If Paul’s letters are the inspired and infallible word of almighty God, breathed through Paul by the Holy Spirit as Christian doctrine asserts, would it have been possible for Paul to have told an outright lie in them? I think not. So if he did, what would that by itself directly imply concerning the notion that his words are God’s words? Consider the following.
Paul’s lie before the Sanhedrin
When Paul was arrested in the temple during his last visit to Jerusalem, he had to be rescued from the Jews by the Romans. On the following day, the Roman commander allowed Paul to be taken before Ananias the high priest and the Sanhedrin to defend himself from the charges against him. During this trial Paul makes an interesting claim.
Acts 23:6,7 “But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.”
Looks like a divide-and-conquer ploy to me too. For Paul to say he was being judged on the issue of the resurrection of the dead was an outright ehm, untruth. It had nothing to do with his arrest. The truth concerning why he was arrested is recorded a little earlier in the Book of Acts.
Acts 21:27,28 NKJV “…the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place…”
The truth is that Paul was being judged on the matter of bringing to nothing the importance of Israel, the Law of Moses, and the temple. For Paul to suggest otherwise was a ehm, not true. recall that he had said earlier that he was willing to die in Jerusalem for what he believed. The question is, when sh*t hit the fan, why didn’t he have the courage to stand by what he had been teaching the Gentiles?
Paul’s lie to King Agrippa
In the Book of Acts, Paul lied to King Agrippa when recounting his experience on the road to Damascus.
Did you know the story of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus is recorded three times in the book of Acts? The first is documented by the author, Luke.
“And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am the lord God, whom you are persecuting, It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” And the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:3-19
The second account is Paul’s personal account of his experience as given before the angry Jews in Jerusalem.
“Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, Whom you are persecuting.’ …So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.” Acts 22:6-15
You observe the slight variations between the first two accounts? No real conflict there though. The main points remain basically the same. The fact is, they are consistent and corroborate each other.
The third record of Paul’s conversion experience is given by Paul in his own defense before King Agrippa.
Here is how the story goes now.
“While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? So I said, ‘Who are You , Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am your God, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes and to turn them from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision…” Acts 26:12-19
Ah ah Paulo! According to what you and Luke have previously testified, when you asked God what you were to do, he told you to go to Damascus, and there you would be told “all things” you were to do! Now you say God told you all of this on the spot? and did you guys notice the “shining around me and those who journeyed with me.” part?
This is not just a simple case of information having been left out of the first two accounts. If in fact God had actually come out and said anything like, “Here is the reason why I have appeared to you…”, what God said immediately following this would naturally be the focal point and highlight of every recollection of the encounter! But nothing of the sort can be found in the first two accounts. On the contrary, what Paul said he was told to do in the first two accounts proves that what he said in the third account was a, to put it locally, faboo. Was he told all things he was to do by God himself on the road, or did God tell him to go to Damascus where he would be told all things he was to do?
To be Continued