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Forasmuch as many have undertaken to draw up a relation concerning the matters fully believed among us,

as those who from the beginning were eye-witnesses of and attendants on the Word have delivered them to us,

it has seemed good to *me* also, accurately acquainted from the origin with all things, to write to thee with method, most excellent Theophilus,

that thou mightest know the certainty of those things in which thou hast been instructed.

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest, by name Zacharias, of the course of Abia, and his wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elizabeth.

And they were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.

And it came to pass, as he fulfilled his priestly service before God in the order of his course,

it fell to him by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter into the temple of the Lord to burn incense.

10 And all the multitude of the people were praying without at the hour of incense.

11 And an angel of [the] Lord appeared to him, standing on the right of the altar of incense.

12 And Zacharias was troubled, seeing [him], and fear fell upon him.

13 But the angel said to him, Fear not, Zacharias, because thy supplication has been heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

14 And he shall be to thee joy and rejoicing, and many shall rejoice at his birth.

15 For he shall be great before [the] Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with [the] Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.

16 And many of the sons of Israel shall he turn to [the] Lord their God.

17 And *he* shall go before him in [the] spirit and power of Elias, to turn hearts of fathers to children, and disobedient ones to [the] thoughts of just [men], to make ready for [the] Lord a prepared people.

18 And Zacharias said to the angel, How shall I know this, for *I* am an old man, and my wife advanced in years?

19 And the angel answering, said to him, *I* am Gabriel, who stand before God, and I have been sent to speak to thee, and to bring these glad tidings to thee;

20 and behold, thou shalt be silent and not able to speak, till the day in which these things shall take place, because thou hast not believed my words, the which shall be fulfilled in their time.

21 And the people were awaiting Zacharias, and they wondered at his delaying in the temple.

22 But when he came out he could not speak to them, and they recognised that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he was making signs to them, and continued dumb.

23 And it came to pass, when the days of his service were completed, he departed to his house.

24 Now after these days, Elizabeth his wife conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,

25 Thus has [the] Lord done to me in [these] days in which he looked upon [me] to take away my reproach among men.

26 But in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent of God to a city of Galilee, of which [the] name [was] Nazareth,

27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name [was] Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name [was] Mary.

28 And the angel came in to her, and said, Hail, [thou] favoured one! the Lord [is] with thee: [blessed art *thou* amongst women].

29 But she, [seeing] [the angel], was troubled at his word, and reasoned in her mind what this salutation might be.

30 And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God;

31 and behold, thou shalt conceive in the womb and bear a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus.

32 *He* shall be great, and shall be called Son of [the] Highest; and [the] Lord God shall give him the throne of David his father;

33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for the ages, and of his kingdom there shall not be an end.

34 But Mary said to the angel, How shall this be, since I know not a man?

35 And the angel answering said to her, [The] Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and power of [the] Highest overshadow thee, wherefore the holy thing also which shall be born shall be called Son of God.

36 And behold, Elizabeth, thy kinswoman, she also has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month to her that was called barren:

37 for nothing shall be impossible with God.

38 And Mary said, Behold the bondmaid of [the] Lord; be it to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

39 And Mary, rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah,

40 and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elizabeth.

41 And it came to pass, as Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with [the] Holy Spirit,

42 and cried out with a loud voice and said, Blessed [art] *thou* amongst women, and blessed the fruit of thy womb.

43 And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44 For behold, as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped with joy in my womb.

45 And blessed [is] she that has believed, for there shall be a fulfilment of the things spoken to her from [the] Lord.

46 And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord,

47 and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour.

48 For he has looked upon the low estate of his bondmaid; for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

49 For the Mighty One has done to me great things, and holy [is] his name;

50 and his mercy [is] to generations and generations to them that fear him.

51 He has wrought strength with his arm; he has scattered haughty [ones] in the thought of their heart.

52 He has put down rulers from thrones, and exalted the lowly.

53 He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent away the rich empty.

54 He has helped Israel his servant, in order to remember mercy,

55 (as he spoke to our fathers,) to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her house.

57 But the time was fulfilled for Elizabeth that she should bring forth, and she gave birth to a son.

58 And her neighbours and kinsfolk heard that [the] Lord had magnified his mercy with her, and they rejoiced with her.

59 And it came to pass on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called it after the name of his father, Zacharias.

60 And his mother answering said, No; but he shall be called John.

61 And they said to her, There is no one among thy kinsfolk who is called by this name.

62 And they made signs to his father as to what he might wish it to be called.

63 And having asked for a writing-table, he wrote saying, John is his name. And they all wondered.

64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue, and he spake, blessing God.

65 And fear came upon all who dwelt round about them; and in the whole hill-country of Judaea all these things were the subject of conversation.

66 And all who heard them laid them up in their heart, saying, What then will this child be? And [the] Lord's hand was with him.

67 And Zacharias his father was filled with [the] Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,

68 Blessed be [the] Lord the God of Israel, because he has visited and wrought redemption for his people,

69 and raised up a horn of deliverance for us in the house of David his servant;

70 as he spoke by [the] mouth of his holy prophets, who have been since the world began;

71 deliverance from our enemies and out of the hand of all who hate us;

72 to fulfil mercy with our fathers and remember his holy covenant,

73 [the] oath which he swore to Abraham our father,

74 to give us, that, saved out of the hand of our enemies, we should serve him without fear

75 in piety and righteousness before him all our days.

76 And *thou*, child, shalt be called [the] prophet of [the] Highest; for thou shalt go before the face of [the] Lord to make ready his ways;

77 to give knowledge of deliverance to his people by [the] remission of their sins

78 on account of [the] bowels of mercy of our God; wherein [the] dayspring from on high has visited us,

79 to shine upon them who were sitting in darkness and in [the] shadow of death, to guide our feet into [the] way of peace.

80 —And the child grew and was strengthened in spirit; and he was in the deserts until the day of his shewing to Israel.

Introduction(A)

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first(B) were eyewitnesses(C) and servants of the word.(D) With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account(E) for you, most excellent(F) Theophilus,(G) so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.(H)

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the time of Herod king of Judea(I) there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah;(J) his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.(K) But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God,(L) he was chosen by lot,(M) according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.(N) 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.(O)

11 Then an angel(P) of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.(Q) 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.(R) 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid,(S) Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.(T) 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,(U) 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink,(V) and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit(W) even before he is born.(X) 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord,(Y) in the spirit and power of Elijah,(Z) to turn the hearts of the parents to their children(AA) and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”(AB)

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this?(AC) I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”(AD)

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel.(AE) I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak(AF) until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs(AG) to them but remained unable to speak.

23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace(AH) among the people.”

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel(AI) to Nazareth,(AJ) a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph,(AK) a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid,(AL) Mary; you have found favor with God.(AM) 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.(AN) 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.(AO) The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,(AP) 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom(AQ) will never end.”(AR)

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you,(AS) and the power of the Most High(AT) will overshadow you. So the holy one(AU) to be born will be called[b] the Son of God.(AV) 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child(AW) in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”(AX)

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,(AY) 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.(AZ) 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women,(BA) and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord(BB) should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Mary’s Song(BC)

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord(BD)
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,(BE)
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.(BF)
From now on all generations will call me blessed,(BG)
49     for the Mighty One has done great things(BH) for me—
    holy is his name.(BI)
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.(BJ)
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;(BK)
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.(BL)
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.(BM)
53 He has filled the hungry with good things(BN)
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful(BO)
55 to Abraham and his descendants(BP) forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise(BQ) the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”(BR)

61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

62 Then they made signs(BS) to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.”(BT) 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak,(BU) praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea(BV) people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.(BW)

Zechariah’s Song

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit(BX) and prophesied:(BY)

68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,(BZ)
    because he has come to his people and redeemed them.(CA)
69 He has raised up a horn[c](CB) of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David(CC)
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),(CD)
71 salvation from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors(CE)
    and to remember his holy covenant,(CF)
73     the oath he swore to our father Abraham:(CG)
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
    and to enable us to serve him(CH) without fear(CI)
75     in holiness and righteousness(CJ) before him all our days.

76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet(CK) of the Most High;(CL)
    for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,(CM)
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,(CN)
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun(CO) will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,(CP)
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”(CQ)

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit[d];(CR) and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 1:1 Or been surely believed
  2. Luke 1:35 Or So the child to be born will be called holy,
  3. Luke 1:69 Horn here symbolizes a strong king.
  4. Luke 1:80 Or in the Spirit

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