How many times is Mary mentioned in the Bible? (What does the Bible say about Mary?)

At our weekly Bible study sessions, we usually pick characters from the Bible and share about them. A few months ago, we picked Mary, and we realized that there are several mentions of different characters named Mary in the Bible. Since most students kept confusing the characters, I decided to dwell on the topic longer. In our next Bible class, I began by asking, how many times is Mary mentioned in the Bible?

Mary was a common name among Israelites. Women who bore the name have been mentioned over 60 times in the Bible. The Virgin Mary, the most mentioned, is in other scriptures referred to as the mother of Jesus. So if you include the indirect mentions of the other Marys, the number could be more than 100.

Join me as I expound more on women named Mary in the Bible. I will delve into the special things about Mary, her first words in the Bible, and the number of times she spoke in the Bible. I will especially talk more about every person named Mary in the Bible. Read on!

How many Marys are in the Bible?

There are six Marys in the Bible, all mentioned in the New Testament. Aside from Joseph, Mary is the other name many people share in the Bible. This only goes to show how common this name was around the time. Most people are familiar with Mary, the mother of Jesus. Others are Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, Mary the mother of Mark, and lastly, Mary of the Church in Rome.

What was special about Mary in the Bible?

What does the Bible say about Mary?
What was special about Mary in the Bible? Image source: Freepik

Contrary to what many Christians believe, the Bible does not depict Mary in any special way other than that she conceived the Messiah while still a virgin. Mary was an ordinary human like any other. Though she was righteous, she had a sinful nature. Luke 1:28 describes her as highly favored. God chose her to be a means for Christ to live among humans. She recognized that she needed the Savior just as others did. Luke 1:47 states that her spirit rejoiced in God, her Savior.

In Luke 11:27, when a woman proclaimed blessings to the womb that bore Jesus, Jesus took the opportunity to proclaim blessings to those who obey God’s word, as stated in Luke 11:28. This was an opportunity for Jesus to praise Mary, but he didn’t. It goes to show that Mary was like any of us and that only our service to God makes us stand out.

Is Mary mentioned in the Old Testament?

There is no mention of the name Mary in the Old Testament. However, certain passages in the prophetic books refer to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Isaiah 7:14 states that a virgin would conceive and bear a son. Though this does not specifically mention Mary, the person implied is her.

Many of the Marys in the Bible were, in one way or another, tied to Jesus. The Old Testament predates the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth and focuses on laws, prophesies, and the history of the Israelites. Thus, the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her significance are predominantly accounted for and given prominence in the New Testament, not the Old Testament.

What are Mary’s first words in Scripture?

Mary’s first recorded words are in the Gospel of Luke during the annunciation of the birth of Jesus. The Bible tells us that God sent the angel Gabriel to the city of Nazareth to visit Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph. Gabriel was to inform Mary that she was going to conceive and bear a son who was to be called the Son of the Most High. Mary then asked the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’ (Luke 1:34).

Some biblical scholars do not identify these as Mary’s first words. Instead, they refer to the famous passage called The Magnificat as her first utterances. The Magnificat is Mary’s praise song that is recorded in Luke 1:46-55. It is part of a conversation she had with Elizabeth when she visited her after the annunciation. These are Mary’s first words to a mortal, while her words with Gabriel were with an Angel.

Who are all the Marys of the Bible?

How many times is Mary mentioned in the Bible? 
Mary Magdalene of the Bible. Image source: Pinterest

There are six Marys in the Bible. Let’s look at each one.

Mary, the mother of Jesus

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the most commonly known Mary in the Bible. She was a virgin, betrothed to Joseph, and was living in Nazareth when an Angel told her that she would conceive and give birth to Jesus. She was present at many of the events that happened in Jesus’ life, including his crucifixion. (John 19:25)

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene is also closely associated with Jesus. Luke 8:2 says that Jesus had cast out seven demons from her. She was named Magdalene after a city in Galilee to help distinguish her from the other Marys. She was a follower of Jesus and was among the women who found his tomb empty. According to John 20:1-18, she ran to the other disciples to inform them that Jesus was missing from his tomb and was among the first to see him risen.

Mary of Bethany

The third Mary is the sister of Lazarus and Martha. They lived in Bethany, where Jesus and his disciples frequented. During one of the visits, she chose to stay at Jesus’ feet while Martha prepared dinner, and on another, she anointed his head with oil. (Luke 10:38-41, Matthew 26:6-13)

Mary, the wife of Clopas

The fourth Mary was the mother of James and Joseph and the wife of Clopas, otherwise known as Alphaeus. She is mentioned in three gospel books, John 19:25, Mark 15:40, and Matthew 27:56, as having watched the crucifixion together with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Salome. She is also referred to as ‘the other Mary’ in Matthew 28:1 since she was with Mary Magdalene when an Angel appeared to them at Jesus’ tomb.

Mary, the mother of Mark

The fifth Mary is Mary, the mother of Mark, who is the author of the Gospel of Mark. Acts 12:12 says that she allowed believers into her home to pray. One of those prayer meetings led to the release of Peter from prison.

Mary, a member of the church in Rome

Romans 16:6 mentions the last Mary. She was a member of a church in Rome, and Apostle Paul included her in his letter as one of the people to receive greetings.

How many times does Mary speak in the Bible?

The Bible quotes Mary seven times. The first two times are during her exchange with Angel Gabriel in Luke 1:34-38. She speaks again twice when she sings a praise song during her visit to Judah. In Luke 2:48, she addresses Jesus when she and Joseph thought they had lost him in the temple. The last two instances are during a wedding in Canaan, where she tells him about the lack of wine and later instructs the people to do as Jesus tells them. (John 2:3-5).

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