Today I was reading Forward Day by Day. (8/7/2008 is the date to enter at the link, to get the meditation of today, when my today ceases to be your today!)
Oh, it’s short…just read it, okay?
(here’s the text of it, for your convenience!…emphases added are mine.)
Acts 4:1-12. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.
Some Christians love this verse; others hate it. Those who love it point to its affirmation that Christ is the only way to God (salvation) and is Lord of all; those who hate it feel it demeans other faiths, suggesting they are nothing but dead ends.
It helps to know what kind of literature you’re reading. We don’t read a sonnet the same way we read a baseball box score, or a legal document as we read a recipe. The Bible contains a wide variety of literature, including hymns, court records, short stories, historical narratives, accounts of dreams, legends, sermons, letters, and a play. What sort of literature does this verse seem to be?
It sounds to me like a love song. Lovers addressing their beloved say things like “You’re the only one” and “Your name is the only name under heaven.” Such statements pertain only to the beloved-they are not meant to negate other people’s beauty or worth. Look at this verse not as a statement about other religions, but as an expression of Peter’s love for Christ, a love he is eager for others to share.
I’m especially attracted to the notion that we need to know what kind of literature we’re reading. And what this sounds like to the author! I love Psalms today. I didn’t even begin to grasp any of their meaning, literal or figurative, when I was a child. When I was a young adult I was so annoyed, because I could get the literal meaning now, but the gentle nuances of metaphor eluded me…or was I merely rebellious and defensive and not open to their meaning? (I suspect a little of both.)
Anyway, I lack the imaginativeness to expand upon this notion further tonight in my post here. But I thought this Day by Day meditation worthy of sharing with you. I hope you have enjoyed it.
I’m firmly situating my sentiments and beliefs surrounding this bible verse with those in paragraph three of this author’s meditation, and in neither of the camps of paragraph one. But even still, you see, there is indeed no other name under heaven by which I can be saved. As if to offer up a big whooping, “Yay, God!” It is an expression of irresistible love…and the bubbling desire to share it with the world and recognize our shared places in the communion of those who shared it in ages past, and those yet to come. A way of saying, “Come join in the grand dance that has already started and will never end! We’ve been eagerly waiting for you!” (loosely paraphrased by my vague memory of Martin Smith in The Word is Very Near You.)
Blessings to you this day!