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3 Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

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3. When I gave diligence. I have rendered the words σπουδὴν ποιούμενος, “Applying care:” literally they are, “Making diligence.” But many interpreters explain the sentence in this sense, that a strong desire constrained Jude to write, as we usually say of those under the influence of some strong feeling, that they cannot govern or restrain themselves. Then, according to these expounders, Jude was under a sort of necessity, because a desire to write suffered him not to rest. But I rather think that the two clauses are separate, that though he was inclined and solicitous to write, yet a necessity compelled him. He then intimates, that he was indeed glad and anxious to write to them, but yet necessity urged him to do so, even because they were assailed (according to what follows) by the ungodly, and stood in need of being prepared to fight with them. 190190     Then the rendering would be, “Beloved, when I was applying all care to write to you of the common salvation, I deemed (or found) it necessary to write to you, in order to exhort you to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.” Macknight and some others give another meaning to the first clause, and one more literal: “Beloved, making all haste to write to you, concerning the common salvation, I have thought it necessary,” etc. For this haste the Apostle gives a reason in the following verse, “For some men have stealthily crept in,” etc. This is the most obvious meaning of the passage. — Ed.

Then, in the first place, Jude testifies that he felt so much concern for their salvation, that he wished himself, and was indeed anxious to write to them; and, secondly, in order to rouse their attention, he says that the state of things required him to do so. For necessity adds strong stimulants. Had they not been forewarned how necessary his exhortation was, they might have been slothful and negligent; but when he makes this preface, that he wrote on account of the necessity of their case, it was the same as though he had blown a trumpet to awake them from their torpor.

Of the common salvation. Some copies add “your,” but without reason, as I think; for he makes salvation common to them and to himself. And it adds not a little weight to the doctrine that is announced, when any one speaks according to his own feelings and experience; for vain is what we say, if we speak of salvation to others, when we ourselves have no real knowledge of it. Then, Jude professed himself to be (so to speak) an experimental teacher, when he associated himself with the godly in the participation of the same salvation.

And exhort you. Literally, “exhorting you;” but as he points out the end of his counsel, the sentence ought to be thus expressed. What I have rendered, “to help the faith by contending,” means the same as to strive in retaining the faith, and courageously to sustain the contrary assaults of Satan. 191191     The meaning of the verb is, to combat for, to strive, fight or contend for. It is a word derived from the games, and expresses a strenuous effort. Our version conveys well its meaning, “earnestly contend for the faith;” or, the words may be rendered, “strenuously combat for the faith;” not with the sword, says Beza, but with sound doctrine and the example of a holy life. — Ed For he reminds them that in order to persevere in the faith, various contests must be encountered and continual warfare maintained. He says that faith had been once delivered, that they might know that they had obtained it for this end, that they might never fail or fall away.