(This post relates to Pauline Spirituality, as yet being written, and to Relevant Biblical verses).
In 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, St. Paul speaks extensively on his sufferings. He writes:
’23 I have worked much harder, I have been in Prison more times, I have been whipped much more, and I have been Near Death more often. 24 Five times I was given the thirty-nine lashes by the Jews, 25 three times I was whipped by the Romans; and once I was stoned. I have been in three shipwrecks, and once I spent twenty-four hours in the water. 26 In my many travels I have been in danger from Floods and from Robbers, in danger from fellow-Jews and from Gentiles; there have been dangers in the cities, dangers in the wilds, dangers on the high seas, and dangers from false friends. 27 There has been work and toil; often I have gone without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty; I have often been without enough food, shelter, or clothing. 28 And not to mention other things, every day I am under the pressure of my CONCERN for all the churches. 29 When someone is weak, then I feel weak too; when someone is led into sin, I am filled with DISTRESS.‘
[When someone is weak, then I feel weak too, wrote Paul. Do WE feel Weak with these People? Do We Suffer With these People?]
Paul recounts 26 points in the above 7 verses. I have high-lighted a few important ones, as well as the last two, Extremely Poignant verses. Let us consider:
The Thirty Nine Lashes: It would seem that this Whipping was So Cruel and Severe that the Fortieth would have killed the person receiving it! They stopped at thirty nine, keeping the person alive, In Extreme suffering!
Whipped by the Romas: The whipping was not done by men on the street! Soldiers did that, who had nothing else to do but to Eat heavy meals, and worked it off in violent exercise; who were Trained in wielding things like whips, and who did it with Enthusiasm.
The Last two verses speak perhaps of the Biggest Loads that Paul carried and his greatest Heart-aches. He not just Sympathized, he Empathized, Suffered in his heart For his People. That should be Enough to Kill anybody.
For Richer consideration, there are More mentions of Paul’s sufferings in 2 Corinthians in 6:4-5,8-10, 4:7-11, and 12:7-10; as well as in Acts, referred to in the post ‘Pauline Spirituality,’ as yet in the writing.