2 Corinthians 12:11-12:

11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.

Paul talks about the signs of a true apostle. What are these signs?

Note: this question is inspired by this answer that challenges the obvious interpretation.

1 Answer 1


The simplest answer to this question is explicitly given in 1 Cor 9:2 -

Even if I am not an apostle to others, surely I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

Note that the obvious function of an apostle, as one who is sent (out), is to establish new converts and Christian communities in new areas. I think the modern term for this is "church planting" and conversions. That is, Paul is saying in 1 Cor 9:2 that the seal of his apostleship was the existence of the converts at Corinth!

Thus, the conversion of a single person is a divine miracle!

This is not to suggest that apostles cannot be involved in other miracles as well as suggested in other places, but the primary function of a an apostles is preaching and the "ministry of the Word" (Acts 6:4).

  • Acts 5:12 - The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people, and with one accord the believers gathered together in Solomon’s Colonnade.
  • 1 Cor 12:12, 13 - The true marks of an apostle—signs, wonders, and miracles—were performed among you with great perseverance. In what way were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was not a burden to you?
  • Acts 2:41-43 - Those who embraced his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to the believers that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. A sense of awe came over everyone, and the apostles performed many wonders and signs.
  • Acts 14:3 - So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who affirmed the message of His grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.

Note the consistent pattern in all these references - the signs and wonders were a means that God chose to strengthen the new converts to the "ministry of the Word" through the apostles' preaching.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.