Biblical baby names: Most Christian countries share a common set of names, although those names are often pronounced and spelled differently across the various languages. The majority of this common set of names derives from either Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or one of the early Germanic, Celtic or Slavic languages. An important source has always been the names of famous saints.
The church strongly encouraged the giving of saintly names to children, and this encouragement continues in Catholic countries. Some of these saints appear in the New Testament of the Bible, where the names are generally either Hebrew or Greek. Hebrew New Testament names include John, Simon, Matthew and Mary. Greek names include Peter, Luke and Stephen, while Paul and Mark are Latin. Other saints do not appear in the New Testament but play roles in later history and legends, for example saints Katherine, Patrick, Anthony, Barbara and George. A large number of these important early saints have names of Greek or Latin origin. Old Testament names were not commonly used by Christians until relatively recent times. Names from the Old Testament are predominantly Hebrew, and examples include Adam, Jacob, Noah, David, Jonathan, Isaac and Jeremiah. Some female examples are Eve, Sharon, Leah, Sarah, Rebecca, Ruth and Miriam.