Matt asks a challenging question:
While Jesus was telling the Jews to believe in Him for everlasting life, some people were fixated on earning their salvation by observing the law. But what about someone who somehow believes in a past Messiah who saved the world from their sins but doesn’t know His name is Jesus? Is believing in the specific name of Jesus required for someone to have everlasting life?
Peter said, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Peter had previously identified that name as “Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified” (Acts 4:10). Does Acts 4:12 mean that one must know that the name of Christ is Jesus?
The word name (nomos) in the NT sometimes refers to the name our parents gave us. However, most of the time it refers to the character of a person or group of people. The leading dictionary of NT words (BDAG) lists four meanings for nomos that are found in the NT: 1) a proper name; 2) a person [e.g., Acts 1:15; Rev 3:4]; 3) a title [such as prophet, e.g., Matt 10:41-42]; and 4) a reputation [e.g., Mark 6:14; Rev 3:1, 5].
Acts 4:12 refers to the only Person who can save. Peter was not saying that one must know His proper name.
If we had to know His proper name, it is Iēsous (Greek) or Yeshua (Hebrew). His name is not Jesus. That is what we call Him in English, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, French, German, or Danish. In Serbo-Croatian, He is called Isus. In Czech, Jezis. In Italian, Jesu. In Turkish, Isa.
Unless John left out an important detail, the woman at the well did not know that the proper name of the Messiah was Iēsous. She believed in the Giver (the Messiah) for the gift of God, everlasting life (John 4:10-14, 25-26).
Of course, this hypothetical rarely occurs in our day. Except for unreached people groups, nearly everyone knows the proper name of the Messiah in their own language. When people evangelize unreached people, one of the first things they do is translate Iēsous into that language and teach them who He is, what He did, and what He promises.
A person is not required to know the proper name of the Christ. He is required to believe in Christ for his eternal destiny, as over a hundred different verses in the Bible attest.