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Stigmata - what is it? Is it biblical?

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Stigmata are the appearance of the wounds of Jesus Christ on a person’s body. Some stigmata include representations of the wounds on Christ’s back caused by the scourging and/or the head wounds caused by the crown of thorns. But traditionally stigmata consist of five classic points: the side (where Jesus was pierced with the spear to confirm that He was dead), and both hands and both feet (the wounds caused by the nails of the crucifixion). Stigmata are also known as the "Five Wounds" or the "Sacred Wounds of our Lord."

Several individuals in church history have claimed to have miraculously received stigmata. However, there are serious challenges to the legitimacy of these supposed appearances. Many have been proven to have been self-inflicted in an attempt to fake miraculous stigmata. The Bible nowhere instructs anyone to get stigmata or states that God will give stigmata. In Galatians 6:17, Paul states, "...for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus." This does not mean Paul literally had the scars of crucifixion. Rather, it indicates that Paul’s body was scarred due to his commitment to follow Christ. Jesus suffered the wounds so we would not have to. The wounds of crucifixion being miraculously inflicted on the body of a believer contradicts the fact that "He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

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Stigmata - what is it? Is it biblical?
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This page last updated: April 5, 2022