Luke 1:28

ESV And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"
NIV The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
NASB And coming in, he said to her, 'Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.'
CSB And the angel came to her and said, "Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you."
NLT Gabriel appeared to her and said, 'Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! '
KJV And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
NKJV And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

What does Luke 1:28 mean?

The angel Gabriel is associated with delivering several important messages in Scripture (Daniel 8:16; 9:21). It was Gabriel who told the aging priest, Zechariah, that he and his wife Elizabeth would finally have a child (Luke 1:11–13, 19). Now this angel comes to an obscure town in a rural area (Luke 1:26). The object of his mission is a virgin, unmarried but betrothed, by the name of Mary (Luke 1:27). Her status as a virgin (Luke 1:34) and member of the house of David (Matthew 1:1–17; Luke 3:23–38) are both important prophetic details (Isaiah 7:14; 2 Samuel 7:12–16).

Gabriel's words here are often misquoted, partly due to translation errors and theology related to those mistakes. The angel refers to Mary using the term "favored one," from a Greek root word which only appears twice in the New Testament (Ephesians 1:6). The expression is closely related to—but different from—the word often used for "grace." Gabriel refers to Mary using the word kecharitōmenē, a passive verb, meaning "made favored" or "made accepted." Latin translators, such as Jerome, rendered this as gratia plena, using an active tense, literally meaning "full of grace."

This significantly changes the meaning of Gabriel's greeting. Rather than Mary being called a recipient of grace, the gratia plena phrasing makes her a source, or overflow, or one who produces grace. This is no small error; over the centuries since Jesus' ascension, many false beliefs about Mary have treated her as a co-redeemer or component of human salvation.

There is no question that Mary's role in Jesus' miraculous birth (Luke 1:31–33) is an example of God's favor. Mary herself recognizes this (Luke 1:46–47), clearly acknowledging that her role is essentially passive (Luke 1:38). The work of bringing the Son of God to earth is a miracle of God, and God alone (Luke 1:49).

Of course, while Mary is faithful and willing, she is also human. As are most people, she will initially be "troubled" by the angel's appearance (Luke 1:29) and wonder how God plans to accomplish His purpose (Luke 1:34). Unlike Zechariah (Luke 1:18), her question will be about "how," not "if," the angel's message will come true.
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: