1:1 Forasmuch as 1 many have a taken in hand to set forth in
order a declaration of those things which are most surely
believed among us,
(1) Luke commends the witnesses that saw this present account.
(a) Many took it in hand, but did not perform: Luke wrote
his gospel before Matthew and Mark.
1:2b Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the
beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
(b) Luke was not any eye witness, and therefore it was not
he to whom the Lord appeared when Cleopas saw him: and
he was taught not only by Paul, but by others of the
1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding
of all things c from the very first, to write unto thee in
order, d most excellent Theophilus,
(c) Luke began his gospel a great deal further in the past
than the others did.
(d) It is "most mighty", and therefore Theophilus was a very
honourable man, and in a place of great dignity.
1:4 That thou mightest e know the certainty of those things,
wherein thou hast been instructed.
(e) Have fuller knowledge of those things which you know
1:5 There 2 was f in the days of g Herod, the king of
Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the h course
of Abia: and his wife [was] of the daughters of Aaron, and
her name [was] Elisabeth.
(2) John, who was another Elias and appointed to be the herald
of Christ, coming from the family of Aaron, and of two
famous and blameless parents, has shown in his conception
(which was against the course of nature) a double miracle,
to the end that men should be more readily prepared for
the hearing of his preaching, according to the forewarning
of the prophets.
(f) This is a Hebrew idiom which shows us how short and
frail a thing the power of princes is.
(g) Herod the great.
(h) For the posterity of Aaron was divided into courses.
1:6 And they were both i righteous before God, k walking in
all the l commandments and ordinances of the Lord m
(i) The true mark of righteousness is demonstrated when one
is liked and accepted in the judgment of God.
(k) Lived, as the Hebrews say, for our life is as a way
in which we must walk until we come to the mark.
(l) In all the moral and ceremonial law.
(m) Whom no man could justly reprove: now so it is that the
fruits of justification are set forth here, and not the
cause, which is faith only, and nothing else.
1:9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was
to burn incense when he went into the n temple of the
(n) The temple was one, and the court another, for Zacharias
went out of the court (or outward room) where all the
people were (and therefore they are said to be without)
and into the temple.
1:15 For he shall be great in the o sight of the Lord, and
shall drink neither wine nor p strong drink; and he shall
be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
(o) So the Hebrews say when a rare kind of excellency is
signified: so it is said of Nimrod in (Ge 10:9),
"He was a mighty hunter before the LORD".
(p) Any drink that might make someone drunk.
1:16 And many of the children of Israel shall he q turn to the
Lord their God.
(q) Shall be a means to bring many to repentance, and they
will turn themselves to the Lord, from whom they fell.
1:17 And he shall go r before him s in the spirit and power
of Elias, to turn the t hearts of the fathers to the
children, and the disobedient to the u wisdom of the
just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
(r) As they used to go before kings, and when you see them,
you know the king is not far off.
(s) This is spoken by the figure of speech metonymy, taking
the spirit for the gift of the spirit; as you would
say, the cause of that which comes from the cause.
(t) By the figure of speech synecdoche he shows that he
will take away all types of enmities which used to
breed great troubles and turmoils among men.
(u) Wisdom and goodness are two of the main causes which
make men revere and honour their fathers.
1:19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, x
that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak
unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
(x) That appears, for so the Hebrews use this saying "to
stand" to mean that they are ready to do his
1:263 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from
God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
(3) The angel, serving the Lord who would be born, is sent to
the virgin Mary, in whom the son of the most high promised
to David is conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1:27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the
y house of David; and the virgin's name [was] Mary.
(y) The same can be said of Mary, otherwise Christ would
not have been of the stock of David, nor his son.
1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, [thou that
art] z highly favoured, the Lord [is] with thee: a
blessed [art] thou among women.
(z) It might be literally rendered, "full of favour and
grace", and he shows immediately after, laying out
plainly unto us, what that favour is in that he says,
"The Lord is with thee".
(a) Of God.
1:29 And when she saw [him], she was b troubled at his saying,
and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should
(b) Moved at the strangeness of the matter.
1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast
c found favour with God.
(c) So the Hebrews said, saying that those men have found
favour who are in favour.
1:32 He shall be great, and shall be d called the Son of the
Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of
his father David:
(d) He will be declared to be so, for he was the Son of God
from everlasting, but was made manifest in the flesh in
1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, e How shall this be,
seeing f I know not a man?
(e) The greatness of the matter causes the virgin to ask
this question, not that she distrusted by any means at
all, for she asks only of the manner of the conceiving,
so that it is plain she believed all the rest.
(f) So speak the Hebrews, signifying by this modest kind of
speech the company of man and wife together, and this
is the meaning of it: how will this be, for as I will
be Christ's mother I am very sure I will not know any
man: for the godly virgin had learned by the prophets
that the Messiah would be born of a virgin.
1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost
g shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest
shall overshadow thee: therefore also that h holy thing
which shall be born of thee shall be i called the Son of
(g) That is, the Holy Spirit will cause thee to conceive by
his mighty power.
(h) That thing which is pure and void of all spot of
uncleanliness: for he that was to take away sin must of
necessity be void of sin.
(i) Declared and shown to the world to be the Son of God.
1:36 And, behold, thy k cousin Elisabeth, she hath also
conceived a son in her old age: and this is the l sixth
month with her, who was called barren.
(k) Though Elisabeth was of the tribe of Levi, yet it was
possible for her to be Mary's cousin: for whereas it
was forbidden by the Law for maidens to be married to
men of other tribes, there was an exception among the
Levites, who could take for themselves wives out of any
tribe: for the Levites had no portion allotted to them
when the land was divided among the people.
(l) This is now the sixth month from the time when she
1:394 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the m
hill country with haste, into a n city of Juda;
(4) Elisabeth being many months pregnant with John, and Mary
being pregnant with Christ, do rejoice for each other by
the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
(m) Which is on the south side of Jerusalem.
(n) That is to say, Hebron: which was in times past called
Kirjatharba: which was one of the towns that were
given to the Levites in the tribe of Judah, and is said
to be in the mountains of Judah; (Jos 14:15; 21:11).
1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the
salutation of Mary, the babe o leaped in her womb; and
Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
(o) This was no ordinary or usual type of moving.
1:42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed
[art] thou among women, and p blessed [is] the fruit of
(p) Christ is blessed with respect to his humanity.
1:465 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
(5) Christ, the redeemer of the afflicted and revenger of the
proud, promised long ago to the fathers, is now finally
1:48 For he hath q regarded the r low estate of his
handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations
shall call me blessed.
(q) Has freely and graciously loved.
(r) Literally, "My baseness", that is, my base estate: so
that the virgin did not boast of her deserts, but the
grace of God.
1:50 And his mercy [is] on them s that fear him from
generation to generation.
(s) To those that live godly and religiously, as the
1:51 He hath shewed strength with his t arm; he hath u
scattered the proud in the x imagination of their hearts.
(t) Here many more words than necessary are used, which the
Hebrews use very much: and "arm" here is taken for
(u) Even as the wind does to the chaff.
(x) He has scattered them, and the imagination of their
hearts; or, by and through the imagination of their own
hearts; so that their wicked counsel turned to their
1:52 He hath y put down the mighty from [their] seats, and
exalted them of z low degree.
(y) The mighty and rich men.
(z) Those of no account, who are vile in men's eyes, who
are indeed the poor in spirit, that is, those who
claim nothing of themselves in the sight of God.
1:53 He hath filled the a hungry with good things; and the
rich he hath sent empty away.
(a) Those that are brought to extreme poverty.
1:54b He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of
(b) He has helped Israel up with his arm, who had been
completely cast down.
1:55 As he c spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed
1:576 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be
delivered; and she brought forth a son.
(6) John's birth is accompanied by new miracles.
1:65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all
d these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the
hill country of Judaea.
(d) All this which was said and done.
1:66 And all they that heard [them] e laid [them] up in their
hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the
f hand of the Lord was with him.
(e) Thought upon them diligently and earnestly, and as it
were, printed them in their hearts.
(f) That is, the present favour of God, and a singular type
of virtue appeared in him.
1:677 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy
Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
(7) John, having just been born, by the authority of the Holy
Spirit is appointed to his office.
1:68 Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath g
visited and h redeemed his people,
(g) That he has shown himself mindful of his people, to the
extent that he came down from heaven himself to visit
us in person, and to redeem us.
(h) Has paid the ransom, that is to say, the price of our
1:69 And hath raised up an i horn of salvation for us in the
house of his servant David;
(i) This word "horn", in the Hebrew language, signifies
strength, and it is a metaphor taken from beasts that
fight with their horns: And by raising up the might of
Israel is meant that the kingdom of Israel was
defended, and the enemies of it laid on the ground,
even then when the strength of Israel seemed to be
1:72 To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and k to
remember his holy covenant;
(k) Declare indeed that he was mindful.
1:75 In holiness and righteousness l before him, all the days
of our life.
(l) To God's good liking.
1:76 And thou, m child, shalt be called the prophet of the
Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to
prepare his ways;
(m) Though you be at this present time ever so little.
1:77 To n give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the
o remission of their sins,
(n) Open the way.
(o) Forgiveness of sins is the means by which God saves us;
1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the p
dayspring from on high hath visited us,
(p) Or "bud", or "branch"; he alludes to (Jer 23:5)
(Zec 3:8 6:12); and he is called a bud from on
high, that is, sent from God unto us, and not as other
buds which bud out of the earth.
1:79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and [in] the
shadow of death, to guide our feet into the q way of
(q) Into the way which leads us to true happiness.