1Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, 3it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
5In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
8Now it came about, while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, 9according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear gripped him. 13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 14“And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb. 16“And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. 17“And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this for certain? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. 20“And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their proper time.” 21And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute. 23And it came about, when the days of his priestly service were ended, that he went back home.
24And after these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant; and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, 25“This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.”
Jesus’ Birth Foretold
26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And coming in, he said to her, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be. 30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31“And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him 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; 33and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.” 34And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. 36“And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37“For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43“And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44“For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. 45“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
46And Mary said:
47And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
49“For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
50“AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION
51“He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
52“He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
53“HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS;
54“He has given help to Israel His servant,
55As He spoke to our fathers,
56And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.
John Is Born
57Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she brought forth a son. 58And her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her. 59And it came about that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. 60And his mother answered and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.” 61And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.” 62And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. 63And he asked for a tablet, and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all astonished. 64And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God. 65And fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. 66And all who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.
67And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
68“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
69And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
70As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—
71Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES,
72To show mercy toward our fathers,
73The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
74To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
75In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
76“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
77To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
78Because of the tender mercy of our God,
79TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH,
80And the child continued to grow, and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.