2 Peter 2 & Jude Compared

It has often been noticed that these two passages of Scripture contain a good deal of common material. That there are some differences between them can be ascertained from reading them, but whatever may be said as to these the question remains as to why the Lord has seen fit to give us two very similar chapters in the Epistles. There are of course many similar passages in the Gospels as can be seen when one Gospel is compared with another, but these may be explained as being given to us, inter alia, as independent witnesses of the events of Christ's life and his teaching, because it is on Christ that our faith ultimately rests. No one will be allowed to say that God did not provide adequate witness. Apart from the element of witness a right mind would be carried by the simple power of the wording of the Gospels: "How forcible are right words!" (Job 6:25).

However, the element of witness can hardly be said to enter into the repetition of the Petrine passage in Jude. The existence of the repetition, however, would impress us with the need to be on our guard against the evils spoken of in both passages. The main danger appears to be that of living an abandoned manner of life and seducing persons to think that this is compatible with a Christian profession. However this article is not written to go into the nature and danger of the evils mentioned, but to point out what, to the writer, is the main difference between the passages. This appears to be that Peter is warning against an enemy without who is seeking to get in amongst the people of God and to propagate his doctrines amongst them. When we come to Jude, however, the enemy has in fact got in and is propagating his errors.

Let us look first at 2 Peter 2:-

(1) There
shall be also among you false teachers (verse 1).

(2) Who
shall bring in by the bye destructive heresies (verse 1).

(3) Many
shall follow their dissolute ways (verse 2).

(4) The way of the truth
shall be blasphemed (verse 2).

(5) Through covetousness... w
ill they make merchandise of you (verse 3).

Verse 13 "feasting with you" would suggest that the ungodly persons spoken of had at least got their feet in the door, so to speak, though the general purport of the chapter is to warn as to what will happen. The ungodly persons were already around though they had not yet got a significant place amongst the people of God.

Now let us look at Jude:-

(1) Certain men have got in unnoticed... ungodly [persons] (verse 4).

(2) These
are spots in your love-feasts (verse 12).

(3) Feasting together [with you] (verse 12).

Here it is clear that some ungodly persons had got in amongst the people of God. They had got in unnoticed. The doorkeepers had not been sufficiently alert to keep them out; a warning that the assembly needs to be guarded. In the Old Testament the doorkeepers (porters usually in AV) had an important role and in Mark 13:34 Christ said of a man that he: "commanded the doorkeeper that he should watch". Part of Adam's job was to guard the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). It appears that he failed in this as the serpent got within and seduced Eve, who persuaded Adam to follow her into sin (Genesis 3:6 & 17) .

The conclusive proof that the foregoing reason for the two similar passages is correct is in verse 17 of Jude. He says: "Remember the words spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they said to you, that at [the] end of the time there should be mockers walking after their own lusts of ungodliness". This is clearly a reference back to the kind of thing said by Peter: "Knowing this first, that there shall (note the future tense) come at [the] close of the days mockers with mocking, walking according to their own lusts" (2 Peter 3:3)

Written November 1999

Revised March 2003