Jude 1:23 meaning


I’m a bit confused on the latter part of Jude 1:23, specifically the part that reads “hating even the garment stand by the flesh.” This just means that we’re supposed to hate sinful things, right? It seems to me that “even the garment” is likely a hyperbole.

My question is related to stuff like secular books, TV, etc. Does this verse mean that we are unable to enjoy such things (even if it’s not a bad show)?


It’s a problematic verse. Take a look at the footnotes to the NABRE vsersion:



“the very garments of the godless are to be abhorred because of their contagion.”

…But wait, wouldn’t that mean it’s sinful to shop at thrift stores?


I don’t think it could possibly have that meaning !

The NABRE footnote says it’s an allusion to a verse in Zechariah, which you can read here:


Yeah, that’s what I thought :wink:

Do you think this verse connects any to television/secular books, as I’ve added to my ask above?


Do you mean porn or other books or movies that are obviously inducing to sin? I suppose that might be possible. But not just secular, in the sense of having nothing to do with religious belief, either for or against. I don’t see how you could find that meaning in it!


The Haydock Commentary refers to verse 22, but it also seems to include 23 in the explanation:
[22] And some indeed reprove, being judged: [23] But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal.

"Ver. 22. And some indeed reprove, being judged. He gives them another instruction to practise charity in endeavouring to convert their neighbour, where they will meet with three sorts of persons. 1. With persons obstinate in their errors and sins, these may be said to be already judged and condemned, they are to be sharply reprehended, reproved, and, if possible, convinced of their errors. 2. As to others, you must endeavour to save them, by snatching them as it were out of the fire, from the ruin they stand in great danger of. 3. You must have compassion on others in great fear, when you see them, through ignorance or frailty, in danger of being drawn into the snares of these heretics; with these you must deal more gently and mildly, with a charitable compassion, hating always, and teaching others to hate the carnal coat, which is defiled, their sensual and corrupt manners, that defile both the soul and body. Wi."

I think it’s more of a warning to be very careful about associating with people that are more “worldly” minded, even if you might be trying to convert them from their “evil ways”. It can be a little too easy for someone to end up becoming corrupted by others, instead of converting them.


This makes a lot of sense. Thank you :smiley:


I just thought, well, if we’re to hate even the GARMENTS of unbelievers, should we also hate the things they create?

That was my thought process. I’m gonna go out on an limb and say you don’t agree :wink:


In the Bible, a “garment” sometimes refers to the state of a soul or has some other significance. Someone having a spotted garment might be interpreted as one having a sinful soul, because every sin is like having a blot on your soul. Baptism ‘washes away’ the sins, or ‘blots’, on our souls.

Acts 22: [16] And now why tarriest thou? Rise up, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, invoking his name.


thank you for this clarification!


You’re very welcome. Glad to help! :wink:


Hi, Christina!

Here’s the passage:

23 But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal.

We are to not just be content that we are Saved by Jesus–we are to Witness to the world and assist others in their Salvation.

Some we are to have mercy upon–allowing that Mercy (God’s) to work both in us and in them as we help Guide them to (or back) Christ; others we are to assist with great care not to fall in their wickedness and corruption hating even that which is part of their world/corrupt principles.

Abortion, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, and other ills are at times seen only through the lens of “mercy,” “justice” or “charity.” Yet, instead of correcting these we can falter, through a misplaced sense of “love” or “respect” or “sensibility,” and actually enable rather then correct.

A brutal example:

In some places of work people speak and do things that are immoral; a Christian cannot become part of that behavior in order to “not judge” or “fit in” or “bring others to Christ.”

With love and compassion we can reject that behavior without seeming to be pious (better than).

And you are correct, not supporting secular values (books, tv programs, etc.) is "hating the garment (hating the sinful man/woman) as we strive to remain Christians and give Witness to Christ.

Maran atha!



The garments of sin.

Say one goes to a thrift store and find a tool/garment that is needed/wanted; it could have been used to commit an unrighteous act, is one to judge that? No.

Say it’s a book/video that contains pornographic material or incites to immoral acts–then one is to reject such thing.

Now, say I’m offering a car that’s worth thousands of dollars (blue book) and you would make a killing on the savings I offer–catch? Stolen vehicle; yet, I assure you that there’s a place where they can get you ligit papers for just a few hundred bucks… is it a steal or am I tempting you to become part of my criminal enterprise?

As a Christian you must reject the sale, the garment, the immoral transaction; if possible, you are to, gently, warn me of my digression/unrighteousness.

Maran atha!



We are part of the world; that said, it depends upon what is actually transpiring.

Criminals use the same currency to purchase things as non-criminals; should we stop using currency? Must Christians form a separated community that would deal only with other Christians (in some aspects we should)?

But it is not as clear cut as it seems.

I once heard that home depot support homosexual to an extreme; there were even news events where homosexual celebrated their homosexuality openly and in broad daylight; when I heard that they orchestrated kiosks so that children could be taught about the homosexual plight and innocuous lifestyle I drew the line–I would not shop at home depot! Yet, I cannot stop buying tools or other goods because of a “suspicion” that they may be related to home depot.

We can reject the “garments” of sin without removing ourselves from the world.

Maran atha!



This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.