Book Review: The Pilgrim’s Progress

The Pilgrim's Progress by John BunyanThe Pilgrim’s Progress was written by John Bunyan in 1678. It is an allegory of a Christian life. Bunyan started the book while in prison for preaching without a license. It is divided into two parts and reads as a continuous narrative with no chapters.
 
The first part tells of an average man named Christian. Christian journeys from the City of Destruction (Earth) to Zion (Heaven). Christian is weighed down by a burden (sin) that he receives from reading a book (the Bible). The characters and problems he encounters are analogous to the Christian life.
 
The second part of the allegory tells of the pilgrimage of Christian’s wife, Christiana; their sons; and their neighbor, Mercy. They encounter many of the same characters and burdens as did Christian in the first half.  The hero of this part is Greatheart who is a pilgrim’s guide to the Celestial City.
 
Bunyan has given the characters’ names that denote their role in the life of every Christian. The reader will find such characters as Evangelist, Obstinate, Hypocrisy, Prudence, Faithful, and Innocent. The locations of this story also tell of common waypoints in many Christian lives; Slough of Despond, Hill Difficulty, Valley of Humiliation, Doubting Castle and River of Death.
 
The solid Protestant theology and Bunyan’s plain style breathe life into the temptations and thought that every Christian encounters on his journey through life. This work has been described as “the first great novel” as well has mandatory reading for all Christians. It is indeed a joyful and refreshing read.