Can you explain the parable of the Ten Virgins?

Posted on

Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,  but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:1-13).


The parable of the Ten Virgins places emphasis on the importance of preparing for the second coming of Christ and being ready (Matt. 24:44). In this parable, the ten young virgins represent all of those who profess the pure faith of Jesus and who believe in the soon coming of Jesus. The lamps they are holding represent the Word of God. And the oil in their lambs symbolizes the Holy Spirit (Zech. 4:1–14).

The five wise virgins of the parable represent those Christians who understand and seek to be filled by the Holy Spirit. These Christians welcome the Holy Spirit to change their lives for victory over sin and cooperate with Him in His appointed task (John 14:16, 17; John 16:7–15).

On the other hand, the five foolish virgins have not yielded themselves to the working of the Holy Spirit. These are fascinated by the gospel but selfishness make it impossible for the truth to change their lives and bear the fruit of a Christ-like character (Eze. 33:32; Matt. 7:21–27). The five foolish virgins sought the rewards of faithful service without giving that kind of service (James 1:21-25).

Also, the parable was a warning to those who “thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear” (Luke 19:11; Matt. 24:3; Acts 1:6). Jesus did not return as soon as His disciples expected. Christians, today, should remember that though the heavenly Bridegroom delayed His kingdom and in His mercy He will certainly come at the appointed time when as many as possible will be saved (2 Peter 3: 1-13). Therefore, Jesus said, “watch and pray” (Matthew 25:13). In the meantime, they are to allow the Holy Spirit to purify their souls by obedience to the truth and share the good news with others (Matt. 28:19-20).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

 In His service,
BibleAsk Team

A closing message from BibleAsk:

Thank you for visiting BibleAsk – an online ministry dedicated to providing Bible based answers to your questions. If you enjoyed and agree with this answer, please like and share! If you don’t agree, please leave a comment below, and we’ll be sure to respond! If you have another question you would like to ask, please click here and someone from our team will personally answer it (don’t worry, your email address will never be shared). Check out our Bible Answers page to see just Bible verses answering thousands of questions. If you feel impressed to support this ministry, kindly visit our donate page to send a tax-deductible love gift to BibleAsk. Any donation size helps .