1 Whereas many have undertaken to compile a statement of the facts+ that are given full credence among us, 2 just as those who from [the] beginning+ became eyewitnesses+ and attendants of the message*+ delivered these to us, 3 I resolved also, because I have traced all things from the start with accuracy, to write them in logical order+ to you, most excellent+ The·oph′i·lus,+ 4 that you may know fully the certainty of the things that you have been taught orally.+
5 In the days of Herod,+ king of Ju·de′a, there happened to be a certain priest named Zech·a·ri′ah* of the division of A·bi′jah,*+ and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron,+ and her name was Elizabeth. 6 They both were righteous+ before God because of walking blamelessly+ in accord with all the commandments+ and legal+ requirements of Jehovah.*+ 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren,+ and they both were well along in years.
8 Now as he was acting as priest in the assignment of his division+ before God, 9 according to the solemn practice of the priestly office it became his turn to offer incense+ when he entered into the sanctuary* of Jehovah;*+ 10 and all the multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of offering incense.+ 11 To him Jehovah’s* angel appeared, standing at the right side of the incense altar.+ 12 But Zech·a·ri′ah became troubled at the sight, and fear fell upon him.+ 13 However, the angel said to him: “Have no fear, Zech·a·ri′ah, because your supplication has been favorably heard,+ and your wife Elizabeth will become mother to a son to you, and you are to call his name John.*+ 14 And you will have joy and great gladness, and many will rejoice+ over his birth; 15 for he will be great before Jehovah.*+ But he must drink no wine and strong drink at all,+ and he will be filled with holy spirit* right from his mother’s womb;+ 16 and many of the sons of Israel will he turn back to Jehovah*+ their God. 17 Also, he will go before him with E·li′jah’s*+ spirit and power, to turn back the hearts+ of fathers to children and the disobedient ones to the practical wisdom of righteous ones, to get ready for Jehovah*+ a prepared people.”+
18 And Zech·a·ri′ah said to the angel: “How am I to be sure of this? For I am aged+ and my wife is well along in years.” 19 In reply the angel said to him: “I am Ga′bri·el,*+ who stands near before God, and I was sent forth to speak+ with you and declare the good news* of these things to you. 20 But, look! you will be silent+ and not able to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their appointed time.” 21 Meanwhile the people continued waiting for Zech·a·ri′ah,+ and they began to wonder at his delaying in the sanctuary. 22 But when he came out he was not able to speak to them, and they perceived that he had just seen a supernatural+ sight in the sanctuary; and he kept making signs to them, but remained dumb. 23 When, now, the days of his public service* were fulfilled,+ he went off to his home.
24 But after these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant;+ and she kept herself secluded for five months, saying: 25 “This is the way Jehovah* has dealt with me in these days when he has given me his attention to take away my reproach among men.”+
26 In her* sixth month the angel Ga′bri·el+ was sent forth from God to a city of Gal′i·lee named Naz′a·reth, 27 to a virgin promised in marriage to a man named Joseph of David’s house; and the name of the virgin+ was Mary.*+ 28 And when he went in before her he said: “Good day,+ highly favored one, Jehovah*+ is with you.”+ 29 But she was deeply disturbed at the saying and began to reason out what sort of greeting this might be. 30 So the angel said to her: “Have no fear, Mary, for you have found favor+ with God; 31 and, look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son,+ and you are to call his name Jesus.*+ 32 This one will be great+ and will be called Son of the Most High;+ and Jehovah* God will give him the throne+ of David his father,+ 33 and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.”+
34 But Mary said to the angel: “How is this to be, since I am having no intercourse+ with a man?” 35 In answer the angel said to her: “Holy spirit+ will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy,+ God’s Son.+ 36 And, look! Elizabeth your relative has also herself conceived a son, in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her, the so-called barren woman;+ 37 because with God no declaration* will be an impossibility.”+ 38 Then Mary said: “Look! Jehovah’s* slave girl!+ May it take place with me according to your declaration.” At that the angel departed from her.
39 So Mary rose in these days and went into the mountainous country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and she entered into the home of Zech·a·ri′ah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 Well, as Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the infant in her womb leaped; and Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit, 42 and she called out with a loud cry and said: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed+ is the fruit of your womb! 43 So how is it that this [privilege] is mine, to have the mother of my Lord+ come to me? 44 For, look! as the sound of your greeting fell upon my ears, the infant in my womb leaped with great gladness.+ 45 Happy too is she that believed, because there will be a complete performance+ of those things spoken to her from Jehovah.”*+
46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies* Jehovah,*+ 47 and my spirit cannot keep from being overjoyed+ at God my Savior;+ 48 because he has looked upon the low position of his slave girl.+ For, look! from now on all generations will pronounce me happy;+ 49 because the powerful One has done great deeds for me, and holy is his name;+ 50 and for generations after generations his mercy is upon those who fear him.+ 51 He has performed mightily with his arm,+ he has scattered abroad those who are haughty in the intention of their hearts.+ 52 He has brought down men of power+ from thrones and exalted lowly ones;+ 53 he has fully satisfied hungry ones with good things+ and he has sent away empty those who had wealth.+ 54 He has come to the aid of Israel his servant,+ to call to mind mercy,+ 55 just as he told to our forefathers, to Abraham and to his seed,* forever.”+ 56 Then Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her own home.
57 The time now became due for Elizabeth to give birth, and she became mother to a son. 58 And the neighbors and her relatives heard that Jehovah* had magnified his mercy+ to her, and they began to rejoice+ with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the young child,+ and they were going to call it by the name of its father, Zech·a·ri′ah. 60 But its mother answered and said: “No, indeed! but he shall be called John.” 61 At this they said to her: “There is no one among your relatives that is called by this name.” 62 Then they went asking its father by signs what he wanted it to be called. 63 And he asked for a tablet and wrote: “John+ is its name.” At this they all marveled. 64 Instantly his mouth was opened+ and his tongue loosed and he began to speak, blessing God. 65 And fear fell upon all those living in their neighborhood; and in the whole mountainous country of Ju·de′a all these things began to be talked around, 66 and all that heard made note of it in their hearts,+ saying: “What really will this young child be?” For the hand+ of Jehovah* was indeed with it.
67 And Zech·a·ri′ah its father was filled with holy spirit,+ and he prophesied,+ saying: 68 “Blessed be Jehovah* the God of Israel,+ because he has turned his attention and performed deliverance+ toward his people.+ 69 And he has raised up a horn+ of salvation* for us in the house of David his servant, 70 just as he, through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,+ has spoken 71 of a salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all those hating us;+ 72 to perform the mercy in connection with our forefathers and to call to mind his holy covenant,+ 73 the oath that he swore to Abraham our forefather,+ 74 to grant us, after we have been rescued from the hands of enemies,+ the privilege of fearlessly rendering sacred service* to him+ 75 with loyalty and righteousness before him all our days.+ 76 But as for you, young child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go in advance before Jehovah* to make his ways ready,+ 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people by forgiveness of their sins,+ 78 because of the tender compassion of our God. With this [compassion] a daybreak+ will visit us from on high,+ 79 to give light to those sitting in darkness and death’s shadow,+ to direct our feet prosperously in the way of peace.”
80 And the young child went on growing+ and getting strong in spirit, and he continued in the deserts until the day of showing himself openly to Israel.