Categories: ArticlesQ&A

Did St Paul Have the Stigmata?

Full Question

Did St Paul have the Stigmata? Galatians 6:17 “I bear the brand marks of Jesus in my body.”


It is certainly possible that St Paul had what we today would call the stigmata.  However, tradition has not handed this down to us as the meaning of these words so it would appear unlikely that he had the physical stigmata like St. Padre Pio.

The context of the line (6:17) is that St Paul was arguing against “Judaizers” who argued that converts should be circumcised (6:12-13).  Circumcision would have been a physical mark and St. Paul was making a comparative argument.  St. Paul argues that his apostolic authority gives his argument greater weight (6:17a).

The “marks of Jesus” that he bore on his body were most likely either physical wounds and scars from his imprisonments and beatings (Acts 16:22; 21:32; 2 Cor 11:23; 11:25) or the many rejections he experienced much like Christ.

Another possible meaning is that he was referring to being conformed to Christ through the sacraments.  A person who owned slaves would place his mark upon the slaves as a sign of ownership, the New Testament would refer to Christ placing his mark/seal upon us (2Cor 1:22; 2Tim 2:19).

St. Paul’s main argument was that it is the cross and not circumcision that saves.  St. Paul is asserting his authority and persecutions as evidence of the weight of his argument over the opposing view.  St. Paul is saying that those who argue for circumcision really are just trying to avoid persecution for the sake of Christ (6:12) yet it is he (who argues against circumcision) whose life is completely conformed to the cross, the true means of salvation.

Related Post

By Fr. Charles Grondin

Read Also

Early Teachings on Infant Baptism

This is what Padre Pio told only Pope John Paul II about his stigmata

From a scalding to the stigmata, this saint learned to suffer with Jesus

Padre Pio bore the stigmata, but one secret wound was more painful than the others

This post was published on October 27, 2021 6:25 am

Raphael Benedict

Raphael Benedict is a Catholic who wants nothing but to spread the catholic faith to reach the ends of the world. Make this possible by always sharing any article or prayers posted on your social media platforms. Remain blessed

View Comments

Recent Posts

St. Teresa of Avila’s word to the depressed

October 15th is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila.   Most if not all of the posts written about…

3 days ago

UK doctor investigated for praying with patients calls on Christians to ‘stand up and fight’

A Christian doctor from Kent, United Kingdom, has appealed to Christians in professional life to “stand up and fight” after…

3 days ago

Someone said God created evil, how do i respond to them?

Question: My friends keep telling me that since God created everything, it means he also created evil. How do i…

3 weeks ago

Will a child that commits suicide go to heaven?

Question: Will a child that commits suicide go to heaven? Answer: Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2282 …Grave psychological disturbances,…

2 months ago

Is It a Sin to Waste Food?

Question: Is it a sin to waste food? Answer: Yes, it is wrong to waste food. Even non-Christians believe this…

2 months ago

When is drinking alcohol mortally sinful?

Question: When is drinking alcohol a mortal sin? Answer: Over drinking to the point that the drinker loses the use…

2 months ago