The Pilgrim's Progress
Only the Bible has sold more copies than The Pilgrim’s Progress. This Christian classic was written by John Bunyan and published in 1678. It chronicles the spiritual journey of a man named Christian from “The City of Destruction” to “The Celestial City.” Along the journey he faces ‘many dangers, toils, and snares’ in search of his destination. Outside of the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress is the highest selling book in history. Since its publication, this book has been a balm and a help to the hearts of many believers who follow in Christian’s steps as followers of Christ.
Pilgrim’s Progress was written while Bunyan was in isolation; the isolation of a jail cell for his unmovable beliefs in the Word of God. My prayer is that, as we journey through this book together while in another type of isolation, it will be a help to us in our continued journey to following Christ. Selfishly, I am also wanting to provide this shared experience so I can freely use some of the metaphors Bunyan uses throughout this book as sermon examples in the years to come without having to explain Pilgrim’s Progress every time. This book has been a wonderful companion to me over the years, and I am expecting the Lord to use it anew in my life as we read together as a church.
Below is a brief review of some available editions for you and your family. Please choose the edition that works best for your own reading level. What matters most is not reading the original English, but reading in a way that is enjoyable and meaningful to you. There are also some resources for our kids to read along too!
There are two ways to be involved. One, you can sign up to read the book with us. This will come with a weekly email reminder and some questions for reflection. Second, you can join one of our groups for men or women and journey along with people over the four weeks we read through the book. Our study groups will meet April 14 – May 8. I hope you will join us! SIGN UP
Banner of Truth
The Banner of Truth edition is in the original language, which is a beautiful version. This edition does come with footnotes provided in the margins including cross references to Scriptures alluded to throughout the book. For those who would not enjoy working through more archaic English, this will be more of a stretch.
The Desiring God edition includes a preface by renowned professor Leland Ryken, as well as a forward by John Newton (author of Amazing Grace). This edition is in the original Old English. There is also a FREE PDF option that is wonderful for those who prefer e-readers, available by clicking the link above.
This edition from B&H has been edited in modern English, and is very readable. It is clothbound and also affordable. For most of our members, this would be a great edition to buy. However, the book is heavily edited, leaving out much important content.
Books for Kids
I would encourage you to also include your kids in reading through The Pilgrim’s Progress. For those not ready to read through the updated modern English version, there are a couple of children’s editions I recommend:
This pictorial edition also includes text on each page. Elementary age kids will be able to read the text (or have a parent read to them) and will also enjoy a picture on every page to help tell the story.
This was how I introduced our kids to Pilgrim’s Progress. One year on family vacation I read this to them out loud. They loved it! This edition changes the age of Christian to that of a young boy, and tells the same story through the perspective of a child. (Audio book also available)
This is a series of nineteen lectures that go through the book from theologian Derek Thomas. There is a corresponding study guide also available at ligonier.org. The video lecture series Thomas did is also available on Amazon Prime.
The movie of The Pilgrim’s Progress is an animated film released in 2019, produced by Steve Cleary. It is available for free right now on their web site.