Examples of important women in the Bible include Eve, who the Bible records as the first woman, as well as Sarah, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Ruth, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus. Many of these women played instrumental roles in the history of both the ancient Jews and the early Church.
The Bible presents Adam and Eve as parents of humanity who lived in the paradisiacal Garden of Eden before sin and evil entered the world. The book of Genesis recounts their experience of the first temptation by the devil and their subsequent fall from grace.
The wives of the Old Testament patriarchs played a major role in the formation of the Jewish people. Abraham's wife, Sarah, gave birth to Isaac. Isaac's wife, Rebecca, helped pass on Isaac's blessings and favors to their son Jacob, rather than to Jacob's older brother Esau.
Ruth, who started as a childless widow, became the great-grandmother to King David. She was known for being a poor foreigner who showed loyalty and friendship to Naomi, an older widow.
In the New Testament, Mary's importance comes from the fact that she was both the mother of Jesus and one of his first disciples, even following him all the way to the cross after most of his disciples had fled. Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, was the mother of Jesus' precursor John the Baptist. It was also Elizabeth who was one of the first to recognize Jesus' identity.
Mary Magdalene, originally from Magdala, was one of Jesus' faithful followers. She stayed by his side during his crucifixion and according to the Bible was the first person to whom Jesus showed himself following his resurrection.