A Pilgrim's Progress: Suffering in the Life of John Bunyan
Michael Gleghorn — John Bunyan is known to most people today as the author of The
Pilgrim’s Progress, a book he began writing in prison. It tells the story
of “Christian,” who makes his way from the “City of Destruction” (which
represents this world) to the “Celestial City” (which represents Heaven). It’s
been described as “perhaps the world’s best-selling book” (after the Bible),
and has been “translated into over 200 languages.” Written in the form of an
allegory, it essentially relates the story of Bunyan’s own Christian journey.
And just as his life was full of trials and suffering, so also
“Christian” must face many hardships and difficulties as well.
Bunyan was born in England in 1628 at a time of great
political and religious unrest. In 1644, at just fifteen years old, both his
mother and sister died within a month of each other. Later that year, “when
Bunyan had turned sixteen, he was drafted into the Parliamentary Army and for
about two years was taken from his home for military service.” He married in
1648, at about the age of twenty, but his wife died just ten years later,
leaving him with four children, the oldest of whom was blind. He married again
the following year, in 1659, but incredibly, just one year after this, “Bunyan
was arrested and put in prison.” His wife, who was pregnant at the time,
suffered a miscarriage, probably because of the added stress which this ordeal
created. She was then left to care for Bunyan’s four children while he spent
the next twelve years in jail.
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|MEET THE AUTHOR
"I first became interested in Bunyan after reading his spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. I wanted to write this article to help acquaint others with his remarkable story."
Michael is a research associate with Probe Ministries. After earning a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University and a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he is back at DTS pursuing
more suffering a Ph.D. in theology. The joy of Michael's life is his wife Hannah and their two young children.
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