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I know fear can mean multiple things. But what I'm getting out of Jude 1:23 is that people saved others by fearing something. Do they fear Satan? Or do they fear God? The whole time, I was assuming fear was a bad thing.

120 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

[KJV] my emphasis

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Thanks a lot Andrew Leach. That is why I love this sight. Not only it provides the meaning of Scripture. But it also teaches you how to ask a question in the proper way.. thanks again. – user10314 Jun 17 '14 at 13:32
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think Jude is encouraging his readers to fear the temptation of the flesh, which explains the following statement "hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.". Look at how it's phrased in the New Living Translation:

Jude 1:20-23 NLT But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 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.

Instead of the fear, it's saying the word caution. This is similar to the passage in Galatians 6:

Galatians 6:1 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

It looks like it is a cautionary fear.

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LCIII thanks. That makes more sense.. I believe I'm going to stop reading KJV. It's confusing.. – user10314 Jun 17 '14 at 14:11
@user10314 No problem. Glad to help! The KJV uses a lot of English phrases that were common 400 years ago but just aren't today. And please mark the answer as accepted if you accept it :). – LCIII Jun 17 '14 at 14:51
LCIII I don't mean to sound stupid, but how do you mark the answer as accepted? I've been trying to figure that out for an hour now.. lol – user10314 Jun 17 '14 at 16:46
@user10314 – LCIII Jun 17 '14 at 17:32
@user10314 there are a lot of different Bible translations; each one serving a slightly different purpose (IMO). This answer may shine some light on some of the more popular translations – Alex Jun 18 '14 at 1:05

I believe Jude is speaking of teaching the "fear of The Lord" which Proverbs calls the behinning of wisdom. Most of us have no clue what the fear of The Lord is. Secondly I think we should recognize the wording of the verses. We.... BUILD ourselves up in holy faith (faith is steadfast/steadiness in the faithfulness of God, faith is action) PRAY in the Holy Spirit KEEP yourself in love (of God) LOOK for mercy HAVE COMPASSION MAKE A DISTINCTION SAVE WITH FEAR SNATCH from the fire HATE garment stain with flesh

There is an "order" in these verses. We are not instructed to fear sin or flesh but to save with fear, and HATE flesh/sin.

The order given here is an example of walking in the fear of The Lord. Isn't this what creation is granting to see manifested in the sons of God?

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Welcome to the site! This answer would be a lot better if you could add references showing that this is a common understanding, and who teaches/believes it. On this site, we're not looking for personal interpretation, but rather focusing on what various Christian groups teach. See How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? – David Oct 20 '14 at 1:21

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