1 Since many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
2 Even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto you in order, most excellent Theophilus,
4 That you might know the certainty of those things, in which you have been instructed.
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachariah, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
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 Elizabeth was barren, and they both were now well advanced in years.
8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,
9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the time of incense.
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zachariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zachariah: for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
14 And you shall have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, 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 Zachariah said unto the angel, How shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well advanced in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stands in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto you, and to show you these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, you shall be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because you believe not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.
21 And the people waited for Zachariah, and marveled that he tarried so long in the temple.
22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.
23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his service were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
24 And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
25 Thus has the Lord dealt with me in the days in which he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, you that are highly favored, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered in her mind what manner of greeting this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for you have found favor with God.
31 And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, your cousin Elizabeth, she has 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.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.
39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah;
40 And entered into the house of Zachariah, and greeted Elizabeth.
41 And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit:
42 And she spoke out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
46 And Mary said, My soul does magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty has 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 has showed strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he has sent empty away.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55 As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his descendants forever.
56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
57 Now Elizabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
58 And her neighbors and her cousins heard how the Lord had showed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zachariah, after the name of his father.
60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
61 And they said unto her, There is none of your kindred that is called by this name.
62 And they made signs to his father, what he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marveled all.
64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, and praised God.
65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were spread abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea.
66 And all they 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 Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,
68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he has visited and redeemed his people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
70 As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who have been since the world began:
71 That we should be saved from our enemies, 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 swore to our father Abraham,
74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
76 And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest: for you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God; by which the dawn from on high has visited us,
79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
80 And the child grew, and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.