to relate to the readers and show that the false teachers among them are rebellious and engage in sexual immorality in the same way as these “great sinners” in Old Testament times.
Jude focuses mostly on the lifestyle of the false teachers and little on their theology. It should be very visible from how you live whether you are on the right course or not. He concludes by encouraging them to:
- Build themselves up in their faith.
- Pray constantly in the Holy Spirit.
- Remain in God’s love. God has the power to keep them from falling (v. 24), even if they are challenged.