The Letter of Judah

Introduction

Blaine Robison, M.A.

Published 26 December 2013; Revised 11 January 2019

Chap. 1 

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Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of this article.

Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic writings and message I use the terms Judah (Jude), Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament). The abbreviation LXX stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which was in use by Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C.

Grammar: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009), and the meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB." Explanation of grammatical abbreviations and a pronunciation guide for New Testament Greek may be found here.

Creation

Correspondent

The Greek text identifies the author as Ioudas, a transliteration of Heb. Y'hudah ("Judah") meaning "praise YHVH" (the tetragrammaton of the God of Israel), hereinafter "Judah." The Latin Vulgate (A.D. 405) transliterated the Greek name into Iudas and this spelling was followed in the early English versions from 1395 to 1535. The Bishop's Bible (1568) introduced "Iude," but the Mace New Testament (1729) changed the spelling to "Jude" and later versions followed suit. It is strange that Christian English versions have perpetuated the "Jude" spelling while translating the same Greek name of the patriarch and the tribe that occurs ten times in the Besekh as "Judah."

The proper name of Judah was very esteemed in the first century because it was not only one of the twelve patriarchs, but it was also made popular by the Jewish hero Judas Maccabaeus who led the nation in their fight for independence from Syria in 166 BC. The Besekh identifies eight men with the Greek name Ioudas: (1) Judah, son of the patriarch Jacob (Matt 1:2); (2) a name in the genealogy of Yeshua (Luke 3:30); (3) the betrayer of Yeshua (Mark 3:19); (4) an apostle, son of Jacob; aka Thaddaeus (Matt 10:3; Luke 6:16); (5) a Zealot who instigated a rebellion (Acts 5:37); (6) Paul's host in Damascus (Acts 9:11); (7) a prophet, also called Barsabbas (Acts 15:22); and (8) a son of Joseph and Miriam and half-brother of Yeshua (Matt 13:55).

While some commentators of the past have identified the author of this letter as the son of Alphaeus (e.g., Barnes, Clarke, Gill), most interpreters, beginning with the church fathers have concluded that this Judah was the half-brother of Yeshua and full-brother of Jacob, Yeshua's brother and leader of the Jerusalem congregation. Objections to authorship by the little-known half brother of Yeshua hinge on the fact that the author identifies himself as the "servant" of Yeshua and not the "apostle" of Yeshua nor the "brother" of Yeshua, but only the brother of Jacob. The former argument is specious for, as Coffman points out, not being an "apostle" should automatically disqualify this Judah from being Judah son of Alphaeus. We should also note that Luke is generally regarded as an apostle, although he is never identified as such in the apostolic writings.

Judah, in humility like his brother, did not class himself among the apostles. The fact that Judah does not assert the office of apostle is irrelevant. In fact, the only writings in the Besekh that explicitly identify the author as an apostle are the letters of Peter and the letters of Paul, but even he neglects to mention his office in Philippians, 2 Thessalonians, Philemon and Hebrews. As Blum points out in his commentary on Judah, after the execution of Jacob the son of Zebedee ordered by King Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:1-2), the only Jacob known well enough that the unspecified use of his name would be generally recognizable was the elder and pillar of the Body of Messiah in Jerusalem. Paul called him "Jacob, the Lord's brother" (Gal 1:19). Yeshua had four half-brothers: Jacob, Judah, Joseph and Simon (Matt 13:55), as well as at least two unnamed half-sisters (Matt 13:56). Nothing is known of these siblings in the apostolic narratives but that they were the children of Miriam and Joseph and resided in Nazareth.

Contrary to the Catholic tradition that Yeshua was the only child Miriam ever bore, Matthew (13:55), Mark (6:3), Luke (Acts 1:14) and Paul (Gal 1:19) use adelphos (lit. "of the same womb," a male sibling) and not sungenēs ("connected by lineage, relative") to describe the relationship between Yeshua and his brothers. Of course, those holding to the perpetual virginity of Miriam, explain the siblings of Yeshua as from a former marriage by Joseph (e.g., Faussett), but by this reasoning he could have easily been a polygamist. However, the angel had told Joseph to take Miriam as a "wife" (Matt 1:20-25), not a Mother of God figure for future Christians. In Jewish culture and the Bible a marriage is defined by consummation.

During Yeshua's earthly ministry his brother Judah ben Joseph was not a disciple (John 7:2-5). Indeed, Judah probably shared the opinion of his siblings and mother that Yeshua had "lost his senses" (Mark 3:21). It no doubt required the resurrection appearance of Yeshua to him, as it did with his brother Jacob (1 Cor 15:7), to bring about acceptance of his brother as the Messiah. Luke notes that after the ascension, Miriam, the mother of Yeshua, and "his brothers," which would include Judah and Jacob, joined with the twelve apostles and the other believers in Jerusalem to await empowerment by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14).

Fruchtenbaum describes him as a traveling evangelist (428), since Paul alludes to Judah when he says that the "brothers of the Lord" take a believing wife along with them in their ministry (1Cor 9:5). Nothing more is known in the Besekh of Judah other than this letter he wrote. The church historian Eusebius reported that Judah's grandsons were hailed before the emperor Domitian on charges of sedition because they were Christians, but contemptuously dismissed when Domitian saw that they were poorly dressed Syrian peasants (Barker 206).

The early church father Jerome left this brief comment on Judah's letter:

"Jude the brother of James, left a short epistle which is reckoned among the seven catholic epistles, and because in it in it he quotes from the apocryphal book of Enoch it is rejected by many. Nevertheless by age and use it has gained authority and is reckoned among the Holy Scriptures." (Lives of Illustrious Men, IV)

Community

The recipients of the letter are simply identified in the Greek text as the "called" (verse 1). Paul used "called" for disciples of Yeshua in the congregations of Rome (Rom 1:6, 7; 8:28) and Corinth (1Cor 1:2, 24), which were mostly Jewish. (See my article The Apostolic Community for discussion of the constituency of congregations in the apostolic era.) In the LXX the first use of this noun "called" (for Heb. miqra) is in reference to the Sabbath (Ex 12:16), a day to be observed because it is "called" holy. In verse 17 Judah implies the letter recipients are disciples of the apostles. The principal recipients were most likely Jewish disciples due to the references to Israelite history and Jewish culture. Robinson concurs with this assessment saying that Judah was written to predominately "Jewish-Christian" congregations (198).

Circumstances

Judah had intended to write a general letter of exhortation (verse 3), but a dire situation that had developed in the Body of Messiah needed to be addressed. Thus, the letter seeks to combat the influence of "ungodly dreaming ones" (verses 4 & 8), individuals who claimed authority on the basis of visions or purported angelic visitations. The problem was these men had made rebellion against God's authority and standards their hallmark. Their theology is nothing less than antinomian. Judah exposes these "so-called" brothers in no-nonsense language and exhorts disciples to live in faithfulness in accordance with the apostolic teaching they had received. With this theme Judah has much in common with Paul's confrontation of heresies during his ministry. The threat to orthodoxy and unity that Judah addressed was not a late development in the apostolic era but a problem from the earliest decades of the Yeshua movement (Acts 15:1-2; 20:29-30; 1Cor 1:12; Gal 1:8-9; 2:11-12; 3:1; Col 2:18; 2Th 2:1-2; Jas 4:1-4).

The letter offers no historical details that would enable accurate dating. Since he was the brother of Yeshua and Jacob, the most probable time of writing would be between A.D. 40 and 70. The latter date is reasonable because the letter makes no mention (or even a hint) of the martyrdom of his brother Jacob in A.D. 62-63 or of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The dating of the letter after A.D. 70 by some scholars (such as Henry Morris, DSB 1422) has no historical evidence nor conclusive evidence internal to the letter for support.

The assumption of dependency on Peter's second letter impacts the dating issue since the martyrdom of Peter is placed about A.D. 67 during the persecution of Nero. The date for Peter's second letter is generally assumed to be near the time of his martyrdom, since he describes his anticipation of death as "imminent" (2Pet 1:14). Thus, Fruchtenbaum places the date for Judah's letter as A.D. 67-68 (429). The TLV opts for saying that both books likely date from the same period in the 60s (1369). However, Peter's usage of Judah offers a much wider range for dating. Robinson dates the letter as A.D. 61-62 (198) and Blum dates the letter as A.D. 60-65. Yet, it could have been even earlier. In fact, Jacobs notes that some scholars date the letter in the 50s (460).

Canonicity

In the early church fathers, a number of allusions to the letter of Judah have been identified (Blum). The Muratorian Canon (c. 200) states that an epistle of Judah was accepted in the Catholic Church. Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen all knew the book. The very early (third-century) Bodmer papyrus designated P72 shows acceptance of Jude as canonical, for in that manuscript Jude shares with 1 Peter and 2 Peter a blessing on the readers of these sacred books (Blum on 2 Peter). Three of the oldest canonical orders of the Besekh include Judah: Codex Vaticanus (c. 4th cent.), Codex Sinaiticus (c. 4th cent.) and Codex Alexandrinus (c. 5th cent.). Of these Vaticanus and Alexandrinus list Judah after the apostolic narratives and before the letters of Paul (Brumbach 25).

Eusebius included Judah in the list of letters known as "Catholic" or "General," a label bestowed on the assumption these letters were not written to individual congregations as Paul's letters. These seven letters are Jacob ("James), 1st & 2nd Peter, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd John, and Judah ("Jude"). The label also serves to identify the letters as canonical to distinguish them from other letters written in the first and second centuries from leaders in the Yeshua movement, such as the letters of Clement, Ignatius and Polycarp (Eusebius, Church History, Book II, 23:25; Book III, 25:3; Book VI, 13:6).

Those who spoke against it objected to its use of noncanonical writings and noted also the limited number of citations of the letter in patristic literature. These doubts were overcome, and the worth of the book was recognized by the church. The letter of Judah was considered canonical by the end of the second century in Rome, Africa, and Egypt. Didymus of Alexandria (c. 395) defended the book, and since then little objection to its canonicity has been voiced.

Content

Character

The letter contains no story narrative, but is entirely hortatory material. Tenney comments that in style and vocabulary the letter of Judah bears a resemblance to that of his brother Jacob (371). Both are terse and graphic in expression. Both depend largely on figures of speech taken from outdoor life. Both are characterized by a certain ethical sternness. Judah had desired to write on the central subject of apostolic teaching ("our common salvation," v. 3) with an appeal to faithfulness to apostolic teaching. Much of the letter is devoted to exposing and denouncing those he calls "ungodly." He uses lessons from the history of Israel to warn of God's judgment on the ungodly, so that disciples will avoid becoming seduced by their destructive practices.

Judah touches on important biblical doctrines such as Soteriology (Salvation, v. 3, 22, 23), Hamartiology (Sin & Judgment, v. 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16), Israelology (Covenant Relations, v. 1, 5), Eschatology (Last Things, v. 14, 24), Pneumatology (Holy Spirit, v. 19, 20), Ecclesiology (Congregational Life, v. 12), and Deontology (ethics, v. 3, 17, 21).

The short letter may be outlined as follows:

Salutation, 1-2

Occasion, 3-4

Warning Against the Ungodly, 5-16

Exhortation to Disciples, 17-23

Doxology, 24

Circulation

Apostolic letters to congregations were intended to be "circular letters." In the first century disciples met together in private homes or halls owned by wealthy patrons (Acts 2:46; 12:12; 15:15, 40; 17:4-5; 18:7; 19:9; 20:20; 21:8; Rom 16:1-5; 1Cor 16:19; Col 4:15 and Phm 1:2). Thus, Judah intended for his letter to be read publicly and passed from one group meeting-place to another.

Culture

There are no direct quotations from the Tanakh, but there are several allusions.

Allusions to the Tanakh

1:5 the exodus from Egypt and the later destruction of the wilderness generation.

1:6 the fall of the angels.

1:7 judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah.

1:8 "the great day" refers to the Day of the Lord spoken of by various prophets.

1:11 three villains from the Tanakh: Cain, Balaam and Korah.

1:14 "Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones," cf. Deuteronomy 33:2.

Allusions to Jewish Literature

1:9 The archangel Michael's confrontation of Satan over the body of Moses; a Jewish story recounted in the Testament of Moses, a Jewish writing from the beginning of the first century.

1:14-15 Judah quotes verbatim from 1Enoch 1:9.

Complexities

Judah exhibits a fondness for the number three. In fact, out of the 25 verses there are 14 triads (groups of three). These are identified in the commentary. Judah also uses "three" in other ways. He uses the affectionate "beloved" three times (verses 3, 17, and 20). He mentions the names of 9 Bible characters: Yeshua, Jacob ("James"), Michael, Moses, Cain, Balaam, Korah, Enoch, and Adam. The name of "Yeshua" appears 6 times and he mentions "God" three times (verse 1, 4 and 21). There are three references to angels (verses 6, 8 and 9).

Composition

Controversy

Some scholars object to the authorship of the letter by a half-brother of Yeshua because its language seems very Hellenistic for an author who grew up in Galilee. Yet it is unreasonable to dogmatize about what facility in the Greek language and literature or what knowledge of non-biblical Jewish writings the half-brother of Yeshua might have had (Blum). Galilee had long felt the impact of Hellenistic language and culture, but the Greek of this letter is for the most part the Greek of the LXX and grammatical construction reflects the Jewish Greek of the rest of the Besekh. (See my web article The Jewish New Testament.)

There are over a dozen Greek words unique to Judah not found elsewhere in the Besekh: epagonizomai ('contend earnestly,' 1:3); pareisduō ('crept in secretly,' 1:4); ekporneuō ('commit harlotry,' 1:7); deigma ('example,' 1:7); hupechō ('undergoing,' 1:7); phusikōs ('naturally,' 1:10); spilas ('hidden reef' or 'stain,' 1:12); agapais ('love-feast,' 1:12); phthinopōrinos, ("autumn," 1:12); epaphrizō ('foaming out,' 1:13); planētēs ('wanderer,' 1:13); goggustēs ('grumbler,' 1:16); mempsimoiros, 'complainer,' 1:16); apodiorizō ('causing division,' 1:19); and aptaistos ('stumbling,' 1:24). Most of these words are found in other Jewish literature, such as the LXX, Josephus, and Philo. The presence of these words indicates a close familiarity with Greek vocabulary.

Conjunctions

There are 46 conjunctions in this short letter, including kai (21t), de (13t), hoti (4t), men (3t), alla (2t), gar (1), mentoi (1), and te (1). Conjunctions may begin verses or connect statements within verses. Joining individual words in a list within a sentence or one clause to another with the conjunction "and" is a frequent characteristic feature of the Hebrew Scriptures, whereas in Greek literature an independent clause will be subordinated to the main clause of the sentence and the use of conjunctions minimized. The Greek New Testament is simply littered with conjunctions, over 50 individual words with a total of 21,174 occurrences.

The excessive use of conjunctions in the Besekh is an excellent proof of either an original Hebrew text or Hebraic writing style. Most modern Bible versions do not attempt to translate every conjunction and thereby obscure the Jewishness of the Greek. (See the list of conjunctions, their definitions and their total number in the Greek New Testament here.) To view the conjunctions in this letter go here.

Concordance with 2 Peter

Most scholars point out similarities of Judah's letter to Peter's second letter. Tenney summarized four approaches to the similarity issue with analysis of their relative value (370f):

1. The two letters have no relationship except as they are addressed to people facing the same situation. This solution does not explain adequately the minute verbal similarities.

2. The two letters were paraphrased from some common source. This solution is improbable, since both authors were capable of originating the content of their letters. Theorizing a third unknown letter adds to the confusion.

3. Peter took much of the data from Judah. Judah's references to history are more exact and circumstantial, and his organization is clearer. It would seem the shorter letter would be quoted by the longer, rather than the shorter should be condensed from the longer.

4. Judah was stimulated to write his letter by seeing Peter's letter, but organized his independently. Tenney, as well as many other scholars, favors this approach.

Two Messianic Jewish scholars identify thirteen similarities between 2Peter and the letter of Judah (428f) they believe reflect borrowing:

Fructenbaum (428f)

Brumbach (23)

Judah 1:3 from 2Peter 1:5

Judah 1:4 from 2Peter 2:1

Judah 1:6 from 2Peter 2:4

Judah 1:7 from 2Peter 2:6

Judah 1:8 from 2Peter 2:10

Judah 1:9 from 2Peter 2:11

Judah 1:10 from 2Peter 2:12

Judah 1:11 from 2Peter 2:15

Judah 1:12 from 2Peter 2:13

Judah 1:12-13 from 2Peter 2:17

Judah 1:16 from 2Peter 2:18

Judah 1:17 from 2Peter 3:2

Judah 1:18 from 2Peter 3:3

Judah 1:4 from 2Peter 2:1-2

Judah 1:5 from 2Peter 2:3

Judah 1:6 from 2Peter 2:4

Judah 1:7 from 2Peter 2:6

Judah 1:8 from 2Peter 2:10

Judah 1:9 from 2Peter 2:11

Judah 1:10 from 2Peter 2:12

Judah 1:11 from 2Peter 2:13-16

Judah 1:12 from 2Peter 2:13, 17

Judah 1:13 from 2Peter 2:17

Judah 1:16 from 2Peter 2:18

Judah 1:17 from 2Peter 3:1-2

Judah 1:18 from 2Peter 3:3

We should also note the similarity of Judah 1:2 to 2Peter 1:2.

Contrast to 2 Peter

There are some words or expressions the two letters have in common and used in parallel constructions: "multiplied" (Grk. plethunō, Judah 1:2; 2Pet 1:2), "diligence" (Grk. spoudē, Judah 1:3; 2Pet 1:5), "faith" (Grk. pistis, Judah 1:3; 2Pet 1:5), "angels" (Grk. angelos, Judah 1:6; 2Pet 2:4), "darkness" (Grk. zophos, Judah 1:6, 13; 2Pet 2:4, 17), "Sodom and Gomorrah" (Judah 1:7; 2Pet 2:6), "flesh" (Grk. sarx, Judah 1:8; 2Pet 2:10), "glorious ones" (Grk. doxa, Judah 1:8; 2Pet 2:10), "authority" (Grk. kuriotēs, Judah 1:8; 2Pet 2:10), "slander" (Grk. blasphemeō, Judah 1:8, 10; 2Pet 2:2, 10, 12), "judgment" (Grk. krisis, Judah 1:9; 2Pet 2:11), "unreasoning animals" (Grk. alogos zōē, Judah 1:10; 2Pet 2:12), "Balaam" (Judah 1:11; 2Pet 2:15), "waterless" (Grk. anudros, Judah 1:12; 2Pet 2:17), "black darkness" (Judah 1:13; 2Pet 2:17), "darkness" (Grk. skotos, Judah 1:13; 2Pet 2:17), "reserved" (Grk. reō, Judah 1:13; 2Pet 2:17), "arrogant" (Grk. huperogkos, Judah 1:16; 2Pet 2:18), and "remember the words spoken beforehand" (Judah 1:17; 2Pet 3:2).

However, a close examination of the Greek text of these supposed parallels only indicate a similarity of theme. There is not an exact repetition of phrases much less entire verses. The differences in the presentation of data are more striking than the similarities. In contrast, there are over a dozen words unique to Judah not found elsewhere in the Besekh, and Peter has over 50 unique words, including in supposedly borrowed passages. There is only two unique words found only in 2Peter and Judah: huperogkos, ('bombastic words,' 2Pet 2:18; Judah 1:16) and empaiktēs ('mocker,' 2Pet 3:3; Judah 1:18). "Verbal similarities" in common, as noted by Tenney, does not prove dependence of either apostle on the other, since those same words can be found elsewhere in the Besekh.

We should consider contrasts between the two letters. First, Judah identifies himself as a servant of Yeshua (1:1), as does his brother Jacob (Jas 1:1), whereas Peter identifies himself as an apostle (2Pet 1:1). Second, Peter is concerned about false prophets and false teachers, but Judah never uses the terminology of "prophets" or "teachers." For Judah the objects of condemnation are "the ungodly," who could be prophets, teachers, leaders or other influential people. When the characteristics of the "ungodly" (verses 4, 15 and 18) are taken together he could be talking about the Judean authorities that rejected Yeshua or synagogue leaders throughout the Diaspora that attacked the messengers of Yeshua.

Third, the eschatological perspective of the two letters, while complementary, is very different. Peter writes extensively about the Day of the Lord. He uses the verb hēkō ("have come, be present, have arrived," 2Pet 3:10) and the noun parousia ("coming, presence," 2Pet 3:4, 14). Parousia is the principal word in the Besekh used for the Second Coming and is found in Matthew, Jacob ("James"), 1John, and five letters of Paul. Judah only uses the verb erchomai ("to come or arrive," Judah 1:14) for the Second Coming when he speaks of the Lord coming with the holy ones. While Judah alludes to the book of Enoch as his source the imagery is repeated in Revelation 19:14. The verb erchomai occurs 637 times in the Besekh and only 26 times is it used for the Second Coming (Matt 24:30, 42-44; 25:31; 26:64; Mark 13:26, 35-36; 14:62; Luke 21:27; John 14:3, 18, 23; 1Cor 4:5; 1Th 1:10; 2Th 1:10; 2:3; Rev 1:4, 7-8; 3:11; 4:8; 16:15; 19:7; 22:7, 20), but none in the letters of Peter.

Fourth, of the nine names Judah mentions, only two are found in 2Peter: Yeshua and Balaam. Peter mentions Noah and Paul who are not named in Judah. Fifth, while Judah alludes to stories found in the Tanakh he does not quote from the Tanakh as Peter does.

Concordance with Paul

The intense scholarly focus on comparing Judah to Peter has neglected to consider the similarities of Judah and Paul. If we consider the warning of Paul in Acts 20:28-30 concerning false teachers, Judah could have been drawing from a common theme of apostolic teaching. Judah uses cultural references and terminology that occur in the writings of Paul.

Verse 2― The noun eleos ("mercy"), occurring 27 times in the Besekh, appears 11 times in Paul's writings, but none in Peter's letters.

Verse 3― The verb epagonizomai ("contend") is an athletic term and Paul was fond of using athletic terminology (1Cor 9:25; Col 1:29; 1Th 2:19; 2Tim 2:5).

Verse 4― Judah uses the pronoun tis to designate "certain men," which Paul also uses of "certain men" who promoted legalism (Gal 2:12) and taught "strange doctrines" (1Tim 1:3). Judah uses the verb prographō, ("to write down beforehand"), which occurs elsewhere only in Paul (Rom 15:4; Gal 3:1; Eph 3:3). The word asebēs ("ungodly") occurs not only in 2Peter but also Paul (Rom 4:5; 5:6; 1Tim 1:9). Similarly, aselgeia ("license") occurs in Paul (Rom 13:13; 2Cor 12:21; Gal 5:19; Eph 4:19).

Verse 6― The unique word oikētērion "(habitation") that refers to the former dwelling place of the fallen angels occurs elsewhere only in Paul (2Cor 5:2), and there of a heavenly dwelling place.

Verse 8― The participle enupniazomai ("dreaming ones") is probably parallel to Paul's description of those who proclaim false teaching based on visions they've had or supposed revelation by angels (Col 2:18). The verb occurs elsewhere only in Acts 2:17, a quotation from the prophet Joel. The noun kuriotēs, ("dominion") occurs only four times in the Besekh and two are in Paul (Eph 1:21; Col 1:16), both of which could refer to angelic powers.

Verse 9― The verb dialegomia ("disputed") occurs 13 times in the Besekh and except for one time in Mark 9:34, the verb appears only in relation to Paul, ten times in Luke's narrative of Paul's ministry (Acts 17:2, 17; 18:4, 19; 19:8, 9; 20:7, 9; 24:12, 25) and once by Paul (Heb 12:5). The verb The verb tolmaō ("dare") occurs 7 times in Paul and none in Peter's letters.

Verse 12― The verb parapherō ("carry away") occurs only four times in the Besekh (Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42), one of which is a warning from Paul writing to Messianic Jews not to be "carried away" by strange teachings (Heb 13:9), the very thing that Judah criticizes.

Verse 17― The apostles (plural) of Yeshua who had "spoken beforehand" would certainly include Paul, and Paul uses the verb several times in his writings to refer to teaching he had proclaimed on a previous occasion.

Verse 19― The adjective psuchikos ("natural") occurs elsewhere in the Besekh only in Paul (1Cor 2:14; 15:44, 46) and in his brother Jacob's letter (Jas 3:15).

Verse 20― The verb epoikodomeō ("build") occurs elsewhere only in the writings of Paul (1Cor 3:10, 12, 14; Eph 2:20; Col 2:7). The idiomatic expression of "praying in the Holy Spirit" occurs elsewhere only in Paul (cf. Rom 8:26; 15:30; Eph 6:18; Php 1:19). Peter's second letter has no instruction concerning prayer.

Verse 21― The concept of the "love of God" (God's love for us) appears seven times in Paul (Rom 5:5; 8:39; 2Cor 13:11, 13, 14; Eph 2:4; 2Th 3:5), but none in Peter's letters.

Verse 22― The verb eleaō, ("have mercy") occurs only 3 times in the Besekh, twice in Judah, and once in Paul (Rom 9:16).

Verse 24― The adverb katenōpion, ("before") occurs only three times in the Besekh, the other two times in Paul (Eph 1:4; Col 1:22).

Verse 25― The noun megalōsunē ("majesty) occurs only three times in the Besekh. The other two times are in Paul (Heb 1:3; 8:1).

Verse 24 & 25― The verbiage of Judah's lengthy doxology is comparable to the doxologies in the writings of Paul (Rom 11:3336, 16:2527; Gal 1:3-5; Eph 3:20-21; Php 4:20; 1Tim 1:17; 2Tim 4:18; Heb 13:20-21).

Conclusion

In spite of the efforts of commentators to assert dependency of Judah on Peter, the textual evidence is seriously lacking to support the hypothesis. The only personality Judah acknowledges as a source is Enoch. In my view if anyone borrowed it was more likely Peter being influenced by the letter of Judah. But, the fact remains that neither apostle mentions the other and there is no way to determine conclusively whether either apostle's work influenced the other.

Works Cited

Barnes: Albert Barnes (1798-1870), Jude, Notes on the Whole Bible. Public Domain. Online.

Blum: Edwin A. Blum, The Epistle of 2 Peter; and The Epistle of Jude. Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, Software version 2.6. Zondervan Corp., 1989-1999.

Brumbach: Rabbi Joshua Brumbach, Jude: Faith and the Destructive Influence of Heresy. Lederer Books, 2014.

Clarke: Adam Clarke (1762-1832), Jude, Commentary on the Holy Bible (1826). ed. Ralph Earle. Baker Book House, 1967. Online.

Coffman: James Burton Coffman (1905-2006), Jude. Commentaries on the Bible. Online

Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, 2009.

DSB: Henry Morris, Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing Co., 1995.

Faussett: A.R. Faussett, Jude. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown, 1871) Online.

Fruchtenbaum: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Ariel's Bible Commentary: The Messianic Jewish Epistles. Ariel Ministries, 2005.

Gill: John Gill (1697-1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online.

Jacobs: Andrew S. Jacobs, Annotations on "Jude," Jewish Annotated New Testament, eds. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Robinson: John A.T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament. The Westminster Press, 1976.

Tenney: Merrill C. Tenney, New Testament Survey. Rev. ed. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1985.

TLV: Messianic Jewish Family Bible: Tree of Life Version. Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society, 2014. Online.

Copyright 2013-2019 Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.