The Dedication to Theophilus

Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled[a] among us,(A) just as the original eyewitnesses(B) and servants of the word(C) handed them down to us. So it also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable(D) Theophilus,(E) so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.[b](F)

Gabriel Predicts John’s Birth

In the days of King Herod(G) of Judea, there was a priest of Abijah’s division(H) named Zechariah. His wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in God’s sight,(I) living without blame(J) according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord. But they had no children because Elizabeth could not conceive, and both of them were well along in years.(K)

When his division was on duty(L) and he was serving as priest before God, it happened that he was chosen by lot,(M) according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense.(N) 10 At the hour of incense the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 An angel of the Lord(O) appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.(P) 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified and overcome with fear.(Q) 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid,(R) Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard.(S) Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.(T) 14 There will be joy and delight for you, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and will never drink wine or beer.(U) He will be filled with the Holy Spirit(V) while still in his mother’s womb.(W) 16 He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.(X) 17 And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children,(Y) and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.”(Z)

18 “How can I know this?” Zechariah asked the angel. “For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel,(AA) who stands in the presence of God,(AB) and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. 20 Now listen. You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. 22 When he did come out, he could not speak to them. Then they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was making signs to them(AC) and remained speechless. 23 When the days of his ministry were completed, he went back home.

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived and kept herself in seclusion for five months. She said, 25 “The Lord has done this for me. He has looked with favor in these days to take away my disgrace(AD) among the people.”

Gabriel Predicts Jesus’s Birth

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel(AE) was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,(AF) 27 to a virgin engaged[c](AG) to a man named Joseph, of the house of David.(AH) The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you.”[d] 29 But she was deeply troubled(AI) by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary,(AJ) for you have found favor with God.(AK) 31 Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.(AL) 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High,(AM) and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.(AN) 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob(AO) forever, and his kingdom will have no end.” (AP)

34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?” [e]

35 The angel replied to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,(AQ) and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.(AR) 36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”(AS)

38 “See, I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah 40 where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.(AT) 42 Then she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and your child will be blessed![f] 43 How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her!”

Mary’s Praise

46 And Mary said:

My soul magnifies the Lord,(AU)
47 and my spirit rejoices(AV) in God my Savior,(AW)
48 because he has looked with favor
on the humble condition of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations
will call me blessed,(AX)
49 because the Mighty One(AY)
has done great things for me,(AZ)
and his name(BA) is holy.
50 His mercy is from generation to generation(BB)
on those who fear him.
51 He has done a mighty deed with his arm;(BC)
he has scattered the proud
because of the thoughts of their hearts;(BD)
52 he has toppled the mighty from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.(BE)
53 He has satisfied the hungry with good things(BF)
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy
55 to Abraham and his descendants[g] forever,(BG)
just as he spoke to our ancestors.

56 And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home.

The Birth and Naming of John

57 Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she had a son. 58 Then her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her his great mercy,(BH) and they rejoiced with her.

59 When they came to circumcise the child on the eighth day,(BI) they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But his mother responded, “No. He will be called John.”(BJ)

61 Then they said to her, “None of your relatives has that name.” 62 So they motioned to his father(BK) to find out what he wanted him to be called. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they were all amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened(BL) and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came on all those who lived around them, and all these things were being talked about throughout the hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard about him(BM) took it to heart, saying, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the Lord’s hand was with him.

Zechariah’s Prophecy

67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit(BN) and prophesied:(BO)

68 Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel,(BP)
because he has visited
and provided redemption for his people.(BQ)
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us(BR)
in the house of his servant David,(BS)
70 just as he spoke by the mouth
of his holy prophets in ancient times;(BT)
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of those who hate us.
72 He has dealt mercifully with our ancestors(BU)
and remembered his holy covenant(BV)
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham,(BW)
to grant that we,
74 having been rescued
from the hand of our enemies,
would serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness
in his presence all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called
a prophet of the Most High,(BX)
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare his ways,(BY)
77 to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins.(BZ)
78 Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the dawn from on high(CA) will visit us
79 to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,(CB)
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

80 The child grew up and became strong in spirit,[h](CC) and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Footnotes

  1. 1:1 Or events that have been accomplished, or events most surely believed
  2. 1:4 Or informed
  3. 1:27 Lit betrothed
  4. 1:28 Other mss add Blessed are you among women.
  5. 1:34 Lit since I do not know a man
  6. 1:42 Lit and the fruit of your abdomen (or womb) is blessed
  7. 1:55 Or offspring; lit seed
  8. 1:80 Or strong in the Spirit

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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