Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
There are six women named Mary in the Bible. The name appears 61 times in the New Testament. Mary was a popular female name during Bible time and is still popular today. There are a lot of people who are either named Mary, have a relative named Mary, or they know someone with that name.
Here are the six bible women named Mary.
- Mary, mother of Jesus (Luke Chapter 1 and 2)
- Mary Magdalene (Luke 7:37, Luke 8:23)
- Mary of Bethany (Luke 10:38-42)
- Mary, mother of James and John (Matthew 27:55-61)
- Mary, mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12).
- Mary of Rome (Romans 16:6).
Each biblical Mary has interesting characteristics that are discussed below.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus
Whenever Mary, the mother of Jesus was in a group with other women, her name was always mentioned first. Mary Magdalene's name was always mentioned second and was mentioned first if Mary, the mother of Jesus was not present. Mary the mother of Jesus, also known as the Madonna, is one of the main characters in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. She is mentioned by name twelve times and mostly in Matthew and Luke surrounding the birth of Jesus. Mark and John do not record the birth of Jesus.
Only two of the Gospel writers mention Mary by name. They are Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. In addition, Matthew 12:46–50 and Mark 3:31–35 both describe Mary's visit to Jesus as an adult but without mentioning her by name.
The Gospel of John refers to Mary, the mother of Jesus twice. It is the only one of the four Gospels that states she was present at the Crucifixion.
Mary Magdalene was a special friend of Jesus. Magdalene is not her last name because biblical people had no last names. They were identified by the town they lived in. In order to distinguish this Mary from the other five, Magda is added to her name. Magda was a city southwest of the Sea of Galilee.
Mary Magdalene became a devoted follower and supported Jesus' ministry after Jesus cast out seven demons from her. She was the first one that Jesus appeared to after His resurrection.
All four Gospels name Mary Magdalene as one of the small group of women who went to Jesus' tomb and found it empty. Luke was the only writer who did not name her as one of the many women present at the Crucifixion. Mary Magdalene is named three times in Matthew, four times in Mark, twice in Luke and three times in John.
Mary Magdalene is the one who had a conversation in the garden after His resurrection. She thought he was the gardener until He called her by her name. She had heard Him do so many times before His death. So, she recognized it in the garden. She wanted to hug Him, but he said not to touch Him until after He ascended to His Father. In the meantime, He told her to go and tell the disciples that He was alive.
Mary of Bethany
Mary of Bethany is described in the Gospels of John and Luke. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were siblings and dear friends of Jesus. They all lived in the village of Bethany near Jerusalem, and Jesus visited them.
Mary occupies three places in the Gospels.
- Sitting at Jesus' feet while her sister Mary prepares a meal for Jesus
- At the tomb after Lazarus' death
- The unnamed woman who anointed Jesus' feet with perfume before His death
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
When Jesus visited Martha and Mary, Martha stayed in the kitchen preparing food while Mary sat at Jesus' feet. Jesus said Mary chose the better part.
At Lazarus' Tomb
Jesus met with the sisters at Lazarus' tomb. Martha is the more aggressive sister who goes immediately to meet Jesus as he arrives. She appears to rebuke Him by saying if He had arrived earlier her brother would not have died. When Jesus calls Mary out to where He was, He saw that she was weeping. Her response was quite the opposite of her sister's.
Mary Anoints Jesus' Feet
In John 12:1-8, Mary took an alabaster box of very expensive perfume and poured it over the feet of Jesus. Only in this passage is the woman identified as Mary of Bethany. Luke 7:36–40, has a different location and says it was an unnamed woman who performed the action.
Luke records that Jesus was dining at the home of a Pharisee named Simon the Leper. An unnamed woman of the city, who was a sinner anoints his feet, but her name is not given.
Mary, Mother of James and John
Mary Salome was the wife of Zebedee and mother of James and John, two of Jesus' disciples. Mark 15:40 names the women present at the crucifixion and includes Salome. Matthew 27:56 mentions this Mary as the mother of Zebedee's sons.
Mary, Mother of John Mark
Mary, the mother of John Mark is named only once, in Acts 12:12. John Mark is identified as the cousin of Barnabas. This Mary is Barnabas' sister (Col 4:10). According to Acts 4:37 and 12:12, Barnabas sold his property and gave the money to the church. His sister was also generous. Her house was one of the places used for a church meeting.
Mary of Rome
There is not much written about Mary of Rome. Her name is found only in Romans 16:6. Paul sends greetings to her when he writes to the Romans. In the last chapter, he tells them to "Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you."
Nothing else is known about this sixth Mary in the Bible.
Beverley Turner on October 13, 2020:
I learned a lot about the Mary's in the Bible. Thank you so much
Kenya on July 19, 2019:
Not sure if I recognize anyone around with this name as of recent, but my mother is certainly a person that explains this entity when she makes purchases and how she resolves them. She sometimes goes without to make sure she is no hypocrite to a system that sees fit for you to go without. Mary is the mother that wants everything for you to be good and nice without having to ask for it over and over; thanks. from mysteryschoolasmr❤❤blogspot+++++++++com
Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on July 14, 2019:
Thanks, Tim, I enjoyed reading and writing about the women named Mary in the Bible. I found it interesting that Mary, the mother of Jesus was always listed first when she was in a group of women. When she was not present, Mary Magdalene was listed first.
I have a sister named Mary, a grandmother named Mary and cousins named Mary. I know twins who are both named Mary with a different middle name.
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on July 14, 2019:
Interesting article about the different women named Mary in the Bible. Thanks.