John Bunyan was a man unafraid to proclaim the authority of God’s Word without compromise, even when it came at great personal risk. His refusal to conform his preaching led to multiple incarcerations. On one such occasion, he was asked to simply stop and be set free. He replied, “If you release me today, I will preach tomorrow.”
Those now famous words led to a nearly twelve year imprisonment. It was during this time that he began to pen his classic work. Published in 1678, it quickly became one of the most popular stories of all time. Over 100,000 copies were sold within his lifetime alone, and today it is believed to be the second-most widespread book in existence, surpassed only by the Bible in number of copies distributed. It has been translated into over 200 languages, and it has never been out of print.
The Pilgrim’s Progress is a spiritual allegory that follows the path of Christian, a man weighed down by his burden of sin. He leaves the City of Destruction and learns that nothing can remove his burden other than the cross of Christ. But that is only the beginning of his journey through life to the Celestial City.