The truths illustrated in Bunyan’s timeless work ring across the centuries.
by Heidi Williamson
You could read the book I’m writing about as a manuscript of English Literature.
As the passionate, fiery words of a devoted preacher, who lived for and followed Christ with all the zeal of a British soldier marching under his Lord’s banner.
Imprisoned for preaching in 1660, this zealous man continued preaching, like the apostle Paul before him, with pen, instead of speech.
Bars could not silence John Bunyan.
His writings and sermons influenced seventeenth century England.
One manuscript would impact the world.
With his unpretentious, forceful style, Bunyan created an enchanting allegory unsurpassed in the English language for eloquence and beauty.
“When one recollects that until the appearance of “The Pilgrim’s Progress” the common people had almost no other reading matter except the Bible and Fox’s Book of Martyrs, we can understand the impact the book produced…..” 
The book is convicting, challenging, and inspiring.
Yet for Christians, The Pilgrim’s Progress is more than a story. Three-hundred and thirty-two years after its first publication, “the book has been translated into over 200 languages” and is being shaped into Arabic for people living in Lebanon, Syria, and the Middle East. 
Why such popularity?
Centuries after his death, Bunyan is still speaking to us through the words of Christian and the vast array of characters and companions he meets upon his way. These cannot be silenced, for their struggles are the struggles of every Christian, in each generation. In their doubt and despair, we see ourselves, wandering in darkness and terror, confused, dismayed, imprisoned by fear, and easily swayed.
Like many generations, we live in a society consumed with the vanities of life, ignorance of the truth and a denial of God’s existence. Heaven does exist, “though all the men in the world are against it.” 
It’s time to resurrect the struggle-filled journey of Christian and his dangerous road to the Celestial City. It’s time to heed the wisdom of a past generation living in its pages.
And if we haven’t yet, it’s time we began our own journey, following the pilgrims who walked before.
1. Campbell, Douglass, “The Puritan in Holland, England, and America”
2. Dispatches “Frontline Missions International” Christmas 2009 Newsletter. www.frontlinemissions.info
3. Bunyan, John, “The Pilgrim’s Progress” Mineola, New York, Dover Publications Inc. 2003.