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Matthew 25:3 They that [were] foolish took their lamps,

The parable continues the last topic, which was staying vigilant, in the context of comparing the realm of the skies to going to a party.

Spoken to:
Greek Verse:

Matthew 25:3  αἱ γὰρ μωραὶ λαβοῦσαι τὰς λαμπάδας [αὐτῶν] οὐκ ἔλαβον μεθ᾽ ἑαυτῶν ἔλαιον:​

KJV Verse:

Matthew 25:3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

NIV Verse:

Matthew 25:3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.

Literal Alternative:

Because the stupid, taking those lamps of theirs, didn't take along their own oil

Hidden Meaning:

In Greek, this verse explains why the five were foolish. The KJV source leaves out the "because" and the NIV ignores it.

The "with them" is not a standard pronoun but a reflexive, having the sense of "their own."

This verse establishes a connection between intelligence and light, Jesus's symbol for knowledge, but the light of the lamp is fire, requiring fuel to burn. The foolish aren't bright because they don't bring oil for fuel.

The Spoken Version:

"Because the foolish," he said, indicating the followers playing the foolish girls, who acted their part. "Taking their lamps with them, they didn't take any oil."

The men playing the role of the foolish teens shrugged and generally looked blanks as they pretended to swing their lamps.

My Takeaway:

We need to have enough fuel for our minds to work.

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About this Site

I started this site fifteen years ago.  My original award-winning work as a "techno-linguist" was in ancient Chinese. I wanted to bring the same computer search and analysis techniques to explore something more important: the original Greek of Jesus's words. To understand why this was important to me, you may want to read this article on how Jesus's meaning is lost.

This site does not promote any religious point of view. On the contrary, it seeks to avoid the competing and evolving religious dogmas that have shaped Biblical translation for centuries.  I purposely use "nonreligious" sources for Greek word meaning, rejoining the study of Biblical Greek with the broader study of ancient Greek. My goal is simply to identify how listeners of Jesus's time would have heard him.

Jesus' words are unique for three reasons.

  1. His words were spoken, not written. Spoken language is inherently different than written language.
  2. His words changed the meaning of words, determining even how later NT authors' used the Greek.
  3. His words were the basis of a unique historical revolution in the way people think.

Most of the on-line material on "Biblical Greek" is largely tautological. It explains the Greek only in terms of how it has been translated into English in the Bible. It flows from the ways that the  Gospel was taught from the Latin Vulgate. I respect this work and use it daily. However,  most of my work takes place outside of this tradition, researching the use of the Greek closer to the time of Jesus, especially the Greek OT, the Septuagint.

The Bible has been such a powerful force in history that it has changed the meaning of many words in English, Latin, and Greek. However, the Greek of Jesus's words has been faithfully preserved for centuries despite the changing religious fashions. These fashions, unfortunately, affect each successive English translation of the Bible, moving it further and further from the Greek.  I stopped analyzing the NLT version because so much of it fails to connect to anything in Jesus's Greek. It is not a translation but how a group of people today feel about the ideas in other English translations. The Message Bible version is even worse.

This site is offered for those who care about fidelity to Scripture as passed down for two thousand years.

Most Recent Question

Does John 6:37 mean that once I’m saved, no matter what sin I do, if I come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and repent from that sin, I will not be cast out?

I don't see anything about asking forgiveness and repenting nor anything about "being saved." All of these are Christian concepts invented after Jesus. He doesn't use these ideas at all. What is translated as "forgive" means "let go" as in dropping something. What is translated as "repent" means "change your mind" as in thinking differently. What gets translated as "being saved" is the idea of being "rescued" not from "evil" but from "worthlessness."

None of this is in the verses. Or in its context. His ideas in John 6:37 are simpler.  You are either returning to Jesus or moving away from him. Those who the Father has given him...