1 Forasmuch as many have undertaken to compose a narrative of the facts which have been fully confirmed among us, 2 Even as they who were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word from the beginning, delivered them to us: 3 It seemed good to me also, having accurately traced all things from their first rise, to write unto thee in order, most noble Theophilus, 4 That thou mayst know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 And they had no child, because Elisabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
8 And while he executed the priest's office before God, 9 in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn the incense, going into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without, at the time of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zacharias seeing him was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14 And thou shalt have joy and exultation, and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15 For he shall be great before the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. 16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
18 And Zacharias said to the angel, Whereby 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, that stand in the presence of God, and am sent to speak to thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. 20 And behold, thou shalt be deaf, and not able to speak, till the day that these things are done, because thou believedst not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
21 And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. 22 And coming out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived, that he had seen a vision; for he beckoned to them, and remained speechless. 23 And when the days of his ministration were accomplished, he went to his own house.
24 And after these days, his wife Elisabeth conceived, 25 and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord done to me, in the days wherein he looked upon me, to take away my reproach among men.
26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God, to a city of Galilee, 27 named Nazareth, To a virgin of the house of David, espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel coming in to her, said, Hail, thou highly favoured; the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 But she seeing him, was troubled at his saying, and reasoned, what manner of salutation this should 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 thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give him the throne of his father David. 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob; for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
35 And the angel answering said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy thing which shall be born, shall be called the Son of God.
36 And behold thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God, nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word.
39 And Mary arose in those days, and went with haste into the hill-country, into a city of Judah, 40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb: and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, 42 And cried with a loud voice and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For lo! when the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And happy is she that believed; for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
46 And Mary said, 47 My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He hath wrought strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted them of low degree. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things, but sent the rich empty away. 54 He hath helped his servant Israel, 55 in remembrance of his mercy, 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 own house. 57 Now Elisabeth's full time came, that she should be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbours and relations heard, that the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her, and they rejoiced with her.
59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60 But his mother answering said, Nay, but he shall be called John.
61 And they said to her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62 And they made signs to his father, what he would have him called. 63 And asking for a writing-tablet, he wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, praising God. 65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them, and all these things were noised abroad, in all the hill-country of Judea. 66 And all that heard them, laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be? And the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel;
68 for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us, in the house of his servant David: 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, who have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, 71 and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant, 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 That he would grant us, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, 75 to serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76 And thou, child, shalt be a prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, to prepare his ways, 77 To give knowledge of salvation to his people, by the remission of their sins, 78 Thro' the tender mercy of our God, whereby the Day-spring from on high hath visited us, 79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct our feet into the way of peace.