That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death;
The knowledge about which the apostle speaks is a personal knowledge. It presupposes intellectual knowledge, but is something else. It is the knowledge of which we speak when we say of a man "I know him." What do we mean when we say this? Do we not mean, I have seen him, observed him, conversed with him, interchanged thoughts with him, spent time with him, done things with him, have been admitted into his confidence, written to him, and heard from him? These things and such as these are what make up personal knowledge between man and man. We should never say, "I know such or such a great man of history — I know Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon" — merely because we have read of them, and could give an account of their exploits. We should not say this even of the great men of our own time, its statesmen, generals, or philosophers — no, not even if we had seen them in public, or heard them speak, or read their writings — unless also we had been admitted to their society, and had exchanged with them the confidences which a man gives his friend. Even thus is it with the knowledge of Christ. We have no right to say, "I know Christ," merely because we have read of Him in Scripture, or because He has taught in our streets. We have no right to say so unless He has spoken to us, and we to Him. Unless we have access to His privacy, and can tell Him our secrets. Unless we can go in and out where He dwells, and talk with Him as a man talketh with his friend. Unless we have not only read in Scripture that He is wise and merciful, etc., but have also acted on that information, and found Him so for ourselves. Unless in temptation we have cried unto Him, and received strength; unless in trouble we have applied to Him and experienced a very present help.
Parallel VersesKJV: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;