The Pilgrimís Progress made its first appearance in print in 1678. Even today this book remains a favorite in Christian circles and has been translated in about 108 languages. Though a fictional account, The Pilgrimís Progress is a brilliant depiction of the Christian life. Bunyan is one of the earliest authors to employ fiction to deliver a Christian theme and a most successful one too.
Using a lot of literary genius, Bunyan records the spiritual pilgrimage of his hero, Christian in The Pilgrimís Progress. The life of a Christian believer on earth is compared to a pilgrimage whose final destination is the celestial city, Heaven. In this account Bunyan skillfully weaves the themes of salvation, eternal life, persecution, trials and every kind of oppression a believer in Christ faces through his life on earth. Though the dramatic representations in The Pilgrimís Progress rarely happen in real life, Bunyan uses this medium both to capture the attention of his audience as well as convey his message forcefully. The entire story is a dream filled with imaginary characters, exotic locations and vivid descriptions.
One gets to wonder why and how this book continues to remain a timeless Christian classic. The main reason for this is that The Pilgrimís Progress captures the struggles and hardships of a Christianís life on earth besides cautioning the reader on several deceptions and evil agents who hamper a Christianís progress both from within the Church and outside.
Though a must read, the original version of The Pilgrimís Progress written in the language of the 16th century is hard to read and understand for modern readers. However abridged versions of the book are available and can be used to overcome this difficulty. Another thing to note is that The Pilgrimís Progress is unlike other fictional works of our time which can be read without much attention. There are no irrelevant or flowery details presented in The Pilgrimís Progress and the reader must concentrate on every line and page to get the most out of this book. Those who do take this effort will surely find that the time spent on reading The Pilgrimís Progress was definitely worth the while.
Note: I reviewed my own copy of The Pilgrimís Progress by John Bunyan and have received no monetary benefit for doing so.