Dear Theophilus: Many people have done their best to write a report of the things that have taken place among us.
They wrote what we have been told by those who saw these things from the beginning and who proclaimed the message.
And so, Your Excellency, because I have carefully studied all these matters from their beginning, I thought it would be good to write an orderly account for you.
I do this so that you will know the full truth about everything which you have been taught.
During the time when Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife's name was Elizabeth; she also belonged to a priestly family. 1
They both lived good lives in God's sight and obeyed fully all the Lord's laws and commands.
They had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zechariah were both very old.
One day Zechariah was doing his work as a priest in the Temple, taking his turn in the daily service.
According to the custom followed by the priests, he was chosen by lot to burn incense on the altar. So he went into the Temple of the Lord,
while the crowd of people outside prayed during the hour when the incense was burned.