Known most for his allegory of the Christian life The Pilgrim’s Progress Bunyan was a faithful pastor who made the most of his writing opportunities. Though he lived and ministered nearly 400 years ago John Bunyan’s continues to impact the church. I remember reading some of his sermons along with The Pilgrim’s Progress as a new Christian. I was helped immensely as I read.
Over time I sought to find more information about this creative writer and careful crafter of word pictures. I was surprised to find out that he was not highly educated and not professionally trained for ministry. Myself not being the brightest bulb in the box and having not been to seminary, I identified with the 17th Century “tinker”. I looked for books that would help me learn more about him. A friend gave me Grace Abounding: The Life, Books, and Influence of John Bunyan. Here David Calhoun gives us exactly what I was looking for at the time: an introduction to the biography, theology, ministry, and writing of Bunyan.
With the familiarity of a close friend or family member Calhoun takes us on a guided tour of Bunyan’s life and thought. Having now read other books on him, I’ve regularly returned to Grace Abounding for a refresher. In particular, Calhoun’s frequent quotation and interaction with Bunyan’s own spiritual autobiography entitled Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (free on Kindle!) is quite helpful. Bunyan’s struggle with assurance for about 5 years helps readers to better understand the characters in The Pilgrim’s Progress and Holy War. As Calhoun concludes, to know Christian and Mansoul is to know Bunyan himself.
Perhaps you have heard of Bunyan and maybe even read The Pilgrim’s Progress but have not gotten to know Bunyan himself, consider adding Calhoun’s book to your reading list for this year and getting to know this humble Redwood in God’s acreage. Any who aim to be encouraged in the grace of Christ will find him a suitable and most helpful companion.
You can pick up discounted copies of Grace Abounding at Amazon.