Verse 1 – 2: Who is the author here? While it really does not identify him specifically, the person that the early church would have thought the context is Jude, the brother of Jesus. Why does he not say that? The same as James, the brother of Jesus who does not call on his kinship, but says he is a servant of Jesus Christ. That is the most important aspect of his relationship. Matthew 12:48
The letter is not specific about how the destination is. The tone of calling the Dear Friends suggest that this is not a general letter to everyone. The men who have slipped is a specific event. Though one could argue that it was happening in multiple congregations, the simplest way to interpret the text is that this is written to a specific congregation or set of congregations which had a relationship with Jude.
Called – How we came to be Christ's
Loved – Our current state with him
Kept – What will maintain our relationship with God
Mercy – Being given a break
Peace – Not at war, internally or externally
Love – Strong affection or desire for someone
Verse 3 – 4: The faith that Jude is wanting them to content for is not an official confession but the teaching that they received. This teaching came in the form of the preaching of the gospel. Preaching is the authoritative declaration of the Word of God. What is the distinction? The main point of the letter is that there will be false teachers, but it really does not address specific doctrinal error. The core issue is the false teacher phenomena. That this phenomena is expected. The false teachers can be identified by two things; teachings which change the essence of the faith and a life that is not godly. While the book is teaching the audience and therefore us to contend for the faith, it is not teaching us to be contentious. We as well as the early church must distinguish between different forms which do and those that do not maintain the essence of the faith.
Verse 5: Jude starting in verse five begins a long list of references to scripture, other Jewish literature of the time and analogies from nature. The two non-biblical Jewish writings are The Assumption Of Moses (9) and the Apocalypse of Enoch (14). These are somewhat problematic. Is the writer saying these are on par with scripture, were they left out of the cannon? Well, I would point out that Paul quotes in Titus 1:12 Crete's own poets. In this passage, Paul is quoting for a point of reference for the people. So we need to be careful about reading into the passage more support for these writers than necessary. I might quote Augustine or Chuck Swindoll but that does not mean that I hold them as inspired in the same sense as scripture. Also, the analogies from scripture are not thought to be revelatory but merely points from which discuss the