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Who Was Mary Magdalene?

The Bible’s answer

Mary Magdalene was a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Her name, Magdalene, likely came from the town of Magdala (possibly Magadan), which was near the Sea of Galilee. Mary may have once lived there.

Mary Magdalene was one of several women who traveled with Jesus and his disciples and gave them material support. (Luke 8:1-3) She was an eyewitness of Jesus’ execution, and she was among the first to see him after he was resurrected.—Mark 15:40; John 20:11-18.

 Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute?

The Bible does not say that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. All it states about her background is that Jesus expelled seven demons from her.—Luke 8:2.

Where did the idea that she had been a prostitute come from? Centuries after her death, it was asserted that she was the same person as the unnamed woman (likely a prostitute) who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. (Luke 7:36-38) However, there is no Scriptural basis for this belief.

 Was Mary Magdalene an “apostle to the apostles”?

No. The Catholic Church calls Mary “St. Mary Magdalene” as well as “the apostle to the apostles” because she was among the first to bring news of Jesus’ resurrection to the apostles. (John 20:18) But this does not make her an apostle. And nowhere in the Scriptures is she called such.—Luke 6:12-16.

The Bible was completed near the end of the first century C.E. Yet, it was not until the sixth century that church authorities took it upon themselves to elevate Mary Magdalene to a higher status. In writings from the second and third centuries—which are not part of the Bible canon—some of Jesus’ apostles are described as being jealous of Mary. Such fabricated stories have no basis in the Scriptures.

 Was Mary Magdalene the wife of Jesus Christ?

No. In fact, the Bible makes clear that Jesus remained single. *