What is the correct wordings of Luke 1:26 from original Greek. I came across two different wordings as produced below:

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,


26 When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee,

How these two version can be so different as one is saying "And in the sixth month" and other "When Elizabeth was six months pregnant"?

One of this would mean the sixth month of a calender, implying a fixed date in an era and other is completely vague, with no fixed date in an era.

How is the original text worded for this verse?


1 Answer 1


Luke 1:26 in the Greek is

Ἐν δὲ τῷ μηνὶ τῷ ἕκτῳ ἀπεστάλη ὁ ἄγγελος Γαβριὴλ υἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ εἰς πόλιν τῆς Γαλιλαίας ᾗ ὄνομα Ναζαρὲθ

In yet the month the sixth was commissioned the messenger Gabriel by the God into city of the Galilee to which name Nazareth

And in the sixth month God sent the angel Gabriel into the city of Galilee which is called Nazareth

which should be read in the context of Luke 1:24 —

Μετὰ δὲ ταύτας τὰς ἡμέρας συνέλαβεν Ἐλισάβετ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ· καὶ περιέκρυβεν ἑαυτὴν μῆνας πέντε, λέγουσα

After yet these the days together-got Elizabeth the woman of him. And about-hid herself months five saying

And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived and hid herself five months, saying

It's reasonable to interpret the sixth month as the month following the five months of "hiding", which would make it the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy. But that's not what the literal translation says; that's just "the sixth month".

One of your translations is literal, the other is interpretative.

Literal translation from http://www.scripture4all.org
Greek text from http://sblgnt.com/download/
English translation is mine.

  • I was searching for basis for Christmas being in December and then came across this verse, which if taken as sixth month of the Jewish year leads to the month of December as Jesus' birth. But if it interpreted as sixth month of Elizabeth pregnancy then it becomes vague without any reference to any calender.
    – user426
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 10:45
  • The Jewish New Year falls in September (usually), so the sixth month is February and Christ's birth would be in November. That might be close enough for complete ambiguity, as you point out. Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 10:50
  • 1
    Are you talking about the modern form of the Rabbinic calendar? This is not attested before the 9th century AD. Are you talking about the calendar used in Palestine in the second temple period? What sources do you have for this?
    – fdb
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:17
  • 1
    @fdb That comment was migrated from C.SE, so it may not have the academic rigour which this site might exhibit. Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 13:23
  • @AndrewLeach, according to YHWH (Exodus 12:2), the first month for the Hebrews is Abib, the month in which Passover falls).
    – user2027
    Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 0:38

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