New International Version

Luke 1

Introduction

1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, 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 angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.

Zechariah’s Song

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn[c] of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73     the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
    and to enable us to serve him without fear
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit[d]; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 1:1 Or been surely believed
  2. Luke 1:35 Or So the child to be born will be called holy,
  3. Luke 1:69 Horn here symbolizes a strong king.
  4. Luke 1:80 Or in the Spirit

Amplified Bible

Luke 1

Introduction

1Since [as is well known] many have undertaken to compile an orderly account of the things which have been fulfilled among us [by God], exactly as they were handed down to us by those [with personal experience] who from the beginning [of Christ’s ministry] were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word [that is, of the teaching concerning salvation through faith in Christ], it seemed fitting for [a]me as well, [and so I have decided] after having carefully searched out and investigated all the events accurately, from the very beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been [b]taught [that is, the history and doctrine of the faith].

Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the days of Herod [the Great], king of Judea, there was a certain priest whose name was [c]Zacharias, of [d]the division of Abijah. His wife was [e]a descendant of Aaron [the first high priest of Israel], and her name was Elizabeth. They both were righteous (approved) in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they were childless, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both far advanced in years.

Now it happened while Zacharias was serving as priest before God in the appointed order of his priestly division, as was the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter [the sanctuary of] the temple of the Lord and [f]burn incense [on the altar of incense]. 10 And all the congregation was praying outside [in the court of the temple] at the hour of the incense offering. 11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 When Zacharias saw the angel, he was troubled and overcome with fear. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, because your petition [in prayer] was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him [g]John. 14 You will have great joy and delight, and many will rejoice over his birth, 15 for he will be great and distinguished in the sight of the Lord; and will never drink wine or liquor, and he will be filled with and empowered to act by the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb. 16 He will turn many of the sons of Israel back [from sin] to [love and serve] the Lord their God. 17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous [which is to seek and submit to the will of God]—in order to make ready a people [perfectly] prepared [spiritually and morally] for the Lord.”

18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I be certain of this? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in age.” 19 The angel replied and said to him, “I am Gabriel; I stand and minister in the [very] presence of God, and I have been sent [by Him] to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 [h]Listen carefully, you will be continually silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe what I told you; but my words will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

21 The people [outside in the court] were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering about his long delay in the temple. 22 But when he did come out, he was unable to speak to them. They realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute. 23 When his time of priestly service was finished, he returned to his home.

24 Now after this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant, and for five months she secluded herself completely, saying, 25 “This is how the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor on me, to take away my [i]disgrace among men.”

Jesus’ Birth Foretold

26 Now in the sixth month [of Elizabeth’s pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin [j]betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming to her, the angel said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was greatly perplexed at what he said, and kept carefully considering what kind of greeting this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Listen carefully: you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and eminent and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin and have no intimacy with any man?” 35 Then the angel replied to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a cloud]; for that reason the holy (pure, sinless) Child shall be called the Son of God. 36 And listen, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 For with God nothing [is or ever] shall be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “[k]Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 Now at this time Mary arose and hurried to the hill country, to a city of Judah (Judea), 40 and she entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him. 42 And she exclaimed loudly, “Blessed [worthy to be praised] are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed [spiritually fortunate and favored by God] is she who believed and confidently trusted that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her [by the angel sent] from the Lord.”

The Magnificat

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies and exalts the Lord,
47 
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 
“For He has looked [with loving care] on the humble state of His maidservant;
For behold, from now on all generations will count me blessed and happy and favored by God!
49 
“For He who is mighty has done great things for me;
And holy is His name [to be worshiped in His purity, majesty, and glory].
50 
And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who [stand in great awe of God and] fear Him.
51 
“He has done mighty deeds with His [powerful] arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52 
“He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And exalted those who were humble.
53 
He has filled the hungry with good things;
And sent the rich away empty-handed.
54 
“He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 
Just as He promised to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

56 And Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months, and then returned to her home.

John Is Born

57 Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown His great mercy toward her, and they were rejoicing with her.

59 It happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child [as required by the Law], and they intended to name him Zacharias, after his father; 60 but his mother answered, “No indeed; instead he will be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by that name.” 62 Then they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all astonished. 64 At once Zacharias’ mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began speaking, praising and blessing and thanking God. 65 Then fear came on all their neighbors; and all these things were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard these things kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this little boy turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him [to bring about his birth].

Zacharias’ Prophecy

67 Now Zacharias his father was filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him, and he prophesied, saying,

68 
“Blessed (praised, glorified) be the Lord, the God of Israel,
Because He has visited us and brought redemption to His people,
69 
And He has raised up a [l]horn of salvation [a mighty and valiant Savior] for us
In the house of David His servant—
70 
Just as He promised by the mouth of His holy prophets from the most ancient times—
71 
Salvation from our enemies,
And from the hand of all who hate us;
72 
To show mercy [as He promised] to our fathers,
And to remember His holy covenant [the promised blessing],
73 
The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
74 
To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 
In holiness [being set apart] and righteousness [being upright] before Him all our days.
76 
“And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
For you will go on before the Lord (the Messiah) to prepare His ways;
77 
To give His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,
78 
Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise (the Messiah) from on high will dawn and visit us,
79 
To shine upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
To guide our feet [in a straight line] into the way of peace and serenity.”

80 The child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel [as John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah].

Footnotes

  1. Luke 1:3 Luke may have been a Gentile. If so, he is the only Gentile author whose work is included in the NT. In addition to The Gospel of Luke, he wrote The Acts of the Apostles, and is thought by some scholars to have been the author of The Letter to the Hebrews.
  2. Luke 1:4 Or orally instructed.
  3. Luke 1:5 I.e. Zechariah. The spelling is different because a Greek word cannot end with an “h,” and in place of “ah” the common Greek ending “-as” was substituted.
  4. Luke 1:5 King David organized the priests into 24 groups or divisions, each headed by a president. A division served twice a year for a week at a time (1 Chr 24:1-19).
  5. Luke 1:5 Lit from the daughters of.
  6. Luke 1:9 I.e. normally a once-in-a-lifetime privilege for a priest.
  7. Luke 1:13 John the Baptist is considered the last of the Old Testament prophets. His mother, Elizabeth, and Mary the mother of Jesus, were related (1:36), and Mary may have been with Elizabeth at the time John was born (1:56). John the Baptist is not to be confused with John the Apostle who, along with his brother James, was among the twelve disciples of Jesus. John and James were the sons of Zebedee and Salome. John the Apostle authored the Gospel of John, three brief letters (1 John, 2 John, 3 John), and Revelation.
  8. Luke 1:20 Lit behold.
  9. Luke 1:25 At this time childlessness was a social stigma.
  10. Luke 1:27 The first stage of marriage (called shiddukin in Hebrew) in Jewish tradition and law, usually lasting for a year before the wedding night; unlike an engagement, it was legally binding and required a divorce to nullify it. The woman remained with her parents during the betrothal year and was referred to as a “wife” even though the marriage was not consummated during this period of time.
  11. Luke 1:38 Mary’s response was significantly different from Zacharias’ (v 18). Zacharias would not take Gabriel’s word, and instead wanted some kind of miraculous sign as proof.
  12. Luke 1:69 In the OT a symbol of strength.