Monday, July 24, 2006

Studying Pilgrim's Progress

Much of my reading of late has been in and on John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. As you know, I am leading a study through this classic on Wednesday evenings at our church here in Atlanta. The attendance and response has been of much encouragement to me and the pastor. Particularly edifying to me has been some of the material I have had the chance to read and use for my own preparation. Here are the list of titles I have read or am currently reading for our study. Perhaps you will find them useful in your study of Bunyan as well.

The Pilgrims Progress (Barbour Publishing 1998, Hardcover). This is the edition I use for my own personal study of Pilgrim's Progress. It is the complete, unabridged text from Bunyan. It maintains Bunyan's language so some may find it hard to follow at places as some of the references are antiquated. Nonetheless, I find the old English rather poetic and find it more enchanting as I imagine Bunyan's own words coming to me, not some translators. It has Scripture references in the margins.

The New Pilgrim's Progress (Discovery House Publishers 1989, Softcover). This is the edition that we have given out to the church. It is a modern language translation with updated text and helpful notes. Many will find Bunyan's original language discouraging on first attempt and thus may find this modern translation an excellent introduction to the classic. However, I highly recommend that eventually you read it in its most pure form.

Little Pilgrim's Progress (Moody Publishing). It has been a joy to be able to introduce the children in our church to this classic by way of this translation by Helen Taylor. They have been able to follow along and even engage in the discussion. This is an excellent way to introduce the younger generation to this timeless book. Prayerfully they will take up unabridged volume in time.

Pilgrim's Progress: Themes and Issues by Barry Horner. This book has proved to be a most helpful and informative resource for my study. It more than any other has caused me to want to know more by looking more intently into the allegory and discovering the truths contained therein. Horner has researched Bunyan's classic well and is well versed in the nuances of the story and the scholarship of its interpretation. Any student serious about knowing Pilgrim's Progress would do well to read this volume. Also, Horner has a website dedicated to his study of John Bunyan, Bunyan Ministries. Very good.

Pictures From Pilgrim's Progress by Charles Spurgeon. What can I say about Spurgeon that has not already been said by countless others. Spurgeon is said to have read The Pilgrim's Progress 100 times!!! This should give us something of the significance of this work and should make us want to read what Spurgeon has to say about a book he held so dear. Spurgeon personalized Christian and knew him because he knew himself. We all could be so careful.

Bunyan's Characters by Alexander Whyte. Whyte is not as well known as Spurgeon is today, yet in his day in Scotland, he was a much respected and admired preacher. He was considered one of the finest biographical preachers anyone had ever heard, and Bunyan was one of his favorite topics. His character studies of Pilgrim's Progress continue to express his appreciation for Bunyan and his biblical and theological knowledge of Bunyan's classic work.

All-in-One Curriculum for The Pilgrim's Progess (Answers in Genesis, 2006). Here is a comprehensive curriculum for the study of The Pilgrim's Progress. Not only is it a full length illustrated text in large print and hardcover, but there are printable discussion questions subtle for all ages in the book and on an accompanying CD. Also, there are indepth character analyses and annotated Scripture references. This is an excellent resource for anyone desiring to teach or even consider in-depth this wonderful piece of literature.


Patrick Chan said...

Wow, this is great -- I love the Pilgrim's Progress! Kindest thanks for the delightful recommendations. :-)

BTW, not too long ago I discovered a gorgeous edition of the Pilgrim's Progress called The Pilgrim's Progress: The 1891 Edition with 170 Illustrations.

And The Banner of Truth has a fine edition as well. (But personally speaking I prefer the former one.)

Thanks again. :-)

ajcarter said...

Patrick, thanks for the heads up on the 1891 Edition. I am placing an order for it today :-). One thing is for sure, we can never grow weary of this timeless classic. Thanks again.

tony said...


Here's a version for teens and young adults with helpful readers' notes throughout:

Anonymous said...

Hey what a great site keep up the work its excellent.