This book is unusual in that almost all of its material is also found in 2 Peter, presented in the same style. It seems certain that one person was the author of both books; see comments there for more information.
The intended audience for this book is not stated, apart from the fact that they are believers. We can infer that Jude was unable to convey his message in person or he would surely not have written the letter. There are clues in the book that suggest that the letter was to a church with a corrupt leadership. Note (1) that there is a danger that the ways of those who have infiltrated the church will be followed by others; (2) that no action is recommended against the infiltrators, unlike Matthew 18:15–17, suggesting that they hold respect and possibly authority, and (3) the NIV describes them as self-seeking "shepherds" (v.12).
The bulk of the book is a stern warning against corruption and sin, balanced by the promise in the wonderful final doxology that God's power and grace are sufficient to keep the faithful pure from all this. The form of the sin that was present is not clearly stated, but the mention of fleshly elements suggests that it may have been based in part on the Gnostic teaching that since it is the soul that is everlasting, bodily holiness is unnecessary.
© David Billin 2002–2021