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Bible Study: Be ready for His return

NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.

Bible Passage: Matthew 25:1-13

Discussion Questions:

  • What are some disciplines that can help prepare us for Christ’s return?
  • What are the possible consequences of putting off thinking about Christ and spiritual growth until later?
  • Who has helped you the most in being prepared for Christ’s return?

Food for Thought:

Secret shopper. Anyone who has worked in retail knows those two words are the scariest words to hear. Managers will be alerted that a secret shopper is coming, but don’t know exactly when. Preparation involves making sure the store is cleaned perfectly, employees take exact breaks, and everything is working by the book.

But would the anxiety level be lowered if all employers worked every day like a secret shopper was coming? It probably would. This same principle applies to our walk with Christ. If we live daily with the anticipation and expectation of Christ’s return, His return will be something we rejoice over.

Read Matthew 25:1-13. The bridesmaids in Jesus’ parable in these verses were divided into two groups, and which group they were in depended on their level of preparation. The level of their preparation classified them as either “wise” or “foolish.” The word rendered “foolish” means inattentive, thick-headed, and unthinking. The foolish virgins truly seemed to want to go to the wedding celebration; however, they did not respect the groom enough to think about the necessary preparations involved. On the other hand, the wise virgins show how a life of faith should appear. They have the opposite mindset of foolish virgins in that they thought ahead with clarity.

Jesus told this parable in the context of His teaching about His second coming, so we can see that the bridegroom represents Christ. The wise virgins reflect true believers. The foolish virgins reflect those who may profess a belief in Jesus, but they have not prepared for the end of life by seeking a real relationship with Christ.

Being prepared to meet Christ when He returns is an individual matter. That preparedness cannot be transferred or shared. We can learn from and be encouraged by friends and family. We can be instructed by great spiritual teachers, but we must make our own decisions for our spiritual journey. We must prepare individually for the coming kingdom!

Everyone likes a happy ending to a story. Unfortunately, that’s not this story. When the foolish bridesmaids left to go buy more oil, the groom came. He went in without the foolish bridesmaids and shut the door. The door remained shut even to these bridesmaids who were initially a part of the wedding party, because their lack of preparation was a grave insult to the bride and groom. This teaches us to have true faith in Christ, showing respect to Jesus by living lives of faithful preparation.

Jesus ended this parable with exhortation. He said we should remain alert because we don’t know when He is coming. This is an imperative, something we must do! We are to stay continually awake, constantly keeping watch. By being prepared and ready for His coming, we demonstrate our respect, love, and trust of the Master.


YOU is committed to providing a complete Bible study experience for small groups and classes. Every session is written through an urban and multiethnic lens that provides relevant, engaging and applicable studies that not only encourage and equip people, but also motivate them to mission. This flexible, non-dated, all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional downloadable online teaching resources, visit You.Lifeway.com.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources