I’m so glad we’re back finishing up our inductive study in the Book of Jude. This is a great book, full of excellent teaching about false teachers and how to identify them. In our previous two studies, we learned how important observation is with the simple questions of the 5Ws and H in determining the truth in the text. In this study today, we will learn how to Interpret and Apply what we observe. This is the third and fourth components of the Inductive Study Method which we will use to interpret the meaning of Jude.
We began with honing our observation skills in part 1 and in part 2, we looked at how simple questions can reveal big truths. In these studies, I helped walk you through the inductive study process as you learned how to observe the text by identifying the author and those whom the author wrote to. Not only that, but we asked some simple questions to learn what we could about the recipients and the ungodly men. As we worked through the study, we recorded our findings on the worksheet Jude: Identifying False Teachers Worksheet. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, feel free to do so now.
Let’s go over the purpose of correctly interpreting the text. Anyone can read a passage of the Bible and state what they think it means but are they correct? It’s possible that they may not be correct if they haven’t applied the rules of inductive study.
Simple Interpretation Rules
There are some basic rules to accurately interpret the Scriptures such as:
- context rules
- seek guidance from Holy Spirit
- Scripture will never contradict itself
- look for what the author had in mind
Rule 1: Context is King
The first rule to remember, not only with the inductive method but in any study method is, “context is king.” You may hear me say that from time to time as it is so very important. Often, as I read the Word, I look for context so I may understand the passage correctly. Without context, I could make it say whatever I want it to say to suit my purpose which is a dangerous piece of ground to stand on.
So, context rules. What does that mean anyway? Well, when reading a specific verse,
- check the surrounding verses, before and after
- keep the whole message of the book in context
- and most importantly, line it up with the whole Word of God.
God will never contradict Himself. If you think a specific verse means one thing and there is another verse that is the opposite, then it is time to reexamine your interpretation.
Rule 2: Seek Guidance from Holy Spirit
This really seems like a no-brainer to me. How can I study His Word without the help of Holy Spirit? So, when reviewing the observations made of the text, it only makes total sense to seek help from Holy Spirit. And yes, I call Him “Holy Spirit” as opposed to “the Holy Spirit.” Why? Well, my name is Cindy. Do you call me “the Cindy?” Putting it that way, kinda makes sense, huh? Oh, and I never shorten His name to His initials. To me, that seems disrespectful because He is Deity after all.
So, pray for Holy Spirit to help you interpret the meaning of Jude. You can be sure He will give it as He wants you to understand and interpret the Word accurately.
Oh, and did you know that the more you know of the Word, the more you are able to recognize incorrect teaching? That comes with regular reading and study of God’s Word.
Rule 3: Scripture will Never Contradict Itself
Thirdly, let’s remember that all Scripture is inspired by God. Based on that, you can trust that Scripture will never contradict itself. The Bible is true and it is all you need as your life manual. If you find that there are some verses that seem to be contradictory, it is because we have finite minds and our thought processes are not like God’s at all. It is at this point that you need to simply trust God in faith that His Word is true even if you don’t understand it.
When we think of Jude’s message to the Christians, in your opinion, did he write anything that is contradictory to other parts of the Bible?
Rule 4: Look for What the Author Had in Mind
And, lastly, look at the passage literally and ask yourself, what did the author have in mind? We want to do this so we don’t twist Scriptures to give it a different meaning. Here, look at this example from Psalm 46:5: “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.” KJV
This verse is often used in Social Media to indicate that “her” or “she” is a woman. Remember rule #1, and read the surrounding verses. Verse 4 makes a reference to the “city of God.” This city is called Zion and is always referred to in the female pronoun. So, based on this rule, those who use Psalm 46:5 to refer to a woman are mistaken. It is so important to correctly interpret the meaning of Scripture because we don’t want to twist Scripture, nor do we want to base convictions on incorrectly interpreted verses either.
What did Jude have in mind when he wrote to the Christian community?
Reviewing the Facts in Jude
It’s time to look at the message that Jude was giving his audience. Let’s review some basic facts so we can interpret the meaning of Jude:
Who are the Saints?
- v1 – Jude wrote to the saints (believers) who are sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ and called
- v2 – Jude honours them with mercy, peace and love multiplied
- v3 – he called them by a term of endearment, Beloved and is concerned with their salvation
- v12 – the Beloved has allowed certain men to join them in mealtimes
- v17 – Jude reminds the Beloved to remember that there would be times when mockers would come
- v20 – he encouraged the Beloved, build up their faith, praying in the Holy Ghost
- v21 – keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of Jesus Christ unto eternal life
Qualities of the Ungodly Men
- v4 – certain men crept in unawares who were destined for condemnation
- v4 – ungodly men who perverted the grace of God into sensuality and who denied the only Lord Jesus Christ
- v8 – filthy dreamers who defile the flesh and reject God’s authority
- v8 – they speak evil of dignities (the glorious ones, ESV)
- v10 – these speak evil those things they don’t know about or understand
- v10 – they corrupt themselves in the things they do know about
- v11 – they run greedily after the error of Balaam for financial reward
Interpret the Meaning of the Book of Jude
Everyone who reads through the book of Jude develops a good idea of its meaning. Based on the facts, above, we can interpret Jude’s meaning as follows:
- Salvation is from God
- Jesus is returning
- There will be people who will mock God and infiltrate the Church body. They are known as the ‘tares’ among the wheat, Matthew 1:24-30.
- Be aware of newcomers in the Church as false believers will spread their false doctrine
How do we Apply this Interpretation?
Okay, so now we know the interpretation of Jude, but, does it apply for us today? It most certainly does!
- Believers are to recognize false teaching/doctrine and reject it
- Christians are to stay strong in their faith
- Believers should have compassion for those who don’t really know what they are doing and snatch them from the fire
How can we apply this message of Jude?
2 Ways to Stand Strong in Your Faith
The number one way is to study and know your Bible. The more you read it, the more you learn and understand. This leads to the ability to recognize truth from lies.
Secondly, if you feel you lack discernment, ask Holy Spirit to give it to you. You will begin to read between the lines in awareness of the real meanings. Discernment and the quickening of the Spirit will help you be aware of false teachers and their doctrine.
Lastly, fight for truth! Don’t let yourself be steamrolled by the popular “icing on the cake” messages but take a stand against error! Jude said to ‘contend for the faith’ in verse 3 so stand strong and fight for truth!
Wrapping this Up
Well, that is quite the study! This little book, only 25 verses, is a powerhouse of truth concerning the false teachers who infiltrate the Church. It doesn’t surprise me that in Jude’s day, the believers didn’t recognize the ”ungodly men” and even had after church luncheons with them! Sad to say that it’s happening today too.
So, after these three studies, now you know how to use the observation, interpretation and application skills in other studies of the Word.
Let’s have a quick review. We honed our observation skills in part 1 and asked simple questions to reveal big truths in part 2. This third part taught us the rules of interpretation to help interpret the meaning of Jude.
Is this something that you would like to continue to do, study using the inductive method? Would you like to be in a community of other women as we study together? If so, then I welcome you to join the Deeper in God Bible Studies group over on Facebook.
I’d love to hear your thoughts as you interpret the meaning of Jude. Would you leave me a comment below?
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Cindy Barnes has been called by God in the early 80s to be a teacher of His Word. She is a serious student of the Word, focusing on the Inductive Bible Study Method since 2007. Her passion is to teach women how to study the Bible using this method. In addition, she desires for women to develop an intense yearning to draw closer to God through reading and writing out the Bible.
Cindy teaches hundreds of women in her private online Bible Study Group who express their joy of growing deeper in their spiritual walk.
You can stay in touch with Cindy on Facebook through Women’s Tabletop Friendship.