That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death;
The apostle aimed to know Him as being in Him. Such knowledge is inspired by the consciousness — not elaborated by the intellect. It rises up from within; is not gathered from without. It does not accumulate evidence to test the truth — it "has the witness" in itself. It needs not to repair to the cistern and draw — it has in itself "a well of water springing," etc. It knows, because it feels; it ascertains, not because it studies, but because it enjoys union, and possesses the righteousness of God through faith. She that touched the tassel of His robe had a knowledge of Christ deeper and truer by far than the crowds that thronged about Him: for "virtue" had come out of Him, and she felt it in herself. Only this kind of knowledge possesses "the excellency," for it is connected with justification, as was intimated by Isaiah; and it is "eternal life," as declared by Jesus (Isaiah 53:11; John 17:3). The apostle could not set so high a value on mere external knowledge, or a mere acquaintance with the fact and dates of Christ's career. For it is quite possible for a man to want the element of living experience, and yet be able to argue himself into the Messiahship of the Son of Mary; to gaze on His miracles and deduce from them a Divine commission without bowing to its authority; aye, and to linger by the Cross, and see in it a mysterious and complete expiation, without accepting the pardon and peace which the blood of the atonement secures.
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;