Paul — is he a liar? The short answer is no. No, he is not. However, there are a great many number of people that claim Paul was a liar, and that he utilized deception in order to convert people to Christianity. Let us now examine these accusations and conclude regarding whether or not they have validity or not. The accusations are based on the following Bible verses;
[1 Corinthians 9:19-22] Although I am a free man and not anyone’s slave, I have made myself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win those under the law. To those who are without that law, like one without the law—not being without God’s law but within Christ’s law—to win those without the law. To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some.
Unbelievable! Paul lied about himself in order to bring people to Christ!
Wrong. Paul does not admit to using deception in these passages, rather, he is simply showing to us how he establishes relationship with differing people, so that he may share the gospel with them. Paul understands that people will not listen to those who they think are ‘heretics’, or those whom they greatly disagree with theologically, and so Paul simply establishes relationships with them. Paul does not lie at all doing this, he simply becomes their friends and tries to help them get into the eternal kingdom.
Imagine the following scenario. You know someone is going to get murdered. The only way for you to stop them from getting murdered is for them to marry you. Now, obviously, you will not randomly ask them to marry you with the expectation that they will agree, they would never do such a thing! Rather, you realize that in order to get them to marry you, you must get to know them, you must build a relationship with them, and eventually you will be able to share your message with them, your desire to marry them and become their spouse, and for Paul this would be the moment where he shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ to save those whom are lost. You do not lie when you get to know this person, you do not deceive them, but rather you do everything in your power to save them.
Now, the unbelievers have one more verse up their sleeve to convince themselves about Paul’s honesty (or lack thereof);
[Romans 3:7] But if by my lie God’s truth is amplified to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?
The problem with the unbelievers quoting this verse is that they have to belligerently rip it out of its context. Let us see the context to see whether or not it is them who are the dishonest ones, rather than Paul.
[Romans 3:5-8] But if our unrighteousness highlights[a] God’s righteousness, what are we to say? I use a human argument: Is God unrighteous to inflict wrath? Absolutely not! Otherwise, how will God judge the world? But if by my lie God’s truth is amplified to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? And why not say, just as some people slanderously claim we say, “Let us do what is evil so that good may come”? Their condemnation is deserved!
Not only does Paul NOT advocate lying and deception in order to convert people to Christianity in this passage, he CONDEMNS the practice. So not only have the unbelievers ripped this verse out of its context, they quoted the one verse in the Bible that tears there arguments to shreds.