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The Parable of 
the Ten Virgins

Matt 25:1-13 "Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘What if there isn’t enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Watch therefore, for you don’t know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming." (web)

Discussion Questions

Why were five called foolish? What were their expectations?
Who do they represent in the Christian community?
What does the oil and lamps represent?
How should we prepare ourselves for Christ's return?
What attitudes should we take on?
What happens if we are not prepared?


This is a parable on another aspect of nominalism. The lamps represent those things the Holy Spirit uses to lead us to Christ and lead us in living the Christian life. The oil is the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament it was used in anointing, and also in the Tabernacle to light the lamp and to mix with grain sacrifices:
1Sa 16:13 "So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power."
As the Isrealites were led through the desert by a fire and a cloud, so the Holy Spirit leads us to Christ and guides us in living the Christian life.

The wise virgins left for the wedding with conviction. They took the journey seriously, considering all the potential problems involved. They took a more permanent source of oil with them. In other parables they represent those who fell on good soil; those who showed up at the wedding dressed appropriately; those who built their house on the rock; those who applied their talents. These had the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, rather than simply beside them.

The foolish ones left carelessly, not counting the cost of their journey. They accepted a limited amount of guidance from the Holy Spirit, but ran out of spiritual insight, not having taken the journey seriously, and had to go back to the beginning. But time ran out and they were lost.

These are those follow Christ only in a nominal sense. When trouble or persecution comes due to their allegiance, they quickly fall away. They have a non-application oriented faith, not born of conviction. They don't take the Christian faith seriously. They must start all over from the beginning and receive the invitation appropriately. But their time may run out. They may die or Christ may return before they are prepared for the wedding.

Christ declares to them "I don't know you." "Know" in the greek is actually in the perfect tense. Literally: "I have not known you." There are many who presume their salvation status without regard to whether their behavior indicates a level of faith of the quality acceptable to God to save. Let's not be too presumptuous, but take an active part in being prepared for judgment.


The kingdom is like ten virgins who went
And took their lamps to a wedding event
Five were foolish and five were wise
The wise took oil perhaps pint-size
The foolish took none they didn't prepare
For the groom took his time before he got there
They all became drowsy and fell asleep.
No sound was heard, no not a peep
Till midnight did come and someone cried out.
"Here's the bridegroom. You must come out!"
The virgins woke up only to find
The wise could see while the foolish were blind 
For they used up the oil they needed to see
They had taken the journey much too carefree
They asked the wise to give them some
But the wise told them where they could buy some from
But while they journeyed to buy the oil
The groom arrived which wasted their toil
For the wise went in and the door was shut closed
The foolish could not enter as they had supposed
They said, "Sir, Open the door for us too!"
But he replied, "I don't know you."
Therefore keep watch, let the Spirit empower.
For you do not know the day or the hour.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Aug 14,2020