This short book should cause us today to reflect as to whether we have indeed like the first century church whom Jude addressed this letter to let our guard down. We need to finish well as well as start well, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and the truth of God's Word.
|The Use of Apocryphal Sources|
The Jewish Apocrypha consists of books and writings that were never recognized as part of the canon of Scripture, but which served a devotional purpose for many believers of ancient times, including some of the authors of the New Testament. Jude cites two books of the Apocrypha in his letter. Jude 9 apparently comes from The Assumption of Moses, and verse 14 comes from The Book of Enoch. Today we do not have a complete text of The Assumption of Moses, but two early church fathers, Clement of Alexandria and Origen, testify that v. 9 is a reference to that book.
Jude is not the only New Testament author who quotes extrabiblical sources. In 1 Cor. 10:4, Paul apparently made use of a Hebrew commentary (the Midrash) to support his interpretation of Israels wilderness wanderings. In Acts 17:28 and Titus 1:12, he quoted from pagan poets to support some of his assertions. Though we do not know where the names Jannes and Jambres come from (see 2 Tim. 3:8), Paul did not hesitate to use their story as an example of godlessness for Timothy.
Should the New Testament writers have quoted from apocryphal sources? Surely God had no trouble guiding the biblical writers in selecting material from these sources. Luke knew of many accounts of the life of Christ (see Luke 1:1), which he set out to better with his own orderly account (1:3). Along the same lines, Paul had at least one letter from the Corinthian church to guide his responses in First and Second Corinthians. Even the devil is quoted in Matt. 4:3, 6, 9. This does not mean that these sources are inspired, or even accurate, but it does mean that sometimes New Testament writers drew from the written sources God had given them to communicate effectively what He wanted them to say. The writers of Scripture wrote all that, and only that, which God had inspired them to say. We must affirm with Peter that the ultimate origin of Scripture is the mind of God (see 2 Pet. 1:1921).