Jude warns against following those who have surreptitiously gained entry to the church and are perverting the one true faith with false teaching. Indeed, the letter warns against allowing the false teachers to continue to have influence. Jude calls the church to defend the truth aggressively against this infiltration. While the false teachers of Jude were profoundly libertine (morally unrestrained), it would be anachronistic to argue that they were Gnostic (an early heretical sect, or group of sects, influential from the 2nd century A.D. onward).
Jude accomplishes his purpose by interpreting the OT analogically, using the same principles of interpretation found in 2 Peter (and elsewhere in the NT). He also draws on Jewish apocalyptic traditions (he refers to 1 Enoch and the Testament of Moses) in building his case. Thus, as literature, Jude has a distinctively Jewish flavor.
Given the apparent Jewish perspective of the letter itself, the audience of Jude is frequently identified as Jewish, or as a mixture of Jewish and Gentile readers where the Gentiles are familiar with Jewish traditions. However, any identification of the audience is largely conjecture.
History of Salvation Summary
Since Christ has accomplished salvation, believers are to hold fast to him and reject false ways.
Taken from the ESV® Study Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright ©2008 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For more information on how to cite this material, see permissions information here.