Who is Jude?

In the Bible, there is only one mention of a man named Jude.  That lone reference occurs in the opening greeting of the letter that he wrote.

However, Jude is a variation of Judas.  Apparently, Judas was a common name two thousand years ago:

  • Judas Iscariot: who betrayed Jesus
  • Judas (not Judas Iscariot): another follower of Jesus
  • Judas son of James
  • Judas the Galilean
  • Judas on Straight Street: whose house Saul (Paul) went to after his encounter with God
  • Judas (called Barsabbas): an early missionary
  • Judas, a brother of Jesus

We can rule out Judas Iscariot, because he committed suicide before this letter was written, while Judas the Galilean is an historical reference.  That leaves five others for possible consideration.

Another clue is that Jude is the brother of James.  There are also several James mentioned in the Bible.  Do any of those men named Judas have a brother James?  The answer is yes.  Jesus had four brothers (technically half brothers): James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas.

It is quite possible that Jude is Jesus’ brother.  Regardless of who he is, it is his message — warning against ungodly people in the church — that matters.

[Jude 1:1, mentions of Judas, Matthew 13:55]