What does Jude 1:23 mean?
ESV: save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
NIV: save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear--hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
NASB: save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
CSB: save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
NLT: Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
KJV: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
NKJV: but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Verse Commentary:
In this verse, Jude urges his readers to "snatch out of the fire" unbelievers who are perilously close to entering eternal punishment. A key point made in this letter is the danger posed by false teachers. Not only do these men place themselves in danger of eternal punishment (Jude 1:13), they can also disrupt the faith of others (Jude 1:10–12). For those who are not in open rebellion, but are merely confused or suffering from doubt, our response should be that of mercy. We need to seek their redemption, not their condemnation (Jude 1:22).

At the same time, Jude portrays some unbelievers as so contaminated by immorality that this compassion needs to come with sensible caution. It is commendable to reach grossly immoral unbelievers, but it is unacceptable to be drawn into their immorality. Jesus reached out with the message of forgiveness to the most sinful members of society (Mark 2:15–17), but He did not participate in their sin (Hebrews 4:15). Nor did He approve of it (John 8:11).
Verse Context:
Jude 1:17–23 lays out Jude's plan of action for recognizing, resisting, and defeating apostates. Prior verses were devoted to explaining how, and why, these false teachers were dangerous. Those who followed their examples were bound for eternal judgment. Here, Jude provides a means to avoid these liars, as well as their fate.
Chapter Summary:
Jude's brief letter describes men at their worst and God at His best. Believers are already on the victorious side! Those who mock God's truth and who follow their own desires all while claiming to be Christians, are the most dangerous kind of unbelievers. These persons pose a danger to themselves and to any Christians they might influence. In response, Christians need to focus on understanding the truth of God's written Word and submitting to His will.
Chapter Context:
Jude is a single-chapter letter which reflects earlier warnings about apostates and their false teachings. Other passages of Scripture describe evil men who taught that Jesus was not fully human or fully God (1 John 2:22; 4:1–3), that God's grace allowed them to live immorally (2 Peter 2; Romans 6:1, 15), that Jesus blood was not an adequate sacrifice (Galatians 1:6–9; Hebrews 3:12–19; 10:19), and sinners gain a right standing in God's sight by keeping the law of Moses (Galatians 5:4, 7–9). Jude's letter combats false teaching and exhorts readers to remain faithful to the Lord.
Book Summary:
The book of Jude is a letter written by a half-brother of Jesus, likely later than AD 66–67, which was after 2 Peter was written. Its placement immediately before the book of Revelation is appropriate. This letter warns about false religion and evil men, whom Revelation describes as maliciously affecting political and religious conditions.
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