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Did Paul Deliberately Lie in Court in Acts 23:6-7?

[Updated August 2020]


Does Paul ever lie?

We have Paul's own admission of a deliberate lie in Romans 3:7 and the use of guile (deception) in 2 Cor. 12:16 to advance his gospel.

However, beyond Paul making an admission of lying or deceit for such purposes, do we ever find Paul lying in court which means he "bore false witness" as prohibited in the Law?   


This is clearly bad fruit, if proven, because Jesus says a "false witness" is contrary to the way to "eternal life." (Matt 15:18-19 - Jesus' answer how to have eternal life includes Jesus saying obey the commandments, listing among them not to bear "false witness.")


Why Does It Matter If Paul Lies In Court?


Paul says we should trust his words as based upon revelation from the "Lord" (presumably Jesus) to Paul. See for example 1 Cor. 11:23 as explained in Tuck's Commentary here

However, Paul never actually quotes any revelation from "Jesus" to support any teaching Paul is delivering. So Paul says we should trust his teachings anyway as inspired from the "Lord" despite missing a key component to deliver such a "message." You must quote Jesus.

Why is that crucial?

Because Yahweh invested Jesus with a unique authority that by-passed the normal requirement that a prophet had to quote YHWH to be accepted. Without quoting YHWH one could not be a prophet. However, YHWH spoke over Jesus'  head in front of multiple witnesses "Listen to Him!" and "This is my beloved son who pleases me greatly." See Mark 9:7; Matt 17:15. See also Luke 3:22; Matt 3:16.   

Yahweh did so to invoke remembrance of Deut 18:15-19 where YHWH said He will send "The Prophet" whose every word would be from YHWH, andYHWH then says this is why we must "listen to him." Peter -- who heard that voice from heaven "Listen to Him" -- in his second major sermon quotes Deut 18:15-19 in Acts 3:22-23 Peter leads 5,000 to believe Jesus is "The Prophet," insisting that we must "obey him" or be "destroyed" from among God's people for disobeying "The Prophet."

For more detail on the unique status of Jesus' words over those who cannot or will not quote YHWH as a source, see our article Jesus' Words Only Principle Proven From Deut 18:15-19

Paul asks us to accept he has revelations from "the Lord" without quoting Jesus or Yahweh in his epistles to support any of Paul's teachings. Paul clearly explains why he does not do so -- he was ordered not to repeat the "Lord's" words heard in revelation.

For when Paul says he is teaching based upon "revelation" from the "Lord," Paul says he received them when taken up to the "third heaven." Paul then explains why we should not to be surprised Paul does not quote Jesus for his teachings. Paul was "not permitted" to "tell" per  2 Cor. 12:4 in the NIV, or was advised that it was "unlawful to" repeat in the ASV -- what he heard said in that third heaven.  This prohibition explains why Paul never quotes a revelation from Jesus for any of Paul's teachings in his epistles. (For more on the question about when Paul ever quotes Jesus in his epistles, see NOTE after END for this article.)

As a result of these claims by Paul that his teachings are based upon private "revelations" which he is "not permitted" to repeat, Paul is claiming to be a prophet of the "Lord" but in only that highly constrained sense.

If there is any doubt Paul is claiming to be a prophet, let's remember most of Christianity today takes all Paul's words at face value as if Jesus revealed them to him despite Paul never quoting Jesus for any of Paul's teachings. These passages cited above about revelations "unlawful" to repeat are the major proofs offered that we must accept Paul as a prophet.

Hence, we have a duty from Jesus to test Paul's fruits because Paul like any other would-be prophet of things heard in "heaven" -- even if not quoted -- must be tested by "fruits" as Jesus instructed in Matthew 7:15-16. There Jesus says "beware the false prophets" whom you can recognize by "their fruits."

Bearing "false witness" is a bad fruit. See Matt 15:18-19 where Jesus says the way to eternal life includes not bearing a "false witness."



How I Stumbled Into This Question.


I was reading an article in late 2012 entitled Problems with Apostle Paul when it declares the following are Paul's lies - which I am taking from its History of Paul article. I was usually skeptical of such claims at the time so as to avoid forming exaggerated unjustified negative readings of Paul. But I heard out his arguments and tested them. The author claims Paul lied before the Sanhedrin -- a court of law in Acts 23:6-7.


Accusation Against Paul.


So let's examine the accusation, and then test it below. We read:


Paul said that when the law was still in force, faith had not yet

come, Galatians 3:23.    However, he contradicts this in Romans 4:3,



Which way is it?


Paul defended a lie because it ‘glorifies God’ and he wondered why

he was judged a  sinner, Romans 3:7.  He was caught lying and tried

to wriggle out of it with a song and dance.  He doesn’t seem to

grasp that a lie is a lie, and never does it  glorify Yahweh. 

Why does Paul keep insisting he’s not deceitful and does not

lieRomans 9:1II Corinthians 11:31, Galatians 1:20,

Philippians 1:18I Thessalonians 2:1-12, I Timothy 2:7.  


Why are the real apostles not accused of lying as Paul is?  Ask

yourself this:  Would Yahoshua (Jesus) lie ‘for the glory of God’

as Paul did? 

I think not!

Paul lied before the SanhedrinActs 23:6-7.  He said he was ‘called

into question for the hope and resurrection of the dead.’  This was

strictly a divide and conquer ploy   with no basis in reality.  The truth

of the matter is he was called into question on account of his

anti-Torah teachings, found in Acts 21:27-28.


Let's just focus on whether Paul lied before the Sanhedrin as charged. 


Did Paul Lie Before the Sanhedrin in Acts 23:6-7?

Acts 23:6-7 (KJV) contains this supposed lie:

But when Paul perceived that the 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: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. 

Why did this happen? Luke explains the two sects opposed each other over this doctrine:

(The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.) (Acts 23:8 NIV).

What can we say then about whether Paul lied in court?

It is clear here that Paul wilfully lied in violation of a divine law. And this was to protect his skin, and not to advance the gospel of Jesus, whom Paul never even mentions. 

Calvin, the famous early reformer of the 1500s, essentially admitted this in his discussion about Paul's appearance before the Sanhedrin:  "For the astuteness, which he used, was closely related to a feint, that was not far removed from lying...." (Mark Douglas Given, Paul's True Rhetoric: Ambiguity, Cunning and Deception (2001) at 81quoting Calvin).

Calvin further commented that: "Paul's stratagem, seems out of keeping with a servant of Christ." Id. Calvin explained why it was a lie: "He [i.e., Paulsays the circumstances of his case turn on the resurrection of the dead. But we know the issue was about other matters, that he abrogated the ceremonies, and admitted the gentiles into the covenant of the Gentiles." Id. 

I concur, but I would correct Calvin this far: the charges involved Paul admitting a gentile into the Temple who was uncircumcised, to be more precise. 


What else indicates Paul was lying in the court? Luke himself makes this clear by giving us the full context.

Luke virtually tells us expressly that Paul is lying as a stratagem, revealing how Paul deliberately made up a different charge than the one that brought Paul there. Luke explicitly identifies Paul's motive in saying what he is saying as a ploy. Luke reveals Paul chose to claim the issue upon which Paul was being tried involved something which Paul knew would divide the court members into two fighting factions. Luke even gives us details about the strategy of Paul. Paul sensed "one part" were Sadducees and one part were Pharisees. So Paul claimed he was a Pharisee on trial over his hope and belief in a doctrine which Pharisees held, namely that there will be a resurrection from the dead. This very issue, Luke says, divided the Pharisees from the Sadducees. The Sadducees denied there was any resurrection of the dead. Thus, in Acts 23:6-7, when Paul says he is on trial about the issue of his belief in the resurrection, Luke explains the Pharisees raised an instant fracas in favor of Paul. 

The true charge upon which Paul was "called into question" was stated earlier by Luke in Acts 21:27 (KJV):

28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.

As we discuss in our article Trophimus, these charges led to Paul being arrested on a charge that he brought an uncircumcised Gentile into the Temple area where uncircumcised Gentiles were prohibited to enter.  Paul in defense to the charge said that his accusers merely found him (Paul) purifying himself in the temple. (Acts 24:18.) This was the only inadequacy Paul cited to the charge that he (Paul) was responsible for Trophimus’ profaning the Temple. (See Acts 21:28, Paul "brought Greeks also into the temple, and .... defiled this holy place.") Paul did not make any stronger refutation such as that Trophimus had not breached the middle wall of the Temple, evidently because Paul knew that charge was true. Therefore, Paul knew the charge and  knew what was his defense; and it had nothing to do with the Pharisee doctrine that the dead will have a resurrection. 


Hence, it was untrue when Paul in Cout told the Sanhedrin that the issue which brought Paul before the Sanhedrin was that Paul was accused of falsely believing in the resurrection from the dead.

Thus, beyond doubt, Paul lied in a court of law. It was deliberately done to change the issue, and divide the Court. It was no accident. Luke makes that clear.

As Werner's Bible Commentary admits even while apologizing for Paul at every turn: "Moreover, he was fully aware of the opposing views to which the Pharisees and Sadducees adhered. So it appears that he deliberately chose to set the members of the court against one another...." ("Acts 23:1-35," Werner's Bible Commentary.) As Visual Bible Alive simply notes: "In this story, Paul deliberately spoke about his belief in the resurrection so he would cause a division between the Pharisees and the Sadducees." ("Pharisees and Sadducees," Visual Bible Alive.) Loveday Alexander in 2007 similarly wrote:

 "The Sanhedrin hearing is deliberately highjacked by Paul into a theological debate on the resurrection (23.6-8)." (Loveday Alexander, Acts in its Ancient Literary Context (Continuum, 2007) at 200.)

As Hyam Maccoby says, Paul's use of the resurrection issue demonstrated "great presence of mind," but at the same time it involved "a distinct lack of scruple to play on this situation to escape condemnation." (Hyman Maccoby, The Mythmaker (1986) at 165.)

Here's the nub of the problem: this is a courtroom scene. The Sanhedrin is a court for religious crimes. "The ancient Jewish court system was called the Sanhedrin." (Shira Schoenberg, The Sanhedrin.)

The Ten Commandments prohibit bearing false testimony. This means you cannot lie in court.  See "False Witness," Wikipedia. (This is not to imply one is permitted lying outside of court, but by being placed on the Two Tablets, God put the highest injunction against lying when it takes place in court.)

Jesus equally condemned giving false testimony (in court): "According to Jesus, false testimony comes from the sinful desires of the heart and makes people unclean." ("False Witness," Wikipedia, citing Matt 15:18-19.)




"According to the New Testament, Jesus explains that obedience to the prohibition against false testimony from the ten commandments is a requirement for eternal life." Id., citing Matt 19:19; Mark 10:19; and Luke 18:20.


That is true. For in Matt 15:18-19, we read: 

 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies

In Matthew 19, Jesus was asked what good thing one could do to inherit eternal life, and among the behaviors Jesus required was not bearing false witness:

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Nowhere in the Bible is lying in court excused, even if one believes there is a greater good achieved by lying. Jesus told us to wait for the Holy Spirit and God will give us the words we need when we are charged before judges and courts. Would the Holy Spirit have devised a lie as the solution? I think not.

Thus, indeed Paul deliberately lied before the Sanhedrin - a court of law.

Whether it is justified or not is not the issue. Someone might analogize it to Rahab's lies to protect the spies. However, this is not an excuse to lie in Court. Nor were we ever told Rahab's lie was justified, although we generally surmise it is so to protect the life of the spies.

Regardless, Paul is here proven to be a false witness, and stands in violation of the Ten Commandments, as clearly indicated by Luke. 


Paulinist Rebuttals

Tektonics attempts to rebut this view, shared by Scott Nelson. 

And before Tektonics gets into a nitty-gritty response, it will say there is such a thing as an honourable lie, and say Jesus even committed this:

 Our first chapter of consideration [from Scott Nelson] begins by claiming to find "outright bold-faced lies" perpetrated by Paul. One can well imagine the discord that would follow any explanation of the concept of an honorable lie, such as even Jesus committed, but we'll let that pass. ("Scott Nelson's Judaism v. Christianity, a Critique.")

This typifies Pauline defences where they are willing to throw Jesus under the bus if necessary to save Paul. J.P. Holding did the same to try to undercut my arguments that Paul exercised improper cursing-judgments.  Holding claimed Jesus used cursing-judgments too (e.g., "Woe Corazin! Woe Capernaum!"), but of course Jesus is assigned by the Father as the judge of the world, so Jesus can so eternally condemn where Paul cannot. See link. (Also, I would not say Jesus used 'curses' / anathemas, as did Paul, contrary to what Mr. Holding asserted.)

Moreover, Tektonic's claims Jesus lied (as a means to excuse Paul) at John 7:8-10 where Jesus merely states his intention not to go to a feast but then he goes anyway. However, one cannot be guilty of a lie about a fact when one merely states an intention and then changes that intention. Nor was Jesus under oath. Thus, Tektonics' example is terrible. You also see how desperate they are to throw Jesus under the bus to save Paul if we perceive Paul deliberately lied under oath.

Regardless, if Tektonics could show Jesus lied in the same way that Paul did -- in court, then Jesus too must be rejected. God's law does not cease to exist because we love Jesus. But Jesus never lied in court. Jesus was mostly quiet and once said He was the Son of Man and would return on the clouds of heaven. Hence, Tektonics made a bogus allusion to our Lord sinning -- God forbid! -- so Tektonics could save Paul -- to prejudice us to excuse Paul if we thought we must find a similar excuse for our Jesus if we believed Tektonics that Jesus too lied. 

Next, Tektonics comes to the passage at issue. Tektonics quotes Acts 23:6-7 as follows:

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. [World English Bible]

The term "I am being judged" means Paul identifies the issue in question is whether Paul believed in the resurrection as the Pharisees maintained. This is important because Tektonics will twist the passage around to eliminate that point.  

The fact Paul identifies the issue involved in the trial as his belief in the resurrection is clear in all competing versions. The NIV, Weymouth Bible, etc. of this verse (see link) says "I am on trial because...." See the translations on that page in the NIV, NLV, ESV, NASB, and ISV. Hence, there is no doubt that Paul is saying he is on trial or to be judged on his hope and belief in the doctrine of the resurrection -- which Luke then explains divides the Pharisees from the Sadducees on the court.

Finally, here is how Tektonics answers Nelson's charge that Paul lied to the Sanhedrin court:

While this is correctly seen as "a divide-and-conquer ploy" it is wrongly stated that "there was not one shred of truth" otherwise, for Paul, it is said, was not "being judged on the issue of the resurrection of the dead..." And Paul says no such thing to begin with. Paul says he has come to trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead, because of his belief in this happening, which is quite true: It is his proclamation of the hope in Jesus that led to him being on trial.

Thus, according to Tektonics, Paul supposedly does not say he is being judged on the issue of the resurrection of the dead which the Pharisees held. (Check what Paul says by reading above -- Paul says he is a Pharisee, and then immediately says he is being judged / tried because of his "hope and belief" in the resurrection.) Oh no! Tektonics says that is wrong, and instead Paul is on trial because of Paul's belief in the resurrection which is then redefined as supposedly Paul's proclamation of Jesus  / his "hope in Jesus." 

This is incorrect reasoning.

First, the meaning of Paul's words were understood by the audience that the trial was supposedly about whether Paul erred in believing in the resurrection of the dead -- an issue under controversy which the Pharisees -- non-Christians -- believed in, but the Sadducees did not. Paul knew one  side favored his view -- not because it was a Christian view or had anything to do with Jesus per se, but because it was a Pharisee view. Luke lets you know this. So there is no doubt Paul was identifying the issue involved in the trial was his belief as a Pharisee in the doctrine of the resurrection, which Sadducees rejected. This was a claim that did not mean Paul was saying he was a Christian. Hence, this was not an allusion to preaching the gospel. Thus, Paul never says that he is on trial for his "hope in Jesus," as Tektonics recategorizes Paul's words. The issue Paul identified had nothing to do with a doctrine unique to Christianity, and Luke makes that clear.

Second, it would still be a lie if Paul had the meaning Tektonics ascribes to Paul, implausible as it is. Paul was not on trial at all over the issue of his belief in Jesus. Rather, it was whether he led Trophimus into the temple in an uncircumcised state. He did or did not do that. Belief in Jesus was never the issue in point. Tektonics is unwittingly helping to prove that regardless of how you try to escape this passage, Paul lied. There is no plausible escape from that fact.

Tektonics goes on to claim there is uncertainty over what Paul was previously charged with. Tektonics claims that the proof of the charge in Acts 21 depends upon the supposedly flimsy evidence of a mob claim. In restating that claim, Tektonics omits that the 'mob' claim included the charge of letting uncircumcised Gentiles into the temple. This does not deserve any lengthy response because from Acts 21 to 26 Paul is involved in numerous court proceedings over the allegation of the violation of the Temple grounds. The so-called mob is Luke's telling us what led to the arrest, and of this there is no doubt. It certainly did not involve Paul's belief in Jesus nor of the resurrection of the dead. And therein rests the proof of the lie. 


Paul violated a command which Jesus said one must not violate to have eternal life. 

Thus, clearly Paul had a bad fruit within the meaning of Matthew 7:15-20 (KJV) where we read:

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Hence, Jesus gave us the measure by which to determine whether Paul is a true or false prophet -- as Paul proclaimed he spoke teachings derived from the 'Lord's' words (which Paul said he was prohibited from repeating) on several occasions -- by examining such fruit. If the fruit of Paul is a deliberate false testimony in court after his supposed true conversion event outside Damascus in Acts 9, I very much believe this is the kind of fruit Jesus would say justifies dismissing Paul's words as inspired from our minds and Bibles.

Please remember, we are not addressing here the salvation of Paul. Of course, Paul could have repented, but we never hear anything about that from Luke. Hence, we have to think Paul was satisfied within himself that he caused the ruckus, and never thought he needed to undo this lie. If Paul died unrepentant of this sin, we feel sorry for Paul.


The Nail in the Coffin. Four years after writing this article, I found that Paul lies again in court in Acts 26:19-23 about the very same issue, contradicting his own claim in Acts 23! This time Paul is testifying in front of King Agrippa about why he was seized in the first place for wrongdoing at the temple. Instead of telling Agrippa the truth was because he supposedly brought Trophimus into the Temple in an uncircumcised state, Paul said it was because he was preaching a gospel of "works worthy of repentance." WOW! That does not even make sense in light of Paul's epistles. Doesn't Paul preach instead a Gospel of "faith, not works." (Eph 2:8-9.) Paul never seems to be able to speak in a straight manner. Here is Acts 26:19-23

19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to them of Damascus, at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple, and tried to kill me.

Paul was incessantly trying to deflect attention away from the true nature of the charge: a violation of the temple's sanctity by entry of an uncircumcised Gentile: his friend from Ephesus -- Trophimus. While circumcised Gentiles were allowed into the Court of the Gentiles, one who was uncircumcised was an "abomination." This violation was treated as one of the higest crimes in all of Israel. No wonder Paul did not want to explain the truth. But for us, we know he is under oath before judges. Paul is repeatedly choosing lying and deception. This is sad, but look how successful this strategem of Paul has been: For when has any teacher in your church ever identified clearly to you that Paul is on trial for Trophimus's breach of the temple's sanctity by entering in an uncircumcised state? The lack of focus and attention to the issue mirrors Paul's deliberate efforts twice to change and misdescribe the issue involved.

More Nails in the Coffin: Two Lies Before the Sanhedrin.


Also, after observing Acts 26:19-23 as another court lie by Paul, I found a third and fourth one.

Paul in Acts 23 is testifying in front of the Sanhedrin Court. The High Priest is present. After cursing the High Priest, Paul in Acts 23:4 acknowledges he was subject to Exodus 22:28 “you shall not...curse a ruler of your people.” Paul had cursed the High Priest by saying “God will smite you,” and also by calling the High Priest a “urinal wall” (Acts 23:3)("Whited wall" refers to lime used in urinals of that day. See link.) Paul's reviling and curse of the High Priest was because the High Priest ordered Paul slapped because he thought Paul lied when Paul said he has “lived in all good conscience” (i.e., without sin) before God till this day." (Acts 23:1.)

So had Paul lived without sin up to that "day"? No, and by Paul's own admission: 

“I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor.” (1 Tim. 1:13 NASB.)

One of those "violent aggressions" was against people who were never properly tried. This is in Acts 8 at the stoning of Stephen. Another is Paul's violent attack on James the Just, throwing him down from the temple mount, seriously injuring him, even though James never had a proper trial, as the Law mandates. Paul cannot claim ignorance that executions or attempted executions without a proper trial are unlawful.


There is even a second obvious lie by Paul in Acts 26, but one which Luke could not detect. Paul said he was not guilty of violating Exodus 22:28 because he did not know the High Priest was talking. However, the High Priest in a courtroom setting is known


(a) by His distinctive dress that he was commanded to wear outside at all times by a command in the Bible (see link) and

(b) by his seating position. 


One of the most obvious distinctions is the High Priest's garments included a band of gold on his forehead with the words in Hebrew "Holiness to the Lord" which he "shall wear always." (Exodus 28:36-38 KJV.) The High Priest could thus never leave his home without putting this extremely distinctive head-dress on his forehead. For a picture, see this link.


If Paul is not lying he was a Pharisee, and studied under Gamaliel at Jerusalem, how does Paul not know this was the High Priest?


More bizarre, Paul told Luke that  prior to this Courtroom scene that he  went to the "High Priest" for letters to arrest Christians (Acts 9:1-2 KJV). Luke also records Paul saying in a later coutroom scene  in Acts 26:10  (ISV, Weymouth) that the "High Priests" engaged Paul for his persecutions of Christians. So how how could Paul be directly hired by the High Priest, and his succesors, but not recognize the uniquely singular head dress of the High Priest which Paul could recognize solely by reading Exodus 28:36-38? Of course not. Which means Paul is obviously lying under oath in a court proceeding so as to escape judgment for reviling the High Priest as a "urinal wall" and calling a curse down from God upon the High Priest.

Alternatively, if you believe Paul is constantly inspired, then Paul knew by the Holy Spirit it was the High Priest, and then lied about it.


So either Paul is not always inspired or Paul was inspired at all times, and lied to the High Priest not only that Paul had been sinless to this point in life, but also that Paul did not recognize this was the High Priest before reviling and cursing the high priest.


Either way, the episode discredits Paul as a voice for Christians to listen to.

Hence, there are two lies in Acts 23 -- both under oath because Paul is speaking to the Sanhedrin court  in testimony.






Paul gives one exception right after his "third-heaven" account that said he was not permitted to repeat the words revealed in the third heaven.


This exception does not reflect a teaching for us but only was a private message for Paul. For Paul quotes the "Lord" only once in his epistles  talking to Paul when the "Lord" told him he would leave Paul subject to an "Angel of Satan" for his own good -- to teach Paul to be humble, and thus the Lord" said he would leave Paul subject to the stinger in his flesh from this "Angel of Satan" (2 Cor 12:7 Mounce "angelos Satanas"). Paul's Lord says this is because the "grace" given Paul to that point was enough. See 2 Cor. 12:7-9 NIV.


Most Paulinists are repulsed by this passage in 2 Cor. 12, and claim it cannot mean what it implies -- that the true Lord Jesus left Paul under the dominion of Satan. See discussion in our article: Was Paul A True Messenger of Jesus'  Words? 

 Anonymous Email Comments:

    Y Disagrees That Paul Lied

 Hi Doug,

 I've read the article [about Acts 23].

 I don't agree with this. I would not say it's a lie.

Paul was basically meaning to say that: "All your accusions against me are baseless. You don't have any evidence or true testimony to prove I broke the Law or said evil things against Moses, or defiled the Temple. The true reason why you brought me here to be condemned, it's because my faith in Jesus, and because I speak for Him. So the real reason it's because you don't want me to say Jesus is resurrected and alive. It's all about that, "

Even if Paul was wrong and the Sanhedrin really meant to only judge him for his wrongdoings in the Temple, Paul said what he thought was the real reason why he was arrested

 Y (12/8/2012)

A's Reply to Y's Comment

 Hey Doug,

Long time no talk!  I hope all is well with you.  I like the new article.  Not sure if you are posting comments TO comments, but here is one that I think needs to be said.

I challenge ANY Paulinist to explain the "difficult" sayings of Paul WITHOUT using the phrase "  Paul was basically meaning to say that… " (or something similar) as your first commenter did.

That is probably the most annoying thing about discussing Paul issues with a Paulinist.  Whenever we get to a difficult topic, the first thing they say is something like, "Well, what Paul MEANT to say was…" to which I respond, "How can you know what Paul meant to say?  Do you know more about what he was trying to say than he did?  Are  you not being presumptuous in inserting words into his writings?  What if he wanted to say exactly what he said?  Are you not also guilty of 'adding to' what you believe is the word of Yahweh?"

Those questions are never answered.

Blessings brother! A. (Dec. 9, 2012)

My Comment to A's Comment

Thanks for the reply to Y. Yes, Paul's defenders are like evolutionists in that they rely upon just-so stories to fill in gaps / overcome refutations. Just-so stories in both arenas are imagined pathways to overcome problems where pure imagination without foundation is used to place evolution and Paul beyond confuting. They both just imagine any scenario / meaning necessary to preserve the theory despite the overwhelming contrary evidence.

The first comment above is an example of this same kind of fallascious reasoning being applied to Paul's writings. It is pure wishful thinking and speculation. Any re-write necessary is supplied so Paul never appears to lie, or err, or prove embarassing. Paul is thereby put beyond the Berean-like testing of Paul that even Luke shows was proper in the example of the Bereans. Doug (Dec. 9, 2012)

Troubled by Paul  

 Interesting article. I too have problems with Paul. For example he had his encounter on the Damascus Road, was converted but chose not to spend any time with Jesus' disciples but instead set off for Arabia . Fourteen years later he reappears with disciples of his own and declares his ministry to the Gentiles an assignment that was originally Peter's.     There are other examples. Jesus said call no man father, Paul says he is a spiritual father to Timothy. I could go on and on...His In Service
 B (12/8/2012)

 Jesus Never Lied As Paulinists Claim To Excuse Paul

Roberto sent me some very helpful points to refute Tektonics further on whether Jesus lied, as Tektonics claimed to excuse Paul from the sin of lying in court. Roberto wrote:

Hi Doug:
First of all, Jesus NEVER LIED about going up to the feast. He never said he would NOT GO, what he said was. "I go not up YET unto this feast" (John 7:8). He meant what he said and practiced it too. Ha ha. He went up later, didnt he? So where is the lie???
Second: Look how Jesus acted when being judged:
"Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered... To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the TRUTH" (John 18:37). Could Paul be called a follower of Jesus when he did exaactly THE OPPOSITE of what his (supposed) Master did?
Third: "But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you" (Matthew 10:19-20).
And how did Jesus refer to the Holy Spirit???
"Howbeit when he, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, is come, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).
Would the SPIRIT OF TRUTH help us TO LIE when judged??? Certainly NOT!!! "the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie" (1John 2:27).
Hope it is of some help.
Greetings and blessings.
Roberto (Dec. 9, 2012)

Ed's Commnent

Hi Doug,

Great article and links!  I had read a similar article sometime ago on Scott Nelson's site and agree totally that Paul lied outright to the Sanhedrin in the hopes of escaping judgment.  When he was brought before the court and was smote on the face he lashed back at those who hit him instead of turning the other cheek as Yehoshua taught.  Another hint that he never knew the Master and his teachings.

It's also interesting to note that he did not recognize the high priest, considering how he constantly boasts about being this great Pharisee of the law, how could he not know who he was? It appears to me his rank in the Pharisaical order is questionable.  Ed (12/10/2012)

Liz' Comment on Why Paulinists Throw Jesus Under the Bus

Hello Doug, 
Great article! I don't find it hard to believe that anyone would throw Jesus under the bus if necessary to save Paul. I've seen it happen  too many times in my life. The reason is quite simple - "Father Paul" is the one that allows his children to run wild and not worry about any laws or regulations - no need to clean your room, do your homework or eat your vegetables. 
 On the other hand, Jesus keeps reminding his children to obey his Father's law. And guess what? He also reminds them that there will be consequences to pay if the rooms or homework are not done when he returns. Any spoiled child would run to the lawless father and throw the other under the bus. Liz

Further Studies On Other Lies in Court by Paul

Boulanger in 1746 wrote a book entitled A Critical Examination of Paul. We excerpt and draw out many excellent points raised by Boulanger -- relying upon a scan at of this very rare book -- at this link. In this work, Boulanger claims that Paul lied again in the Sanhedrin court proceedings -- another proceeding where testimony is taken under oath. In this passage in Acts, Paul claims to not know he disrespected the High Priest, and Boulanger says this evinces much disingenuousness. Also, Paul's retort was not in keeping with Jesus's command to turn the other cheek. Boulanger writes:

He first declared that in all he had done, he had followed strictly the dictates of his conscience. At these words the High Priest gave him a box on the ear, at which Paul being irritated,instead of turning the other cheek, according to the precept of Jesus, abused the High Priest, treated him as a hypocrite, or whitened wall. But as he perceived that he had given offence by his insolence to a man respected by the Jews, he moderated himself, and alleged that he was ignorant that it was the High Priest whom he had thus addressed in such terms; an ignorance, however, which cannot fail to excite surprise, considering that he was a man, who must have been informed respecting the place where he was, and the quality of those before whom he was speaking. Id. at 23.