In Jude’s short letter, he often writes in triads, listing three items or offering three examples. He does this with such regularity that when he deviates from this in verse 12, I thought I had misread the text. Consider the following triplets:
- three actions of God: called, loved, and kept (and if you implicitly see the Holy Spirit in doing the calling, then the Trinity is implied here as well: Holy Spirit, Father, and Jesus); verse 1.
- three blessings: mercy, peace, and love; verse 2.
- three historic warnings: leaving Egypt, deserting angels, and Sodom and Gomorrah; verses 5-7.
- three negative actions: pollute their bodies, reject authority, and slander angels; verse 8.
- three bad examples: Cain, Balaam, and Korah; verse 11.
- five negative allusions: shepherds who feed only themselves, clouds without rain, dead autumn trees, wild waves, wandering stars; verse 12.
- three characteristics of ungodly men in the church: cause division, follow natural instincts, and do not have the Spirit; verse 19.
- three prescriptions: build up your faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, and stay in God’s love; verses 20-21.
- three ways to show mercy: help doubters, save others from destruction, and carefully rescue others without being taken down; verse 22.
- three attributes of God: keeps us from falling, presents us without fault, and has great joy; verse 24.
- four praises for God: glory, majesty, power, and authority; verse 25.
As someone who also has a propensity of writing in threes, Jude’s style is especially appealing to me.
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