(American Standard Version)
1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us,
2 even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word,
3 it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus;
4 that thou mightest know the certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed.
5 There was in the days of Herod, king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abijah: and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
8 Now it came to pass, while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,
9 according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the hour of incense.
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of altar of incense.
12 And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: because thy supplication is heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall be turn unto the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before his face in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to walk in the wisdom of the just; to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.
18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak unto thee, and to bring thee these good tidings.
20 And behold, thou shalt be silent and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall come to pass, because thou believedst not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
21 And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and they marvelled while he tarried in the temple.
22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: and he continued making signs unto them, and remained dumb.
23 And it came to pass, when the days of his ministration were fulfilled, he departed unto his house.
24 And after these days Elisabeth his wife conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying,
25 Thus hath the Lord done unto me in the days wherein he looked upon me, to take away my reproach among men.
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28 And he came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee.
29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this might be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God.
36 And behold, Elisabeth thy kinswoman, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that was called barren.
37 For no word from God shall be void of power.
38 And Mary said, Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
39 And Mary arose in these days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah;
40 and entered into the house of Zacharias and saluted Elisabeth.
41 And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit;
42 and she lifted up her voice with a loud cry, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?
44 For behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid: For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is unto generations and generations On them that fear him.
51 He hath showed strength with his arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart.
52 He hath put down princes from their thrones, And hath exalted them of low degree.
53 The hungry he hath filled with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away.
54 He hath given help to Israel his servant, That he might remember mercy
55 (As he spake unto our fathers) Toward Abraham and his seed for ever.
56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned unto her house.
57 Now Elisabeth's time was fulfilled that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
58 And her neighbors and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her; and they rejoiced with her.
59 And it came to pass on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him Zacharias, after the name of the father.
60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
62 And they made signs to his father, what he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, blessing God.
65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.
66 And all that heard them laid them up in their heart, saying, What then shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,
68 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; For he hath visited and wrought redemption for his people,
69 And hath raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of his servant David
70 (As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets that have been from of old),
71 Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
72 To show mercy towards, our fathers, And to remember his holy covenant;
73 The oath which he spake unto Abraham our father,
74 To grant unto us that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies Should serve him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 Yea and thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Most High: For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to make ready his ways;
77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people In the remission of their sins,
78 Because of the tender mercy of our God, Whereby the dayspring from on high shall visit us,
79 To shine upon them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death; To guide our feet into the way of peace.
80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel.
(2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)