The Parable of the Ten Virgins is based upon Jewish marriage customs at the time the parable was written. The parable 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
- Parable of the Ten Virgins Meaning
- Parable of the Ten Virgins Explained
- Moral Lessons from The Parable of the Ten Virgins
- What is the oil in the Parable of the Ten Virgins?
- Why didn’t the five virgins share their oil?
- Matthew 25 Commentary
- More Parables!
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 Meaning
The Parable of the Ten Virgins is a 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 Ten 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 moral of the parable is found 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 Ten Virgins Reflection walks through four lessons about salvation.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
What is the oil in the Parable of the Ten 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.
Matthew 25 Commentary
You may find this commentary of Matthew 25 from Matthew Henry’s Commentary helpful for more interpretation and insight. 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!
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- The Parable of the Great Banquet Lessons
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