2

Peter had the following words to say to the rulers, elders and scribes in Jerusalem regarding the healing of the lame man at the temple :

... the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth ... neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

[Acts 4: 10, 12 KJV]

What is understood by Trinitarian Protestantism that salvation is by the 'name' of Jesus Christ and, more specifically, by the name 'Jesus Christ of Nazareth' ?

Do Protestants understand that this is a matter of 'identification' possibly, or a matter of 'location', that is to say identifying and locating God himself in his manifestation in the Person of the Son of God ?

Is this, according to Trinitarian Protestantism, a matter of identifying and locating the one true God that one might call upon him (and him only) for salvation ?

It is noticeable that the apostle does not say 'Jesus Christ of Bethlehem', but 'Jesus Christ of Nazareth'. Does Trinitarian Protestantism have any light to shed upon this ?

  • There were many Jews called Jesus (Joshua), many pretenders to the title of Christ (the Messiah), and many inhabitants of the town of Nazareth. – Lucian Apr 22 at 11:23
  • @Lucian . . . but only one who could trace his genealogy back, as the royal line, to David and Abraham, proving he was the King of the Jews who had right to the throne. And only one to whom a voice, after baptism, from heaven had declared This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. – Nigel J Apr 22 at 12:13
2

As a Trinitarian Christian of the Protestant persuasion, I understand that the conflict between the High Priest, rulers, elders and teachers of the law, and Peter was that the former equated the power to resurrect and perform miracles to the name in which it was done, yet Peter “preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2).

And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? (Acts 4:7 KJAV)

Peter declared that the miracle had been done in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom they had crucified, but whom God had raised from the dead (Acts 4:10). Here are some extracts from Calvin’s commentaries on Acts 4, taken from this source: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/calvin/acts/4.htm

  1. In what power: They do yet seem to have some zeal of God. For they feign that they are careful that the honor due unto God may not be given to any other. Name is taken in this place for authority. In sum, they deal as if they were most earnest defenders and maintainers of God's glory.

By declaring the power of the miracle was in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Peter equates Jesus of Nazareth with God. No wonder the High Priest and his followers were horrified! People from Nazareth were held in low esteem and they were despised and condemned. Nathaniel asked Philip if any good thing can come out of Nazareth (John 1:45-46). When Peter said Jesus of Nazareth rather than Jesus of Bethlehem (where he was born) he was making reference to where Jesus had grown up, a common tradition, as found in Luke 23:26 regarding Simon of Cyrene.

And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene (Matthew 2:23).

The prophecies respecting the coming Messiah were that He was to be of humble origin and would be “despised and rejected” and men would esteem him not (Isaiah 53; Psalm 22). When Matthew says the prophecies were “fulfilled,” it suggests that the predictions that the Messiah would be of a low and despised condition and would be rejected, were fully accomplished because Jesus was identified as a citizen of Nazareth.

Back to Calvin who makes these comments regarding Acts 4:10 and then verse 12:

  1. Be it known unto you. And, first he [Peter] maketh Christ the author of the miracle. Secondly, because it seemed to be an absurd and incredible thing, that a dead man should be endued with divine power, he testifieth that Christ is alive, because God hath raised him up from the dead, howsoever they had crucified him. So that the miracle giveth him occasion to preach the resurrection of Christ. And by this testimony Peter meant to prove that he was the true Messiah. He saith that they had crucified him, not only to the end he may upbraid this unto them, that they may acknowledge their fault; but also that they may understand that they have in vain striven against God; and so, consequently, cease to rage so unluckily and with such deadly success.

  2. Neither is there salvation in any other. He passeth from the species [salvation] unto the genus, [or more particular,] and he goeth from the corporal benefit unto perfect health, [or general.] And assuredly Christ had showed this one token of his grace, to the end he might be known to be the only author of life. We must consider this in all the benefits of God, to wit, that he is the fountain of salvation. And he meant to prick and sting the priests with this sentence, when as he saith that there is salvation in none other save only in Christ, whom they went about to put quite out of remembrance. [210] As if he should say, that they are twice damned who did not only refuse the salvation offered them by God, but endeavor to bring the same to nought, and did take from all the people the fruit and use thereof. And although he seemeth to speak unto deaf men, yet doth he preach of the grace of Christ, if peradventure some can abide to hear; if not, that they may at least be deprived of all excuse by this testimony.

Neither is there any other name. He expoundeth the sentence next going before. Salvation (saith he) is in Christ alone, because God hath decreed that it should be so. For by name he meaneth the cause or mean, as if he should have said, forasmuch as salvation is in God's power only, he will not have the same to be common to us by any other means than if we ask it of Christ alone. Whereas he saith under heaven, they do commonly refer it unto creatures, as if he should say, that the force and power to save is given to Christ alone. Notwithstanding, I do rather think that this was added, because men cannot ascend into heaven, that they may come unto God. Therefore, seeing we are so far from the kingdom of God, it is needful that God do not only invite us unto himself, but that reaching out his hand he offer salvation unto us, that we may enjoy the same. Peter teacheth in this place, that he hath done that in Christ, because he came down into the earth for this cause, that he might bring salvation with him, Neither is that contrary to this doctrine, that Christ is ascended above all heavens (Ephesians 4:10). For he took upon him our flesh once for this cause, that he might be a continual pledge of our adoption...

But Peter calleth us back unto Christ alone. They dare not altogether deny that we have salvation given us by Christ; but whilst they feign so many helps, they leave him scarce the hundredth part of salvation. But they were to seek for salvation at the hands of Christ wholly; for when Peter excludeth plainly all other means, he placeth perfect salvation in Christ alone, and not some part thereof only. Source: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/calvin/acts/4.htm

To sum up: Trinitarian Protestants believe that salvation is to be found in the name of Jesus alone. Since salvation is in God’s power alone, for the Bible to declare that salvation is in none other than Jesus, is to confess that Jesus is God. At the incarnation, the Word became flesh and dwelt with us (John 1:1, 14). Jesus, prior to his incarnation, existed throughout eternity as the uncreated Word of God. Jesus did not become the Son of God at his birth.

In John 10:30 Jesus declared “I and the Father are one.” The Father is eternal. The Son is eternal. The relationship between Father and Son is eternal. Salvation is from God. Salvation is from Jesus the Son. The Father is God. Jesus is God. Otherwise Peter, in the power of the Holy Spirit, could never have said there is no name under heaven except the name of Jesus of Nazareth whereby we must be saved. The name is the authority. If Jesus is not God then no person could ever be saved by calling upon the name of Jesus. Since Jesus is God, and since he existed throughout eternity as part of the One Being of God, then (as Calvin declares) Peter calls us to Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

By calling upon the name of Jesus for salvation, one has identified and located the One True God.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thoroughly excellent. Up-voted and accepted as answer. Thank you. Very edified. – Nigel J Apr 24 at 16:10
1

The phrase "Jesus of Nazareth" would have been a standard way of distinguishing between several people with the (relatively common) name "Jesus". We see other examples in the Bible of this, such as "Joseph of Arimathea" or "Saul of Tarsus". It would be normal to use someone's home town rather than a place of birth.

Peter inserts "Christ" to indicate that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah (a synonym of Christ). It doesn't serve as additional identification. The meaning would be: "Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Christ."

So Peter is identifying a specific person ("Jesus of Nazareth") as both Messiah and sole source of salvation.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.