Forasmuch as many have attempted to set forth in order the history of those things which among us have been most certain,
even as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning taught us and thus were ministers of the word,
it seemed good also to me, after having understood all the things from the beginning with great diligence, to write them unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
that thou mightest know the security of those things in which thou hast been instructed.
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.
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless.
And they had no child because Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well advanced in years.
And it came to pass that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,
according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense entering into the temple of the Lord.
And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the time of incense.
And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
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 Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
And he shall turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the rebellious to the prudence of the just, to make ready a prepared people for the Lord.
And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.
And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and am sent to speak unto thee and to show thee this gospel.
And, behold, thou shalt be dumb and not able to speak until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou didst not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
And the people waited for Zacharias and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
And when he came out, he could not speak unto them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he communicated with signs and remained speechless.
And it came to pass that as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived and hid herself five months, saying,
Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth
to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her and said, Hail, thou that art much graced, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his words and wondered in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
Then the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son and shalt call his name Jesus.
He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David;
and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And, behold, thy relative Elisabeth, she has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
For with God nothing is impossible.
Then Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
And Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda
and entered into the house of Zacharias and saluted Elisabeth.
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 Spirit;
and she spoke out with a loud voice and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For, behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
And blessed is she that believed, for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
Then Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saving Health,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden; for, behold, from now on all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty has done great things unto me, and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those that fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has received his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy
as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.
And Mary abode with her about three months and then returned to her own house.
Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered and she brought forth a son.
And her neighbours and her relatives heard how the Lord had showed great mercy upon her, and they rejoiced with her.
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.
And his mother answered and said, Not so, but he shall be called John.
And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
And they communicated with signs to his father, asking how he would have him called.
And he asked for a writing table and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they all marvelled.
And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke blessing God.
And fear came on all that dwelt round about them, and all these things were spoken of throughout all the hill country of Judaea.
And all those that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, Who shall this child be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.
And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and made redemption for his people
And has raised up a horn of saving health for us in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of the saints who from the beginning were his prophets;
salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all that hate us;
to fulfill mercy unto our fathers and remembering his holy covenant
of the oath which he made to our father Abraham,
that he would grant unto us, that without fear delivered out of the hand of our enemies, we might serve him
in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.
And thou, child, shalt be called prophet of the Most High, for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways,
giving knowledge of saving health unto his people for the remission of their sins
through the bowels of mercy of our God, whereby the dayspring from on high has visited us
to give light to those that dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct our feet into the way of peace.
And the child grew and was comforted of the Spirit and was in the deserts until the day of his showing unto Israel.