Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us,
just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,
I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, a to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.
In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.
But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.
Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty,
he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense.
Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside.
Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard Bible Version Online)