What Was The Error Of The Five Foolish Virgins? 

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. (Matthew 25:2 KJV)

In the parable of the ten virgins who went to meet the bridegroom, Jesus said five virgins were wise and five foolish. What criterion did He use to categorize them as either wise or foolish?

In verse Matthew 25:3, Jesus revealed the foolishness of the foolish virgins: “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them”. These virgins did not take extra oil; they were unprepared for the journey. Before reaching their destination, they ran out of oil, and the lights from the lamps went out.

Parables always have a central message, and we must not seek symbolic meaning in every detail of the story. However, the oil in this parable is central. The foolish ran out of oil, and there are lessons or applications we can glean from this analogy.

Christians are lamps that shine for God through the power of the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:1-6, Revelation 1:20). Oil is often symbolic of the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Light represents our actions and works that are the result of the Spirit, such as love, joy, wisdom, power, etc. To shine, we must have oil; when that oil runs out, the light goes out.  

The foolish virgins ran out of oil: they did not have practical access to the operation of the Spirit to shine. And when their lamps went out, they went to beg from those who had oil—their pastor? Other believers? Etc.? Those who have oil have oil because they have made oil for their lamps: they have spent the time it takes with God to generate oil.

Do you have oil to deal with the increasing darkness in the world now, or would you have to look for another Christian to lend you oil to deal with the darkness of sin, demonic activity, emotional breakdowns, etc.?

Do not be like the foolish virgins. Be prepared and have enough oil always.


What is the symbolic meaning of oil in our lamps? How can we generate oil for ourselves?

Apply the Word

The oil comes through the Word, prayer, and impartation. Generate oil for your lamps!


Ask the Father to help you be prepared with enough oil at all times.

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