The Parable of the Ten Virgins is also known as the Parable of the Bridesmaids. It is based on Jewish marriage customs at the time the parable was written.
The Parable of the 10 Virgins is filled with Christian symbolism and is a cautionary story about being prepared for Christ’s coming. The parable is found in Matthew 25:1-13.
Parable of the Ten Virgins Summary
Ten bridesmaids (virgins) were to await the return of the bridegroom for his wedding. The bridegroom’s arrival was later than expected. The five wise bridesmaids who had brought extra oil to keep their lamps burning into the night greeted the groom when he arrived.
The other five bridesmaids hadn’t brought extra oil, so when the groom arrived, the foolish young ladies were gone to get more oil. The doors to the wedding banquet were closed before the five unprepared bridesmaids returned and they were not allowed entry.
- Parable of the Ten Virgins Summary
- Meaning of the Parable of the Ten Virgins
- Parable of the 10 Virgins Explained
- Moral Lessons from The Parable of the Ten Virgins
- What is the oil in the Parable of the 10 Virgins?
- Why didn’t the five virgins share their oil?
- The Parable of the Ten Virgins – Matthew 25
- Matthew 25 Commentary – The Parable of the 10 Virgins
- More Parables!
Meaning of the Parable of the Ten Virgins
The meaning of the Parable of the Ten Virgins is our reminder to be prepared for the unexpected second coming of Christ, when we will face eternal judgment. The wise are prepared and ready for Christ’s return.
The foolish don’t prepare themselves for the final judgment and will find themselves shut out of God’s Kingdom.
Parable of the 10 Virgins Explained
The ten virgins in the parable represent Christians. They are waiting for the return of Christ, the groom.
The five prepared bridesmaids brought extra oil, which is the grace from their solid relationship with the Lord. When the groom’s arrival was later than expected, the prepared ladies were drained and sleepy.
It was at this low point that their grace (the extra oil) carried them through and they were rewarded splendidly at the wedding feast, or the Kingdom of Heaven.
Meanwhile, the unprepared five found themselves scrambling for more oil and ran out of time before they could be fully prepared for the groom’s arrival, meaning Christ’s return. The doors to the wedding banquet were closed without them, shutting them out of heaven.
The lesson of the parable is summarized in Matthew 25:13 NIV: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
Moral Lessons from The Parable of the Ten Virgins
The following Parable of the 10 Virgins Reflection walks through four moral lessons about salvation.
1. Be Like the Wise Virgin:
Sincere Christians are the wise virgins and the foolish ones are hypocrites. Hypocrites profess their love of God and show many outward signs of being faithful to Christ, but the truth is only found within.
We might try to fool one another or even ourselves into thinking we’re living for Christ, but God is never fooled. He sees if we have a bitter or hollow heart. He knows if our words and actions are only for show.
Time will run out for each of us one day. Don’t be caught off guard and unprepared. Pave your way now with a heart, mind, and soul aligned to God before your time runs out. Your eternal resting place depends on it. Besides, aligning yourself with God now will result in your most fulfilled life, so go for it!
2. Be Prepared to Wait:
The ladies anticipated the groom to come earlier than he did. So it is with us and Christ. Our idea of perfect timing sometimes differs from His idea of perfect timing. But trust that His timing is truly perfect.
In His timing, we’re often called to wait. Don’t let the waiting time lull you into a false sense of having endless time. Don’t be fooled that you can wait and still be prepared when it matters, because you don’t know when that time will be.
We must prepare our hearts and souls for the long haul. That includes developing a personal relationship with the Lord, discerning His will for our lives, leading where He follows, and loving one another. None of these things can happen the moment we realize our time on Earth is ending. Lead your life as if the end is today, but be prepared to wait.
3. There is a Judgment to Come:
There are people who deny a final judgment, the presence of hell, or the irrevocable nature of hell. But God makes all these things very clear numerous times in the Bible.
One example is in Matthew 25:46 NIV: “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
There is evil in the world. It lurks among us. It tempts us away from God. It leads us to worldly goals, pleasures, and actions.
We often dismiss or dislike the term the fear of the Lord, but a healthy reverence for the power and authority of God can help us resist evil and stay vigilant in our Christian walk while we wait for our final judgment.
The foolish bridesmaids weren’t vigilant and they paid the ultimate price.
4. You are Welcome to the Banquet of Christ:
We don’t like hearing about the judgment of God. It makes us uneasy and maybe even fearful. But God didn’t create us with the intention of sending us all into the fire. What loving parent would do such a thing?
No, God’s intention is to welcome us all into His heavenly Kingdom to live with Him forever. However, He lovingly left the choice to us. That’s our free will.
We can choose to live our lives any way we wish. If we choose to turn our backs on God, He lets us, even through His disappointment. If we turn to Him, He welcomes us with open arms.
God gives us every opportunity to come to Him. Your salvation is His greatest wish.
Parables of Jesus Devotional Book – Coming Soon!
What is the oil in the Parable of the 10 Virgins?
The oil in the Parable of the Ten Virgins represents God’s grace. Our heart is the vessel that holds the oil.
Why didn’t the five virgins share their oil?
As Christians, we’re called to help those in need, so you might wonder why the five virgins who brought extra oil didn’t share it. In this case, the context and moral of the Parable of the Ten Virgins is spiritual preparedness.
With the oil representing God’s grace, the ladies couldn’t give it away. We cannot give grace or spiritual readiness to another person. Each person’s relationship with the Lord must be established within their own heart and soul.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins – Matthew 25
You can read the Parable of the 10 Virgins at this Biblegateway Link.
25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Matthew 25 Commentary – The Parable of the 10 Virgins
You may find this commentary of Matthew 25 from Matthew Henry’s Commentary helpful for more interpretation and insight on the Parable of the 10 Virgins. I referenced it for guidance in this article. Here is a selection of other free Bible Commentaries.
Do you love the parables as much as I do? You may enjoy reading life lessons on these others (listed below), these activities for adults and children, or this list of Parables and Meanings. More parable lessons are underway. See them all HERE!
Do you love journaling? Does writing down your personal reflections help you process your thoughts more fully? Perhaps these Christian writing journals will be helpful as you reflect on the life lessons of the parables.
- 6 Lessons from Mustard Seed Faith
- 4 Parable of the Hidden Treasure Lessons
- The Parable of the Talents Meaning and 5 Life Lessons
- 3 Parable of the Lost Sheep Lessons Show Jesus’ Love
- Which soil are you like? The Parable of the Sower explained
- 4 Moral Lessons from The Parable of the Ten Virgins
- 3 Life Lessons from the Parable of the Rich Fool
- 3 Lessons from the Parable of the Vineyard Workers
- Parable of the Lost Coin Spiritual Lessons
- The Parable of Two Sons – 3 Spiritual Life Lessons
- The Parable of the Weeds – 4 Sobering Life Lessons
- The Parable of the Persistent Widow
- Lessons from the Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector
- The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price Lessons
- The Parable of the Great Banquet Lessons
- Parable of the Shrewd Manager Life Lessons For Today
- Parable of the Yeast Life Lessons for Today
- Parable of the Unforgiving Servant Life Lessons
- Parable of the Wedding Feast Life Lessons
- Parable of the Net Life Lessons
- The Parable of the Growing Seed
- The Parable of the Tenants Life Lessons
- Parables of the Fig Tree Life Lessons
- Lazarus and the Rich Man Parable Life Lessons
- Parable of the Good Shepherd Bible Lessons
- Parable of the Wineskins Spiritual Lessons
- Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders Lessons
- Parable of the Faithful Servant Life Lessons
- Parable of the Lamp Life Lessons
- Parable of the Two Debtors Life Lessons
- Parable of the Householder Life Lessons
- Parable of the Friend at Midnight Life Lessons
- Parable of the Master and Servant Life Lessons
- Parable of the Watchful Servants Life Lessons
- Take the Lowest Seat Parable Life Lessons
- The Parable of the Prodigal Son Life Lessons
- 5 Parable of the Good Samaritan Lessons
- The Cost of Being a Disciple Life Lessons