1 Forasmuch as many have undertaken to compose a narrative of those things, which have been accomplished amongst us,
2 as they, who were from the beginning, eye-witnesses, and afterwards ministers of the word, delivered them to us;
3 I have also determined, having exactly traced everything from the first, to write a particular account for you, most excellent Theophilus;
4 that you might know the certainty of those matters wherein you have been instructed.
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abijah; and his wife, named Elizabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron.
6 They were both righteous before God, blameless observers of all the Lord's commandments and ordinances.
7 And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were advanced in years.
8 Now when he came to officiate as priest in the order of his course,
9 it fell to him by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to offer incense in the sanctuary.
10 And while the incense was burning, the whole congregation were praying without.
11 Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And Zacharias was discomposed at the sight, and in great terror.
13 But the angel said to him, Fear not, Zacharias; for your prayer is heard, and Elizabeth your wife shall bear you a son, whom you shall name John.
14 He shall be to you matter of joy and transport; and many shall rejoice because of his birth.
15 For he shall be great before the Lord; he shall not drink wine nor any fermented liquor; but he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.
16 And many of the sons of Israel he shall bring back to the Lord their God.
17 Moreover, he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to reconcile fathers to their children, and by the wisdom of the righteous, to render the disobedient a people well disposed for the Lord.
18 And Zacharias said to the angel, How shall I know this: for I am old man, and my wife is advanced in years?
19 The angel answering, said to him, I am Gabriel, who attend in the presence of God, and am sent to tell you this joyful news.
20 But know that you shall be dumb, and shall not recover your speech, till the day when these things happen, because you have not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in due time.
21 Meanwhile the people waited for Zacharias, and wondered that he staid so long in the sanctuary.
22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary; for he made them understand by signs, and remained speechless.
23 And when his days of officiating were expired, he returned home.
24 Soon after, Elizabeth his wife conceived, and lived in retirement five months, and said,
25 The Lord has done this for me, purposing now to deliver me from the reproach I lay under among men.
26 Now, in the sixth month, God sent Gabriel his angel, to Nazareth, a city of Galilee;
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man called Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.
28 When the angel entered, he said to her, Hail, favorite of heaven! the Lord be with you, happiest of women!
29 At his appearance and words, she was perplexed, and revolved in her mind what this salutation could mean.
30 And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And behold, you shall conceive and bear a son, whom you shall name Jesus.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will give him the throne of David his Father.
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever: his reign shall never end.
34 Then said Mary to the angel, How shall this be, since I have no intercourse with man?
35 The angel answering, said to her, The Holy Spirit will descend upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore the holy progeny shall be called the Son of God.
36 And lo! your cousin Elizabeth also has conceived, a son in her old age; and she who is called barren, is now in her sixth month;
37 for nothing is impossible with God.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it to me according to your word. Then the angel departed.
39 In those days Mary set out, and traveled expeditiously into the hill country; to a city of Judah;
40 where having entered the house of Zacharias, she saluted Elizabeth.
41 As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's salutation, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,
42 and cried with a loud voice, You are the most blessed of women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
43 But how have I deserved this honor, to be visited by the mother of my Lord!
44 for know, that as soon as the sound of your salutation reached my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And happy is she who believed that the things which the Lord has promised her, shall be performed.
46 Then Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
48 because he has not disdained the low condition of his handmaid; for henceforth, all posterity will pronounce me happy.
49 For the Almighty, whose name is venerable, has done wonders for me.
50 His mercy on them who fear him, extends to generations of generations.
51 He displays the strength of his arm, and dispels the vain imaginations of the proud.
52 He pulls down potentates from their thrones, and exalts the lowly.
53 The needy he loads with benefits; but the rich he spoils of everything.
54 He supports Israel his servant, ever inclined to mercy,
55 (as he promised to our fathers) toward Abraham and his race.
56 And Mary, after staying with Elizabeth about three months, returned home.
57 When the time for Elizabeth's delivery was come, she brought forth a son;
58 and her neighbors and relations who heard that the Lord had shown her great kindness, rejoiced with her.
59 And, on the eighth day, when they came to the circumcision of the child, they would have called him by his father's name, Zacharias.
60 And his mother interposed, saying, No; but he shall be called John.
61 They said to her, There is none of your kindred of that name.
62 They, therefore, asked his father by signs, how he would have him called.
63 He, having demanded a table-book, wrote upon it, His name is John, which surprised them all.
64 And his mouth was opened directly, and his tongue loosed. And he spoke, praising God.
65 Now all in the neighborhood were struck with awe; and the fame of these things spread throughout all the hill country of Judea.
66 And all who heard these things, pondering them in their hearts, said, What will this child hereafter be? And the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 Then Zacharias, his father, being filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying,
68 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people;
69 and has raised a Prince for our deliverance in the house of David his servant;
70 (as anciently he promised by his holy prophets)
71 for our deliverance from our enemies, and from the hands of all who hate us;
72 in kindness to our forefathers, and remembrance of his holy institution;
73 the oath which he swore to our father Abraham,
74 to grant to us, that being rescued out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve him boldly,
75 in piety and uprightness all our days.
76 And you, child, shall be called a prophet of the Most High; for you shall go before the Lord, to prepare his way,
77 by giving the knowledge of salvation to his people, in the remission of their sins,
78 through the tender compassion of our God, who has caused a light to spring from on high to visit us,
79 to enlighten those who abide in darkness and in the shades of death; to direct our feet into the way of peace.
80 Meantime the child grew, and acquired strength of mind, and continued in the deserts, until the time when he made himself known to Israel.