text MAry MAgdalene in front of Woman hands opening a Bible

Have you heard about Mary Magdalene? The story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible is short, but powerful. I’m finding, however, that while most Christians have heard of Mary Magdalene, not everyone knows exactly who she is. I, myself, used to have her confused with another Mary, thinking they were one and the same.

Mary Magdalene is mentioned in all four Gospels of the New Testament, and her story is particularly significant because of her close relationship with Christ Jesus. We believe her to have been one of his most devoted followers, and the first person to witness his resurrection.

If you’re interested in learning more about Mary Magdalene and her significance in the Bible, there are many resources available, including Bible studies and books. By exploring her story, we can gain a greater understanding of the power of faith and the transformative nature of God’s love.

What does the Bible say about Mary Magdalene?

The story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible picks up in Luke 8.

“Soon afterward he [Jesus] went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out.”

Luke 8:1-2 (ESV)

From there, we don’t hear about Mary Magdalene again until the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Though we can assume she is with Jesus throughout the rest of His ministry. Mary Magdalene was one of the women anointed and appointed for ministry.

Which Mary Was Mary Magdalene?

There are several Mary’s in the Bible—how do we tell them apart? How many Mary Magdalene do we have in the Bible?

The easiest way to tell the Marys apart is by where they are from or who they are related to. Mary Magdalene is from Magdala, a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. As far as we know, she is single with no children or other relatives.

Mary Magdalene used to be considered the same Mary as Mary of Bethany, but most scholars no longer believe that to be the case as Mary of Bethany is from Bethany in Judea. Mary of Bethany is the sister of Martha and Lazarus. She is also the one who anointed Jesus with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair.

There is also Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary the mother of Joses (Joseph) and James (who was also the wife of Cleophas), Mary the mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12), and Mary of Rome (Romans 16:6). That’s a lot of Mary’s. However, their stories, while they may intertwine, are all separate from the story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible.

What was Mary Magdalene known for?

Was Mary Magdalene possessed? She is best known for being healed by Jesus. She had been possessed by seven demons and He drove them out. The Bible doesn’t say how or when, just that it happened. And it mentions this fact in Luke 8 and Mark 16.

Some people consider Mary Magdalene the same sinful woman who washed Jesus’ hair with her tears (Luke 7:37). However, there is no evidence to support this belief. The woman is unnamed in Scripture and there is no reference to her as Mary Magdalene there or elsewhere in Scripture.

Another woman considered being Mary Magdalene is the unnamed woman who was saved from a stoning by Jesus (John 8). However, this is also not suggested in the Bible. Mary Magdalene was known for being possessed by demons, not as a prostitute. Nowhere in Scripture is there a connection made between these two women.

Mary Magdalene has often been misunderstood and misrepresented throughout history. She has been portrayed as a prostitute or a sinner, despite no evidence of this in the Bible. In fact, the Bible simply states that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her, which could have been a reference to a physical or mental illness.

Regardless of whether or not Mary Magdalene was these other women, she is known as one of the women who followed Jesus. She was probably with Him throughout His ministry, following Him from town to town.

Mary Magdalene’s legacy lives on as a symbol of faith and devotion. She is also a reminder that anyone can be redeemed and transformed through Jesus’ love and grace. She received new life in Christ.

The other thing Mary Magdalene is well known for is being the first person (male or female) Jesus appeared to after His resurrection.

“When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.”

Mark 16:9 (NIV)

Where is the story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible?

We can find the story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible in all the gospels.

We first meet her in Luke 8. But she was also at the tomb of Jesus when He was put in and after He was raised from the dead. We can find these accounts in all four gospels. The gospel of John specifically records Mary talking to the risen Christ outside the tomb.

The following verses speak of the story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible:

– Matthew 27:55-61; 28:1-10

– Mark 15:33-16:11

– Luke 8:1-3

– Luke 24:1-12

– John 19:25

– John 20:1-2; 11-18

What are the characteristics of Mary Magdalene?

Because the story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible is so short, we don’t know a lot about her character. But even if her actions and character were invisible to people, God saw her—because God sees us even if no one else sees us.

Here’s what we know about Mary Magdalene:

  • Mary Magdalene loved deeply. She was completely dedicated to Christ. We also know Mary Magdalene was loyal and devoted to Jesus.
  • Not only did she give up her life to become a follower of Jesus, she stayed with Him after everyone else wrote Him off. She was one of the last ones at the cross, waiting and watching to see where He was buried, and she was the first one there on Sunday morning to discover He wasn’t in His tomb.
  • She wept when she thought Jesus’ body had been stolen. Even believing He was dead, she wanted to be near Him.

What does the story of Mary Magdalene teach us?

I think the biggest thing we can learn from the story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible is that we can never be too committed to Christ. Mary Magdalene wasn’t perfect, but God often uses imperfect people for His purpose!

Beyond being possessed by demons, we don’t know what Mary’s life looked like before she met Jesus. We don’t know how long she had been possessed, how old she was, or any background information at all. However, we do know that after meeting Jesus, her heart belonged to Him.

The question that leads us to ask is this: is that something we can say about ourselves?

Are we women who are head over heels for Christ? Or are we women who close our Bibles after church on Sunday and say “see you next week”?

That’s the question I’ve been sitting with this week. Taking the time to sit with Mary Magdalene has impacted my heart in a way I didn’t realize was possible.

Who was Mary called Magdalene summary

In summary, Mary Magdalene was a woman from Galilee who had been possessed by seven demons before Jesus drove them out. Afterward, Mary became a completely committed follower of Jesus, following Him all the way to the cross.

The Bible doesn’t say a lot about Mary Magdalene, but it paints a picture of a woman who loved Jesus.

Prayer for a Heart Like Mary Magdalene

Father God, thank You for introducing me to Mary Magdalene. I’m so glad we have the story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible to learn from.

I come to You today to ask You to give me a heart like hers. I want to love You the way she loved You – with all of me. Help me not to be a wishy-washy Christian, but someone who is wholeheartedly devoted to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Heather is an award-winning author and member of the Association of Biblical Counselors. Her latest book (2023) is “Candid Moments: God is Good, Even When The Struggle is Real“.

God has given her a heart for ministering to women of all ages; helping them grow in their walk with Christ. Her goal isn’t to tell others how to do more, be better, or achieve perfection, it’s to point them to Jesus.

You can connect with her online at AuthorHeatherHart.com.