1 For as much as 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 to us, which 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 to you in order, most excellent Theophilus,
4 That you might know the certainty of those things, wherein you have been instructed.
5 THERE was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, 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 that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest' office before God in the order of his course,
9 According to the custom of the priest' 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 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 when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell on him.
13 But the angel said to him, Fear not, Zacharias: for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elisabeth 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 Ghost, even from his mother' 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 Elias, 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 well stricken 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 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 season.
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he tarried so long in the temple.
22 And when he came out, he could not speak to them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned to them, and remained speechless.
23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
25 Thus has the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on 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, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin' name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in to 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 cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said to 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 to 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.
34 Then said Mary to the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come on 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 Elisabeth, 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 to 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 Juda;
40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
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 what is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, see, as soon as the voice of your salutation 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 now on 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 seed for ever.
56 And Mary stayed with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
57 Now Elisabeth' 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 on 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 Zacharias, 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 to her, There is none of your kindred that is called by this name.
62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing table, 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 dwelled round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.
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 Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he has visited and redeemed his people,
69 And has raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
70 As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, which 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 to 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 to his people by the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring 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 waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing to Israel.