Translating Truth

The Gospel According to Luke

  • Author: Luke
  • Place Written: Caesarea
  • Writing Completed: c. 56–58 C.E.
  • Time Covered: 3 B.C.E.–33 C.E.

Dedication to Theophilus

1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things accurately from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know fully the certainty of the things that you have been taught orally.

John the Baptist’s Birth Foretold by Gabriel

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.[1]

And it happened that while he was serving as priest in the order of his division before God, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense offering. 11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord; and he will drink no wine or alcoholic drink,[2] and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from the womb of his moher. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 And he himself will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient ones to the wisdom of the righteous ones, to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.”

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “According to what will I know this? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.”[3] 19 The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, the one having stood alongside of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 Yet look, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when the days of his priestly service were completed, he went off to his home.

24 After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself hidden[4] for five months, saying 25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me in these days in which he looked upon me,[5] to take away my reproach among men.”

Jesus’ Birth Foretold by Gabriel

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,[6] 27 to a virgin[7] betrothed[8] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you.” 29 But she was greatly perplexed at the statement, and was pondering what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David; 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end.”

34 But Mary said to the angel, “How is this to be, since I know no man?”[9]

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the one who is born will be called holy, the Son of God. 36 And look, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son, in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her, the one who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Look, I am the slave girl of the Lord; may it happen to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 So Mary set out in those days and traveled with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 and she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For look, as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be[10] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary's Song of Praise Magnifies the Father

46 And Mary said,

“My soul[11] magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit has rejoiced  in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked upon the low position of his slave girl. For look, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is from generation to generation for those who fear him. 51 He has done a mighty deed with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts[12] of their hearts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted the lowly. 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 54 He has helped Israel his servant, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

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

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 The time now came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And 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 answered and said, “No indeed; but he will be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “There is no one of your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they were all amazed. 64 And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 And fear came on all those living around them; and all these things were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. 66 And all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

The Prophecy of Zechariah

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and provided redemption for his people. 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 of salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72 to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath that he swore to Abraham our father, to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the daybreak will visit us from on high, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he lived in the desert until the day he showed himself publicly to Israel.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

2 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus for all the inhabited earth to be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius[13] was governor of Syria. And everyone went to be registered, each one to his own town. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.And she gave birth to her son, the firstborn, and she wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the lodging place.

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lird gleamed around them, and they became very fearful. 10 And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring good news to you of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign for you: you will find the baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went hurrying and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the statement that had been told to them about this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

21 And when eight days had passed, so as to circumcise him, his name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Jesus Presented at the Temple

22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 then he took him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,

29 “Now Lord you are releasing your slave depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at the things being said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 and a sword will pierce through your own soul also, so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Return to Nazareth

39 When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. 40 And the child continued growing and became strong, being filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

The Boy Jesus in the Temple

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to the custom of the feast. 43 And after the days were completed, while they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. And his parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the company, they went a day's journey; and they began looking for him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for him. 46 Then, it occurred, after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers and listening to them and questioning them.[14] 47 And all those listening to him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When they saw him, they were astounded;[15] and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.” 49 And he said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for me? Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and he continued in subjection to them; and his mother treasured all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.


[1] Lit in their days

[2] Or intoxicating drink

[3] Lit in her days

[4] Or she kept herself secluded

[5] Being barren in that culture, Elizabeth would have been viewed as an object of reproach. Therefore, she gave thanks to the Lord for giving her a child even though she was “advanced in years.” (1:19) This was a common theme in the Old Testament with Sarah (Gen. 21:6), Rachel (Gen. 30:23), and Hannah. (1 Sam. 1-2) Hence, ‘the Lord looked upon Elizabeth with favor.’

[6] Nazareth: (Gr. Nazareth) Nazareth is a secluded town in the lower central part of Galilee, where Jesus lived most of his earthly life, along with his half-brothers and half-sisters. (Lu 2:51, 52; Matt. 13:54-56).

[7] Virgin: (Gr. parthenos) In the Jewish culture “virgins” were young women (maidens), who were fourteen years of age or younger. The Greek can refer to a female virgin (Matt. 1:23; 25:1, 7, 11; Lu 1:27, 27; Ac 21:9; 1 Cor. 7:25, 28, 34, 36, 37, 38; 2 Cor. 11:2) or a male virgin (Rev. 14:4) However, it can also refer to an unmarried person who is not necessarily a virgin. (1 Cor. 7:25) Yet, the main use of this term in the NT is speaking of a young woman, who has reached puberty but is not married and has never had sexual intercourse, i.e., a virgin.

[8] Betrothed: (Gr. mnēsteuomai) This refers to a person who was promised in marriage. The Greek means ‘to be engaged, to be promised in marriage.’ According to ancient cultural customs of the Jewish people, “to be betrothed to a man,” namely, engaged, was to be legally bound to a future marriage. The engaged couple were already viewed as though they were already married, which means they could not just break off the engagement but rather would have to by law, seek a bill of divorce. (Matt. 1:19) It was so binding that the young woman could not marry another until she was freed by due process of law. Even though a young Jewish couple was viewed as already being married, they did not begin living together as husband and wife until after the wedding formalities.–Matt. 1:18; Lu 1:27; 2:5.

[9] I.e. I am not having sexual relations with a man

[10] Or believed, for there will be

[11] I.e. My whole being

[12] Thought(s), Intention, Purpose: (dianoia) This is referring to the mind, the place of reason, understanding thinking (Eph. 4:18), a mental disposition, a way of thinking, a manner of thought (Col. 1:21). It also can refer to the thought(s), that is, the content of what one is thinking. (Lu 1:51) It can also refer to preparing one’s mind for action (mental perception).–1 Pet. 1:13.

[13] Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, a distinguished Roman senator, is mentioned only once in the Bible. Quirinius served as governor (or, legate) in Syria for two distinct terms.

[14] Question, Ask Question: (eperotao; erotao) The Greek word eperotao, which means to ask, to question, to demand of, for “questioning” was far more than the Greek word erotao, which meant to ask, to request, to entreat, such as a boy’s inquisitiveness. Eperotao refer to questioning, which one might hear in a judicial hearing, such as a scrutiny, inquiry, counter questioning, even probing question, a sort of interrogation.

[15] Astounded: (Gr. ekplēssō) This is one who is extremely astounded or amazed, so much so that they lose their mental self-control, as they are overwhelmed emotionally.–Matt. 7:28; Mark 1:22; 7:37; Lu 2:48; 4:32; 9:43; Ac 13:12.