Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 26 July |
Saint of the Day: Sts Joachim and Anne
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Where is Mary Magdalene in the Bible?


Public Domain

Philip Kosloski - published on 07/22/20

Mary Magdalene is mentioned by name 13 times in the New Testament, nearly all of them in connection to Jesus' Passion and resurrection.

Mary Magdalene is one of the most misunderstood characters in the Gospels, as much of her reputation is based on extra-biblical sources. It can be difficult to sort through these legends to discover what is true and what is false, but what is relatively easy to do is simply identify those Bible passages that mention her by name.

Mary Magdalene

Read more:
The adventures of Mary Magdalene after Jesus’ resurrection

In the Gospels, Mary Magdalene is mentioned 13 times, and nearly all of these passages are connected to Jesus’ Passion, death, and resurrection.

For example, if a person were to open the New Testament and start reading, the first specific mention of her name occurs in the Gospel of Matthew, and it isn’t until Jesus’ death on the cross.

There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him. Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. (Matthew 27:55-56)

In the Gospel of Mark we are given a little information about her background, which is echoed in the Gospel of Luke.

When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. (Mark 16:9)Afterward [Jesus] journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources. (Luke 8:1-3)

It isn’t until we reach the Gospel of John that we find Mary Magdalene’s first piece of dialogue.

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” (John 20:1-2)

Chapter 20 in the Gospel of John provides the largest amount of information we know about Mary Magdalene, as she converses with Jesus and the apostles.

Besides these explicit mentions of Mary Magdalene, it is possible that she appears in other passages that only mention a woman named “Mary” or the woman who was caught in adultery. However, that is up for debate among Scripture scholars and continues to be a focus of continued study.


Read more:
Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute?

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.