The Preacher’s Complete Homiletic
ON THE GENERAL EPISTLES
I-II Peter, I-II-III John, Jude
OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE
By the REV. ROBERT TUCK, B.A.
Author of the Commentaries on Hebrews and James
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY
LONDON AND TORONTO
ON THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
WITH CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES,
INDEXES, ETC., BY VARIOUS AUTHORS
PREACHER’S HOMILETICAL COMMENTARY
HOMILIES FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS
Church Seasons: Advent, 1 Peter 4:7; 2 Peter 3:1-7; Revelation 1:9; Revelation 22:20-21. St. Thomas’s Day, 1 Peter 1:8. Christmas, 1 John 4:9; 1 John 5:20. Lent, 1 John 3:3; Revelation 2:7. Good Friday, 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 4:1; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10; Revelation 1:5; Revelation 5:12. Easter, Revelation 1:17-18. Ascension Day, 1 Peter 1:3. Whit Sunday, 1 John 2:20. All Saints’ Day, Revelation 7:9-10.
Holy Communion: 2 Peter 3:11; 2 Peter 3:18; 1 John 1:3; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 3:13-17; 1 John 3:24; Jude 1:21.
Missions to Heathen: Revelation 11:15; Revelation 14:6-7; Revelation 22:17. Bible Society, 2 Peter 1:16-21; Revelation 1:1-3; Revelation 14:6-7.
Special: Ordination, 1 Peter 5:1-4. Workers, 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 4:1-2. Baptism, 1 Peter 3:21. Confirmation, Revelation 2:4. Marriage, 1 Peter 3:1-6. Women, 1 Peter 3:1-6. Harvest, Revelation 14:13-16; Revelation 15; Revelation 17 -
20. Death, 2 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 1:14-15; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 21:7. Close of year, Revelation 21:5.
THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF JUDE
THIS writer styles himself “the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.” He was not therefore Jude, the son of James the apostle. It appears most probable that he is to be identified with Jude, the brother of the Lord and of James (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3), who was not an apostle, and indeed was converted to faith in Christ after the Lord’s resurrection. His brother James was, probably, the first bishop of Jerusalem, and the author of the epistle that bears the name of James.
The exact personality of the author being uncertain, the canonicity of the letter has always been a matter of doubt. A marked peculiarity of the letter is its quotation of things which are not found in the Old Testament Scriptures. The writer even quotes directly from the apocryphal book of Enoch, and possibly also from another apocryphal book entitled “The Assumption of Moses.” If the canonical position of Jude’s epistle is recognised, it remains disputable whether his authority must be accepted as verifying quotations from books whose canonical value and authority are unrecognised. But that question introduces the larger question of the limitations within which Divine inspiration operated in the Bible-writers. The quotations from apocryphal writings in Jude’s epistle present the gravest difficulties, and they even compel a careful and candid consideration of the quotations from canonical Scriptures which are made by all the New Testament writers.
Dean Plumptre skilfully summarises all that can be known concerning this writer. He must have been “born some few years before B.C. 4; and if we are right in assigning his epistle to nearly the same date as those of St. Peter, he must have been not far from seventy at the time of writing it. There is, perhaps, no writer in the New Testament of whose life and character we know so little. We can but picture to ourselves, as in the case of his brother James, the life of the home at Nazareth, the incredulous wonder with which they saw Him whom they had known for so many years in the daily intercourse of homelife, appear first in the character of a teacher, and then of a prophet, and then of the long-expected Christ. So it was that they sought to stay His work (Matthew 12:46; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21), and were yet in the position of those who believed not when they went up to the Feast of Tabernacles six months before the close of our Lord’s ministry (John 7:5). They were, however, converted to a full acceptance of his claims between the Crucifixion and the Ascension—probably, we may believe, by our Lord’s appearance to James after the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7), or by their sharing in the manifestation which was made to five hundred brethren at once (1 Corinthians 15:6).”
“Reading between the lines of the epistle, we can trace something of the character of the man. We miss the serene calmness which distinguishes the teaching of his brother, but its absence is adequately explained by the later date of the epistle, by the presence of new dangers, by the burning indignation roused by the sensual impurities of the false teachers with whom he had to do. What strikes us most, in some sense, as an unexpected difficulty, is the reference to narratives and prophecies which we find nowhere in the canonical scriptures of the Old Testament, but which are found in spurious and unauthentic apocrypha.… The false teachers against whom he wrote were, we know, characterised largely by their fondness for ‘Jewish fables’ (Titus 1:14), and the allusive references to books with which they were familiar were therefore of the nature of an argumentum ad hominem. He fought them, as it were, with their own weapons.”
Dean Plumptre gives the following admirable analysis of the contents of the epistle: “The writer addresses himself at large to all who were consecrated and called as God’s people (Jude 1:1-2). He states that he had been moved to write to them, urging them to contend for the faith, by the dangers of the time (Jude 1:3). Ungodly men are turning the grace of God into lasciviousness (Jude 1:4). Believers should therefore remember that no privileges, however great, exempt them from the danger of falling, as the Israelities fell after leaving Egypt, as the angels, and the Cities of the Plain, had fallen (Jude 1:5-7). The sins of the false teachers were like theirs and worse, as sins against nature, sins after the pattern of those of Cain, and Balaam, and Korah (Jude 1:8-11). They mingled in the Agapæ with impure purposes; all images of natural disorder, rainless clouds, withering trees, wandering stars, were realised in their lives (Jude 1:12-13). Truly had Enoch prophesied that the Lord would come to judge such as these, murmurers, self-willed, covetous (Jude 1:14). From that picture of evil the writer turns to warn his readers against another hardly less threatening danger from the mockers of the last days, sensual and schismatic (Jude 1:17-19). In contrast with both these classes, they were to build themselves up in faith, and prayer, and love (Jude 1:20-21). They must not shrink from rebuking those that needed rebuke, but they must deal with each case on its own merits, with greater or less severity (Jude 1:22-23). The writer ends with an ascription of praise to God as their protector and preserver from all the dangers that threatened them (Jude 1:24-25).”