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Luke 1 New Century Version (NCV)

Luke Writes About Jesus’ Life

Many have tried to report on the things that happened among us. They have written the same things that we learned from others—the people who saw those things from the beginning and served God by telling people his message. Since I myself have studied everything carefully from the beginning, most excellent[a] Theophilus, it seemed good for me to write it out for you. I arranged it in order, to help you know that what you have been taught is true.

Zechariah and Elizabeth

During the time Herod ruled Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah who belonged to Abijah’s group.[b] Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, came from the family of Aaron. Zechariah and Elizabeth truly did what God said was good. They did everything the Lord commanded and were without fault in keeping his law. But they had no children, because Elizabeth could not have a baby, and both of them were very old.

One day Zechariah was serving as a priest before God, because his group was on duty. According to the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to go into the Temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 There were a great many people outside praying at the time the incense was offered. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, standing on the right side of the incense table. 12 When he saw the angel, Zechariah was startled and frightened. 13 But the angel said to him, “Zechariah, don’t be afraid. God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to a son, and you will name him John. 14 He will bring you joy and gladness, and many people will be happy because of his birth. 15 John will be a great man for the Lord. He will never drink wine or beer, and even from birth, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16 He will help many people of Israel return to the Lord their God. 17 He will go before the Lord in spirit and power like Elijah. He will make peace between parents and their children and will bring those who are not obeying God back to the right way of thinking, to make a people ready for the coming of the Lord.”

18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I know that what you say is true? I am an old man, and my wife is old, too.”

19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand before God, who sent me to talk to you and to tell you this good news. 20 Now, listen! You will not be able to speak until the day these things happen, because you did not believe what I told you. But they will really happen.”

21 Outside, the people were still waiting for Zechariah and were surprised that he was staying so long in the Temple. 22 When Zechariah came outside, he could not speak to them, and they knew he had seen a vision in the Temple. He could only make signs to them and remained unable to speak. 23 When his time of service at the Temple was finished, he went home.

24 Later, Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and did not go out of her house for five months. Elizabeth said, 25 “Look what the Lord has done for me! My people were ashamed[c] of me, but now the Lord has taken away that shame.”

An Angel Appears to Mary

26 During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. 28 The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord has blessed you and is with you.”

29 But Mary was very startled by what the angel said and wondered what this greeting might mean.

30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace. 31 Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name 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 King David, his ancestor. 33 He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you. For this reason the baby will be holy and will be called the Son of God. 36 Now Elizabeth, your relative, is also pregnant with a son though she is very old. Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant for six months. 37 God can do anything!”

38 Mary said, “I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!” Then the angel went away.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 Mary got up and went quickly to a town in the hills of Judea. 40 She came to Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the unborn baby inside her jumped, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 She cried out in a loud voice, “God has blessed you more than any other woman, and he has blessed the baby to which you will give birth. 43 Why has this good thing happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 When I heard your voice, the baby inside me jumped with joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that what the Lord said to you would really happen.”

Mary Praises God

46 Then Mary said,

“My soul praises the Lord;
47 my heart rejoices in God my Savior,
48 because he has shown his concern for his humble servant girl.
From now on, all people will say that I am blessed,
49 because the Powerful One has done great things for me.
    His name is holy.
50 God will show his mercy forever and ever
    to those who worship and serve him.
51 He has done mighty deeds by his power.
    He has scattered the people who are proud
    and think great things about themselves.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    and raised up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away with nothing.
54 He has helped his servant, the people of Israel,
    remembering to show them mercy
55 as he promised to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to his children forever.”

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

The Birth of John

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to give birth, she had a boy. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard how good the Lord was to her, and they rejoiced with her.

59 When the baby was eight days old, they came to circumcise him. They wanted to name him Zechariah because this was his father’s name, 60 but his mother said, “No! He will be named John.”

61 The people said to Elizabeth, “But no one in your family has this name.” 62 Then they made signs to his father to find out what he would like to name him.

63 Zechariah asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John,” and everyone was surprised. 64 Immediately Zechariah could talk again, and he began praising God. 65 All their neighbors became alarmed, and in all the mountains of Judea people continued talking about all these things. 66 The people who heard about them wondered, saying, “What will this child be?” because the Lord was with him.

Zechariah Praises God

67 Then Zechariah, John’s father, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 “Let us praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has come to help his people and has given them freedom.
69 He has given us a powerful Savior
    from the family of God’s servant David.
70 He said that he would do this
    through his holy prophets who lived long ago:
71 He promised he would save us from our enemies
    and from the power of all those who hate us.
72 He said he would give mercy to our ancestors
    and that he would remember his holy promise.
73 God promised Abraham, our father,
74 that he would save us from the power of our enemies
    so we could serve him without fear,
75 being holy and good before God as long as we live.

76 “Now you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High God.
    You will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
77 You will make his people know that they will be saved
    by having their sins forgiven.
78 With the loving mercy of our God,
    a new day from heaven will dawn upon us.
79 It will shine on those who live in darkness,
    in the shadow of death.
It will guide us into the path of peace.”

80 And so the child grew up and became strong in spirit. John lived in the desert until the time when he came out to preach to Israel.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:3 excellent This word was used to show respect to an important person like a king or ruler.
  2. 1:5 Abijah’s group The Jewish priests were divided into twenty-four groups. See 1 Chronicles 24.
  3. 1:25 ashamed The Jewish people thought it was a disgrace for women not to have children.
New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Luke 1 New International Version (NIV)

Introduction

Many 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
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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