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Luke 1-2Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Dedication to Theophilus

Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled[a] among us, just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us. 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 Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.[b]

Gabriel Predicts John’s Birth

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

When his division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, it happened that he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. 10 At the hour of incense the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and overcome with fear.[g] 13 But the angel said to him:

Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you will name him John.
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.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit
while still in his mother’s womb.
16 He will turn many of the sons of Israel
to the Lord their God.
17 And he will go before Him
in the spirit and power of Elijah,
to turn the hearts of fathers
to their children,
and the disobedient
to the understanding of the righteous,
to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.

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

19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, 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 kept making signs to them 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 among the people.”

Gabriel Predicts Jesus’ Birth

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.”[i] 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her:

Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
31 Now listen:
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you will call His name Jesus.
32 He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and His kingdom will have no end.

34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”[j]

35 The angel replied to her:

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.

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.”

38 “I am the Lord’s slave,”[k] said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” 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,[l] and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:

“You are the most blessed of women,
and your child will be blessed![m]

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![n] 45 She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”

Mary’s Praise

46 And Mary said:

My soul proclaims the greatness of[o] the Lord,
47 and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
48 because He has looked with favor
on the humble condition of His slave.
Surely, from now on all generations
will call me blessed,
49 because the Mighty One
has done great things for me,
and His name is holy.
50 His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
51 He has done a mighty deed with His arm;
He has scattered the proud
because of the thoughts of their hearts;
52 He has toppled the mighty from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.
53 He has satisfied the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel,
mindful of His mercy,[p]
55 just as He spoke to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his descendants[q] forever.

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,[r] and they rejoiced with her.

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

61 Then they said to her, “None of your relatives has that name.” 62 So they motioned to his father 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 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 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 and prophesied:

68 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because He has visited
and provided redemption for His people.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation[s] for us
in the house of His servant David,
70 just as He spoke by the mouth
of His holy prophets in ancient times;
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the clutches[t] of those who hate us.
72 He has dealt mercifully with our fathers
and remembered His holy covenant
73 the oath that He swore to our father Abraham.
He has given us the privilege,
74 since we have been rescued
from our enemies’ clutches,[u]
to serve Him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness
in His presence all our days.
76 And child, you will be called
a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare His ways,
77 to give His people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the Dawn from on high will visit us
79 to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

80 The child grew up and became spiritually strong, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

The Birth of Jesus

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus[v] that the whole empire[w] should be registered. This first registration took place while[x] Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him[y] and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

The Shepherds and the Angels

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before[z] them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.[aa] 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:[ab] 11 Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

14 Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors![ac][ad]

15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things[ae] in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.

The Circumcision and Presentation of Jesus

21 When the eight days were completed for His circumcision, He was named Jesus—the name given by the angel before He was conceived.[af] 22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male[ag] will be dedicated[ah] to the Lord[ai]) 24 and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons[aj]).

Simeon’s Prophetic Praise

25 There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation,[ak] and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, he entered[al] the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said:

29 Now, Master,
You can dismiss Your slave in peace,
as You promised.
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation.
31 You have prepared it
in the presence of all peoples—
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles[am]
and glory to Your people Israel.

33 His father and mother[an] were amazed at what was being said about Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed[ao] 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts[ap] of many hearts may be revealed.”

Anna’s Testimony

36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years,[aq] having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,[ar] 37 and was a widow for 84 years.[as] She did not leave the temple complex, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers. 38 At that very moment,[at] she came up and began to thank God and to speak about Him to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.[au]

The Family’s Return to Nazareth

39 When they had completed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The boy grew up and became strong, filled with wisdom, and God’s grace was on Him.

In His Father’s House

41 Every year His parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. 42 When He was 12 years old, they went up according to the custom of the festival. 43 After those days were over, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but His parents[av] did not know it. 44 Assuming He was in the traveling party, they went a day’s journey. Then they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him. 46 After three days, they found Him in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all those who heard Him were astounded at His understanding and His answers. 48 When His parents saw Him, they were astonished, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You.”

49 “Why were you searching for Me?” He asked them. “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”[aw] 50 But they did not understand what He said to them.

In Favor with God and with People

51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 1:1 Or events that have been accomplished, or events most surely believed
  2. Luke 1:4 Or informed
  3. Luke 1:5 One of the 24 divisions of priests appointed by David for temple service; 1Ch 24:10
  4. Luke 1:7 Lit child
  5. Luke 1:7 Lit Elizabeth was sterile or barren
  6. Luke 1:7 Lit in their days
  7. Luke 1:12 Lit and fear fell on him
  8. Luke 1:18 Lit in her days
  9. Luke 1:28 Other mss add blessed are you among women
  10. Luke 1:34 Lit since I do not know a man
  11. Luke 1:38 Lit Look, the Lord’s slave
  12. Luke 1:41 Lit leaped in her abdomen or womb
  13. Luke 1:42 Lit and the fruit of your abdomen (or womb) is blessed
  14. Luke 1:44 Lit in my abdomen or womb
  15. Luke 1:46 Or soul magnifies
  16. Luke 1:54 Because He remembered His mercy; Ps 98:3
  17. Luke 1:55 Or offspring; lit seed
  18. Luke 1:58 Lit the Lord magnified His mercy with her
  19. Luke 1:69 = a strong Savior
  20. Luke 1:71 Lit the hand
  21. Luke 1:74 Lit from the hand of enemies
  22. Luke 2:1 Emperor who ruled the Roman Empire 27 b.c.–a.d. 14; also known as Octavian, he established the peaceful era known as the Pax Romana; Caesar was a title of Roman emperors.
  23. Luke 2:1 Or the whole inhabited world
  24. Luke 2:2 Or This registration was the first while, or This registration was before
  25. Luke 2:5 Other mss read was his engaged wife
  26. Luke 2:9 Or Lord appeared to
  27. Luke 2:9 Lit they feared a great fear
  28. Luke 2:10 Or the whole nation
  29. Luke 2:14 Other mss read earth good will to people
  30. Luke 2:14 Or earth to men of good will
  31. Luke 2:19 Lit these words
  32. Luke 2:21 Or conceived in the womb
  33. Luke 2:23 Lit “Every male that opens a womb
  34. Luke 2:23 Lit be called holy
  35. Luke 2:23 Ex 13:2,12
  36. Luke 2:24 Lv 5:11; 12:8
  37. Luke 2:25 The coming of the Messiah with His salvation for the nation; Is 40:1; 61:2; Lk 2:26,30
  38. Luke 2:27 Lit And in the Spirit, he came into
  39. Luke 2:32 Or the nations
  40. Luke 2:33 Other mss read But Joseph and His mother
  41. Luke 2:34 Or spoken against
  42. Luke 2:35 Or schemes
  43. Luke 2:36 Lit in many days
  44. Luke 2:36 Lit years from her virginity
  45. Luke 2:37 Or she was a widow until the age of 84
  46. Luke 2:38 Lit very hour
  47. Luke 2:38 Other mss read in Jerusalem
  48. Luke 2:43 Other mss read but Joseph and His mother
  49. Luke 2:49 Or be involved in My Father’s interests (or things), or be among My Father’s people

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