One notable difference between Acts and the letters of Paul is the issue of whether Paul was a follower of the law, or if he bended the rules sometimes to suit his agenda. In 1 Corinthians 9:21 it is stated, “To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.” Whereas in Acts 25:8 it is written, “Paul argued in this defense, ‘Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense’.” These two accounts of Paul, one from the letters of Paul (Corinthians), and the other from Acts present a starkly different version of Paul. In one account, he is more of a social chameleon, molding himself to fit into different social circles in order to gain favor. In the other, he appears to follow the letter of the law to a T. The Acts account of this instance presents a much purer version of Paul.
He does not disobey the law for any reason. As an apostle, it is a much better way to paint Paul’s image. When one reads Acts for religious purposes, they might find this verse, 25:8, and be inspired by Paul’s unwillingness to break laws.
One might also use Paul as a role model in that situation, or somebody to strive to be like. The context in which this verse is written, is when Paul is trying to appeal to Caesar. He depicts himself as a model citizen, and pleads that he has never once disobeyed Caesar in order to appeal to him.Despite Acts showing a better portrayal of Paul, it is also important to note that Acts was not written by Paul.
Therefore, it is safe to assume that not everything in the book can be interpreted as fact. Whoever wrote Acts might be willing to bend reality to make Paul look better. In addition to making him look more favorable, it is also how one would expect an apostle to act. It is also important to consider that Paul is in fact speaking to Caesar in this verse, and he is trying to gain favor with him. In this situation, of course Paul would tell Caesar that he has never broken a law. If he were to tell Caesar that he had, Caesar would not be quick to side with Paul.
On the other hand, 1 Corinthians 9:21 conveys that Paul did not always obey the law. In this chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul is actually speaking in his defense to “those who would examine him” (1 Corinthians 9:3). Despite the fact that he is speaking in his own defense, he states, “To those outside the law I became as one outside the law.” Since this excerpt does not make Paul out to be perfect, and is actually somewhat of an insult to his character, it is much more believable. One reason that Paul might be saying this in his defense, however, is the fact that it is a clever approach to conversion.
If he becomes more like the people he is trying to convert, the people might not feel as if he is looking down upon them and be more willing to listen to him. He can also use the excuse that the reason he broke laws, or acted “outside” of a law was because he was trying to bring more people unto Christ.