Three Years Missing?

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Let us figure out what Paul did after his Damascus experience. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples in Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.Acts 9:18-20

Paul receives his sight, then stays ‘certain days’ with the disciples, and ‘straightway’ (right away) preaches to the people in the synagogues. Then Paul went to Caesarea, then Tarsus.(Acts 9:30.)

So far, all is well. When Paul recounts his tale before the people, he says the same. And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him….. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.Acts 22:12, 13, 16-18

According to this tale, after receiving his sight, Paul somehow ended up in Jerusalem and was told to leave Jerusalem. Paul skipped that he preached in Damascus for a while. We could charge Paul with not telling the whole truth, but that is a negligible claim.

In his defense to King Agrippa, Paul recounts where he has preached. But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.Acts 26:20

So Paul is in the clear here. He is consistent with his story. The minor inconsistencies are negligible at best.

But then Paul writes to the church in Galatia, But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.Galatians 1:15-18

Now Paul is claiming that he went to Arabia for three years! When did this occur? No where in Acts is this even hinted at. If Paul went directly after his experience, then why did Luke record, Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.Acts 9:19 And if Paul did not ‘confer with flesh and blood,’ then why did Luke record that Paul was with the disciples? When Paul was recounting his journeys to King Agrippa, why did Paul exclude three years of journeying?

No, it seems Paul lied to the Galatians so they would exalt him. Paul did not go into Arabia for three years.


Value of this Evidence

This is indefensible evidence against Paul’s case of true apostleship. Since Paul bases his apostleship on his Damascus experience, if we find the experience to be faked or false, then Paul’s basis is to be found faked or false. Any lie exposed in the Damascus experience helps to clear the matter regarding Paul.

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