What Does the Bible Say About Mary Magdalene’s Life?

The Bible says that Mary Magdalene was one of the women at Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, and she was the first person at Jesus’ tomb after his resurrection. The Bible does not give any details on Mary Magdalene’s family, marital status or age, but only describes that she was free to follow Jesus on his ministry.

The Bible only mentions Mary Magdalene in the four gospels. Luke 8:2 states that Mary Magdalene was possessed by seven demons at one time, and Mark 16:9 states that Jesus cast those demons out of her. Luke 8:2 suggests that Magdalene may be a nickname Jesus gave Mary rather than referring to her hometown. The Hebrew word “magdala” means tower or fortress, and Mary was one of Jesus’s most loyal followers.

John 19:25 describes three women named Mary at Jesus’ crucifixion. One was his mother, Mary. Another was Mary the wife of Clopas, and the third was Mary Magdalene. John 20:1 states that Mary Magdalene came to Jesus’ tomb early on the day of his resurrection, and verses 11 through 18 describe her encounter with the resurrected man. She did not recognize him and believed he was the gardener until verse 16, when Jesus calls her by name, and she responds by calling him “teacher.”