Essay / On This Day

Happy Birthday, John Bunyan

Today (November 28) is the birthday of John Bunyan (1628-1688). Most famous for his Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan also authored a number of theological and devotional works of lasting value.

They all have that Bunyan charm: The fluency with Scripture, the lightning-quick associative leaps, the natural vigor, the homespun power of the English language. If you haven’t read Pilgrim’s Progress, read it. But if you’ve read it, consider branching out with more Bunyan, like these:

Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ: A treatise on John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Bunyan beats down objection after objection to the gospel.

The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate: A careful and impassioned presentation of an overlooked doctrine. Christ a Complete Savior covers much the same ground.

A Discourse Touching Prayer – Classic, trinitarian account of praying with the Spirit and with understanding. Not with a prayerbook, and not in tongues. Just normal.

Some Gospel Truths Opened – One of Bunyan’s weirdest pieces, most deeply traditional, but always giving the feeling that he’s about to careen off on his own.

Scripture Poems – Not great poetry, but just watch Bunyan hack away at Ruth, Samson, Jonah, James, and others.

The First Ten Chapters of Genesis – Bunyan at straight Bible exposition. Fascinating stuff, like doing a Bible study with him. Don’t miss the Trinity in Genesis 1.

A Book for Boys and Girls, or Divine Emblems – Some people think Pilgrim’s Progress is for kids. Ha! Read this to see how Bunyan actually thought about preaching to kids.

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