He really knew God. This one-time violent opponent of Christianity was bright, but as every agnostic knows, when it comes to contacting the Almighty, intelligence helps no more than oneís bank balance (Luke 10:21; Mark 10:15; 1 Corinthians 1:19-29). The apostle Paulís interaction with God makes the spiritual experience of this worldís geniuses shrivel to insignificance (Acts 9:1-24; 13:7-12; 14:8-11; 28:3-6; Romans 15:18-19; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5; 11:1; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Galatians 1:10-20; 2:1-2,6-7; Philippians 1:21; 2 Timothy 1:3).
Few people have endured such torment. He was slandered, betrayed, flogged, stoned, imprisoned and shipwrecked with devastating frequency (1 Corinthians 4:11-13; 2 Corinthians 11:23-29).
Paulís grasp of the purest love completes his credentials as an authority on the relationship between Godís love and suffering (1 Corinthians 13). He was unmoved by soppy emotionalism or other sham forms of love.
Though you spurn every Christian on the planet, you cannot dismiss this saint of a man. And he discovered that the reality of suffering cannot diminish the infinitude of Godís powerful love.
This enlightenment did not come cheaply to Paul, and he realized it could not be passed on by words alone (Ephesians 3:17-19). Intense experience, prayer, and intimacy with God is a common price.