Dedication to Theophilus

11 Seeing that many did take in hand to set in order a narration of the matters that have been fully assured among us, 2 as they did deliver to us, who from the beginning became eye-witnesses, and officers of the Word,— 3 it seemed good also to me, having followed from the first after all things exactly, to write to thee in order, most noble Theophilus, 4 that thou mayest know the certainty of the things wherein thou wast instructed.

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest, by name Zacharias, of the course of Abijah, and his wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elisabeth; 6 and they were both righteous before God, going on in all the commands and righteousnesses of the Lord blameless, 7 and they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and both were advanced in their days. 8 And it came to pass, in his acting as priest, in the order of his course before God, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot was to make perfume, having gone into the sanctuary of the Lord, 10 and all the multitude of the people were praying without, at the hour of the perfume. 11 And there appeared to him a messenger of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of the perfume, 12 and Zacharias, having seen, was troubled, and fear fell on him; 13 and the messenger said unto him, 'Fear not, Zacharias, for thy supplication was heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear a son to thee, and thou shalt call his name John, 14 and there shall be joy to thee, and gladness, and many at his birth shall joy, 15 for he shall be great before the Lord, and wine and strong drink he may not drink, and of the Holy Spirit he shall be full, even from his mother's womb; 16 and many of the sons of Israel he shall turn to the Lord their God, 17 and he shall go before Him, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn hearts of fathers unto children, and disobedient ones to the wisdom of righteous ones, to make ready for the Lord, a people prepared.' 18 And Zacharias said unto the messenger, 'Whereby shall I know this? for I am aged, and my wife is advanced in her days?' 19 And the messenger answering said to him, 'I am Gabriel, who have been standing near before God, and I was sent to speak unto thee, and to proclaim these good news to thee, 20 and lo, thou shalt be silent, and not able to speak, till the day that these things shall come to pass, because thou didst not believe my words, that shall be fulfilled in their season.' 21 And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and wondering at his tarrying in the sanctuary, 22 and having come out, he was not able to speak to them, and they perceived that a vision he had seen in the sanctuary, and he was beckoning to them, and did remain dumb. 23 And it came to pass, when the days of his service were fulfilled, he went away to his house, 24 and after those days, his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying— 25 'Thus hath the Lord done to me, in days in which He looked upon 'me', to take away my reproach among men.'

Jesus' Birth Foretold

26 And in the sixth month was the messenger Gabriel sent by God, to a city of Galilee, the name of which 'is' Nazareth, 27 to a virgin, betrothed to a man, whose name 'is' Joseph, of the house of David, and the name of the virgin 'is' Mary. 28 And the messenger having come in unto her, said, 'Hail, favoured one, the Lord 'is' with thee; blessed 'art' thou among women;' 29 and she, having seen, was troubled at his word, and was reasoning of what kind this salutation may be. 30 And the messenger said to her, 'Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God; 31 and lo, thou shalt conceive in the womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and call his name Jesus; 32 he shall be great, and Son of the Highest he shall be called, and the Lord God shall give him the throne of David his father, 33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob to the ages; and of his reign there shall be no end.' 34 And Mary said unto the messenger, 'How shall this be, seeing a husband I do not know?' 35 And the messenger answering said to her, 'The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore also the holy-begotten thing shall be called Son of God; 36 and lo, Elisabeth, thy kinswoman, she also hath conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month to her who was called barren; 37 because nothing shall be impossible with God.' 38 And Mary said, 'Lo, the maid-servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to thy saying,' and the messenger went away from her.

Mary Visits Elisabeth

39 And Mary having arisen in those days, went to the hill-country, with haste, to a city of Judea, 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 did leap in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and spake out with a loud voice, 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 might come unto me? 44 for, lo, when the voice of thy salutation came to my ears, leap in gladness did the babe in my womb; 45 and happy 'is' she who did believe, for there shall be a completion to the things spoken to her from the Lord.' 46 And Mary said, 'My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit was glad on God my Saviour, 48 Because He looked on the lowliness of His maid-servant, For, lo, henceforth call me happy shall all the generations, 49 For He who is mighty did to me great things, And holy 'is' His name, 50 And His kindness 'is' to generations of generations, To those fearing Him, 51 He did powerfully with His arm, He scattered abroad the proud in the thought of their heart, 52 He brought down the mighty from thrones, And He exalted the lowly, 53 The hungry He did fill with good, And the rich He sent away empty, 54 He received again Israel His servant, To remember kindness, 55 As He spake unto our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed—to the age.' 56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and turned back to her house.

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 And to Elisabeth was the time fulfilled for her bringing forth, and she bare a son, 58 and the neighbours and her kindred heard that the Lord was making His kindness great with her, and they were rejoicing with her. 59 And it came to pass, on the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were calling him by the name of his father, Zacharias, 60 and his mother answering said, 'No, but he shall be called John.' 61 And they said unto her—'There is none among thy kindred who is called by this name,' 62 and they were making signs to his father, what he would wish him to be called, 63 and having asked for a tablet, he wrote, saying, 'John is his name;' and they did all wonder; 64 and his mouth was opened presently, and his tongue, and he was speaking, praising God. 65 And fear came upon all those dwelling around them, and in all the hill-country of Judea were all these sayings spoken of, 66 and all who heard did lay them up in their hearts, saying, 'What then shall this child be?' and the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zechariah's Prophecy

67 And Zacharias his father was filled with the Holy Spirit, and did prophesy, saying, 68 'Blessed 'is' the Lord, the God of Israel, Because He did look upon, And wrought redemption for His people, 69 And did raise an horn of salvation to us, In the house of David His servant, 70 As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, Which have been from the age; 71 Salvation from our enemies, And out of the hand of all hating us, 72 To do kindness with our fathers, And to be mindful of His holy covenant, 73 An oath that He sware to Abraham our father, 74 To give to us, without fear, Out of the hand of our enemies having been delivered, 75 To serve Him, in holiness and righteousness Before Him, all the days of our life. 76 And thou, child, Prophet of the Highest Shalt thou be called; For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, To prepare His ways. 77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people In remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercies of our God, In which the rising from on high did look upon us, 79 To give light to those sitting in darkness and death-shade, To guide our feet to a way of peace.' 80 And the child grew, and was strengthened in spirit, and he was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

The Word Made Flesh

11 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; 2 this one was in the beginning with God; 3 all things through him did happen, and without him happened not even one thing that hath happened. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men,

5 and the light in the darkness did shine, and the darkness did not perceive it. 6 There came a man—having been sent from God—whose name 'is' John, 7 this one came for testimony, that he might testify about the Light, that all might believe through him; 8 that one was not the Light, but—that he might testify about the Light. 9 He was the true Light, which doth enlighten every man, coming to the world; 10 in the world he was, and the world through him was made, and the world did not know him: 11 to his own things he came, and his own people did not receive him; 12 but as many as did receive him to them he gave authority to become sons of God—to those believing in his name, 13 who—not of blood nor of a will of flesh, nor of a will of man but—of God were begotten. 14 And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on John 1:1-14

Commentary on John 1:1-5

(Read John 1:1-5)

The plainest reason why the Son of God is called the Word, seems to be, that as our words explain our minds to others, so was the Son of God sent in order to reveal his Father's mind to the world. What the evangelist says of Christ proves that he is God. He asserts, His existence in the beginning; His coexistence with the Father. The Word was with God. All things were made by him, and not as an instrument. Without him was not any thing made that was made, from the highest angel to the meanest worm. This shows how well qualified he was for the work of our redemption and salvation. The light of reason, as well as the life of sense, is derived from him, and depends upon him. This eternal Word, this true Light shines, but the darkness comprehends it not. Let us pray without ceasing, that our eyes may be opened to behold this Light, that we may walk in it; and thus be made wise unto salvation, by faith in Jesus Christ.

Commentary on John 1:6-14

(Read John 1:6-14)

John the Baptist came to bear witness concerning Jesus. Nothing more fully shows the darkness of men's minds, than that when the Light had appeared, there needed a witness to call attention to it. Christ was the true Light; that great Light which deserves to be called so. By his Spirit and grace he enlightens all that are enlightened to salvation; and those that are not enlightened by him, perish in darkness. Christ was in the world when he took our nature upon him, and dwelt among us. The Son of the Highest was here in this lower world. He was in the world, but not of it. He came to save a lost world, because it was a world of his own making. Yet the world knew him not. When he comes as a Judge, the world shall know him. Many say that they are Christ's own, yet do not receive him, because they will not part with their sins, nor have him to reign over them. All the children of God are born again. This new birth is through the word of God as the means, 1 Peter 1:23, and by the Spirit of God as the Author. By his Divine presence Christ always was in the world. But now that the fulness of time was come, he was, after another manner, God manifested in the flesh. But observe the beams of his Divine glory, which darted through this veil of flesh. Men discover their weaknesses to those most familiar with them, but it was not so with Christ; those most intimate with him saw most of his glory. Although he was in the form of a servant, as to outward circumstances, yet, in respect of graces, his form was like the Son of God His Divine glory appeared in the holiness of his doctrine, and in his miracles. He was full of grace, fully acceptable to his Father, therefore qualified to plead for us; and full of truth, fully aware of the things he was to reveal.