Today at 3:30pm EST pastor-theologian Dr. Derek Thomas will be doing a Google Hangout with Ligonier, talking about one of the most widely-circulated books ever published in the English language, John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. They plan to ask Dr. Thomas about the role of fiction literature in the life of a Christian and what’s so significant about this novel, one Charles Spurgeon said, next to the Bible, he valued most.
Dr. Thomas—who is writing Bunyan on the Christian Life for the Theologians on the Christian Life series with Crossway—has a new video & audio teaching series with Ligonier on Bunyan’s classic. You can watch the first installment below for free:
J. I. Packer offers many of us a gentle rebuke:
For two centuries Pilgrim’s Progress was the best-read book, after the Bible, in all Chrisendom, but sadly it is not so today.
When I ask my classes of young and youngish evangelicals, as I often do, who has read Pilgrim’s Progress, not a quarter of the hands go up.
Yet our rapport with fantasy writing, plus our lack of grip on the searching, humbling, edifying truths about spiritual life that the Puritans understood so well, surely mean that the time is ripe for us to dust off Pilgrim’s Progress and start reading it again.
Certainly, it would be great gain for modern Christians if Bunyan’s masterpiece came back into its own in our day.
Have you yourself, I wonder, read it yet?
—J. I. Packer, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” in The Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritan Classics, ed. Kapic and Gleason (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press: 2004), p. 198.
If you’re looking for a classic and complete edition of the work, you can do no better than this edition produced by the Banner of Truth, which they describe as follows:
This de luxe edition of Bunyan’s great work comes as near as possible to the ‘ideal’—with the original marginal notes and references from Scripture, both parts of the Progress, and a series of magnificent and evocative etchings by William Strang. It is not a luxury to possess a de luxe edition of a work which, though we may not, like Spurgeon, read it a hundred times, ought to be the companion of a lifetime.
For those who want to study the book with a wise guide, note Leland Ryken’s forthcoming Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress” in the Crossway Christian Guides to the Classics series.