The author was Jude, the half brother of Jesus. Mary was their mother and Joseph was the father of Jude. Although Mary was Jesus’ true mother, God was Jesus’ true father.
Little is known about Jude. He was one of four brothers (Mark 6:3) and was probably not a follower of Jesus during the years of his brother’s ministry. It was only after the Resurrection that Jude became a believer (Acts 1:14).
The readers are not identified, but we know that they were confronted constantly by false teachers who were immoral, covetous, proud, and divisive.
Jude warned Christians of these false teachers and urged his readers to “contend for the faith.” His purpose was to remind the church of the need for constant vigilance, to keep strong in the faith, and to defend it against heresy.
This letter is intensely concerned with the threat of heretical teachers in the church and the believer’s proper response to that threat.
Many of the New Testament epistles confront the problem of false teachers, and almost all of them allude to it. Jude went beyond all the other epistles in his relentless and passionate denunciation of the apostate teachers who have “crept in unawares” (v. 4).
Jude wrote to motivate Christians everywhere with a three-fold motive:
To recognize the dangers of false teaching.
To protect themselves against such teaching.
To win back those who had already been deceived.
The false teachers referred to in this letter were probably Gnostics (Colossians 2:4). Basically they said that Christians could do as they please, without fear of God’s punishment. This allowed for immoral living.
While few teach this heresy openly in the church today, many in the church act as though this were true. This letter contains a warning against living a nominal Christian life.