1Forsooth for many men enforced to ordain the telling of things, which be filled in us, (Because many men endeavoured to order the telling of things, which happened among us,) 2as they that saw at the beginning, and were ministers of the word, betaken, (as they who saw it from the beginning, and were servants of the word, that was delivered,) 3it is seen also to me, having from the beginning all things diligently by order, to write to thee, thou best Theophilus, (it is seen also by me, having put all things diligently in order from the beginning, to write to thee, O most excellent Theophilus,) 4(so) that thou know the truth of those words, of which thou art learned.]
5In the days of Herod, (the) king of Judaea, there was a priest, Zacharias by name (called Zechariah), of the sort of Abia, and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6And both were just before God (And both were good and righteous before God), going in all the commandments and justifyings of the Lord, without (com)plaint. 7And they had no child, for Elisabeth was barren, and both were of great age, (or had gone far), in their days.
8And it befell, that when Zacharias should do the office of priesthood, in the order of his course before God, (And it befell, that when Zechariah should do the duties of the priesthood, by the order of his course before God,) 9after the custom of the priesthood, he went forth by lot, and entered into the temple [of the Lord], to (offer the) incense. 10And all the multitude of the people was withoutforth, and prayed in the hour of incensing. (And a great multitude of people were outside, and prayed during the hour of incense.) 11And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, and stood on the right half of the altar of incense (and stood on the right side of the altar of incense). 12And Zacharias seeing (him) was (made) afraid, (or was distroubled), and dread fell upon him. (And when Zechariah saw him he was afraid, and fear fell upon him.) 13And the angel said to him, Zacharias, dread thou not (Fear not, Zechariah); for thy prayer is heard, and Elisabeth, thy wife, shall bear to thee a son, and his name shall be called John. 14And joy and gladding shall be to thee; and many shall have joy in his nativity, or birth. 15For he shall be great before the Lord, and he shall not drink wine nor cider, and he shall be full-filled with the Holy Ghost [and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost] (and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit), yet from his mother’s womb. 16And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to their Lord God; [And he shall convert many of the sons of Israel to the Lord God of them;] 17and he shall go before him in the spirit and virtue of Elias (and he shall go before him in the spirit and in the power of Elijah); and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers into the sons, and men out of belief, (or that believe not), (in)to the prudence of just men, (or of righteous men), to make ready a perfect people to the Lord.
18And Zacharias said to the angel, Whereof shall I know this? for I am old, and my wife hath gone far in her days. 19And the angel answered, and said to him, For I am Gabriel, that stand nigh before God (Yea, I am Gabriel, who standeth near to God); and I am sent to thee to speak, and to evangelize to thee, (or to tell to thee), these things. 20And lo! thou shalt be dumb, and thou shalt not be able to speak till into the day, in which these things shall be done; for thou hast not believed to my words (for thou hast not believed my words), which shall be fulfilled in their time.
21And the people was abiding Zacharias, and they wondered, (why) that he tarried (so) in the temple. 22And he went out, and might not speak to them, and they knew that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he beckoned to them, and dwelled still dumb. 23And it was done, when the days of his office were fulfilled, he went into his house.
24And after these days Elisabeth, his wife, conceived, and hid her(self) (for) five months, and said, 25For so the Lord did to me in the days, in which he beheld, to take away my reproof, (or my shame), among men.
26But in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, whose name was Nazareth, 27to a maiden, wedded to a man [to a virgin, wedded to a man], whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the name of the maiden was Mary. 28And the angel entered to her, and said, Hail, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed be thou among women. 29And when she had heard (this), she was troubled in his word (she was troubled by his words), and thought what manner salutation this was. 30And the angel said to her, Dread thou not, Mary (Fear not, Mary), for thou hast found grace with God. 31Lo! thou shalt conceive in [the] womb, and shalt bear a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. 32This shall be great [He shall be great], and he shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give to him the seat of David, his father (and the Lord God shall give him the throne of his father David), 33and he shall reign in the house of Jacob [into] without end, and of his realm shall be none end (and there shall be no end to his Kingdom). 34And Mary said to the angel, On what manner shall this thing be done, for I know not (a) man?/for I know no man? 35And the angel answered, and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come from above into thee, and the virtue of the Highest shall overshadow thee (The Holy Spirit shall come from above upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee); and therefore that holy thing that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God. 36And lo! Elisabeth, thy cousin, and she also hath conceived a son in her old (age), and this month is the sixth to her that is called barren; 37for every word shall not be impossible with God. (for nothing is impossible with God.) 38And Mary said, Lo! the handmaid of the Lord/the handmaiden of the Lord; be it done to me after thy word. And the angel departed from her.
39And Mary rose up in those days, and went with haste into the mountains, (or into the hilly places), into a city of Judaea. 40And she entered into the house of Zacharias, and greeted Elisabeth. 41And it was done, as Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the young child in her womb gladded. And Elisabeth was full-filled with the Holy Ghost [And Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost] (And Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit), 42and cried with a great voice (and cried with a loud voice), and said, Blessed be thou among women, and blessed be the fruit of thy womb. 43And whereof is this thing to me, that the mother of my Lord come to me? 44For lo! as the voice of thy salutation was made in mine ears, the young child gladded in joy in my womb [the young child gladded with joy in my womb]. 45And blessed be thou, that hast believed, for those things that be said of the Lord to thee, shall be perfectly done [for those things that be said to thee from the Lord, shall be perfectly done].
46And Mary said, My soul magnifieth the Lord,
47and my spirit hath gladded in God, mine health [mine health-giver]. (and my spirit hath rejoiced in God, my salvation.)
48For he hath beheld the meekness of his handmaid/the meekness of his handmaiden. For lo! of this (For lo! because of this), all generations shall say that I am blessed [Lo! forsooth of this all generations shall say me blessed].
49For he that is mighty hath done to me great things, and his name is holy.
50And his mercy is from kindred into kindreds, to men that dread him (to those who fear and revere him).
51He made might in his arm, he scattered proud men with the thought of his heart.
52He put down mighty men from their seats, and enhanced meek men. (He brought down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted, or raised up, the humble.)
53He hath full-filled hungry men with goods [He hath filled hungry men with good things], and he hath left rich men void.
54He, having mind of his mercy, took Israel, his child; (He, remembering his kindness, helped his servant Israel;)
55as he hath spoken to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed, into worlds (forever).
56And Mary dwelled with her, as it were three months, and turned again into her house. (And Mary remained with her for three months, and then returned to her house.)
57But the time of bearing child was fulfilled to Elisabeth, and she bare a son. 58And the neighbours and the cousins of her heard, that the Lord had magnified his mercy with her; and they thanked him [and they together joyed to her, (or with her)].
59And it was done in the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, by the name of his father. (And it was done on the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zechariah, after his father’s name.) 60And his mother answered, and said, Nay, but he shall be called John. 61And they said to her, For no man is in thy kindred, that is called [by] this name. 62And they beckoned to his father, what he would that he were called (what he wanted him to be called). 63And he asking (for) a pointel (And he asking for a stylus), wrote, saying, John is his name. And all men wondered. 64And anon his mouth was opened, and his tongue, and he spake, and blessed God. (And at once his mouth was opened, and his tongue, and he spoke, and blessed God.) 65And dread was made on all their neighbours (And all their neighbours were filled with fearful reverence), and all these words were published on all the mountains, (or on all the hilly places), of Judaea. 66And all men that heard putted (it) in their heart(s), and said, What manner child shall this be? For the hand of the Lord was with him.
67And Zacharias, his father, was full-filled with the Holy Ghost [was filled with the Holy Ghost], and prophesied, and said, (And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he prophesied, and said,)
68Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited, and made redemption of his people (and made redemption for his people).
69And he hath raised to us an horn of health, in the house of David, his child. (He hath raised up for us a Deliverer of salvation, in the house of his servant David.)
70As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, that were from the world. (As he spoke by the mouths of his holy prophets, who lived long ago.)
71Health from our enemies (Salvation, or Deliverance, from our enemies), and from the hand(s) of all (the) men that hated us.
72To do mercy with our fathers, and to have mind of his holy testament. (To give mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant.)
73The great oath that he swore to Abraham, our father,
74to give himself to us. That we without dread, delivered from the hand of our enemies, serve to him, [to give him self to us. That we delivered from the hand of our enemies, serve to him without dread, (or without fear),] (to give himself to us. That we now, without any fear, having been delivered from the hand of our enemies, serve him,)
75in holiness and rightwiseness before him in all our days.
76And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest; for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, to make ready his ways (to prepare his way).
77To give science of health to his people, into remission of their sins; (To give the knowledge of salvation to his people, by the forgiveness of their sins;)
78by the inwardness of the mercy of our God, in the which he springing up from on high hath visited us.
79To give light to them that sit in darknesses, and in the shadow of death; to (ad)dress our feet into the way of peace. (To give light to those who sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death; to direct our feet in the way of peace.)
80And the child waxed, and was comforted in spirit, and was in desert places unto the day of his showing to Israel. (And the child grew, and was strengthened in spirit, and lived in the desert until the day of his first appearance before Israel.)
Wycliffe’s Old Testament
Wycliffe’s New Testament
and JOHN PURVEY
A modern-spelling edition of their
14TH century Middle English translation,
the first complete English vernacular version,
with an Introduction by
TERENCE P. NOBLE
Used by Permission