“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.”Jude 1:3
Nearly all my conversations with Christians on the subject of writing have been surrounded with complaints, like:
What Could I Possibly Have To Add?
One of the biggest hesitations to writing Spiritual Reload was answered through the smallest single authorship in the Bible, the Epistle of Jude. It is larger than 3 John, but the Apostle John authored 5 other books of the New Testament: the Gospel of John, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and Revelation. The minor prophet book of Obadiah has less verses than Jude (21 versus 25 respectively), but Jude has slightly fewer words, a total of 608 compared to Obadiah’s count of 669. As it stands alone, it is the shortest single work written in Scripture.
I’m sure Jude balked a little at the prospect of penning a letter to fellow believers. His question may have prompted my own, which is a daily overcast in my life: With all the great authors and great books already out there, what’s the use of writing?
Comparing Scripture To Scripture
What is Jude’s letter alongside the mighty works of the Scriptures? The works of Moses are more historic, spanning 2,500 years of history. The scribes of the kings of Israel capture more detail. David’s pen sings grander strains. Solomon’s proverbs draw out deeper wisdom. The words of the prophets are more futuristic. The Gospels, more angelic. The Epistles of Paul, more theologic. Even his brother James wrote with greater exhortations before his martyrdom. The Epistle of James, purchased with blood: how costly!
Did Jude have anything left to say? Could there possibly be a need for just one, brief article?
Apparently the Lord thought so.
The Holy Spirit slips Jude’s letter in just before the end. It is exactly what was needed to round out the canon and count of inspired books (66). It is short, yes, but sharp as a two-edged sword. As the ages draw to a close, Jude writes with a fresh passion to rally his brethren, “that ye should earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints.”
Jude may not have felt like he had much to say. Or that there was much LEFT to say. But he gives three distinct encouragements to Bible-believing authors and writers.
Your words are needful.
Somebody has already said all that needs to be said, but someone like you needs to go on record as saying it. Jude said the salvation was “common,” yet it was “needful for me to write unto you.” A well-known truth is worth repeating; it is worth YOU repeating it. Spurgeon may already have a sermon on it, Ruckman may already have a book on it, and you may already be able to find it online; but here and now, you are needed to put into words how God has taught you. Jude couldn’t shake the responsibility of writing personally, and neither can you.
Your words are fresh.
It is only in the book of Jude that we finally learn anything about Enoch, the 7th descendant of Adam. The ONLY man to be born and never die (as of yet) was a silent mystery, until Jude quotes his only preserved message: “Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:15) The pseudograph, “The Book of Enoch” is an uninspired, knock-off imitation. Jude had access to Enoch’s exact words, and without his letter, we could have never identified how the testimony of Enoch “pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)
Your words are remarkable.
Jude drew together the sound doctrines, the precise prophecies, and the stirring exhortations that had gone before him. Rather than departing from their faith with his fresh revelations, he says, “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Jude 1:17)
Jude’s insignificant letter serves as a final marker before the end to remember. His writing isn’t an isolated message, its branches stretch to the New Heavens and New Earth, and its roots reach deep into Eden’s curseless topsoil. His little book of the Bible makes me want to read the other 65 again and again.
Not a writer? Well, just reading this article doesn’t miraculously give you the gift of writing. You will have to study. You will have to be critiqued. You will have to experiment. It will be work.
But the next time you hesitate, wondering what is left to be written in 2023AD…
- Live Coal: The View From MidlifeLongfellow’s view from midlife mirrors my own.
- Fireside: Even The UncleanYou’re not allowed into the Ark unless you’ve got an invitation. I’ll show you where I got in.
- The Brief Book of JudeAddressing another common complaint that keeps us from writing about our faith.
3 Replies to “The Brief Book of Jude”
Love this Lewis, I love the book of Jude, small but packs a serious punch with very memorable verses and phrases and very serious theme which really shows what the stakes are.
I remember when I first saw the small difference between 2 Peter and Jude where 2 Peter says “though ye know them” and Jude says “though ye once knew this”. Certainly was needful for Jude to write!
The advantage of written is that people have time to absorb at their own pace, at their own time, when they’re ready from their comfortable place. Written down means it’s always accessible too, and there are more people out there quietly doing research, investigating and reading than one might think.
Every great tree starts with a small seed. So are you’re saying, and as per Jude… it is very needful.
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Many thanks for pointing out 2 Peter 1:12 and Jude 1:5. We have gained a valuable cross reference.
Well put! Thanks Lewis.
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