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1SINCE [as is well known] many have undertaken to put in order {and} draw up a [thorough] narrative of the surely established deeds which have been accomplished {and} fulfilled in {and} among us,

2Exactly as they were handed down to us by those who from the [official] beginning [of Jesus' ministry] were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word [that is, of the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God],

3It seemed good {and} desirable to me, [and so I have determined] also after having searched out diligently {and} followed all things closely {and} traced accurately the course from the highest to the minutest detail from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,

4[My purpose is] that you may know the full truth {and} understand with certainty {and} security against error the accounts (histories) {and} doctrines of the faith of which you have been informed {and} in which you have been orally instructed.

5In the days when Herod was king of Judea there was a certain priest whose name was Zachariah, of the daily service (the division) of Abia; and his wife was also a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

6And they both were righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.

7But they had no child, for Elizabeth was barren; and both were far advanced in years.

8Now while on duty, serving as priest before God in the order of his division,

9As was the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter [the sanctuary of] the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

10And all the throng of people were praying outside [in the court] at the hour of incense [burning].

11And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.

12And when Zachariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear took possession of him.

13But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zachariah, because your petition was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you must call his name John [God is favorable].

14And you shall have joy and exultant delight, and many will rejoice over his birth,

15For he will be great {and} distinguished in the sight of the Lord. And he must drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with {and} controlled by the Holy Spirit even in {and} from his mother's womb.

16And he will turn back {and} cause to return many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God,

17And he will [himself] go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn back the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient {and} incredulous {and} unpersuadable to the wisdom of the upright [which is the knowledge and holy love of the will of God]--in order to make ready for the Lord a people [perfectly] prepared [in spirit, adjusted and disposed and placed in the right moral state].

18And Zachariah said to the angel, By what shall I know {and} be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.

19And the angel replied to him, I am Gabriel. I stand in the [very] presence of God, and I have been sent to talk to you and to bring you this good news.

20Now behold, you will be {and} will continue to be silent and not able to speak till the day when these things take place, because you have not believed what I told you; but my words are of a kind which will be fulfilled in the appointed {and} proper time.

21Now the people kept waiting for Zachariah, and they wondered at his delaying [so long] in the sanctuary.

22But when he did come out, he was unable to speak to them; and they [clearly] perceived that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary; and he kept making signs to them, still he remained dumb.

23And when his time of performing priestly functions was ended, he returned to his [own] house.

24Now after this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant, and for five months she secluded herself entirely, saying, [I have hid myself]

25Because thus the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He deigned to look on me to take away my reproach among men.

26Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth,

27To a girl never having been married {and} a virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

28And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! {Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women!}

29But {when she saw him,} she was greatly troubled {and} disturbed {and} confused at what he said and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean.

30And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God.

31And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus.

32He will be great (eminent) and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His forefather David,

33And He will reign over the house of Jacob throughout the ages; and of His reign there will be no end.

34And Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband?

35Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born {of you} will be called the Son of God.

36And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren.

37For with God nothing is ever impossible {and} no word from God shall be without power {or} impossible of fulfillment.

38Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her.

39And at that time Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country to a town of Judah,

40And she went to the house of Zachariah and, entering it, saluted Elizabeth.

41And it occurred that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with {and} controlled by the Holy Spirit.

42And she cried out with a loud cry, and then exclaimed, Blessed (favored of God) above all other women are you! And blessed (favored of God) is the Fruit of your womb!

43And how [have I deserved that this honor should] be granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44For behold, the instant the sound of your salutation reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

45And blessed (happy, to be envied) is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her from the Lord.

46And Mary said, My soul magnifies {and} extols the Lord,

47And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48For He has looked upon the low station {and} humiliation of His handmaiden. For behold, from now on all generations [of all ages] will call me blessed {and} declare me happy {and} to be envied!

49For He Who is almighty has done great things for me--and holy is His name [to be venerated in His purity, majesty and glory]!

50And His mercy (His compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted) is on those who fear Him with godly reverence, from generation to generation {and} age to age.

51He has shown strength {and} made might with His arm; He has scattered the proud {and} haughty in {and} by the imagination {and} purpose {and} designs of their hearts.

52He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree.

53He has filled {and} satisfied the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty-handed [without a gift].

54He has laid hold on His servant Israel [to help him, to espouse his cause], in remembrance of His mercy,

55Even as He promised to our forefathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

56And Mary remained with her [Elizabeth] for about three months and [then] returned to her [own] home.

57Now the time that Elizabeth should be delivered came, and she gave birth to a son.

58And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy on her, and they rejoiced with her.

59And it occurred that on the eighth day, when they came to circumcise the child, they were intending to call him Zachariah after his father,

60But his mother answered, Not so! But he shall be called John.

61And they said to her, None of your relatives is called by that name.

62And they inquired with signs to his father [as to] what he wanted to have him called.

63Then Zachariah asked for a writing tablet and wrote, His name is John. And they were all astonished.

64And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak, blessing {and} praising {and} thanking God.

65And awe {and} reverential fear came on all their neighbors; and all these things were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea.

66And all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, Whatever will this little boy be then? For the hand of the Lord was [so evidently] with him [protecting and aiding him].

67Now Zachariah his father was filled with {and} controlled by the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68Blessed (praised and extolled and thanked) be the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and brought deliverance {and} redemption to His people!

69And He has raised up a Horn of salvation [a mighty and valiant Helper, the Author of salvation] for us in the house of David His servant--

70This is as He promised by the mouth of His holy prophets from the most ancient times [in the memory of man]--

71That we should have deliverance {and} be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who detest {and} pursue us with hatred;

72To make true {and} show the mercy {and} compassion {and} kindness [promised] to our forefathers and to remember {and} carry out His holy covenant [to bless, which is all the more sacred because it is made by God Himself],

73That covenant He sealed by oath to our forefather Abraham:

74To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our foes, might serve Him fearlessly

75In holiness (divine consecration) and righteousness [in accordance with the everlasting principles of right] within His presence all the days of our lives.

76And you, little one, shall be called a prophet of the Most High; for you shall go on before the face of the Lord to make ready His ways,

77To bring {and} give the knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness {and} remission of their sins.

78Because of {and} through the heart of tender mercy {and} loving-kindness of our God, a Light from on high will dawn upon us {and} visit [us]

79To shine upon {and} give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct {and} guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace.

80And the little boy grew and became strong in spirit; and he was in the deserts (wilderness) until the day of his appearing to Israel [the commencement of his public ministry].


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