1 Whereas many have undertaken to compose a narrative of the things, which have been fully certified among us; 2 as they delivered them to us, who were from the beginning eye-witnesses of them, and ministers of the word; 3 it seemed good to me also, having thoroughly traced them all from the very first, to write an account of them in order to thee, 4 most excellent Theophilus, that thou mayst know the certainty of the things wherein thou hast been instructed.
5 There was in the days of Herod king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the family of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6 And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 And they had no child, for Elisabeth was barren; and they were both far advanced in years.
8 And it came to pass, while he was in the order of his course performing the priest's office before God, 9 according to the custom of dividing the office of the priests, that it fell to his lot to burn incense, entring into the temple of the Lord: 10 and all the people were praying without at the time of offering incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right hand of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was startled and struck with fear: 13 but the angel said unto 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 he shall be a joy and transport to thee, yea, many shall rejoice on account of his birth; for he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, 15 and he shall drink neither wine nor any other strong liquor; and he shall be filled with the holy Spirit even from his birth; 16 and many of the children of Israel shall he convert unto the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to prepare for the Lord a people well-disposed.
18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife far advanced in years.
19 And the angel answering said to him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God, and I am sent to speak to thee, and to tell thee this good news: 20 and now shalt thou be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall come to pass; because thou believedst not my words, which shall be fulfilled at their season.
21 And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and wondered at his staying so long in the temple: 22 but when he came out he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he made signs to them, and continued speechless: 23 and as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
24 And after these days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and retired five months, 25 saying, the Lord hath thus dealt with me in the days wherein he looked upon me to take away my reproach among men.
26 But in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin who was betrothed to a man, whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the name of the virgin was Mary. 28 And when the angel came in to the room to her, he said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured; the Lord is with thee; 29 blessed art thou among women! and when she saw him, she was confused at what he said, and pondered in her mind what sort of salutation this could be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favor with God: 31 and behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS: 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give Him the throne of David his father, 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 answered and said unto her, The holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee, and therefore thine holy offspring shall be called the Son of God: and lo,
36 thy cousin Elisabeth also hath conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her that was called barren; 37 for nothing is impossible with God.
38 Then Mary said, Behold the servant of the Lord, may it be unto me according to thy word. So the angel departed from her.
39 Then Mary arose and went with speed into the hill-country, to a city of Juda, 40 and came into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And as soon as Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the child leaped in her womb, and Elisabeth was filled with the holy Spirit: 42 and she cried out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb:
43 and whence is this honor to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 for behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation reached my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy: 45 and blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a performance of the things that were told her from the Lord.
46 And Mary said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour; 47 for He hath regarded the low estate of his handmaid: 48 for behold, from henceforth shall all generations call me blessed: 49 for He that is mighty hath done great things for me, 50 and his name is holy, and his mercy is on them that fear Him, unto all generations. 51 He hath wrought powerfully with his arm; He hath confounded those that were proud in the imagination of their heart. 52 He hath cast down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the humble. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent away empty. 54 He hath supported Israel his servant, 55 in remembrance of his mercy (even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed,) for ever."
56 And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her own house. 57 Now when Elisabeth's time for her delivery was fully come, she brought forth a son: 58 and her neighbours and kindred heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her, and they congratulated her;
59 and on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child: and they would have called him Zacharias, after the name of his father: 60 but his mother said, No, but he shall be called John:
61 and they said to her, There is none of thy relations of this name. 62 And they made signs to his father, what name he would have him called by. 63 And he called for a writing-tablet, and wrote upon it, His name is John: and they all wondered. 64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake and praised God. 65 And an awe fell upon all that dwelt round about them; and all these things were divulged through the whole hill-country of Judea. 66 And all that heard them, laid them up in their hearts, saying, What a child will this be? And the hand of the Lord was with him.
68 and prophesied, saying, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He hath visited and wrought redemption for his people, 69 and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us, 70 in the house of his servant David, as He spake by the mouth of his holy prophets from the beginning, 71 even salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us, 72 to display his mercy towards our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant, 73 according to the oath which He sware to Abraham our father, 74 to grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, 75 all the days of our life. 76 And thou, my child, shalt be called the prophet of the most High; for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, 77 to make known salvation to his people, 78 in the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring hath visited us from on high, 79 to enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct our feet into the way of peace."