What does Matthew 25:1 mean?
ESV: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
NIV: At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
NASB: Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom.
CSB: "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom.
NLT: Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
KJV: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Verse Commentary:
Christ has been describing some of the events of the end times, including what is called the second coming (Matthew 24:36–39). He has been warning them that He will arrive with no notice, interrupting the daily activities of all of those who expect life to simply go on as it always has. Those who follow Him must live in a state of readiness for His return. Jesus could come back, at any moment, as King and Judge.

He now begins another parable to illustrate this point, using a common scene from the daily life of the Israelites in this era. In this, He uses the metaphor of an expected bridegroom. Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who went to meet the bridegroom as part of a wedding procession. They took lamps because this part of the celebration took place in the evening.

The word "virgin" was often used in this culture to describe young, unmarried women. This group of young women would have been bridesmaids or bridal attendants. The custom was apparently this: The groom and his friends would leave his home to go to the bride's home for the first part of the wedding. Then the couple and the wedding party would walk back to the groom's home for a banquet, the wedding feast. This procession would take place after dark, and each participant would carry a lamp to light the way. Wedding celebrations were often multi-day events, and those waiting for the groom to come and collect his bride would not know exactly when he would arrive.
Verse Context:
Matthew 25:1–13 presents Jesus' parable of the ten virgins. These unmarried young women gather to wait for the groom to arrive during a wedding celebration. They plan to join in a procession to a great feast when he comes after dark. Five of the young women foolishly forgot to bring sufficient oil for their lights. When the groom arrives, they scramble to get more oil but are not admitted to the feast when arriving late. Jesus urges His followers to be prepared and watch for His return.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus uses two additional parables to illustrate a state of constant readiness for His return after He has gone. His followers should be working for Him while they wait. They must not be like the foolish young women who missed a wedding feast because they forgot oil for their lamps. They must be like the servants who doubled their harsh master's investments while He was away. Jesus concludes with a third descriptive passage, showing how He will judge between the righteous and evil when He returns as King.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 25 concludes the "Olivet Discourse:" Jesus' teaching to the disciples about future things as they sit on the Mount of Olives. This follows His dire predictions about the Temple and Jerusalem in chapter 24. He gives two more parables to emphasize that they must be prepared for His return. Finally, Jesus describes the moment of His return, after a time of tribulation, when He will judge all who live on earth at the beginning of His kingdom. This leads into Matthew's account of Jesus' Last Supper, betrayal, and arrest in chapter 26.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 4/16/2024 1:43:57 PM
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