If you’re doing the summer intensive, this book was like a breath of fresh air as you’re chugging up a steep hill. After getting all intellectual with Piper, heart-challenged with Chan, and brain-numbed by Calvin, this famous work of allegorical fiction serves as a nice break.
That’s not to say that this book isn’t deep. There’s so many layers throughout this story, I’m sure I didn’t even dive into the first half. Bunyan has taken the Christian life and personified it into a traveler by the name of Christian (and later, his wife Christiana). Christian’s journey begins when he realizes that his city is destined for destruction and the only way out is to travel to the Celestial City. Along the way he makes friends – namely Faithful and Hopeful. They meet others by the name of Despair, Mr. Crafty, Mr. Wordly, and dozens others. They are tempted. They are mocked. They fall more than a few times. They are forced to go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Sound familiar? Christian and Christiana’s travels are incredibly easy to identify with. I think ‘s of the things that makes this book so powerful and why it has been so popular for over 300 years. You can’t help but read it and think, “Yes! I’ve been there!”
The way that Bunyan personifies the obstacles, challenges, and encouragements we face throughout our Christian lives are so real and so vibrant. When both characters reach the end of their journey, you can’t help but sigh, feeling as though you’ve arrived as well.
Perhaps the best parts are the times when the Lord comes to their aid. Be it through direct intervention and help, the assistance of another traveler, or encouragement through the Bible (each chapter is laden with the characters quoting Scripture), God’s hand through their lives is so amazing and so…I don’t know, WOW!
If you are going to read any book this summer, pick this one up. If you want to trudge through the old English, you can download free copies all over the place. I paid for the contemporary English version, feeling like my mind needed a break after Portrait of Calvin.
This is a book every Christian should read – so read it!