Add parallel Print Page Options

The Census and the Birth of Jesus

Now[a] in those days a decree[b] went out from Caesar[c] Augustus[d] to register[e] all the empire[f] for taxes. This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor[g] of Syria. Everyone[h] went to his own town[i] to be registered. So[j] Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth[k] in Galilee to Judea, to the city[l] of David called Bethlehem,[m] because he was of the house[n] and family line[o] of David. He went[p] to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him,[q] and who was expecting a child. While[r] they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.[s] And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth[t] and laid him in a manger,[u] because there was no place for them in the inn.[v]

The Shepherds’ Visit

Now[w] there were shepherds[x] nearby[y] living out in the field, keeping guard[z] over their flock at night. An[aa] angel of the Lord[ab] appeared to[ac] them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified.[ad] 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully,[ae] for I proclaim to you good news[af] that brings great joy to all the people: 11 Today[ag] your Savior is born in the city[ah] of David.[ai] He is Christ[aj] the Lord. 12 This[ak] will be a sign[al] for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”[am] 13 Suddenly[an] a vast, heavenly army[ao] appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory[ap] to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among people[aq] with whom he is pleased!”[ar]

15 When[as] the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, that the Lord[at] has made known to us.” 16 So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger.[au] 17 When[av] they saw him,[aw] they related what they had been told[ax] about this child, 18 and all who heard it were astonished[ay] at what the shepherds said. 19 But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean.[az] 20 So[ba] the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising[bb] God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told.[bc]

21 At[bd] the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given by the angel[be] before he was conceived in the womb.

Jesus’ Presentation at the Temple

22 Now[bf] when the time came for their[bg] purification according to the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary[bh] brought Jesus[bi] up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male[bj] will be set apart to the Lord[bk]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is specified in the law of the Lord, a pair of doves[bl] or two young pigeons.[bm]

The Prophecy of Simeon

25 Now[bn] there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon who was righteous[bo] and devout, looking for the restoration[bp] of Israel, and the Holy Spirit[bq] was upon him. 26 It[br] had been revealed[bs] to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die[bt] before[bu] he had seen the Lord’s Christ.[bv] 27 So[bw] Simeon,[bx] directed by the Spirit,[by] came into the temple courts,[bz] and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary according to the law,[ca] 28 Simeon[cb] took him in his arms and blessed God, saying,[cc]

29 “Now, according to your word,[cd] Sovereign Lord,[ce] permit[cf] your servant[cg] to depart[ch] in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation[ci]
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples:[cj]
32 a light,[ck]
for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory[cl] to your people Israel.”

33 So[cm] the child’s[cn] father[co] and mother were amazed[cp] at what was said about him. 34 Then[cq] Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “Listen carefully:[cr] This child[cs] is destined to be the cause of the falling and rising[ct] of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be rejected.[cu] 35 Indeed, as a result of him the thoughts[cv] of many hearts will be revealed[cw]—and a sword[cx] will pierce your own soul as well!”[cy]

The Testimony of Anna

36 There was also a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old,[cz] having been married to her husband for seven years until his death. 37 She had lived as a widow since then for eighty-four years.[da] She never left the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.[db] 38 At that moment,[dc] she came up to them[dd] and began to give thanks to God and to speak[de] about the child[df] to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.[dg]

39 So[dh] when Joseph and Mary[di] had performed[dj] everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town[dk] of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong,[dl] filled with wisdom,[dm] and the favor[dn] of God[do] was upon him.

Jesus in the Temple

41 Now[dp] Jesus’[dq] parents went to Jerusalem every[dr] year for the Feast of the Passover.[ds] 42 When[dt] he was twelve years old,[du] they went up[dv] according to custom. 43 But[dw] when the feast was over,[dx] as they were returning home,[dy] the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His[dz] parents[ea] did not know it, 44 but (because they assumed that he was in their group of travelers)[eb] they went a day’s journey. Then[ec] they began to look for him among their relatives and acquaintances.[ed] 45 When[ee] they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem[ef] to look for him. 46 After[eg] three days[eh] they found him in the temple courts,[ei] sitting among the teachers,[ej] listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Jesus[ek] were astonished[el] at his understanding and his answers. 48 When[em] his parents[en] saw him, they were overwhelmed. His[eo] mother said to him, “Child,[ep] why have you treated[eq] us like this? Look, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.”[er] 49 But[es] he replied,[et] “Why were you looking for me?[eu] Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”[ev] 50 Yet[ew] his parents[ex] did not understand[ey] the remark[ez] he made[fa] to them. 51 Then[fb] he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient[fc] to them. But[fd] his mother kept all these things[fe] in her heart.[ff]

52 And Jesus increased[fg] in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and with people.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 2:1 tn Grk “Now it happened that.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
  2. Luke 2:1 sn This decree was a formal decree from the Roman Senate.
  3. Luke 2:1 tn Or “from the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).
  4. Luke 2:1 sn Caesar Augustus refers to Octavian, who was Caesar from 27 b.c. to a.d. 14. He was known for his administrative prowess.
  5. Luke 2:1 tn Grk “to be registered.” The passive infinitive ἀπογράφεσθαι (apographesthai) has been rendered as an active in the translation to improve the English style. The verb is regarded as a technical term for official registration in tax lists (BDAG 108 s.v. ἀπογράφω a).sn This census (a decree…to register all the empire) is one of the more disputed historical remarks in Luke. Josephus (Ant. 18.1.1 [18.1-2]) only mentions a census in a.d. 6, too late for this setting. Such a census would have been a massive undertaking; it could have started under one ruler and emerged under another, to whose name it became attached. This is one possibility to explain the data. Another is that Quirinius, who became governor in Syria for the later census, may have been merely an administrator for this census. See also Luke 2:2.
  6. Luke 2:1 tn Grk “the whole (inhabited) world,” but this was a way to refer to the Roman empire (L&N 1.83).
  7. Luke 2:2 tn Or “was a minister of Syria.” This term could simply refer to an administrative role Quirinius held as opposed to being governor (Josephus, Ant. 18.4.2 [18.88]). See also Luke 2:1.
  8. Luke 2:3 tn Grk “And everyone.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  9. Luke 2:3 tn Or “hometown” (so CEV).
  10. Luke 2:4 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the consequential nature of the action.
  11. Luke 2:4 sn On Nazareth see Luke 1:26.
  12. Luke 2:4 tn Or “town.” The translation “city” is used here because of its collocation with “of David,” suggesting its importance, though not its size.
  13. Luke 2:4 sn The journey from Nazareth to the city of David called Bethlehem was a journey of about 90 mi (150 km). Bethlehem was a small village located about 7 miles south-southwest of Jerusalem.
  14. Luke 2:4 sn Luke’s use of the term “house” probably alludes to the original promise made to David outlined in the Nathan oracle of 2 Sam 7:12-16, especially in light of earlier connections between Jesus and David made in Luke 1:32. Further, the mention of Bethlehem reminds one of the promise of Mic 5:2, namely, that a great king would emerge from Bethlehem to rule over God’s people.
  15. Luke 2:4 tn Or “family,” “lineage.”
  16. Luke 2:5 tn The words “He went” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied to begin a new sentence in the translation. The Greek sentence is longer and more complex than normal contemporary English usage.
  17. Luke 2:5 tn Traditionally, “Mary, his betrothed.” Although often rendered in contemporary English as “Mary, who was engaged to him,” this may give the modern reader a wrong impression, since Jewish marriages in this period were typically arranged marriages. The term ἐμνηστευμένῃ (emnēsteumenē) may suggest that the marriage is not yet consummated, not necessarily that they are not currently married. Some mss read “the betrothed to him wife”; others, simply “his wife.” These readings, though probably not autographic, may give the right sense.
  18. Luke 2:6 tn Grk “And it happened that while.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  19. Luke 2:6 tn The words “her child” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied to clarify what was being delivered. The wording here is like Luke 1:57. Grk “the days for her to give birth were fulfilled.”
  20. Luke 2:7 sn The strips of cloth (traditionally, “swaddling cloths”) were strips of linen that would be wrapped around the arms and legs of an infant to keep the limbs protected.
  21. Luke 2:7 tn Or “a feeding trough.”
  22. Luke 2:7 tn The Greek word κατάλυμα is flexible, and usage in the LXX and NT refers to a variety of places for lodging (see BDAG 521 s.v.). Most likely Joseph and Mary sought lodging in the public accommodations in the city of Bethlehem (see J. Nolland, Luke [WBC], 1:105), which would have been crude shelters for people and animals. However, it has been suggested by various scholars that Joseph and Mary were staying with relatives in Bethlehem (e.g., C. S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 194; B. Witherington, “Birth of Jesus,” DJG, 69-70); if that were so the term would refer to the guest room in the relatives’ house, which would have been filled beyond capacity with all the other relatives who had to journey to Bethlehem for the census.sn There was no place for them in the inn. There is no drama in how this is told. There is no search for a variety of places to stay or a heartless innkeeper. (Such items are later, nonbiblical embellishments.) Bethlehem was not large and there was simply no other place to stay. The humble surroundings of the birth are ironic in view of the birth’s significance.
  23. Luke 2:8 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
  24. Luke 2:8 sn Some argue that shepherds were among the culturally despised, but the evidence for this view of shepherds is late, coming from 5th century Jewish materials. December 25 as the celebrated date of Jesus’ birth arose around the time of Constantine (ca. a.d. 306-337), though it is mentioned in material from Hippolytus (a.d. 165-235). Some think that the reason for celebration on this date was that it coincided with the pagan Roman festival of Saturnalia, and Christians could celebrate their own festival at this time without fear of persecution. On the basis of the statement that the shepherds were living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night it is often suggested that Jesus’ birth took place in early spring, since it was only at lambing time that shepherds stood guard over their flocks in the field. This is not absolutely certain, however.
  25. Luke 2:8 tn Grk “in that region.”
  26. Luke 2:8 tn Grk “living in the field (see BDAG 15 s.v. ἀγραυλέω) and guarding their flock.”
  27. Luke 2:9 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  28. Luke 2:9 tn Or “the angel of the Lord.” See the note on the word “Lord” in 1:11.
  29. Luke 2:9 tn Or “stood in front of.”
  30. Luke 2:9 tn Grk “they feared a great fear” (a Semitic idiom which intensifies the main idea, in this case their fear).sn Terrified. See similar responses in Luke 1:12, 29.
  31. Luke 2:10 tn Grk “behold.”
  32. Luke 2:10 tn Grk “I evangelize to you great joy.”
  33. Luke 2:11 sn The Greek word for today (σήμερον, sēmeron) occurs eleven times in the Gospel of Luke (2:11; 4:21; 5:26; 12:28; 13:32-33; 19:5, 9; 22:34, 61; 23:43) and nine times in Acts. Its use, especially in passages such as 2:11; 4:21; 5:26; 19:5, 9, signifies the dawning of the era of messianic salvation and the fulfillment of the plan of God. Not only does it underscore the idea of present fulfillment in Jesus’ ministry, but it also indicates salvific fulfillment present in the church (cf. Acts 1:6; 3:18; D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 1:412; I. H. Marshall, Luke, [NIGTC], 873).
  34. Luke 2:11 tn Or “town.” See the note on “city” in v. 4.
  35. Luke 2:11 tn This is another indication of a royal, messianic connection.
  36. Luke 2:11 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn The term χριστός (christos) was originally an adjective (“anointed”), developing in LXX into a substantive (“an anointed one”), then developing still further into a technical generic term (“the anointed one”). In the intertestamental period it developed further into a technical term referring to the hoped-for anointed one, that is, a specific individual. In the NT the development starts there (technical-specific), is so used in the gospels, and then develops in Paul to mean virtually Jesus’ last name.
  37. Luke 2:12 tn Grk “And this.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  38. Luke 2:12 sn The sign functions for the shepherds like Elizabeth’s conception served for Mary in 1:36.
  39. Luke 2:12 tn Or “a feeding trough,” see Luke 2:7.
  40. Luke 2:13 tn Grk “And suddenly.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  41. Luke 2:13 tn Grk “a multitude of the armies of heaven.”
  42. Luke 2:14 sn Glory here refers to giving honor to God.
  43. Luke 2:14 tn This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) referring to both males and females.
  44. Luke 2:14 tc Most witnesses (א2 B2 L Θ Ξ Ψ ƒ1,13 M sy bo) have ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία (en anthrōpois eudokia, “good will among people”) instead of ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας (en anthrōpois eudokias, “among people with whom he is pleased”), a reading attested by א* A B* D W (sa). Most of the Itala witnesses and some other versional witnesses reflect a Greek text which has the genitive εὐδοκίας but drops the preposition ἐν. Not only is the genitive reading better attested, but it is more difficult than the nominative. “The meaning seems to be, not that divine peace can be bestowed only where human good will is already present, but that at the birth of the Saviour God’s peace rests on those whom he has chosen in accord with his good pleasure” (TCGNT 111).
  45. Luke 2:15 tn Grk “And it happened that when.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  46. Luke 2:15 sn Note how although angels delivered the message, it was the Lord whose message is made known, coming through them.
  47. Luke 2:16 tn Or “a feeding trough.”
  48. Luke 2:17 tn Grk “And when.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  49. Luke 2:17 tn The word “him” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
  50. Luke 2:17 tn Grk “the word which had been spoken to them.”
  51. Luke 2:18 tn Grk “marveled.” It is a hard word to translate with one term in this context. There is a mixture of amazement and pondering at work in considering the surprising events here. See Luke 1:21, 63; 2:33.
  52. Luke 2:19 tn The term συμβάλλουσα (sumballousa) suggests more than remembering. She is trying to put things together here (Josephus, Ant. 2.5.3 [2.72]). The words “what they might mean” have been supplied in the translation to make this clear. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
  53. Luke 2:20 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the conclusion of the topic.
  54. Luke 2:20 sn The mention of glorifying and praising God is the second note of praise in this section; see Luke 2:13-14.
  55. Luke 2:20 tn Grk “just as [it] had been spoken to them.” This has been simplified in the English translation by making the prepositional phrase (“to them”) the subject of the passive verb.sn The closing remark just as they had been told notes a major theme of Luke 1-2 as he sought to reassure Theophilus: God does what he says he will do.
  56. Luke 2:21 tn Grk “And when eight days were completed.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  57. Luke 2:21 sn Jesus’ parents obeyed the angel as Zechariah and Elizabeth had (1:57-66). These events are taking place very much under God’s direction.
  58. Luke 2:22 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
  59. Luke 2:22 tc The translation follows most mss, including early and significant ones (א A B L). Some copyists, aware that the purification law applied to women only, produced mss (76 itpt vg [though the Latin word eius could be either masculine or feminine]) that read “her purification.” But the extant evidence for an unambiguous “her” is shut up to one late minuscule (codex 76) and a couple of patristic citations of dubious worth (Pseudo-Athanasius whose date is unknown, and the Catenae in euangelia Lucae et Joannis, edited by J. A. Cramer. The Catenae is a work of collected patristic sayings whose exact source is unknown [thus, it could come from a period covering hundreds of years]). A few other witnesses (D lat) read “his purification.” The KJV has “her purification,” following Beza’s Greek text (essentially a revision of Erasmus’). Erasmus did not have it in any of his five editions. Most likely Beza put in the feminine form αὐτῆς (autēs) because, recognizing that the eius found in several Latin mss could be read either as a masculine or a feminine, he made the contextually more satisfying choice of the feminine. Perhaps it crept into one or two late Greek witnesses via this interpretive Latin back-translation. So the evidence for the feminine singular is virtually nonexistent, while the masculine singular αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) was a clear scribal blunder. There can be no doubt that “their purification” is the authentic reading.tn Or “when the days of their purification were completed.” In addition to the textual problem concerning the plural pronoun (which apparently includes Joseph in the process) there is also a question whether the term translated “purification” (καθαρισμός, katharismos) refers to the time period prescribed by the Mosaic law or to the offering itself which marked the end of the time period (cf. NLT, “it was time for the purification offering”).sn Exegetically the plural pronoun “their” creates a problem. It was Mary’s purification that was required by law, forty days after the birth (Lev 12:2-4). However, it is possible that Joseph shared in a need to be purified by having to help with the birth or that they also dedicated the child as a first born (Exod 13:2), which would also require a sacrifice that Joseph would bring. Luke’s point is that the parents followed the law. They were pious.
  60. Luke 2:22 tn Grk “they”; the referents (Joseph and Mary) have been specified in the translation for clarity.
  61. Luke 2:22 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  62. Luke 2:23 tn Grk “every male that opens the womb” (an idiom for the firstborn male).
  63. Luke 2:23 sn An allusion to Exod 13:2, 12, 15.
  64. Luke 2:24 sn The offering of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, instead of a lamb, speaks of the humble roots of Jesus’ family—they apparently could not afford the expense of a lamb.
  65. Luke 2:24 sn A quotation from Lev 12:8; 5:11 (LXX).
  66. Luke 2:25 tn Grk “And behold.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic. The Greek word ἰδού (idou) at the beginning of this statement has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
  67. Luke 2:25 tn Grk “This man was righteous.” The Greek text begins a new sentence here, but this was changed to a relative clause in the translation to avoid redundancy.
  68. Luke 2:25 tn Or “deliverance,” “consolation.”sn The restoration of Israel refers to Simeon’s hope that the Messiah would come and deliver the nation (Isa 40:1; 49:13; 51:3; 57:18; 61:2; 2 Bar. 44:7).
  69. Luke 2:25 sn Once again, by mentioning the Holy Spirit, Luke stresses the prophetic enablement of a speaker. The Spirit has fallen on both men (Zechariah, 1:67) and women (Elizabeth, 1:41) in Luke 1-2 as they share the will of the Lord.
  70. Luke 2:26 tn Grk “And it.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  71. Luke 2:26 tn The use of the passive suggests a revelation by God, and in the OT the corresponding Hebrew term represented here by κεχρηματισμένον (kechrēmatismenon) indicated some form of direct revelation from God (Jer 25:30; 33:2; Job 40:8).
  72. Luke 2:26 tn Grk “would not see death” (an idiom for dying).
  73. Luke 2:26 tn On the grammar of this temporal clause, see BDF §§383.3; 395.
  74. Luke 2:26 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn The revelation to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lords Christ is yet another example of a promise fulfilled in Luke 1-2. Also, see the note on Christ in 2:11.
  75. Luke 2:27 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the consequential nature of the action.
  76. Luke 2:27 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Simeon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  77. Luke 2:27 tn Grk “So in the Spirit” or “So by the Spirit,” but since it refers to the Spirit’s direction the expanded translation “directed by the Spirit” is used here.
  78. Luke 2:27 tn Grk “the temple.”sn The temple courts is a reference to the larger temple area, not the holy place. Simeon was either in the court of the Gentiles or the court of women, since Mary was present.
  79. Luke 2:27 tn Grk “to do for him according to the custom of the law.” See Luke 2:22-24.
  80. Luke 2:28 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Simeon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  81. Luke 2:28 tn Grk “and said.” The finite verb in Greek has been replaced with a participle in English to improve the smoothness of the translation.
  82. Luke 2:29 sn The phrase according to your word again emphasizes that God will perform his promise.
  83. Luke 2:29 tn The Greek word translated here by “Sovereign Lord” is δεσπότης (despotēs).
  84. Luke 2:29 sn This short prophetic declaration is sometimes called the Nunc dimittis, which comes from the opening phrase of the saying in Latin, “now dismiss,” a fairly literal translation of the Greek verb ἀπολύεις (apolueis, “now release”) in this verse.
  85. Luke 2:29 tn Here the Greek word δοῦλος (doulos, “slave”) has been translated “servant” since it acts almost as an honorific term for one specially chosen and appointed to carry out the Lord’s tasks.sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”
  86. Luke 2:29 tn Grk “now release your servant.”
  87. Luke 2:30 sn To see Jesus, the Messiah, is to see God’s salvation.
  88. Luke 2:31 sn Is the phrase all peoples a reference to Israel alone, or to both Israel and the Gentiles? The following verse makes it clear that all peoples includes Gentiles, another key Lukan emphasis (Luke 24:47; Acts 10:34-43).
  89. Luke 2:32 tn The syntax of this verse is disputed. Most read “light” and “glory” in parallelism, so Jesus is a light for revelation to the Gentiles and is glory to the people for Israel. Others see “light” (1:78-79) as a summary, while “revelation” and “glory” are parallel, so Jesus is light for all, but is revelation for the Gentiles and glory for Israel. Both readings make good sense and either could be correct, but Luke 1:78-79 and Acts 26:22-23 slightly favor this second option.
  90. Luke 2:32 sn In other words, Jesus is a special cause for praise and honor (“glory”) for the nation.
  91. Luke 2:33 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the consequential nature of the action.
  92. Luke 2:33 tn Grk “his”; the referent (the child) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  93. Luke 2:33 tc Most mss ([A] Θ [Ψ] ƒ13 33 M it) read “Joseph,” but in favor of the reading ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ (ho patēr autou, “his father”) is both external (א B D L W 1 700 1241 sa) and internal evidence. Internally, the fact that Mary is not named at this point and that “Joseph” is an obviously motivated reading, intended to prevent confusion over the virgin conception of Christ, argues strongly for ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ as the authentic reading here. See also the tc note on “parents” in 2:43.
  94. Luke 2:33 tn The term refers to the amazement at what was happening as in other places in Luke 1-2 (1:63; 2:18). The participle is plural, while the finite verb used in the periphrastic construction is singular, perhaps to show a unity in the parents’ response (BDF §135.1.d: Luke 8:19).
  95. Luke 2:34 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  96. Luke 2:34 tn Grk “behold.”
  97. Luke 2:34 tn Grk “this one”; the referent (the child) is supplied in the translation for clarity.
  98. Luke 2:34 sn The phrase the falling and rising of many emphasizes that Jesus will bring division in the nation, as some will be judged (falling) and others blessed (rising) because of how they respond to him. The language is like Isa 8:14-15 and conceptually like Isa 28:13-16. Here is the first hint that Jesus’ coming will be accompanied with some difficulties.
  99. Luke 2:34 tn Grk “and for a sign of contradiction.”
  100. Luke 2:35 tn Or “reasonings” (in a hostile sense). See G. Schrenk, TDNT 2:97.
  101. Luke 2:35 sn The remark the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed shows that how people respond to Jesus indicates where their hearts really are before God.
  102. Luke 2:35 sn A sword refers to a very large, broad two-edged sword. The language is figurative, picturing great pain. Though it refers in part to the cross, it really includes the pain all of Jesus’ ministry will cause, including the next event in Luke 2:41-52 and extending to the opposition he faced throughout his ministry.
  103. Luke 2:35 sn This remark looks to be parenthetical and addressed to Mary alone, not the nation. Many modern English translations transpose this to make it the final clause in Simeon’s utterance as above to make this clear.
  104. Luke 2:36 tn Her age is emphasized by the Greek phrase here, “she was very old in her many days.”
  105. Luke 2:37 tn Grk “living with her husband for seven years from her virginity and she was a widow for eighty four years.” The chronology of the eighty-four years is unclear, since the final phrase could mean “she was widowed until the age of eighty-four” (so BDAG 423 s.v. ἕως 1.b.α). However, the more natural way to take the syntax is as a reference to the length of her widowhood, the subject of the clause, in which case Anna was about 105 years old (so D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 1:251-52; I. H. Marshall, Luke, [NIGTC], 123-24).
  106. Luke 2:37 sn The statements about Anna worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day make her extreme piety clear.
  107. Luke 2:38 tn Grk “at that very hour.”
  108. Luke 2:38 tn Grk “And coming up.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. The participle ἐπιστᾶσα (epistasa) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  109. Luke 2:38 tn The imperfect ἐλάλει (elalei) here looks at a process of declaration, not a single moment. She clearly was led by God to address men and women about the hope Jesus was. The testimony of Luke 1–2 to Jesus has involved all types of people.
  110. Luke 2:38 tn Grk “him”; the referent (the child) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  111. Luke 2:38 tc A few mss (5 16 348 1071 1216) read ᾿Ισραήλ (Israēl, “Israel”) or ἐν τῷ ᾿Ισραήλ (en tō Israēl, “in Israel”), but this reading does not have enough ms support to be considered authentic. More substantial is the reading ἐν ᾿Ιερουσαλήμ (en Ierousalēm, “in Jerusalem”; found in A D L Θ Ψ 0130 ƒ13 33 M), though the preposition was almost surely added to clarify (and perhaps alter) the meaning of the original. The simple ᾿Ιερουσαλήμ, without preposition, is found in א B W Ξ 1 565* lat co.
  112. Luke 2:39 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the conclusion of the topic.
  113. Luke 2:39 tn Grk “when they”; the referents (Joseph and Mary) have been specified in the translation for clarity.
  114. Luke 2:39 tn Or “completed.”
  115. Luke 2:39 tn Or “city.”
  116. Luke 2:40 tc Most mss (A Θ Ψ ƒ1,13 33 M) read πνεύματι (pneumati, “in spirit”) after “became strong,” but this looks like an assimilation to Luke 1:80. The better witnesses (א B D L N W lat co) lack the word.
  117. Luke 2:40 sn With the description grew and became strong, filled with wisdom Luke emphasizes the humanity of Jesus and his growth toward maturity.
  118. Luke 2:40 tn Or “grace.”
  119. Luke 2:40 sn On the phrase the favor of God see Luke 1:66.
  120. Luke 2:41 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
  121. Luke 2:41 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  122. Luke 2:41 tn On the distributive use of the term κατά (kata), see BDF §305.
  123. Luke 2:41 sn The custom of Jesus and his family going to Jerusalem every year for the Feast of the Passover shows their piety in obeying the law (Exod 23:14-17).
  124. Luke 2:42 tn Grk “And when.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  125. Luke 2:42 sn According to the Mishnah, the age of twelve years old is one year before a boy becomes responsible for his religious commitments (m. Niddah 5.6).
  126. Luke 2:42 tc Most mss, especially later ones (A Cvid Θ Ψ 0130 ƒ1,13 33 M lat) have εἰς ῾Ιεροσόλυμα (eis hierosoluma, “to Jerusalem”) here, but the ms support for the omission is much stronger (א B D L W 579 1241 co); further, the longer reading clarifies what they went up to and thus looks like a motivated reading.
  127. Luke 2:43 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated contrastively in keeping with the context. This outcome is different from what had happened all the times before.
  128. Luke 2:43 tn Grk “when the days ended.”
  129. Luke 2:43 tn The word “home” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied for clarity.
  130. Luke 2:43 tn Grk “And his.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  131. Luke 2:43 tc Most mss, especially later ones (A C Ψ 0130 ƒ13 M it), read ᾿Ιωσὴφ καὶ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ (Iōsēph kai hē mētēr autou, “[both] Joseph and his mother”), a reading evidently intended to insulate the doctrine of the virgin conception of our Lord. But א B D L W Θ ƒ1 33 579 1241 lat sa read οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ (hoi goneis autou, “his parents”) as in the translation. Such motivated readings as the former lack credibility, especially since the better witnesses affirm the virgin conception of Christ in Luke 1:34-35.
  132. Luke 2:44 sn An ancient journey like this would have involved a caravan of people who traveled together as a group for protection and fellowship.
  133. Luke 2:44 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  134. Luke 2:44 tn Or “and friends.” See L&N 28.30 and 34.17.
  135. Luke 2:45 tn Grk “And when.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  136. Luke 2:45 sn The return to Jerusalem would have taken a second day, since they were already one day’s journey away.
  137. Luke 2:46 tn Grk “And it happened that after.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  138. Luke 2:46 sn Three days means there was one day out, another day back, and a third day of looking in Jerusalem.
  139. Luke 2:46 tn Grk “the temple.”
  140. Luke 2:46 tn This is the only place in Luke’s Gospel where the term διδάσκαλος (didaskalos, “teacher”) is applied to Jews.
  141. Luke 2:47 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  142. Luke 2:47 sn There was wonder (all who heard…were astonished) that Jesus at such a young age could engage in such a discussion. The fact that this story is told of a preteen hints that Jesus was someone special.
  143. Luke 2:48 tn Grk “And when.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  144. Luke 2:48 tn Grk “when they”; the referent (his parents) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  145. Luke 2:48 tn Grk “And his.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  146. Luke 2:48 tn The Greek word here is τέκνον (teknon) rather than υἱός (huios, “son”).
  147. Luke 2:48 tn Or “Child, why did you do this to us?”
  148. Luke 2:48 tn Or “your father and I have been terribly worried looking for you.”
  149. Luke 2:49 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast.
  150. Luke 2:49 tn Grk “he said to them.”
  151. Luke 2:49 tn Grk “Why is it that you were looking for me?”
  152. Luke 2:49 tn Or “I must be about my Father’s business” (so KJV, NKJV); Grk “in the [things] of my Father,” with an ellipsis. This verse involves an idiom that probably refers to the necessity of Jesus being involved in the instruction about God, given what he is doing. The most widely held view today takes this as a reference to the temple as the Father’s house. Jesus is saying that his parents should have known where he was.
  153. Luke 2:50 tn Grk “And they.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast.
  154. Luke 2:50 tn Grk “they”; the referent (his parents) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  155. Luke 2:50 sn This was the first of many times those around Jesus did not understand what he was saying at the time (9:45; 10:21-24; 18:34).
  156. Luke 2:50 tn Or “the matter.”
  157. Luke 2:50 tn Grk “which he spoke.”
  158. Luke 2:51 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  159. Luke 2:51 tn Or “was submitting.”
  160. Luke 2:51 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast.
  161. Luke 2:51 tn Or “all these words.”
  162. Luke 2:51 sn On the phrase his mother kept all these things in her heart compare Luke 2:19.
  163. Luke 2:52 tn Or “kept increasing.” The imperfect tense suggests something of a progressive force to the verb.

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus(A) issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.(B) (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.)(C) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem(D) the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him(E) and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel(F) of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.(G) I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior(H) has been born to you; he is the Messiah,(I) the Lord.(J) 12 This will be a sign(K) to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace(L) to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.(M) 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.(N) 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God(O) for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child,(P) he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.(Q)

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses,(R) Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]),(S) 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[c](T)

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.(U) He was waiting for the consolation of Israel,(V) and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,(W) 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,(X)
    you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.(Y)
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,(Z)
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”(AA)

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother:(AB) “This child is destined to cause the falling(AC) and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophet,(AD) Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e](AE) She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.(AF) 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.(AG)

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.(AH) 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.(AI)

The Boy Jesus at the Temple

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.(AJ) 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed(AK) at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother(AL) said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father(AM) and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”[f](AN) 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.(AO)

51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them(AP) and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.(AQ) 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.(AR)

Footnotes

  1. Luke 2:2 Or This census took place before
  2. Luke 2:23 Exodus 13:2,12
  3. Luke 2:24 Lev. 12:8
  4. Luke 2:29 Or promised, / now dismiss
  5. Luke 2:37 Or then had been a widow for eighty-four years.
  6. Luke 2:49 Or be about my Father’s business

Bible Gateway Sponsors