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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Luke: Chapter 1)

1:1 {Forasmuch as} (\epeidēper\). Here alone in the N.T., though
common in literary Attic. Appears in the papyri. A triple
compound (\epei\ = since, \dē\ = admittedly true, \per\ =
intensive particle to emphasize importance)
. {Many} (\polloi\).
How many no one knows, but certainly more than two or three. We
know that Luke used the Logia of Jesus written by Matthew in
Aramaic (Papias) and Mark's Gospel. Undoubtedly he had other
written sources. {Have taken in hand} (\epecheirēsan\). A literal
translation of \epicheireō\ (from \cheir\, hand and \epi\, upon).
Both Hippocrates and Galen use this word in their introduction to
their medical works. Here only in the N.T., though a common
literary word. Common in the papyri for undertaking with no idea
of failure or blame. Luke does not mean to cast reflection on
those who preceded him. The apocryphal gospels were all much
later and are not in his mind. Luke had secured fuller
information and planned a book on a larger scale and did surpass
them with the result that they all perished save Mark's Gospel
and what Matthew and Luke possess of the Logia of Jesus. There
was still room for Luke's book. That motive influences every
author and thus progress is made. {To draw up, a narrative}
(\anataxasthai diēgēsin\). Ingressive aorist middle infinitive.
This verb \anataxasthai\ has been found only in Plutarch's
_Moral_. 968 CD about an elephant "rehearsing" by moonlight
certain tricks it had been taught (Moulton and Milligan,
. That was from memory going regularly through the
thing again. But the idea in the word is plain enough. The word
is composed of \tassō\, a common verb for arranging things in
proper order and \ana\, again. Luke means to say that those
before him had made attempts to rehearse in orderly fashion
various matters about Christ. "The expression points to a
connected series of narratives in some order (\taxis\), topical
or chronological rather than to isolated narratives" (Bruce).
"They had produced something more than mere notes or anecdotes"
(Plummer). \Diēgēsis\ means leading or carrying a thing through,
not a mere incident. Galen applies this word some seventy-five
times to the writing of Hippocrates. {Which have been fulfilled}
(\tōn peplērōphorēmenōn\). Perfect passive participle from
\plērophoreō\ and that from \plērēs\ (full) and \pherō\ (to
. Hence to bring or make full. The verb is rare outside of
the LXX and the N.T. Papyri examples occur for finishing off a
legal matter or a financial matter in full. Deissmann (_Light
from the Ancient East_, pp. 86f.)
gives examples from the papyri
and inscriptions for completing a task or being convinced or
satisfied in mind. The same ambiguity occurs here. When used of
persons in the N.T. the meaning is to be convinced, or fully
persuaded (Ro 4:21; 14:5; Heb 6:11; 10:22). When used of things
it has the notion of completing or finishing (2Ti 4:5,17). Luke
is here speaking of "matters" (\pragmatōn\). Luke may refer to
the matters connected with Christ's life which have been brought
to a close among us or accomplished. Bruce argues plausibly that
he means fulness of knowledge "concerning the things which have
become widely known among us Christians." In Col 2:2 we have
"fulness of understanding" (\tēs plērophorias tēs suneseōs\). In
modern Greek the verb means to inform. The careful language of
Luke here really pays a tribute to those who had preceded him in
their narratives concerning Christ.

1:2 {Even as} (\kathōs\). This particle was condemned by the
Atticists though occurring occasionally from Aristotle on. It is
in the papyri. Luke asserts that the previous narratives had
their sound basis. {Delivered unto us} (\paredōsan hēmin\).
Second aorist active indicative of \paradidōmi\. Luke received
this tradition along with those who are mentioned above (the
. That is he was not one of the "eyewitnesses." He was a
secondary, not a primary, witness of the events. Tradition has
come to have a meaning of unreliability with us, but that is not
the idea here. Luke means to say that the handing down was
dependable, not mere wives' fables. Those who drew up the
narratives had as sources of knowledge those who handed down the
data. Here we have both written and oral sources. Luke had access
to both kinds. {Which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and
ministers of the word}
(\hoi ap' archēs autoptai kai hupēretai
genomenoi tou logou\)
. "Who" is better than "which" for the
article here. The word for {eyewitnesses} (\autoptai\) is an old
Greek word and appears in the papyri also. It means seeing with
one's own eyes. It occurs here only in the N.T. We have the very
word in the medical term _autopsy_. Greek medical writers often
had the word. It is a different word from \epoptai\ (eyewitness)
in 2Pe 1:16, a word used of those who beheld heavenly
mysteries. The word for "ministers" (\hupēretai\), under rowers
or servants we have had already in Mt 5:25; 26:58; Mr 14:54,65,
which see. We shall see it again in Lu 4:20 of the attendant in
the synagogue. In the sense of a preacher of the gospel as here,
it occurs also in Ac 26:16. Here "the word" means the gospel
message, as in Ac 6:4; 8:4, etc. {From the beginning}
apparently refers to the beginning of the ministry of Jesus as
was true of the apostles (Ac 1:22) and of the early apostolic
preaching (Ac 10:37-43). The Gospel of Mark follows this plan.
The Gospel of Luke goes behind this in chapters 1 and 2 as does
Matthew in chapters 1 and 2. But Luke is not here referring to
himself. The matters about the childhood of Jesus Christ would
not form part of the traditional preaching for obvious reasons.

1:3 {It seemed good to me also} (\edoxe kamoi\). A natural
conclusion and justification of Luke's decision to write his
narrative. They had ample reason to draw up their narratives.
Luke has more reason to do so because of his fuller knowledge and
wider scope. {Having traced the course of all things}
(\parēkolouthēkoti pāsin\). The perfect active participle of a
common verb of the ancient Greek. Literally it means to follow
along a thing in mind, to trace carefully. Both meanings occur
abundantly in the ancient Greek. Cadbury (Appendix C to
_Beginnings of Christianity_, Vol. II, pp. 489ff.)
objects to the
translation "having traced" here as implying research which the
word does not here mean. Milligan (_Vocabulary_) is somewhat
impressed by this argument. See my discussion of the point in
Chapter XVI of _Studies in the Text of the N.T._ (The
Implications in Luke's Preface)
where the point is made that Luke
here claims fulness of knowledge before he began to write his
book. He had the traditions of the eyewitnesses and ministers of
the word and the narratives previously drawn up. Whether he was a
personal contemporary with any or all of these events we do not
know and it is not particularly pertinent. He had _mentally_
followed along by the side of these events. Galen used this verb
for the investigation of symptoms. Luke got himself ready to
write before he began by full and accurate knowledge of the
subject. \Akribōs\ (accurately) means going into minute details,
from \akron\, the topmost point. And he did it {from the first}
(\anōthen\). He seems to refer to the matters in Chapters
1:5-2:52, the Gospel of the Infancy. {In order} (\kathexēs\).
Chronological order in the main following Mark's general outline.
But in 9:51-18:10 the order is often topical. He has made
careful investigation and his work deserves serious
consideration. {Most excellent Theophilus} (\kratiste
. The name means god-lover or god-beloved. He may have
been a believer already. He was probably a Gentile. Ramsay holds
that "most excellent" was a title like "Your Excellency" and
shows that he held office, perhaps a Knight. So of Felix (Ac
and Festus (Ac 26:25). The adjective does not occur in
the dedication in Ac 1:1.

1:4 {Mightest know} (\epignōis\). Second aorist active
subjunctive of \epiginōskō\. Full knowledge (\epi\-), in addition
to what he already has. {The certainty} (\tēn asphaleian\). Make
no slip (\sphallō\, to totter or fall, and \a\ privative). Luke
promises a reliable narrative. "Theophilus shall know that the
faith which he has embraced has an impregnable historical
foundation" (Plummer). {The things} (\logōn\). Literally "words,"
the details of the words in the instruction. {Wast instructed}
(\katēchēthēs\). First aorist passive indicative. Not in O.T. and
rare in ancient Greek. Occurs in the papyri. The word \ēcheō\ is
our word echo (cf. 1Th 1:8 for \exēchētai\, has sounded forth).
\Katēcheō\ is to sound down, to din, to instruct, to give oral
instruction. Cf. 1Co 14:9; Ac 21:21,24; 18:25; Gal 6:6. Those
men doing the teaching were called _catechists_ and those
receiving it were called _catechumens_. Whether Theophilus was
still a catechumen is not known. This Preface by Luke is in
splendid literary _Koinē_ and is not surpassed by those in any
Greek writer (Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius). It is entirely
possible that Luke was familiar with this habit of Greek
historians to write prefaces since he was a man of culture.

1:5 {There was} (\egeneto\). Not the usual \en\ for "was," but
there arose or came into notice. With this verse the literary
_Koinē_ of verses 1 to 4 disappears. To the end of chapter 2 we
have the most Hebraistic (Aramaic) passage in Luke's writings,
due evidently to the use of documents or notes of oral tradition.
Plummer notes a series of such documents ending with 1:80, 2:40,
2:52. If the mother of Jesus was still alive, Luke could have
seen her. She may have written in Aramaic an account of these
great events. Natural reserve would keep her from telling too
much and from too early publicity. Luke, as a physician, would
take special interest in her birth report. The supernatural
aspects disturb only those who do not admit the real Incarnation
of Jesus Christ and who are unable to believe that God is
superior to nature and that the coming of the Son of God to earth
justifies such miraculous manifestations of divine power. Luke
tells his story from the standpoint of Mary as Matthew gives his
from the standpoint of Joseph. The two supplement each other. We
have here the earliest documentary evidence of the origins of
Christianity that has come down to us (Plummer). {Herod, King of
(\Hērōidou basileōs tēs Ioudaias\). This note of time
locates the events before the death of Herod the Great (as he was
called later)
, appointed King of Judea by the Roman Senate B.C.
40 at the suggestion of Octavius and Antony. He died B.C. 4. {Of
the course of Abijah}
(\ex ephēmerias Abia\). Not in old Greek,
but in LXX and modern Greek. Papyri have a verb derived from it,
\ephēmereō\. Daily service (Ne 13:30; 1Ch 25:8) and then a
course of priests who were on duty for a week (1Ch 23:6;
. There were 24 such courses and that of Abijah was the
eighth (1Ch 24:10; 2Ch 8:14). Only four of these courses
(Jedaiah, Immer, Pashur, Harim) returned from Babylon, but these
four were divided into twenty-four with the old names. Each of
these courses did duty for eight days, sabbath to sabbath, twice
a year. On sabbaths the whole course did duty. At the feast of
tabernacles all twenty-four courses were present. {Of the
daughters of Aaron}
(\ek tōn thugaterōn Aarōn\). "To be a priest
and married to a priest's daughter was a double distinction"
(Plummer). Like a preacher married to a preacher's daughter.

1:6 {Righteous before God} (\dikaioi enantion tou theou\). Old
Testament conception and idiom. Cf. 2:25 about Simeon. Expanded
in Old Testament language. Picture of "noblest product of Old
Testament education" (Ragg) is Zacharias and Elisabeth, Mary and
Joseph, Simeon and Anna who were "privileged to see with clear
eyes the dawn of the New Testament revelation."

1:7 {Because that} (\kathoti\). Good Attic word, according to
what. Only in Luke and Acts in the N.T. In the papyri. {Well
stricken in years}
(\probebēkotes en tais hēmerais autōn\).
Wycliff has it right: "Had gone far in their days." Perfect
active participle. See also verse 18.

1:8 {While he executed the priest's office} (\en tōi hierateuein
. A favourite idiom in Luke, \en\ with the articular
infinitive and the accusative of general reference where the
genitive absolute could have been used or a temporal conjunction
and finite verb. It is proper Greek, but occurs often in the LXX,
which Luke read, particularly in imitation of the Hebrew
infinitive construct. The word \hierateuō\ does not appear in the
ancient Greek, but in the LXX and this one example in Luke. It is
on the Rosetta Stone and the early inscriptions so that the word
was simply applied by the LXX translators from current usage.

1:9 {His lot was} (\elache\). Literally, {he obtained the lot}.
Second aorist active indicative of \lagchanō\, to obtain by lot,
a very old verb from Homer on. It is used either with the
genitive as here, or the accusative as in Ac 1:17; 2Pe 1:1.
Papyri show examples with the accusative. It was only once in a
lifetime that a priest obtained the lot of going (\eiselthōn\,
here nominative aorist active participle agreeing with the
subject of \elache\)
into the sanctuary (\ton naon\, not \to
hieron\, the outer courts)
and burning incense on the golden
altar. "It was the great moment of Zacharias's life, and his
heart was no doubt alert for the supernatural" (Ragg). The
fortunate lot was "a white stone" to which Re 2:17 may refer.
{Burn incense} (\tou thumiasai\). Here only in the N.T. Occurs on
inscriptions. Hobart finds it used by medical writers for
fumigating herbs. "Ascending the steps to the Holy Place, the
priests spread the coals on the golden altar, and arranged the
incense, and the chief operating priest was then left alone
within the Holy Place to await the signal of the president to
burn the incense. It was probably at this time that the angel
appeared to Zacharias" (Vincent).

1:10 {Were praying without} (\ēn proseuchomenon exō\).
Periphrastic imperfect indicative picturing the posture of the
people while the clouds of incense rose on the inside of the

1:11 {Appeared} (\ōphthē\). First aorist passive indicative. It
is the form used by Paul of the resurrection appearances of Jesus
(1Co 15:5-8). There is no use in trying to explain away the
reality of the angel. We must choose between admitting an
objective appearance and a myth (Plummer).

1:13 {Is heard} (\eisēkousthē\). First aorist passive indicative.
A sort of timeless aorist, "was heard" when made, and so "is
heard" now. Probably the prayer was for a son in spite of the
great age of Elisabeth, though the Messianic redemption is
possible also. {John} (\Iōanēn\). The word means that God is
gracious. The mention of the name should have helped Zacharias to
believe. The message of the angel (verses 13-17) takes on a
metrical form when turned into Hebrew (Ragg) and it is a prose
poem in Greek and English like 1:30-33,35-37,42-45,46-55,68-70;
2:10-12,14,29-32,34-35. Certainly Luke has preserved the
earliest Christian hymns in their oldest sources. He is the first
critic of the sources of the Gospels and a scholarly one.

1:14 {Gladness} (\agalliasis\). Only in the LXX and N.T. so far
as known. A word for extreme exultation. {Rejoice}
(\charēsontai\). Second future passive indicative. The coming of
a prophet will indeed be an occasion for rejoicing.

1:15 {Strong drink} (\sikera\). A Hebrew word transliterated into
Greek, an intoxicating drink. Here only in the N.T. John was to
be a personal "dry" or Nazarite (Nu 6:3). {Shall not drink}
(\ou mē piēi\). Strong prohibition, double negative and second
aorist subjunctive. {The Holy Ghost} (\pneumatos hagiou\). The
Holy Spirit in contrast to the physical excitement of strong
drink (Plummer). Luke uses this phrase 53 times, 12 in the
Gospel, Mark and John 4 each, Matthew 5 times. {Even from his
mother's womb}
(\eti ek koilias mētros autou\). A manifest
Hebraism. Cf. verse 41.

1:17 {Before his face} (\enōpion autou\). Not in the ancient
Greek, but common in the papyri as in LXX and N.T. It is a
vernacular _Koinē_ word, adverb used as preposition from
adjective \enōpios\, and that from \ho en ōpi ōn\ (the one who is
in sight)
. {Autou} here seems to be "the Lord their God" in verse
16 since the Messiah has not yet been mentioned, though he was
to be actually the Forerunner of the Messiah. {In the spirit and
power of Elijah}
(\en pneumati kai dunamei Eleiā\). See Isa
40:1-11; Mal 3:1-5. John will deny that he is actually Elijah in
person, as they expected (Joh 1:21), but Jesus will call him
Elijah in spirit (Mr 9:12; Mt 17:12). {Hearts of fathers}
(\kardias paterōn\). Paternal love had died out. This is one of
the first results of conversion, the revival of love in the home.
{Wisdom} (\phronēsei\). Not \sophia\, but a word for practical
intelligence. {Prepared} (\kateskeuasmenon\). Perfect passive
participle, state of readiness for Christ. This John did. This is
a marvellous forecast of the character and career of John the
Baptist, one that should have caught the faith of Zacharias.

1:18 {Whereby} (\kata ti\). According to what. It was too good to
be true and Zacharias demanded proof and gives the reason (for,
for his doubt. He had prayed for this blessing and was now
sceptical like the disciples in the house of Mary about the
return of Peter (Ac 12:14f.).

1:19 {Gabriel} (\Gabriēl\). The Man of God (Da 8:6; 9:21). The
other angel whose name is given in Scripture is Michael (Da
10:13,21; Jude 1:9; Re 12:7)
. The description of himself is a
rebuke to the doubt of Zacharias.

1:20 {Thou shalt be silent} (\esēi siōpōn\). Volitive future
periphrastic. {Not able to speak} (\mē dunamenos lalēsai\).
Negative repetition of the same statement. His dumbness will
continue "until" (\achri hēs hēmeras\) the events come to pass
"because" (\anth' hōn\). The words were to become reality in due
season (\kairon\, not \chronos\, time).

1:21 {Were waiting} (\ēn prosdokōn\). Periphrastic imperfect
again. An old Greek verb for expecting. Appears in papyri and
inscriptions. It denotes mental direction whether hope or fear.
{They marvelled} (\ethaumazon\). Imperfect tense, were wondering.
The Talmud says that the priest remained only a brief time in the
sanctuary. {While he tarried} (\en tōi chronizein\). See verse
8 for the same idiom.

1:22 {Perceived} (\epegnōsan\). Second aorist indicative. Clearly
knew because he was not able to pronounce the benediction from
the steps (Nu 6:24-26). {Continued making signs} (\ēn
. Periphrastic imperfect again. He nodded and beckoned
back and forth (\dia\, between). Further proof of a vision that
caused his dumbness.

1:23 {Ministration} (\leitourgias\). Our word liturgy. A common
word in ancient Greek for public service, work for the people
(\leōs ergon\). It is common in the papyri for the service of the
Egyptian priesthood as we see it in the LXX of Hebrew priests
(see also Heb 8:6; 9:21; 2Co 9:12; Php 2:17,30).

1:24 {Conceived} (\sunelaben\). Luke uses this word eleven times
and it occurs only five other times in the N.T. It is a very old
and common Greek word. He alone in the N.T. has it for conceiving
offspring (1:24,31,36; 2:21) though Jas 1:15 uses it of lust
producing sin. Hobart (_Medical Language of Luke_, p. 91)
observes that Luke has almost as many words for pregnancy and
barrenness as Hippocrates (\en gastri echein\, 21:23; \egkuos\,
2:5; \steira\, 1:7; \ateknos\, 20:28)
. {Hid}
(\periekruben\). Only here in the N.T., but in late _Koinē_
writers. Usually considered second aorist active indicative from
\perikruptō\, though it may be the imperfect indicative of a late
form \perikrubō\. If it is aorist it is the constative aorist.
The preposition \peri\ makes it mean completely (on all sides)

1:25 {My reproach} (\oneidos mou\). Keenly felt by a Jewish wife
because the husband wanted an heir and because of the hope of the
Messiah, and because of the mother's longing for a child.

1:26 {Was sent} (\apestalē\). Second aorist passive indicative of
\apostellō\ from which _apostle_ comes. The angel Gabriel is
God's messenger to Mary as to Zacharias (1:19).

1:27 {Betrothed} (\emnēsteumenēn\). Perfect passive participle.
Betrothal usually lasted a year and unfaithfulness on the part of
the bride was punished with death (De 23:24f.).

1:28 {Highly favoured} (\kecharitōmenē\). Perfect passive
participle of \charitoō\ and means endowed with grace (\charis\),
enriched with grace as in Eph 1:6, _non ut mater gratiae, sed
ut filia gratiae_ (Bengel). The Vulgate _gratiae plena_ "is
right, if it means 'full of grace _which thou hast received_';
wrong, if it means 'full of grace _which thou hast to bestow_"'
(Plummer). The oldest MSS. do not have "Blessed art thou among
women" here, but in verse 42.

1:29 {Cast in her mind} (\dielogizeto\). Imperfect indicative.
Note aorist \dietarachthē\. Common verb for reckoning up
different reasons. She was both upset and puzzled.

1:30 {Favour} (\charin\). Grace. Same root as \chairō\ (rejoice)
and \charitoō\ in verse 28. To find favour is a common O.T.
phrase. \Charis\ is a very ancient and common word with a variety
of applied meanings. They all come from the notion of sweetness,
charm, loveliness, joy, delight, like words of grace, Lu 4:22,
growing grace, Eph 4:29, with grace, Col 4:6. The notion of
kindness is in it also, especially of God towards men as here. It
is a favourite word for Christianity, the Gospel of the grace of
God (Ac 20:24) in contrast with law or works (Joh 1:16).
Gratitude is expressed also (Lu 6:32), especially to God (Ro
. {With God} (\para tōi theōi\). Beside God.

1:31 {Conceive in thy womb} (\sullēmpsēi en gastri\). Adding \en
gastri\ to the verb of 1:24. Same idiom in Isa 7:14 of
Immanuel. {Jesus} (\Iēsoun\). As to Joseph in Mt 1:21, but
without the explanation of the meaning. See on Matthew.

1:32 {The Son of the Most High} (\huios Hupsistou\). There is no
article in the Greek, but the use of Most High in verse 35
clearly of God as here. In Lu 6:35 we find "sons of the Most
High" (\huioi Hupsistou\) so that we cannot insist on deity here,
though that is possible. The language of 2Sa 7:14; Isa 9:7 is
combined here.

1:33 {Shall be no end} (\ouk estai telos\). Luke reports the
perpetuity of this Davidic kingdom over the house of Jacob with
no Pauline interpretation of the spiritual Israel though that was
the true meaning as Luke knew. Joseph was of the house of David
(Lu 1:27) and Mary also apparently (Lu 2:5).

1:35 {Shall overshadow thee} (\episkiasei\). A figure of a cloud
coming upon her. Common in ancient Greek in the sense of
obscuring and with accusative as of Peter's shadow in Ac 5:15.
But we have seen it used of the shining bright cloud at the
Transfiguration of Jesus (Mt 17:5; Mr 9:7; Lu 9:34). Here it is
like the Shekinah glory which suggests it (Ex 40:38) where the
cloud of glory represents the presence and power of God. {Holy,
the Son of God}
(\Hagion huios theou\). Here again the absence of
the article makes it possible for it to mean "Son of God." See
Mt 5:9. But this title, like the Son of Man (\Ho huios tou
was a recognized designation of the Messiah. Jesus
did not often call himself Son of God (Mt 27:43), but it is
assumed in his frequent use of the Father, the Son (Mt 11:27; Lu
10:21; Joh 5:19ff.)
. It is the title used by the Father at the
baptism (Lu 3:22) and on the Mount of Transfiguration (Lu
. The wonder of Mary would increase at these words. The
Miraculous Conception or Virgin Birth of Jesus is thus plainly
set forth in Luke as in Matthew. The fact that Luke was a
physician gives added interest to his report.

1:36 {Kinswoman} (\suggenis\). Not necessarily cousin, but simply

1:37 {No word} (\ouk rhēma\). \Rhēma\ brings out the single item
rather than the whole content (\logos\). So in verse 38.

1:39 {Arose} (\anastāsa\). Luke is very fond of this word, sixty
times against twenty-two in the rest of the N.T. {Into the hill
(\eis tēn orinēn\). Luke uses this adjective twice in
this context (here and 1:65) instead of \to oros\, the
mountains. It is an old word and is in the LXX, but nowhere else
in the N.T. The name of the city where Zacharias lived is not
given unless Judah here means Juttah (Jos 15:55). Hebron was
the chief city of this part of Judea.

1:40 {Saluted} (\ēspasato\). Her first glance at Elisabeth showed
the truth of the angel's message. The two mothers had a bond of

1:41 {Leaped} (\eskirtēsen\). A common enough incident with
unborn children (Ge 25:22), but Elisabeth was filled with the
Holy Spirit to understand what had happened to Mary.

1:42 {With a loud cry} (\kraugēi megalēi\). A moment of ecstatic
excitement. {Blessed art thou} (\eulogēmenē\). Perfect passive
participle. A Hebraistic equivalent for the superlative.

1:43 {The mother of my Lord} (\hē mētēr tou Kuriou mou\). See Ps
110:1. Only by the help of the Holy Spirit could Elisabeth know
that Mary was to be the mother of the Messiah.

1:45 {For} (\hoti\). It is not certain whether \hoti\ here is
"that" or "because." It makes good sense either way. See also
7:16. This is the first beatitude in the New Testament and it
is similar to the last one in the Gospels spoken to Thomas to
discourage his doubt (Joh 20:29). Elisabeth wishes Mary to have
full faith in the prophecy of the angel. This song of Elisabeth
is as real poetry as is that of Mary (1:47-55) and Zacharias
(1:68-70). All three spoke under the power of the Holy Spirit.
These are the first New Testament hymns and they are very
beautiful. Plummer notes four strophes in Mary's Magnificat
(46-48,49,50,51-53,54,55). Every idea here occurs in the
Old Testament, showing that Mary's mind was full of the spiritual
message of God's word.

1:46 {Doth magnify} (\megalunei\). Latin, _magnificat_. Harnack
argues that this is also the song of Elisabeth because a few
Latin MSS. have it so, but Mary is correct. She draws her
material from the O.T. and sings in the noblest strain.

1:47 {Hath rejoiced} (\ēgalliasen\). This is aorist active
indicative. Greek tenses do not correspond to those in English.
The verb \agalliaō\ is a Hellenistic word from the old Greek
\agallō\. It means to exult. See the substantive \agalliasis\ in
Lu 1:14,44. Mary is not excited like Elisabeth, but breathes a
spirit of composed rapture. {My spirit} (\to pneuma mou\). One
need not press unduly the difference between "soul" (\psuchē\) in
verse 46 and "spirit" here. Bruce calls them synonyms in
parallel clauses. Vincent argues that the soul is the principle
of individuality while the spirit is the point of contact between
God and man. It is doubtful, however, if the trichotomous theory
of man (body, soul, and spirit) is to be insisted on. It is
certain that we have an inner spiritual nature for which various
words are used in Mr 12:30. Even the distinction between
intellect, emotions, and will is challenged by some
psychologists. {God my Saviour} (\tōi theōi tōi sotēri mou\).
Article with each substantive. God is called Saviour in the O.T.
(De 32:15, Ps 24:5; 95:1).

1:48 {The low estate} (\tēn tapeinōsin\). The bride of a
carpenter and yet to be the mother of the Messiah. Literal sense
here as in 1:52. {Shall call me blessed} (\makariousin me\).
So-called Attic future of an old verb, to felicitate. Elisabeth
had already given her a beatitude (\makaria\, 1:45). Another
occurs in 11:27. But this is a very different thing from the
worship of Mary (Mariolatry) by Roman Catholics. See my _The
Mother of Jesus: Her Problems and Her Glory_.

1:50 {Fear} (\phoboumenois\). Dative of the present middle
participle. Here it is reverential fear as in Ac 10:2; Col
3:22. The bad sense of dread appears in Mt 21:46; Mr 6:20; Lu

1:51 {Showed strength} (\epoiēsen kratos\). "Made might"
(Wycliff). A Hebrew conception as in Ps 118:15. Plummer notes
six aorist indicatives in this sentence (51-63), neither
corresponding to our English idiom, which translates here by
"hath" each time. {Imagination} (\dianoiāi\). Intellectual
insight, moral understanding.

1:52 {Princes} (\dunastas\). Our word dynasty is from this word.
It comes from \dunamai\, to be able.

1:54 {Hath holpen} (\antelabeto\). Second aorist middle
indicative. A very common verb. It means to lay hold of with a
view to help or succour. {Servant} (\paidos\). Here it means
"servant," not "son" or "child," its usual meaning.

1:58 {Had magnified} (\emegalunen\). Aorist active indicative.
Same verb as in verse 46. {Rejoiced with her} (\sunechairon
. Imperfect tense and pictures the continual joy of the
neighbours, accented also by \sun-\ (cf. Php 2:18) in its
mutual aspect.

1:59 {Would have called} (\ekaloun\). Conative imperfect, tried
to call.

1:62 {Made signs} (\eneneuon\). Imperfect tense, repeated action
as usual when making signs. In 1:22 the verb used of Zacharias
is \dianeuōn\. {What he would have him called} (\to ti an theloi
kaleisthai auto\)
. Note article \to\ with the indirect question,
accusative of general reference. The optative with \an\ is here
because it was used in the direct question (cf. Ac 17:18), and
is simply retained in the indirect. {What would he wish him to be
({if he could speak}), a conclusion of the fourth-class

1:63 {Tablet} (\pinakidion\). Diminutive of \pinakis\. In
Aristotle and the papyri for writing tablet, probably covered
with wax. Sometimes it was a little table, like Shakespeare's
"the table of my memory" (Hamlet, i.5). It was used also of a
physician's note-book. {Wrote, saying} (\egrapsen legōn\). Hebrew
way of speaking (2Ki 10:6).

1:64 {Immediately} (\parachrēma\). Nineteen times in the N.T.,
seventeen in Luke. {Opened} (\aneōichthē\). First aorist passive
indicative with double augment. The verb suits "mouth," but not
"tongue" (\glōssa\). It is thus a zeugma with tongue. Loosed or
some such verb to be supplied.

1:65 {Fear} (\phobos\). Not terror, but religious awe because of
contact with the supernatural as in the case of Zacharias
(1:12). Were noised abroad (\dielaleito\). Imperfect passive.
Occurs in Polybius. In the N.T. only here and Lu 6:11. It was
continuous talk back and forth between (\dia\) the people.

1:66 {What then} (\ti ara\). With all these supernatural
happenings they predicted the marvellous career of this child.
Note \Ti\, {what}, not \Tis\, {who}. Cf. Ac 12:18. {They laid
them up}
(\ethento\, second aorist middle indicative) as Mary did
(2:19). {The hand of the Lord} (\cheir Kuriou\). Luke's
explanation in addition to the supernatural events. The
expression occurs only in Luke's writing (Ac 11:21; 13:11).

1:67 {Prophesied} (\eprophēteusen\). Under the guidance of the
Holy Spirit. This _Benedictus_ (\Eulogētos\, {Blessed}) of
Zacharias (68-79) may be what is referred to in verse 64 "he
began to speak blessing God" (\eulogōn\). Nearly every phrase
here is found in the O.T. (Psalms and Prophets). He, like Mary,
was full of the Holy Spirit and had caught the Messianic message
in its highest meaning.

1:68 {Hath visited} (\epeskepsato\). An old Greek word with a
Hebraic colouring to look into with a view to help. The papyri
have plenty of examples of the verb in the sense of inspecting,
examining. {Redemption} (\lutrōsin\) here originally referred to
political redemption, but with a moral and spiritual basis
(verses 75,77).

1:69 {Horn of salvation} (\keras sōtērias\). A common metaphor in
the O.T. (1Sa 2:10; 2Sa 23:3, etc.). It represents strength
like the horns of bulls. Cf. Ps. 132:17.

1:70 {Since the world began} (\ap' aiōnos\). Better "from of old"
(Weymouth, American Revision).

1:73 {The oath which he sware} (\horkon hon ōmosen\). Antecedent
attracted to case of the relative. The oath appears in Ge
22:16-18. The oppression of the Gentiles seems to be in the mind
of Zacharias. It is not certain how clearly he grasped the idea
of the spiritual Israel as Paul saw it in Galatians and Romans.

1:74 {Delivered} (\rhusthentas\). First aorist passive participle
of an old verb, \rhuomai\. The accusative case appears, where the
dative could have been used to agree with \hēmin\, because of the
infinitive \latreuein\ (verse 74) {to serve} (from {latros},
for hire)
. But Plato uses the word of service for God so that the
bad sense does not always exist.

1:75 {In holiness and righteousness} (\en hosiotēti kai
. Not a usual combination (Eph 4:24; Tit 1:8; 1Th
. The Godward and the manward aspects of conduct (Bruce).
\Hosios\, the eternal principles of right, \dikaios\, the rule of
conduct before men.

1:76 {Yea and thou} (\kai su de\). Direct address to the child
with forecast of his life (cf. 1:13-17). {Prophet}
(\prophētēs\). The word here directly applied to the child. Jesus
will later call John a prophet and more than a prophet. {The
(\Kuriou\). Jehovah as in 1:16.

1:77 {Knowledge of salvation} (\gnōsin sōtērias\). "This is the
aim and end of the work of the Forerunner" (Plummer).

1:78 {Tender mercy} (\splagchna eleous\). Bowels of mercy
literally (1Pe 3:8; Jas 3:11). Revised margin has it, hearts of
mercy. {The dayspring from on high} (\anatolē ex hupsous\).
Literally, rising from on high, like the rising sun or stars
(Isa 60:19). The word is used also of a sprouting plant or
branch (Jer 23:5; Zec 6:12), but that does not suit here.
{Shall visit} (\epeskepsetai\), correct text, cf. 1:68.

1:79 {To shine upon} (\epiphānai\). First aorist active
infinitive of \epiphainō\ (liquid verb). An old verb to give
light, to shine upon, like the sun or stars. See also Ac 27:20;
Tit 2:11; 3:4. {The shadow of death} (\skiāi thanatou\). See Ps
107:10, where darkness and shadow of death are combined as here.
Cf. also Isa 9:1. See on ¯Mt 4:16. To guide (\tou
. Genitive of the articular infinitive of purpose.
The light will enable them in the dark to see how to walk in a
straight path that leads to "the way of peace." We are still on
that road, but so many stumble for lack of light, men and

1:80 {Grew} (\ēuxane\). Imperfect active, was growing. {Waxed
(\ekrataiouto\). Imperfect again. The child kept growing
in strength of body and spirit. {His shewing} (\anadeixeōs
. Here alone in the N.T. It occurs in Plutarch and
Polybius. The verb appears in a sacrificial sense. The boy, as he
grew, may have gone up to the passover and may have seen the boy
Jesus (Lu 2:42-52), but he would not know that he was to be the
Messiah. So these two boys of destiny grew on with the years, the
one in the desert hills near Hebron after Zacharias and Elisabeth
died, the other, the young Carpenter up in Nazareth, each waiting
for "his shewing unto Israel."

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Luke: Chapter 1)