The Birth of Jesus

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus(a)(A) that the whole empire(b) should be registered. 2 This first registration took place while(c) Quirinius was governing Syria.(B) 3 So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.
4 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,(C) 5 to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him(d) and was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 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

8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord(D) stood before(e) them,(E) and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.(f) 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid,(F) for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:(g) 11 Today a Savior,(G) who is Messiah(H) the Lord,(I) was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you:(J) 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:
Glory to God in the highest heaven,(K)
and peace on earth(L) to people He favors!(h)(i)(M)
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(j) in her heart(N) and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God(O) 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,(P) He was named Jesus(Q)—the name given by the angel before He was conceived.(k) 22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished,(R) 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(l) will be dedicated(m) to the Lord(S)(n)) 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(T)(o)).

Simeon’s Prophetic Praise

25 There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout,(U) looking forward to Israel’s consolation,(p)(V) and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit(W) that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah.(X) 27 Guided by the Spirit, he entered(q) 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:
Now, Master,
You can dismiss Your slave in peace,
as You promised.
For my eyes have seen Your salvation.(Y)
You have prepared it
in the presence of all peoples—
a light for revelation to the Gentiles(r)(Z)
and glory to Your people Israel.(AA)
33 His father and mother(s) 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(AB) and to be a sign that will be opposed(t) 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts(u) of many hearts may be revealed.”

Anna’s Testimony

36 There was also a prophetess,(AC) Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.(AD) She was well along in years,(v) having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,(w)(AE) 37 and was a widow for 84 years.(x) She did not leave the temple complex, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers.(AF) 38 At that very moment,(y) she came up and began to thank God and to speak about Him to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.(z)(AG)

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.(AH) 40 The boy grew up and became strong, filled with wisdom, and God’s grace was on Him.(AI)

In His Father’s House

41 Every year His parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival.(AJ) 42 When He was 12 years old, they went up according to the custom of the festival.(AK) 43 After those days were over,(AL) as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but His parents(aa) 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,(AM) “Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You.”(AN)
49 “Why were you searching for Me?” He asked them. “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”(ab) 50 But they did not understand what He said to them.(AO)

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.(AP) 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.(AQ)


a. 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.
b. Luke 2:1: Or the whole inhabited world
c. Luke 2:2: Or This registration was the first while, or This registration was before
d. Luke 2:5: Other mss read was his engaged wife
e. Luke 2:9: Or Lord appeared to
f. Luke 2:9: Lit they feared a great fear
g. Luke 2:10: Or the whole nation
h. Luke 2:14: Other mss read earth good will to people
i. Luke 2:14: Or earth to men of good will
j. Luke 2:19: Lit these words
k. Luke 2:21: Or conceived in the womb
l. Luke 2:23: Lit “Every male that opens a womb
m. Luke 2:23: Lit be called holy
p. Luke 2:25: The coming of the Messiah with His salvation for the nation; Is 40:1; 61:2; Lk 2:26,30
q. Luke 2:27: Lit And in the Spirit, he came into
r. Luke 2:32: Or the nations
s. Luke 2:33: Other mss read But Joseph and His mother
t. Luke 2:34: Or spoken against
u. Luke 2:35: Or schemes
v. Luke 2:36: Lit in many days
w. Luke 2:36: Lit years from her virginity
x. Luke 2:37: Or she was a widow until the age of 84
y. Luke 2:38: Lit very hour
z. Luke 2:38: Other mss read in Jerusalem
aa. Luke 2:43: Other mss read but Joseph and His mother
ab. Luke 2:49: Or be involved in My Father’s interests (or things), or be among My Father’s people

Cross references:

Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers.