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Luke 1

Explanatory Preface

1:1 Now 1  many have undertaken to compile an account 2  of the things 3  that have been fulfilled 4  among us, 1:2 like the accounts 5  passed on 6  to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word 7  from the beginning. 8  1:3 So 9  it seemed good to me as well, 10  because I have followed 11  all things carefully from the beginning, to write an orderly account 12  for you, most excellent Theophilus, 1:4 so that you may know for certain 13  the things you were taught. 14 

Birth Announcement of John the Baptist

1:5 During the reign 15  of Herod 16  king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah who belonged to 17  the priestly division of Abijah, 18  and he had a wife named Elizabeth, 19  who was a descendant of Aaron. 20  1:6 They 21  were both righteous in the sight of God, following 22  all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. 23  1:7 But they did not have a child, because Elizabeth was barren, 24  and they were both very old. 25 

1:8 Now 26  while Zechariah 27  was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 28  1:9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, 29  to enter 30  the holy place 31  of the Lord and burn incense. 1:10 Now 32  the whole crowd 33  of people were praying outside at the hour of the incense offering. 34  1:11 An 35  angel of the Lord, 36  standing on the right side of the altar of incense, appeared 37  to him. 1:12 And Zechariah, visibly shaken when he saw the angel, 38  was seized with fear. 39  1:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, 40  and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son; you 41  will name him John. 42  1:14 Joy and gladness will come 43  to you, and many will rejoice at 44  his birth, 45  1:15 for he will be great in the sight of 46  the Lord. He 47  must never drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 48  1:16 He 49  will turn 50  many of the people 51  of Israel to the Lord their God. 1:17 And he will go as forerunner before the Lord 52  in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, 53  to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.”

1:18 Zechariah 54  said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? 55  For I am an old man, and my wife is old as well.” 56  1:19 The 57  angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands 58  in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring 59  you this good news. 1:20 And now, 60  because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, 61  you will be silent, unable to speak, 62  until the day these things take place.”

1:21 Now 63  the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they began to wonder 64  why he was delayed in the holy place. 65  1:22 When 66  he came out, he was not able to speak to them. They 67  realized that he had seen a vision 68  in the holy place, 69  because 70  he was making signs to them and remained unable to speak. 71  1:23 When his time of service was over, 72  he went to his home.

1:24 After some time 73  his wife Elizabeth became pregnant, 74  and for five months she kept herself in seclusion. 75  She said, 76  1:25 “This is what 77  the Lord has done for me at the time 78  when he has been gracious to me, 79  to take away my disgrace 80  among people.” 81 

Birth Announcement of Jesus the Messiah

1:26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 82  the angel Gabriel 83  was sent by 84  God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 85  1:27 to a virgin engaged 86  to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of David, 87  and the virgin’s name was Mary. 1:28 The 88  angel 89  came 90  to her and said, “Greetings, favored one, 91  the Lord is with you!” 92  1:29 But 93  she was greatly troubled 94  by his words and began to wonder about the meaning of this greeting. 95  1:30 So 96  the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, 97  Mary, for you have found favor 98  with God! 1:31 Listen: 99  You will become pregnant 100  and give birth to 101  a son, and you will name him 102  Jesus. 103  1:32 He 104  will be great, 105  and will be called the Son of the Most High, 106  and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father 107  David. 1:33 He 108  will reign over the house of Jacob 109  forever, and his kingdom will never end.” 1:34 Mary 110  said to the angel, “How will this be, since I have not had sexual relations with 111  a man?” 1:35 The angel replied, 112  “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow 113  you. Therefore the child 114  to be born 115  will be holy; 116  he will be called the Son of God.

1:36 “And look, 117  your relative 118  Elizabeth has also become pregnant with 119  a son in her old age – although she was called barren, she is now in her sixth month! 120  1:37 For nothing 121  will be impossible with God.” 1:38 So 122  Mary said, “Yes, 123  I am a servant 124  of the Lord; let this happen to me 125  according to your word.” 126  Then 127  the angel departed from her.

Mary and Elizabeth

1:39 In those days 128  Mary got up and went hurriedly into the hill country, to a town of Judah, 129  1:40 and entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 1:41 When 130  Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped 131  in her 132  womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 133  1:42 She 134  exclaimed with a loud voice, 135  “Blessed are you among women, 136  and blessed is the child 137  in your womb! 1:43 And who am I 138  that the mother of my Lord should come and visit me? 1:44 For the instant 139  the sound of your greeting reached my ears, 140  the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 141  1:45 And blessed 142  is she who believed that 143  what was spoken to her by 144  the Lord would be fulfilled.” 145 

Mary’s Hymn of Praise

1:46 And Mary 146  said, 147 

“My soul exalts 148  the Lord, 149 

1:47 and my spirit has begun to rejoice 150  in God my Savior,

1:48 because he has looked upon the humble state of his servant. 151 

For 152  from now on 153  all generations will call me blessed, 154 

1:49 because he who is mighty 155  has done great things for me, and holy is his name;

1:50 from 156  generation to generation he is merciful 157  to those who fear 158  him.

1:51 He has demonstrated power 159  with his arm; he has scattered those whose pride wells up from the sheer arrogance 160  of their hearts.

1:52 He has brought down the mighty 161  from their thrones, and has lifted up those of lowly position; 162 

1:53 he has filled the hungry with good things, 163  and has sent the rich away empty. 164 

1:54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering 165  his mercy, 166 

1:55 as he promised 167  to our ancestors, 168  to Abraham and to his descendants 169  forever.”

1:56 So 170  Mary stayed with Elizabeth 171  about three months 172  and then returned to her home.

The Birth of John

1:57 Now the time came 173  for Elizabeth to have her baby, 174  and she gave birth to a son. 1:58 Her 175  neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown 176  great mercy to her, and they rejoiced 177  with her.

1:59 On 178  the eighth day 179  they came to circumcise the child, and they wanted to name 180  him Zechariah after his father. 1:60 But 181  his mother replied, 182  “No! He must be named 183  John.” 184  1:61 They 185  said to her, “But 186  none of your relatives bears this name.” 187  1:62 So 188  they made signs to the baby’s 189  father, 190  inquiring what he wanted to name his son. 191  1:63 He 192  asked for a writing tablet 193  and wrote, 194  “His name is John.” And they were all amazed. 195  1:64 Immediately 196  Zechariah’s 197  mouth was opened and his tongue 198  released, 199  and he spoke, blessing God. 1:65 All 200  their neighbors were filled with fear, and throughout the entire hill country of Judea all these things were talked about. 1:66 All 201  who heard these things 202  kept them in their hearts, 203  saying, “What then will this child be?” 204  For the Lord’s hand 205  was indeed with him.

Zechariah’s Praise and Prediction

1:67 Then 206  his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, 207 

1:68 “Blessed 208  be the Lord God of Israel,

because he has come to help 209  and has redeemed 210  his people.

1:69 For 211  he has raised up 212  a horn of salvation 213  for us in the house of his servant David, 214 

1:70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from long ago, 215 

1:71 that we should be saved 216  from our enemies, 217 

and from the hand of all who hate us.

1:72 He has done this 218  to show mercy 219  to our ancestors, 220 

and to remember his holy covenant 221 

1:73 the oath 222  that he swore to our ancestor 223  Abraham.

This oath grants 224 

1:74 that we, being rescued from the hand of our 225  enemies,

may serve him without fear, 226 

1:75 in holiness and righteousness 227  before him for as long as we live. 228 

1:76 And you, child, 229  will be called the prophet 230  of the Most High. 231 

For you will go before 232  the Lord to prepare his ways, 233 

1:77 to give his people knowledge of salvation 234  through the forgiveness 235  of their sins.

1:78 Because of 236  our God’s tender mercy 237 

the dawn 238  will break 239  upon us from on high

1:79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 240 

to guide our feet into the way 241  of peace.”

1:80 And the child kept growing 242  and becoming strong 243  in spirit, and he was in the wilderness 244  until the day he was revealed 245  to Israel.

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1 tn Grk “Since” or “Because.” This begins a long sentence that extends through v. 4. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence and the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences, the Greek sentence has been divided up into shorter English sentences in the translation.

2 tn This is sometimes translated “narrative,” but the term itself can refer to an oral or written account. It is the verb “undertaken” which suggests a written account, since it literally is “to set one’s hand” to something (BDAG 386 s.v. ἐπιχειρέω). “Narrative” is too specific, denoting a particular genre of work for the accounts that existed in the earlier tradition. Not all of that material would have been narrative.

3 tn Or “events.”

4 tn Or “have been accomplished.” Given Luke’s emphasis on divine design (e.g., Luke 24:43-47) a stronger sense (“fulfilled”) is better than a mere reference to something having taken place (“accomplished”).

5 tn Grk “even as”; this compares the recorded tradition of 1:1 with the original eyewitness tradition of 1:2.

6 tn Or “delivered.”

7 sn The phrase eyewitnesses and servants of the word refers to a single group of people who faithfully passed on the accounts about Jesus. The language about delivery (passed on) points to accounts faithfully passed on to the early church.

8 tn Grk “like the accounts those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word passed on to us.” The location of “in the beginning” in the Greek shows that the tradition is rooted in those who were with Jesus from the start.

9 tn The conjunction “so” is supplied here to bring out the force of the latter part of this Greek sentence, which the translation divides up because of English style. Luke, in compiling his account, is joining a tradition with good precedent.

10 sn When Luke says it seemed good to me as well he is not being critical of the earlier accounts, but sees himself stepping into a tradition of reporting about Jesus to which he will add uniquely a second volume on the early church when he writes the Book of Acts.

11 tn Grk “having followed”; the participle παρηκολουθηκότι (parhkolouqhkoti) has been translated causally.

12 sn An orderly account does not necessarily mean that all events are recorded in the exact chronological sequence in which they occurred, but that the account produced is an orderly one. This could include, for example, thematic or topical order rather than strict chronological order.

13 tn Or “know the truth about”; or “know the certainty of.” The issue of the context is psychological confidence; Luke’s work is trying to encourage Theophilus. So in English this is better translated as “know for certain” than “know certainty” or “know the truth,” which sounds too cognitive. “Certain” assumes the truth of the report. On this term, see Acts 2:36; 21:34; 22:30; and 25:26. The meaning “have assurance concerning” is also possible here.

14 tn Or “you heard about.” This term can refer merely to a report of information (Acts 21:24) or to instruction (Acts 18:25). The scope of Luke’s Gospel as a whole, which calls for perseverance in the faith and which assumes much knowledge of the OT, suggests Theophilus had received some instruction and was probably a believer.

15 tn Grk “It happened that in the days.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

16 sn Herod was Herod the Great, who ruled Palestine from 37 b.c. until he died in 4 b.c. He was known for his extensive building projects (including the temple in Jerusalem) and for his cruelty.

17 tn Grk “of”; but the meaning of the preposition ἐκ (ek) is more accurately expressed in contemporary English by the relative clause “who belonged to.”

18 sn There were twenty-four divisions of priesthood and the priestly division of Abijah was eighth on the list according to 1 Chr 24:10.

19 tn Grk “and her name was Elizabeth.”

20 tn Grk “a wife of the daughters of Aaron.”

sn It was not unusual for a priest to have a wife from a priestly family (a descendant of Aaron); this was regarded as a special blessing.

21 tn Grk “And they.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

22 tn Grk “walking in” (an idiom for one’s lifestyle).

sn The description of Zechariah and Elizabeth as following… blamelessly was not to say that they were sinless, but that they were faithful and pious. Thus a practical righteousness is meant here (Gen 6:8; Deut 28:9).

23 tn The predicate adjective has the effect of an adverb here (BDF §243).

24 sn Elizabeth was barren. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth are regarded by Luke as righteous in the sight of God, following all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly (v. 6). With this language, reminiscent of various passages in the OT, Luke is probably drawing implicit comparisons to the age and barrenness of such famous OT personalities as Abraham and Sarah (see, e.g., Gen 18:9-15), the mother of Samson (Judg 13:2-5), and Hannah, the mother of Samuel (1 Sam 1:1-20). And, as it was in the case of these OT saints, so it is with Elizabeth: After much anguish and seeking the Lord, she too is going to have a son in her barrenness. In that day it was a great reproach to be childless, for children were a sign of God’s blessing (cf. Gen 1:28; Lev 20:20-21; Pss 127 and 128; Jer 22:30). As the dawn of salvation draws near, however, God will change this elderly couple’s grief into great joy and grant them the one desire time had rendered impossible.

25 tn Grk “were both advanced in days” (an idiom for old age).

26 tn Grk “Now it happened that.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

27 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Zechariah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

28 tn Grk “serving as priest in the order of his division before God.”

sn Zechariah’s division would be on duty twice a year for a week at a time.

29 tn Grk “according to the custom of the priesthood it fell to him by lot.” The order of the clauses has been rearranged in the translation to make it clear that the prepositional phrase κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἱερατείας (kata to eqo" th" Jierateia", “according to the custom of the priesthood”) modifies the phrase “it fell to him by lot” rather than the preceding clause.

30 tn This is an aorist participle and is temporally related to the offering of incense, not to when the lot fell.

31 tn Or “temple.” Such sacrifices, which included the burning of incense, would have occurred in the holy place according to the Mishnah (m. Tamid 1.2; 3.1; 5-7). A priest would have given this sacrifice, which was offered for the nation, once in one’s career. It would be offered either at 9 a.m. or 3 p.m., since it was made twice a day.

32 tn Grk “And,” but “now” better represents the somewhat parenthetical nature of this statement in the flow of the narrative.

33 tn Grk “all the multitude.” While “assembly” is sometimes used here to translate πλῆθος (plhqo"), that term usually implies in English a specific or particular group of people. However, this was simply a large group gathered outside, which was not unusual, especially for the afternoon offering.

34 tn The “hour of the incense offering” is another way to refer to the time of sacrifice.

35 tn Grk “And an angel.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, δέ (de) has not been translated here.

36 tn Or “the angel of the Lord.” Linguistically, “angel of the Lord” is the same in both testaments (and thus, he is either “an angel of the Lord” or “the angel of the Lord” in both testaments). For arguments and implications, see ExSyn 252; M. J. Davidson, “Angels,” DJG, 9; W. G. MacDonald argues for “an angel” in both testaments: “Christology and ‘The Angel of the Lord’,” Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation, 324-35.

37 sn This term is often used to describe a supernatural appearance (24:34; Acts 2:3; 7:2, 30, 35; 9:17; 13:31; 16:9; 26:16).

38 tn The words “the angel” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

39 tn Or “and he was afraid”; Grk “fear fell upon him.” Fear is common when supernatural agents appear (1:29-30, 65; 2:9; 5:8-10; 9:34; 24:38; Exod 15:16; Judg 6:22-23; 13:6, 22; 2 Sam 6:9).

40 tn The passive means that the prayer was heard by God.

sn Your prayer has been heard. Zechariah’s prayer while offering the sacrifice would have been for the nation, but the answer to the prayer also gave them a long hoped-for child, a hope they had abandoned because of their old age.

41 tn Grk “a son, and you”; καί (kai) has not been translated. Instead a semicolon is used in the translation for stylistic reasons.

42 tn Grk “you will call his name John.” The future tense here functions like a command (see ExSyn 569-70). This same construction occurs in v. 31.

snDo not be afraid…you must call his name John.” This is a standard birth announcement (see Gen 16:11; Isa 7:14; Matt 1:21; Luke 1:31).

43 tn Grk “This will be joy and gladness.”

44 tn Or “because of.”

45 tn “At his birth” is more precise as the grammatical subject (1:58), though “at his coming” is a possible force, since it is his mission, as the following verses note, that will really bring joy.

46 tn Grk “before.”

47 tn Grk “and he”; because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the conjunction καί (kai) has not been translated here. Instead a new English sentence is begun in the translation.

48 tn Grk “even from his mother’s womb.” While this idiom may be understood to refer to the point of birth (“even from his birth”), Luke 1:41 suggests that here it should be understood to refer to a time before birth.

sn He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. This is the language of the birth of a prophet (Judg 13:5, 7; Isa 49:1; Jer 1:5; Sir 49:7); see 1:41 for the first fulfillment.

49 tn Grk “And he.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

50 sn The word translated will turn is a good summary term for repentance and denotes John’s call to a change of direction (Luke 3:1-14).

51 tn Grk “sons”; but clearly this is a generic reference to people of both genders.

52 tn Grk “before him”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

53 sn These two lines cover all relationships: Turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children points to horizontal relationships, while (turn) the disobedient to the wisdom of the just shows what God gives from above in a vertical manner.

54 tn Grk “And Zechariah.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

55 tn Grk “How will I know this?”

56 tn Grk “is advanced in days” (an idiom for old age).

57 tn Grk “And the.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

58 tn Grk “the one who is standing before God.”

59 tn Grk “to announce these things of good news to you.”

60 tn Grk “behold.”

61 sn The predicted fulfillment in the expression my words, which will be fulfilled in their time takes place in Luke 1:63-66.

62 sn Silent, unable to speak. Actually Zechariah was deaf and mute as 1:61-63 indicates, since others had to use gestures to communicate with him.

63 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

64 tn The imperfect verb ἐθαύμαζον (eqaumazon) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.

65 tn Or “temple.” See the note on the phrase “the holy place” in v. 9.

66 tn Grk “And when.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

67 tn Grk “and they.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

68 tn That is, “he had had a supernatural encounter in the holy place,” since the angel came to Zechariah by the altar. This was not just a “mental experience.”

69 tn Or “temple.” See the note on the phrase “the holy place” in v. 9.

70 tn Grk “and,” but the force is causal or explanatory in context.

71 tn Grk “dumb,” but this could be understood to mean “stupid” in contemporary English, whereas the point is that he was speechless.

72 tn Grk “And it happened that as the days of his service were ended.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

73 tn Grk “After these days.” The phrase refers to a general, unspecified period of time that passes before fulfillment comes.

74 tn Or “Elizabeth conceived.”

75 sn The text does not state why Elizabeth withdrew into seclusion, nor is the reason entirely clear.

76 tn Grk “she kept herself in seclusion, saying.” The participle λέγουσα (legousa) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

77 tn Grk “Thus.”

78 tn Grk “in the days.”

79 tn Grk “has looked on me” (an idiom for taking favorable notice of someone).

80 sn Barrenness was often seen as a reproach or disgrace (Lev 20:20-21; Jer 22:30), but now at her late age (the exact age is never given in Luke’s account), God had miraculously removed it (see also Luke 1:7).

81 tn Grk “among men”; but the context clearly indicates a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") here.

82 tn Grk “in the sixth month.” The phrase “of Elizabeth’s pregnancy” was supplied in the translation to clarify the exact time meant by this reference. That Elizabeth’s pregnancy is meant is clear from vv. 24-25.

83 sn Gabriel is the same angel mentioned previously in v. 19. He is traditionally identified as an angel who brings revelation (see Dan 8:15-16; 9:21). Gabriel and Michael are the only two good angels named in the Bible.

84 tn Or “from.” The account suggests God’s planned direction in these events, so “by” is better than “from,” as six months into Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God acts again.

85 sn Nazareth was a town in the region of Galilee, located north of Samaria and Judea. Galilee extended from about 45 to 85 miles north of Jerusalem and was about 30 miles in width. Nazareth was a very small village and was located about 15 miles west of the southern edge of the Sea of Galilee.

map For location see Map1-D3; Map2-C2; Map3-D5; Map4-C1; Map5-G3.

86 tn Or “promised in marriage.”

87 tn Grk “Joseph, of the house of David.”

sn The Greek word order here favors connecting Davidic descent to Joseph, not Mary, in this remark.

88 tn Grk “And coming to her.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

89 tn Grk “And coming to her, he said”; the referent (the angel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

90 tn Grk “coming to her, he said.” The participle εἰσελθών (eiselqwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

91 tn The address, “favored one” (a perfect participle, Grk “Oh one who is favored”) points to Mary as the recipient of God’s grace, not a bestower of it. She is a model saint in this passage, one who willingly receives God’s benefits. The Vulgate rendering “full of grace” suggests something more of Mary as a bestower of grace, but does not make sense here contextually.

92 tc Most mss (A C D Θ Ë13 33 Ï latt sy) read here εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν (euloghmenh su en gunaixin, “blessed are you among women”) which also appears in 1:42 (where it is textually certain). This has the earmarks of a scribal addition for balance; the shorter reading, attested by the most important witnesses and several others (א B L W Ψ Ë1 565 579 700 1241 pc co), is thus preferred.

93 tc Most mss (A C Θ 0130 Ë13 Ï lat sy) have ἰδοῦσα (idousa, “when [she] saw [the angel]”) here as well, making Mary’s concern the appearance of the angel. This construction is harder than the shorter reading since it adds a transitive verb without an explicit object. However, the shorter reading has significant support (א B D L W Ψ Ë1 565 579 1241 sa) and on balance should probably be considered authentic.

94 sn On the phrase greatly troubled see 1:12. Mary’s reaction was like Zechariah’s response.

95 tn Grk “to wonder what kind of greeting this might be.” Luke often uses the optative this way to reveal a figure’s thinking (3:15; 8:9; 18:36; 22:23).

96 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate that Gabriel’s statement is a response to Mary’s perplexity over the greeting.

97 sn Do not be afraid. See 1:13 for a similar statement to Zechariah.

98 tn Or “grace.”

sn The expression found favor is a Semitism, common in the OT (Gen 6:8; 18:3; 43:14; 2 Sam 15:25). God has chosen to act on this person’s behalf.

99 tn Grk “And behold.”

100 tn Grk “you will conceive in your womb.”

101 tn Or “and bear.”

102 tn Grk “you will call his name.”

103 tn See v. 13 for a similar construction.

sn You will name him Jesus. This verse reflects the birth announcement of a major figure; see 1:13; Gen 16:7; Judg 13:5; Isa 7:14. The Greek form of the name Ihsous, which was translated into Latin as Jesus, is the same as the Hebrew Yeshua (Joshua), which means “Yahweh saves” (Yahweh is typically rendered as “Lord” in the OT). It was a fairly common name among Jews in 1st century Palestine, as references to a number of people by this name in the LXX and Josephus indicate.

104 tn Grk “this one.”

105 sn Compare the description of Jesus as great here with 1:15, “great before the Lord.” Jesus is greater than John, since he is Messiah compared to a prophet. Great is stated absolutely without qualification to make the point.

106 sn The expression Most High is a way to refer to God without naming him. Such avoiding of direct reference to God was common in 1st century Judaism out of reverence for the divine name.

107 tn Or “ancestor.”

108 tn Grk “And he.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. A new sentence is begun here in the translation because of the length of the sentence in Greek.

109 tn Or “over Israel.”

sn The expression house of Jacob refers to Israel. This points to the Messiah’s relationship to the people of Israel.

110 tn Grk “And Mary.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

111 tn Grk “have not known.” The expression in the Greek text is a euphemism for sexual relations. Mary seems to have sensed that the declaration had an element of immediacy to it that excluded Joseph. Many modern translations render this phrase “since I am a virgin,” but the Greek word for virgin is not used in the text, and the euphemistic expression is really more explicit, referring specifically to sexual relations.

112 tn Grk “And the angel said to her.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. The pronoun αὐτῇ (auth, “to her”) has not been included in the translation since it is redundant in contemporary English.

113 sn The phrase will overshadow is a reference to God’s glorious presence at work (Exod 40:34-35; Ps 91:4).

114 tn Or “the one born holy will be called the Son of God.” The wording of this phrase depends on whether the adjective is a predicate adjective, as in the text, or is an adjective modifying the participle serving as the subject. The absence of an article with the adjective speaks for a predicate position. Other less appealing options supply a verb for “holy”; thus “the one who is born will be holy”; or argue that both “holy” and “Son of God” are predicates, so “The one who is born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

115 tc A few mss (C* Θ Ë1 33 pc) add “by you” here. This looks like a scribal addition to bring symmetry to the first three clauses of the angel’s message (note the second person pronoun in the previous two clauses), and is too poorly supported to be seriously considered as authentic.

116 tn Or “Therefore the holy child to be born will be called the Son of God.” There are two ways to understand the Greek phrase τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον (to gennwmenon {agion) here. First, τὸ γεννώμενον could be considered a substantival participle with ἅγιον as an adjective in the second predicate position, thus making a complete sentence; this interpretation is reflected in the translation above. Second, τὸ ἅγιον could be considered a substantival adjective with γεννώμενον acting as an adjectival participle, thus making the phrase the subject of the verb κληθήσεται (klhqhsetai); this interpretation is reflected in the alternative reading. Treating the participle γεννώμενον as adjectival is a bit unnatural for the very reason that it forces one to understand ἅγιον as substantival; this introduces a new idea in the text with ἅγιον when an already new topic is being introduced with γεννώμενον. Semantically this would overload the new subject introduced at this point. For this reason the first interpretation is preferred.

117 tn Grk “behold.”

118 tn Some translations render the word συγγενίς (sungeni") as “cousin” (so Phillips) but the term is not necessarily this specific.

119 tn Or “has conceived.”

120 tn Grk “and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren.” Yet another note on Elizabeth’s loss of reproach also becomes a sign of the truth of the angel’s declaration.

121 tn In Greek, the phrase πᾶν ῥῆμα (pan rJhma, “nothing”) has an emphatic position, giving it emphasis as the lesson in the entire discussion. The remark is a call for faith.

122 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

123 tn Grk “behold.”

124 tn Traditionally, “handmaid”; Grk “slave woman.” Though δούλη (doulh) is normally translated “woman servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free woman serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times… in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v. δοῦλος). The most accurate translation is “bondservant,” sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος (doulos), in that it often indicates one who sells himself or herself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

125 tn Grk “let this be to me.”

126 sn The remark according to your word is a sign of Mary’s total submission to God’s will, a response that makes her exemplary.

127 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

128 sn The expression In those days is another general time reference, though the sense of the context is that the visit came shortly after Mary miraculously conceived and shortly after the announcement about Jesus.

129 sn The author does not say exactly where Elizabeth stayed. The location is given generally as a town of Judah. Judah is about a three day trip south of Nazareth.

130 tn Grk “And it happened that.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here either.

131 sn When the baby leaped John gave his first testimony about Jesus, a fulfillment of 1:15.

132 tn The antecedent of “her” is Elizabeth.

133 sn The passage makes clear that Elizabeth spoke her commentary with prophetic enablement, filled with the Holy Spirit.

134 tn Grk “and she.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was begun here in the translation. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

135 tn Grk “and she exclaimed with a great cry and said.” The verb εἶπεν (eipen, “said”) has not been included in the translation since it is redundant in contemporary English.

136 sn The commendation Blessed are you among women means that Mary has a unique privilege to be the mother of the promised one of God.

137 tn Grk “fruit,” which is figurative here for the child she would give birth to.

138 tn Grk “From where this to me?” The translation suggests the note of humility and surprise that Elizabeth feels in being a part of these events. The ἵνα (Jina) clause which follows explains what “this” is. A literal translation would read “From where this to me, that is, that the mother of my Lord comes to visit me?”

139 tn Grk “for behold.”

140 tn Grk “when the sound of your greeting [reached] my ears.”

141 sn On the statement the baby in my womb leaped for joy see both 1:14 and 1:47. This notes a fulfillment of God’s promised word.

142 sn Again the note of being blessed makes the key point of the passage about believing God.

143 tn This ὅτι (Joti) clause, technically indirect discourse after πιστεύω (pisteuw), explains the content of the faith, a belief in God’s promise coming to pass.

144 tn That is, “what was said to her (by the angel) at the Lord’s command” (BDAG 756 s.v. παρά A.2).

145 tn Grk “that there would be a fulfillment of what was said to her from the Lord.”

sn This term speaks of completion of something planned (2 Chr 29:35).

146 tc A few witnesses, especially Latin mss, (a b l* Irarm Orlat mss Nic) read “Elizabeth” here, since she was just speaking, but the ms evidence overwhelmingly supports “Mary” as the speaker.

147 sn The following passage has been typeset as poetry because many scholars regard this passage as poetic or hymnic. These terms are used broadly to refer to the genre of writing, not to the content. There are two broad criteria for determining if a passage is poetic or hymnic: “(a) stylistic: a certain rhythmical lilt when the passages are read aloud, the presence of parallelismus membrorum (i.e., an arrangement into couplets), the semblance of some metre, and the presence of rhetorical devices such as alliteration, chiasmus, and antithesis; and (b) linguistic: an unusual vocabulary, particularly the presence of theological terms, which is different from the surrounding context” (P. T. O’Brien, Philippians [NIGTC], 188-89). Classifying a passage as hymnic or poetic is important because understanding this genre can provide keys to interpretation. However, not all scholars agree that the above criteria are present in this passage, so the decision to typeset it as poetry should be viewed as a tentative decision about its genre.

148 tn Or “lifts up the Lord in praise.”

149 sn This psalm (vv. 46-55) is one of the few praise psalms in the NT. Mary praises God and then tells why both in terms of his care for her (vv. 46-49) and for others, including Israel (vv. 50-55). Its traditional name, the “Magnificat,” comes from the Latin for the phrase My soul magnifies the Lord at the hymn’s start.

150 tn Or “rejoices.” The translation renders this aorist, which stands in contrast to the previous line’s present tense, as ingressive, which highlights Mary’s joyous reaction to the announcement. A comprehensive aorist is also possible here.

151 tn See the note on the word “servant” in v. 38.

152 tn Grk “for behold.”

153 sn From now on is a favorite phrase of Luke’s, showing how God’s acts change things from this point on (5:10; 12:52; 22:18, 69; Acts 18:6).

154 sn Mary is seen here as an example of an object of God’s grace (blessed) for all generations.

155 tn Traditionally, “the Mighty One.”

156 tn Grk “and from.” Here καί (kai) has been translated by a semicolon to improve the English style.

157 sn God’s mercy refers to his “loyal love” or “steadfast love,” expressed in faithful actions, as the rest of the psalm illustrates.

158 tn That is, “who revere.” This refers to those who show God a reverential respect for his sovereignty.

159 tn Or “shown strength,” “performed powerful deeds.” The verbs here switch to aorist tense through 1:55. This is how God will act in general for his people as they look to his ultimate deliverance.

160 tn Grk “in the imaginations of their hearts.” The psalm rebukes the arrogance of the proud, who think that power is their sovereign right. Here διανοίᾳ (dianoia) can be understood as a dative of sphere or reference/respect.

161 tn Or “rulers.”

162 tn Or “those of humble position”

sn The contrast between the mighty and those of lowly position is fundamental for Luke. God cares for those that the powerful ignore (Luke 4:18-19).

163 sn Good things refers not merely to material blessings, but blessings that come from knowing God.

164 sn Another fundamental contrast of Luke’s is between the hungry and the rich (Luke 6:20-26).

165 tn Or “because he remembered mercy,” understanding the infinitive as causal.

166 tn Or “his [God’s] loyal love.”

167 tn Grk “as he spoke.” Since this is a reference to the covenant to Abraham, ἐλάλησεν (elalhsen) can be translated in context “as he promised.” God keeps his word.

168 tn Grk “fathers.”

169 tn Grk “his seed” (an idiom for offspring or descendants).

170 tn Grk “And.” Here (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the conclusion of the topic.

171 tn Grk “her”; the referent (Elizabeth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

172 sn As is typical with Luke the timing is approximate (about three months), not specific.

173 tn Grk “the time was fulfilled.”

174 tn The words “her baby” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied for clarity.

175 tn Grk “And her.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

176 tn Grk “had magnified his mercy with her.”

177 tn The verb συνέχαιρον (sunecairon) is an imperfect and could be translated as an ingressive force, “they began to rejoice.”

178 tn Grk “And it happened that.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

179 sn They were following OT law (Lev 12:3) which prescribed that a male child was to be circumcised on the eighth day.

180 tn This could be understood as a conative imperfect, expressing an unrealized desire (“they were trying to name him”). It has been given more of a voluntative nuance in the translation.

181 tn Grk “And,” but with clearly contrastive emphasis in context.

182 tn Grk “his mother answering, said.” The combination of participle and finite verb is redundant in English and has been simplified to “replied” in the translation.

183 tn This future passive indicative verb has imperatival force and thus has been translated “he must be named.”

184 snNo! He must be named John.” By insisting on the name specified by the angel, Elizabeth (v. 60) and Zechariah (v. 63) have learned to obey God (see Luke 1:13).

185 tn Grk “And they.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

186 tn The word “but” is not in the Greek text but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

187 tn Grk “There is no one from your relatives who is called by this name.”

188 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the consequential nature of the action described.

189 tn Grk “his”; the referent (the baby) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

190 sn The crowd was sure there had been a mistake, so they appealed to the child’s father. But custom was not to be followed here, since God had spoken. The fact they needed to signal him (made signs) shows that he was deaf as well as unable to speak.

191 tn Grk “what he might wish to call him.”

192 tn Grk “And he.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

193 sn The writing tablet requested by Zechariah would have been a wax tablet.

194 tn Grk “and wrote, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant is English and has not been translated.

195 sn The response, they were all amazed, expresses a mixture of surprise and reflection in this setting where they were so certain of what the child’s name would be.

196 tn Grk “And immediately.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

197 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Zechariah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

198 sn The mention of both mouth and tongue here is a figure called zeugma and emphasizes that the end of the temporary judgment came instantly and fully upon Zechariah’s expression of faith in naming the child. He had learned to trust and obey God during his short period of silence. He had learned from his trial.

199 tn “Released” is implied; in the Greek text both στόμα (stoma) and γλῶσσα (glwssa) are subjects of ἀνεῴχθη (anewcqh), but this would be somewhat redundant in English.

200 tn Grk “And all.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

sn Fear is the emotion that comes when one recognizes something unusual, even supernatural, has taken place.

201 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. A new sentence was begun at this point in the translation because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence.

202 tn Grk “heard them”; the referent (these things, from the previous verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

203 tn Grk “heart.” The term “heart” (καρδία, kardia) could also be translated as “mind,” or “thoughts,” and the entire phrase be rendered as “kept them in mind,” “thought about,” or the like. But the immediate context is clearly emotive, suggesting that much more is at work than merely the mental processes of thinking or reasoning about “these things.” There is a sense of joy and excitement (see the following question, “What then will this child be?”) and even fear. Further, the use of καρδία in 1:66 suggests connections with the same term in 2:19 where deep emotion is being expressed as well. Therefore, recognizing both the dramatic nature of the immediate context and the literary connections to 2:19, the translation renders the term in 1:66 as “hearts” to capture both the cognitive and emotive aspects of the people’s response.

204 tn Or “what manner of child will this one be?”

205 sn The reference to the Lords hand indicates that the presence, direction, and favor of God was with him (Acts 7:9b).

206 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

207 tn Grk “and he prophesied, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant and has not been translated.

sn Prophesied. The reference to prophecy reflects that Zechariah is enabled by the Spirit to speak God’s will. He does so in this case through a praise psalm, which calls for praise and then gives the reason why God should be praised.

208 sn The traditional name of this psalm, the “Benedictus,” comes from the Latin wording of the start of the hymn (“Blessed be…”).

209 sn The verb come to help can refer to a visit, but can also connote concern or assistance (L&N 85.11).

210 tn Or “has delivered”; Grk “has accomplished redemption.”

sn Has redeemed is a reference to redemption, but it anticipates the total release into salvation that the full work of Messiah will bring for Israel. This involves both spiritual and material benefits eventually.

211 tn Grk “and,” but specifying the reason for the praise in the psalm.

212 sn The phrase raised up means for God to bring someone significant onto the scene of history.

213 sn The horn of salvation is a figure that refers to the power of Messiah and his ability to protect, as the horn refers to what an animal uses to attack and defend (Ps 75:4-5, 10; 148:14; 2 Sam 22:3). Thus the meaning of the figure is “a powerful savior.”

214 sn In the house of his servant David is a reference to Messiah’s Davidic descent. Zechariah is more interested in Jesus than his own son John at this point.

215 tn Grk “from the ages,” “from eternity.”

216 tn Grk “from long ago, salvation.”

217 sn The theme of being saved from our enemies is like the release Jesus preached in Luke 4:18-19. Luke’s narrative shows that one of the enemies in view is Satan and his cohorts, with the grip they have on humanity.

218 tn The words “He has done this” (referring to the raising up of the horn of salvation from David’s house) are not in the Greek text, but are supplied to allow a new sentence to be started in the translation. The Greek sentence is lengthy and complex at this point, while contemporary English uses much shorter sentences.

219 sn Mercy refers to God’s loyal love (steadfast love) by which he completes his promises. See Luke 1:50.

220 tn Or “our forefathers”; Grk “our fathers.” This begins with the promise to Abraham (vv. 55, 73), and thus refers to many generations of ancestors.

221 sn The promises of God can be summarized as being found in the one promise (the oath that he swore) to Abraham (Gen 12:1-3).

222 tn This is linked back grammatically by apposition to “covenant” in v. 72, specifying which covenant is meant.

223 tn Or “forefather”; Grk “father.”

224 tn Again for reasons of English style, the infinitival clause “to grant us” has been translated “This oath grants” and made the beginning of a new sentence in the translation.

225 tc Many important early mss (א B L W [0130] Ë1,13 565 892 pc) lack “our,” while most (A C D [K] Θ Ψ 0177 33 Ï pc) supply it. Although the addition is most likely not authentic, “our” has been included in the translation due to English stylistic requirements.

226 tn This phrase in Greek is actually thrown forward to the front of the verse to give it emphasis.

227 sn The phrases that we…might serve him…in holiness and righteousness from Luke 1:74-75 well summarize a basic goal for a believer in the eyes of Luke. Salvation frees us up to serve God without fear through a life full of ethical integrity.

228 tn Grk “all our days.”

229 sn Now Zechariah describes his son John (you, child) through v. 77.

230 tn Or “a prophet”; but since Greek nouns can be definite without the article, and since in context this is a reference to the eschatological forerunner of the Messiah (cf. John 1:17), the concept is better conveyed to the English reader by the use of the definite article “the.”

231 sn In other words, John is a prophet of God; see 1:32 and 7:22-23, 28.

232 tc Most mss, especially the later ones (A C D L Θ Ψ 0130 Ë1,13 33 Ï sy), have πρὸ προσώπου κυρίου (pro proswpou kuriou, “before the face of the Lord”), but the translation follows the reading ἐνώπιον κυρίου (enwpion kuriou, “before the Lord”), which has earlier and better ms support (Ì4 א B W 0177 pc) and is thus more likely to be authentic.

233 tn This term is often translated in the singular, looking specifically to the forerunner role, but the plural suggests the many elements in that salvation.

sn On the phrase prepare his ways see Isa 40:3-5 and Luke 3:1-6.

234 sn John’s role, to give his people knowledge of salvation, is similar to that of Jesus (Luke 3:1-14; 5:31-32).

235 sn Forgiveness is another major Lukan theme (Luke 4:18; 24:47; Acts 10:37).

236 tn For reasons of style, a new sentence has been started in the translation at this point. God’s mercy is ultimately seen in the deliverance John points to, so v. 78a is placed with the reference to Jesus as the light of dawning day.

237 sn God’s loyal love (steadfast love) is again the topic, reflected in the phrase tender mercy; see Luke 1:72.

238 sn The Greek term translated dawn (ἀνατολή, anatolh) can be a reference to the morning star or to the sun. The Messiah is pictured as a saving light that shows the way. The Greek term was also used to translate the Hebrew word for “branch” or “sprout,” so some see a double entendre here with messianic overtones (see Isa 11:1-10; Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zech 3:8; 6:12).

239 tn Grk “shall visit us.”

240 sn On the phrases who sit in darkness…and…death see Isa 9:1-2; 42:7; 49:9-10.

241 tn Or “the path.”

242 tn This verb is imperfect.

243 tn This verb is also imperfect.

244 tn Or “desert.”

245 tn Grk “until the day of his revealing.”

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