In Matthew 25 Jesus gives the parable of the Ten Virgins. The point of the parable appears to be that one should be prepared. All ten of the virgins fall asleep. But then in verse 13 Jesus appears to be saying that what he wants his hearers to come away with is that they should stay awake. Is that what Jesus is saying? If so, how can we put this meaning with this parable in a way that makes sense?

5 Answers 5


The context of the parable is that it immediately follows Jesus' long discourse on end times prophecy, in which he stated clearly that people are to watch and stay alert for the signs. So yes, the parable's purpose is to use a common situation for the 1st century Jewish audience to understand the importance of watching and being prepared.

As for your question about making sense, the teaching to be ready seems pretty straightforward. Jesus told other parables as well about being ready at all times. He also had rebuked people for not recognizing the signs of his coming the first time. So by studying the signs given in ch. 24, people can have some idea of the "season" or general condition of the world that would indicate Jesus' second coming is near.

  • Jesus says 'watch' not 'stay awake' The girls did not need to stay awake to be ready in the parable because there would be a announcement made before the groom arrived (v6) it would have been wrong for them to fall asleep after that announcement, but not before! Now if we take the first advent of the Lord Jesus Christ as the warning shout then we need to stay awake, if we assume that the shout is still to come (as some suggest) there is still perhaps room for 'sleep' Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 10:29
  • Staying awake and always being ready to go are the same thing in this context, since both have to with being prepared. The parable is an analogy, and analogies are meant to make a point, and throughout Jesus' discussion of end times, the point is to be ready at all times. Particularly, the point about falling asleep is that the groom would be late in coming, which has a parallel in other similar parables about the master going away for a long time. Also, the church did not yet exist, such that the parable applies to Israel instead of Christians.
    – user9863
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 11:48
  • you make a lot of assertions that are not universally accepted, for example your claim that the church did not exist. It seems to ignore that fact that LXX refers to the church in relation to the Old testament people of God many times Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 11:57
  • There is no support for the church existing before Jesus' resurrection or Pentecost. Remember that the word "church" (Gk. ekklesia) was a rather common term for any group or gathering, and even in the NT it was used to describe the angry mob shouting praises to the goddess Artemis/Diana. It takes more than the word itself to refer to the Body of Christ post-resurrection. Also, I'd hardly call ONE assertion "a lot". At any rate, the point is that the parable is about being ready for Christ's return.
    – user9863
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 12:36
  • You're theology is dictating your understanding text in my opinion rather then the other way around - but this isn't a debating forum so I won't pursue it. I was actually supporting your answer :) Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 12:41

so there is more than one part of that question. I think he wants the point of the parable. so I will try and answer all the question I think he is asking ..
To Me the importance of this scripture and parable is to note that it was 10 virgins They were not worldly or did they worship other "god's".. but only the one true Father God and his human and right arm and representative voice ....the Son and creator. there was not 5 virgins and 5 hookers. Those these are ten churches or even ten "churched" individuals.

so staying awake or resting wasn't the real issue as both groups of five slept. I htink the real issue and questions need to be about then not buying / or having / or bring enough oil in the first place. to find that meaning we have to ask some other questions.... like So where else is buying something an important point of an allegory type of a statement, that was directly related to or about salvation or maybe divine protection?

so if we go to REV 3 , to the Laodicean churches and or their church age /time of those kinds of powers are prominent in this world.( our battle is against powers and authorities in this dark age ) the Lord uses the concept of "buying" in that lukewarm church's and ages. Rev 3:18

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

these are three important issues that make for a righteous church. his body's members. because they were about to get spit out. just as the 5 virgins were... left out.. so he is giving directions to warm them up. or something so they don't get left outside like the 5 were..

now let's just take the clothing issue... what is clothing according to the scriptures..

Rev 19:8

And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

and so what is refined gold ?https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/search.cfm?Criteria=pure+gold&t=NKJV#s=s_primary_0_1 refined gold is used in the temple.. nd is a sign or purity. SO all type of internal and external purification done by the fires of God's spirit. so the gold talents of the temple.. point us to a parable about the 10, 5 and one, talent given to every servant according to this ability.... according to his GRace for us as individuals with our faith and trust and purified abilities! to hear him and to see him.. do the work of the father Will with Jesus. ( who is saved? those who do the will of his Father" . And as he asks and directs us. just as Jesus said "I only do what I see my Father in heaven doing" and it says it many times and manyways... because His father's life multiplies when we follow thee fathers directions as Jesus did it...

Mat 25:14

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.

Mat 25:15

“And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.

we have clothes and we have the purified gold talents.

now so what about the last or ending " the eye ointment" " so we can see " . so here in

Rev 19:10

And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

this is what we must buy from Jesus in our life and in our walk.. to buy plenty of Light for our way and thus buy oil and light for our path from him , to just know him.... to see him as he is, to see what He is doing around us and to follow the work He has set before us to do and even created in us from the foundations of the world to do in his bodies work. I hope that answers what you were asking. blessing Xuippa

  • Hello xiuppa, welcome to BHSE, glad to have you with us. If you haven't already, please make sure to take our tour, to see how we are a little different from other sites you may know. Thanks! (hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour)
    – sara
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 7:10


Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

...We have already noted that the conversation between the wise and foolish at the moment of the bridegroom's appearance forms a somewhat inert portion of the parable, inserted not to teach the possibility of last-minute preparation, but to emphasize the utter impossibility of it. Ralph Waldo Emerson's criticism of the wise virgins for not sharing their oil with the foolish sprang from a profound blindness to spiritual reality. Alfred Plummer noted that:

It is impossible for one person to impart to another the spiritual power which comes from frequent communion with God's spirit. That can come only from man's own experience of such communion, an experience which requires much time. "Give us of your oil" is a request which no religious person can grant. The refusal of the wise virgins to give of their oil indicates, not want of will, but want of power.[3]...

Scofield's Reference Notes

The kingdom of heaven here is the sphere of profession, as in Matthew 13. All alike have lamps, but two facts fix the real status of the foolish virgins: They "took no oil," and the Lord said, "I know you not." Oil is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and "If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his" Romans 8:9


The parabolic teaching of Christ : a systematic and critical study of the parables of our Lord - Bruce, Alexander Balmain, 1831-1899

p. 500 They knew they had brought no oil, they knew why they had neglected to do so, viz. because they reckoned it enough that their companions should have lamps that gave light. They have their own lamps, and probably are very conscious of the fact ; but they have not that without which lamps of religious profession are of no use, viz. the oil of grace.

p. 510 So were the Pharisees excluded from the society of Jesus, which was a veritable wedding party. So were the Hebrew Christians, clinging to venerable Jewish customs and ordinances, in danger of forfeiting all share in the blessings of the Kingdom of Grace. As their faithful Teacher warned them, there was a risk of their being carried by the strong current of old custom away from Christ, as a boat is carried down a river past the landing-place on the opposite shore.1 While they went to buy at the Jewish synagogue the Bridegroom might come, and the door be shut.


Re:Parable Of The Ten Virgins - Is Jesus message "STAY AWAKE "? Was the question asked. Answer:correct 100%.See REVELATION 16:15 Note "watcheth" be awake spiritually.Alert Diligent However this tremendous wonderful parable Matthew 25 :1-13 has plenty of "MEAT" to discuss and so we do need to go deeper. And to do justice to the message.Maybe bit by bit.Inch by inch is a cinch- yard by yard is hard. Actually God's way is that way see ISAIAH 28:13 & 10 quote "line upon line,precept upon precept.Also here a little ,and there a little. Please Read both verses and DEUTERONOMY 32:2 What a beautiful verse."My doctrine (again - God's Way) shall drop as the rain.--rainfalls bit by bit.One drop at a time.Following each other.So too does the parable need to be explained.Note that it falls on the "tender herb " That is it does not fall on the "flesh".So as with all studies we must prepare our heart's to receive what the Holy Spirit wants to share with YOU.Also Read 1Peter 1:24 Note all flesh is grass.The priest's wore linen not wool(flesh). 1Peter 2:1 here is the flesh.Psalm 72:6 He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass as showers that water the earth.I.pray this study will do that for YOU. Matthew 25 1-13 (best done in several posts if you can bear with me) I'll just state that "dinky di" study (2Timothy 2;15) brings CHARA ie JOY God given JOY.Which can only come from the AGAPE love of God. That is the love of Jesus in us .The fruit of the Spirit in GALATIANS 5:22 & 23 is from him in us.

THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS MATTHEW 25:1 re "Then" At that time when our Lord comes for His Bride. Verse 1 re "ten " In Bible Numerics 10 means 'completeness of order' or the perfection of divine order'. Verse 1 "virgins" ie those "born-again".See/Read REVELATION 14:4 & 5.These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins.(keep in mind Revelation uses symbolic languages).These are they which follow the Lamb(Jesus) whithersoever he goeth.These were redeemed from amount men ,being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb." Verse 5 And in there mouth was found no guile:For they are without fault before the throne of God. Notes: Worth a look at 1CORINTHIANS 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits(his resurrection)done.afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.ie Matthew 25.Only the wise .Also Read REVELATION 20:6,ISAIAH 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ,they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run,and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.Matthew 24: 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east,and shineth even unto the west ; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.And verse 28 For wheresoever the carcase (a bad interpretation by the 1611 KJ writers) better "body" ie of Christ ie His CHURCH. carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. V36 no one knows the day nor hour but the Father.v37 But it will be as in Noah's day. Which was "violence ".An end day sign and is prevalent now in our day.Best Read all of Matthew 24:36 - 51 Re to "stay awake" here in verses we see v42 watch.v44 be ready Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him :for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready . Note five of the ten virgins in Matthew 35 did exactly this.Made themselves ready.We must put truth above doctrine.We all have our part to play see EPHESIANS 5:27 you see we have to aim to get rid of the FLESH here it says "spot " or "wrinkle" or any "such thing "and without "blemish".A high call however we have the power of both Jesus Philippians 4:13 to help us and the Holy Spirit.See John 1: 12 Revelation 19: 8 & 9 too.Note the "linen" in Verse 8 not wool.verse 9 "called". Matthew 25:1"VIRGINS" (continued) Please read 1THESSALONIANS 4:17,PHILIPPIANS 2:15,2Peter 3:14 again we see here clearly that the five wise virgins ie wise Christians however not just a "nominal ones".But ones that aim to "overcome. Note 8 x times mentioned in REVELATION and 8 in the bible numerics is the number for Jesus and resurrection. Remember Noah's family was 8.And as we shall see as we move stealthy through these verses in Noahs Day the door of the ark was shut.No handle .In Matthew too we shall come to door to be shut. No handle. Five will miss the boat. There bible -the lamp was collecting dust on a shelf and they did not have the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit to guide them.We can look at these and more soon in part two.Just to finish part one Read Jude 24 and 25,Luke 1:5 & 6,sincere, guiltless, and not open to censure, ROMANS 8:35 End part one with "God would that all should be like the five wise virgins (Christians) as in Matthew 25.


The teaching deals with the progress of salvation.

Messiah will usher in an age of the Kingdom. Those who have done well will share in His treasure, and happiness. The criteria will be to overcome, obey the call. In order to overcome, we need faith, oil for our lamps. Oil is found by buying gold without money.

See if you can identify these elements in the following situation.

James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John, have believed that Jesus will give eternal life, save humanity from its futile living. In the age to come, they could share not only in Messiah's happiness, but share in it richly, maybe sitting at His left or right. In order to do that, they must resurrect not only well, but resurrect extremely well, with the ex-anastasis, resurrect with the out-resurrection.

Philippians 3:10I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

To do that, they need to face and pass the extreme test, drink the cup Jesus drinks, be baptised with the baptism Jesus is baptised. They have already been baptised with water for repentance, and with the Holy Spirit for receiving gifts, bread from heaven, which led to faith, courage to pick up the cross daily, and the ability to gather God's sheep, placing them in the Book of Life, when people saw that God protected those who left selfish living, and turned to Him. To those who were given much, like those who obeyed and saw God's great works, even more was given. To those who were given little because of their attitude, even what they had was taken away from them.

The virgins who brought extra oil are these who had more given to them.

Similarly, we are taught to ask for more bread, signs, so that our faith grows, until we can even pass the extreme test, and receive the ex-anastasis.

See the nearby Parable of the Talents for support and confirmation of this teaching.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.