Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account1 for you, most excellent2 Theophilus,3
so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.4
In the time of Herod king of Judea5 there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah;6 his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.
Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly.7
But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God,8
he was chosen by lot,9 according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.10
And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.11
Then an angel12 of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.13
When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.14
But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid,15 Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.16