SINCE many have desired to have in writing the story of those works with which we are familiar,
According to what was handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of that very word,
And since these were seen by me also because I was near and considered them all very carefully;
I will therefore write to you everything in its order, most honorable Theophilus,
So that you may know the truth of the words by which you were made a convert.
There was in the days of Herod, king of Judea, a priest whose name was Zechariah, of the order of ministry of the house of Abijah;
and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
They were both righteous before God, and walked in all his commandments, and in the righteousness of the Lord without blame.
But they had no son, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well on in years.
And it came to pass while he was ministering in the order of his ministry before God,
According to the custom of the priesthood, his turn came to burn incense;
so he entered the temple of the Lord.
And all the congregation of the people prayed outside, at the time of Incense.
And the angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, standing on the right of the altar of incense.
And when Zechariah saw him, became dumbfounded, and fear came upon him.
And the angel said to him, Fear not, Zechariah;
for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will call his name John.
And you will have joy and gladness;
and a great many will rejoice at his birth.
For he will be great before the Lord, and he will not drink wine and strong drink;
and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while he is still in the womb of his mother.
And many Israelites he will cause to turn to the Lord their God.
And he will go before them with the spirit and the power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and those who are disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous;
and he will prepare a true people for the Lord.
And Zechariah said to the angel, How will I understand this?
for I am an old man, and my wife is well on in years.
And the angel answered, saying to him, I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God;
and I am sent to speak to you, and to bring you these glad tidings.
From henceforth you will be dumb, and not able to speak till the day these things happen, because you did not believe these my words which are to be fulfilled in their time.
Now the people stood waiting for Zechariah, and wondered because he remained so long in the temple.
When Zechariah came out, he could not speak with them;
and they understood that he had seen a vision in the temple;
and he made signs to them with his eyes, but remained dumb.
And when the days of his ministry were finished, he went to his house.
And it came to pass after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself for five months;
and she said,
The Lord has done these things to me in the days that he has been mindful of me, to remove my reproach among men.
¶ Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to Galilee, to a city called Nazareth,
To a virgin who was acquired for a price;
for a man named Joseph, of the house of David;
and the name of the virgin was Mary.
And the angel went in and said to her, Peace be to you, O full of grace;
our Lord is with you, O blessed one among women.
When she saw him, she was disturbed at his word, and wondered what kind of salutation this could be.
And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary;
for you have found grace with God.
For behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call his name Jesus.
He will be great, and he will be called the Son of the Highest;
and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.
And he will rule over the house of Jacob for ever;
and there will be no limit to his kingdom.
Then Mary said to the angel, How can this be, for no man has known me.
The angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come, and the power of the Highest will rest upon you;
therefore the one who is to be born of you is holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth your kinswoman has also conceived a son in her old age;
and yet this is the sixth month with her, who is called barren.
For nothing is impossible for God.
Mary said, Here I am, a handmaid of the Lord;
let it be to me according to your word.
And the angel went away from her.
¶ In those days, Mary rose up, and went hurriedly to a mountain, to a city of Judea.
And she entered the house of Zechariah, and saluted Elizabeth.
And when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb;
and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
And she cried in a loud voice saying to Mary, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
How does it happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For behold, when the voice of your salutation fell on my ears, the babe in my womb leaped with great joy.
And blessed is she who believed;
for there will be a fulfillment of the things which were spoken to her from the Lord.
And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
For he has regarded the meekness of his handmaid;
for behold, from henceforth, all generations shall bless me.
For he who is mighty has done great things to me;
holy is his name.
And his mercy is for centuries and generations, upon those who reverence him.
He has brought victory with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their seats, and he has lifted up the meek.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and dismissed the rich empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, and has remembered his mercy,
Just as he spoke with our forefathers, with Abraham and with his descendants for ever.
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned to her own home.
¶ Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son.
And when her neighbors and relatives heard that God had increased his mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.
And it came to pass on the eighth day that they came to circumcise the boy;
and they would have called him Zechariah, after the name of his father,
But his mother said to them, Not so;
but he shall be called John.
And they said to her, There is no man in your family who is called by this name.
Then they made signs to his father, asking what he wanted to call him.
And he asked for a tablet and wrote, saying, John is his name.
And every one was surprised.
And immediately his mouth and his tongue were opened, and he spoke and blessed God.
And fear came on all their neighbors;
and these things were spoken throughout the mountain of Judea.
And all who heard it reasoned in their hearts, saying, What a boy he will be!
And the hand of the Lord was with him.
¶ And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,
Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has visited his people and wrought a salvation for them.
And he has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
Just as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been for ages,
That he would save us from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
He has shown mercy to our fathers, and he has remembered his holy covenants