Pronunciation: MARE-ee
Origin of name: Hebrew
Meaning of name: commonly said to be “bitter”, but Hebrew origins (Miryam) indicate “rebellion” or “obstinacy”

The Story Behind This Baby Name

There are three notable Bible women with the name Mary. The first was Mary the mother of Jesus. Her humble obedience to the call of God to bear and raise His Son was a beautiful example of a life surrendered to the Lord. As a young Jewish woman betrothed to be married, she was visited by the angel of God and told that she would bear a child who would be conceived by the Holy Spirit. It was a terrible stigma to become pregnant outside of wedlock, but she bravely faced this challenge. She not only gave birth to Jesus, but she stayed by His side throughout His time on earth. She encouraged Him to help at a wedding party, prompting the first recorded miracle of Jesus — turning water into fine wine. And she was within speaking distance when He died on the cross, giving His life for all mankind.

The other two women have smaller roles, but are worth noting. Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus whom He had delivered of demonic oppression (the Bible records that seven demons came out of her). She was the first woman to see Jesus after He was resurrected from the dead.

Third, there was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who anointed Jesus with expensive ointment and wiped His feet with her hair in an act of worship and gratitude. Her sister Martha was a type-A personality busy hosting when Jesus came to visit and teach at their house, while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to His teaching. Martha got upset that Mary wasn’t helping serve everyone, but Jesus praised Mary’s attitude, saying that Mary had chosen to do “that one necessary thing” and that her portion or reward would not be taken from her. When her brother Lazarus became sick and died, Mary had faith in Jesus’ healing power. She told Jesus later, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died.” She was witness to the miracle of her brother’s resurrection from the dead four days after he died, when his body had already begun to stink!

Despite the meaning of the name, “bitter,” the name Mary carries great significance and the women named Mary in the Bible are fine role models of dedicated Christians.

Scriptures for the Bible Stories of the Girl Name Mary

  • Mary is called to be the mother of Jesus: Matthew 1:16 (scroll down to verse 16), Luke 1:27 (scroll down to verse 27)
  • Mary is recorded at the scene of the crucifixion: John 19:25 (scroll down to verse 25)
  • Mary Magdalene is mentioned: Luke 8:2
  • The story of Mary and Martha: Luke 10:38 (scroll down to verse 38)
  • The story of Mary and the death and resurrection of her brother Lazarus: John 11

Variations of the girl name Mary

Female: Marie, Maria

Special note: The root name Miriam or Miryam will eventually have its own entry, profiling Miriam the sister of Moses.

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