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Content yet contending

by Daniel R Hyde
July 2017 | Review by Geoff Cox
  • Publisher: EP Books
  • ISBN: 978-1-78397-175-6
  • Pages: 138
  • Price: 8.99

This book stems from two series on Jude that the author preached in his home church. It seems aimed at ministers who might consider preaching through this book, although its appeal is wider than this.

In the preface Hyde explains the reason for the title: to encourage, as did Jude, Christians to be content in the glorious truths and privileges of the gospel; and also to contend for the truths of the gospel, ensuring they are not watered down by false teachers. Since false teachers abound in every generation, Jude’s epistle is as relevant today as when first written.

The book is divided into eight brief chapters. Each covers a few Bible verses and gives interpretation and application of the passage under consideration. Although the comments are helpful and often heart-warming, this is by no means a devotional commentary. Its strength lies in the number of sermon ideas he gives in each chapter. For that alone, it is a worthwhile purchase for any preacher considering expounding Jude. For a more exhaustive and detailed commentary, you would need to look elsewhere.

Each chapter begins with an illustration — for me, this was the weakest aspect of the book, since it was hard to see their relevance or necessity. The opening chapter addresses why the author views Jude as a ‘neglected epistle’. He also gives a brief outline of the contents and looks at the question of authorship.

The second chapter deals with ‘contending for the faith’ and gives helpful comments on the whole subject. He does rather spoil things though by quoting a hymn on sticking to the faith written by, of all people, F. W. Faber (an Anglican who apostatised to Rome!).

On page 40 the author appears to quote Bede approvingly when he writes that Christ softened the hard edge of the law, implying that repentance is accepted because of this softening. But, since Christ said that not one word of the law would pass away and salvation is only possible because Christ kept the law for us, this statement needs to be treated with caution.

There are further chapters on the dangers of false doctrine, the importance of the Second Coming, evangelism and, finally, a heart-warming treatment of Jude’s doxology. Despite the reservations, this book is a valuable tool for those thinking of preaching through Jude.

Geoff Cox

Birmingham

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