Can you explain the parable of the Ten Virgins?

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Let’s read the passage from the Bible, found in Matthew 25:1-13:

1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

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


Before you go

Jesus loves you and has died for you so that one day you may live with Him forever.

If you’ve not accepted Jesus, you can do so right now. All it takes is one simple prayer, such as this:

Dear Father, I’m sorry for my sins. I want to be filled with your love in my heart. Please cleanse me that I may be born again as one of your children. In Jesus name, Amen.

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