Book Review: "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan - Discuss main themes and their application to Christian Living.

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BOOK REPORT I: "Pilgrim's Progress"

Written by John Bunyan and published first in 1968, 'Pilgrims Progress' has seen much success and acclaim. Bunyan was a popular puritan lay preacher who did not conform to state expectations. It is believed that he wrote the book whilst in prison for his seperationalist views. In writing the book he leaned heavily on the scriptures, using approximately 500 direct or indirect references (Bunyan, 1998:xii). He placed notation and reference marks within the book in order that the reader may correctly interpret the analogy. Pilgrims Progress is seen by many as second only to the bible, prompting C.H. Spurgeon (1982: 11) to comment, "It is really biblical teaching put into the form of a simple yet very striking allegory".

In the following paragraphs we will delve into the themes presented, how it impacts personally and how it fits with modern theology.


Pilgrims Progress is a two part allegorical story modeled on the Christian journey.

It starts with 'Christian's' conviction, his subsequent salvation and his final reunion with God. In the opening chapters he is greatly distressed at his and his town's coming destruction. Guided by evangelist, he journeys to the narrow gate and then to the celestial city. Along the way he befriends companions and faces many subtle and not so subtle enemies of the king.

The second part to this story reveals how his wife 'Christiana' is convicted and convinced to undertake the journey with their three boys. They face there own troubles, but unlike Christian they are considerably helped by the presence of a guide and protector.

THEME: Christian Life as a Journey

One of the main themes is the portrayal of the Christian life as a progressive journey along a determined path. This is not a new concept, in...