Who Is Mary Magdalene & 12 Bible Facts About Her Life

A woman that prompts many questions.

Who Was Mary Magdalene, According To The Bible Scriptures unsplash

Who was Mary Magdalene?

Was she really a prostitute? Why did Jesus love her so?

Still, there are many unanswered questions about certain people in the Bible, but none is more controversial than Mary Magdalene.

There have been movies about Mary and books written, but no one fully understands her role in Jesus' ministry.

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Mary was a consistent follower of Jesus Christ. She is mentioned a fair amount in the New Testament, too.

But despite her faith, her life both before, after his death at the age of 33, including her relationship with Jesus when he was alive, carries much speculation and scrutiny.

There are lots of different theories about her and her life. So who is Mary Magdalene, and what do we know about her?

1. She may have come from a wealthy family.

Mary Magdalene got her last name from the town of Magdala, which was near the Sea of Galilee.

Considering this connection, it’s possible to assume that this name held influence and a lot of money.


She could be related to the fishing industry the town was built on.

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2. She was pretty.

Pairing that with Mary’s looks, you get a high-class member of society.

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3. She did not have good luck.

But evil is indiscriminate, no matter your looks or wealth, and so Mary Magdalene became possessed by seven demons.

In the past, the number seven was regarded as being significant, so if one demon is bad, seven is a nightmare.

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4. Jesus healed her.

However, one day Jesus found Mary and He exorcised the demons from her.

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5. She became a friend of Jesus.

She was so grateful that she devoted her life to Him, committing herself to follow Him wherever He went.

One theory on how she was able to do this circles back to her presumed riches, which would explain how she was also able to be highly generous and charitable.​ Due to her possession though, another theory sprouted as well.

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6. She was a prostitute.

It was believed that while Mary was possessed by demons, she committed sinful acts such as prostitution. Now, there are a couple of things to point out here. One, the label of a prostitute wasn’t given during Mary’s time.

It actually didn’t come around until Pope Gregory I of the Catholic Church decreed her as such in 591. Secondly, there’s no biblical evidence to support that she was either.

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7. The church tried to discredit her.

Why call someone a prostitute when they might not have been? To ruin their reputation, of course. A long time ago, women had essentially no say in the church.


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8. She was a writer.

The fact that Mary was so close to Jesus gave her a unique opportunity. She wrote down his teachings, like the other disciples, creating a document that would be discovered years later known as the Gospel of Mary.

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9. You won't find "The Gospel of Mary" in the Bible.

If you’re saying “I don’t remember that in the Bible,” your memory serves you well. This gospel is, in fact, NOT in the Bible. That’s because due to the nature of the work and the inability to determine its credibility, the church has not acknowledged it as an official account. Aside from their approval, parts of the document itself are still missing too.


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10. There's confusion among Marys in the Bible.

Another point of controversy for Mary Magdalene is scholars trying to determine if she’s the Mary that washes Jesus’s feet with perfume (Luke 7:37). Back then, Mary was a very common Jewish name, and because the Bible only refers to the woman as Mary, it’s hard to say whether or not it was actually Mary Magdalene.

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11. Mary devoted herself to Jesus' ministry.

There’s one other theory worth mentioning about Mary Magdalene, and that’s the one that some people believe she was Jesus’s wife. There’s no biblical evidence to support that either. Perhaps the more accurate way of thinking about their relationship would be to say it was a deep spiritual connection.


Soon afterwards, he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of God’s Kingdom. With him were the twelve, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out...”. —​ Luke 8:1-2

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12. Mary’s actions would’ve been viewed as highly radical.

Women didn’t play big roles in society at the time. Nonetheless, she continued following Jesus until the very end when He was crucified. Mary Magdalene is actually one of the few to be named in all four Gospels for being present at the crucifixion.


“Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome.” —​ Mark 15:40

Then, of course, there’s probably her most well-known moment.

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13. Mary was the first to see Jesus resurrected.

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, and didn’t know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him, ‘Rabboni!’ which is to say, “Teacher!Jesus said to her, “Don’t hold me, for I haven’t yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” —​ John 20:14-17


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14. Mary Magdalene is a highly thought-of.

Women in the church favor her. After the church removed the label of “prostitute,” there’s been an even stronger push to allow women to be priests. So to some, she’s a saint, but to others who still think in a more old-fashioned way, she’s a sinner. Whatever you believe, one thing’s for sure, Mary Magdalene will forever remain something of a mystery.

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Jesse Oakley is a writer who writes about love, relationships, self-care and spirituality/astrology.