They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (NLT)
This story is extraordinary. What makes this story extraordinary were not just the magnificent appearance of the angel and the hosts of heaven singing the “Gloria.” It was that they believed the angel’s story and told it to other people. They could not hide it to themselves. After the angel had left them, they quickly move to look for look for Jesus in a manger. After finding him, they revealed to others what the angel had told them.
Here’s what we do not know exactly. Should we assume that with evangelistic zeal, they went on to tell everyone words from the angel? Or, were the people they told only Mary and Joseph or can we assume that they told more people? It depends on the translation.
Various translations assume that the shepherds told everyone, including the TNIV, NLT, and Message. These translations suggest an evangelical zeal of telling everyone.
But the GNT suggest that they only told Mary and Joseph, which does not indicate an evangelistic outlook.
The NRSV and ESV do not say how many people they told. So which is it?
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (TNIV)
After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. (NLT)
Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed. Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. (Message)
When the shepherds saw him, they told them what the angel had said about the child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said. Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them. (GNT)
When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. (NRSV)
And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (ESV)