Look at the chart on page 15-16
The Significance of the Characters and Places
Following is a list of the various characters and places found in The Pilgrim’s Progress and their meanings. Pay particular attention to these places and people as you encounter them in your reading. Use the map of Christian’s journey that's on page 4-5 that is provided in your book to aid you in your study
What are the Five Greatest Truths of The Pilgrim’s Progress?
1.The Condition Of The Lost (TCA 1b)
The pilgrim’s burdened condition and utter hopelessness before he comes to the Cross illustrates graphically the condition of the world without Christ. The earth is doomed (2 Peter 3:10). Every man on earth is doomed to die and go to hell (Rom. 6:23; Heb. 9:27). Many people live under a terrible burden of guilt and fear. Some of them have sunken into the slough of despondency and defeat. Others, like Obstinate, are rebellious toward anything that is spiritual, whereas some, like Pliable, are curious but unwilling to pay the price of being identified with Christ. All of them wander aimlessly until they enter hell.
2.The Power Of The Cross
The Cross does what nothing else can do—remove the pilgrim’s burden. Good works, baptism, good morals, keeping the commandments—none of these actions can lighten the poor pilgrim’s load. The village of Morality fails miserably. In fact, it makes the load seem heavier. The world’s wise men, with all of their intellect, cannot remove the load. Only at the Cross does the burden fall. [NOTE Heb. 9:22; 1 Cor. 1:23–24; 1 Peter 1:18–19; Rom. 8:3. These verses emphasize that it is not by man’s wisdom—Mr. Worldly Wiseman—or by wealth or the keeping of the Law (Mr. Sinai) that a man is saved. Man is saved only by faith in the finished work of Christ on the Cross. Nothing else but His blood can save a soul and transform a life.]
3.The Importance Of The Word
The Word of God is prominent in the life of the pilgrim. Note the following ways in which the Word is emphasized.
•The Word Gives Graceless The Burden Of HisCondition.
Bunyan writes, “I saw this man open the book and read in it, and what he was reading made him cry and tremble.” Later, the pilgrim tells his wife that he has been informed that “our city is going to be burned with fire from heaven.” The source of his information comes from 2 Peter 3:10. A little later, Bunyan writes, “One day when he was walking in the field this way, reading in his book as he usually did, he became even more distressed.” Thus, we see that the reading of God’s Word is what brings Graceless to see his condition and to desire the Celestial City.
•The Word Points Him To The Cross.
After arriving at the wicket–gate, the pilgrim is pointed to Interpreter’s house, where he is shown more clearly the way of salvation. Thus, it is the Word of God that shows a man not only that he is a sinner but also how he is to be saved and come to the place of trusting Christ. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” If we are to bring men to Christ, we must rely completely on the power of the Word to cause them to trust Christ. One of the saddest commentaries on our day is the myriad methods that men use to get a sinner down the aisle or on his knees. Some preachers resort to tear–jerking stories. Others rely on soft lights, dramatic presentations, and soothing music. Some of them actually say that they use special pressure points on the back of the sinner’s neck, which the preacher squeezes as he puts his hand on the person’s neck and asks him to bow and trust Christ. No wonder we get so many false professions! Most genuine professions of faith come through a sinful soul’s agonizing over and wrestling with the power of the Word of God. At last, he surrenders to the Word, and only then is his burden removed.
•The Word Becomes His Armor.
At the Palace Beautiful, Christian is clothed in armor. He goes forth and immediately meets the terrible Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation. With the “sword of the spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17), he pierces Apollyon and gains the victory. Even today, we can have no victory over Satan and his demons apart from our skilled use of His Word, even as Christ overcame Satan during His temptation in the wilderness—by quoting the Word of God.
•The Word Frees Him From Despair.
Captured by Giant Despair, Christian is about to give up when he remembers the key that Evangelist gave him. This key represents the promises of God’s Word. He uses the key and is freed at once from the Giant’s castle of doubt. Many times we, too, are tempted to give up and forget the whole struggle. Satan has us defeated and discouraged. In such circumstances, we have only one way to escape. Defeat is dissolved by resorting to God’s Word. When one gets out of fellowship with God, he has only one way back—by reading God’s Word.
•The Delectable Mountains Represent TheEnjoyment Of God’s Word.
Christian climbs to the high elevations of the Delectable Mountains and enjoys the scenes, the fruit, the water, and the refreshment of those high places. This episode is a picture of the mature Christian who has climbed to the heights of spiritual victory and is enjoying all of the blessings of God’s Word. From these mountain heights, Christian catches his first glimpse of heaven, and it makes him hasten to get there even quicker. Thus, we see the importance of God’s Word in the life of every Christian.
4.The Prominence Of Satan
Everywhere we turn in this story, we see Satan. He is disguised in many forms, but he is always the same being. He is the rebellious Obstinate, who tries to tease Christian into turning back to the city of Destruction. He is the egotistical Mr. Worldly Wiseman, who leads the pilgrim astray. He is the roaring lions, who block the way to the Palace Beautiful. He is Apollyon, who seeks to deal Christian a mortal wound in the Valley of Humiliation. He is Judge Hate–good, who condemns Christian to death at Vanity Fair. He is Giant Despair at the Doubting Castle and the black Fowler, who traps Christian in a net after leading him astray. One cannot read The Pilgrim’s Progress without being reminded that Satan is the Christian’s real, thinking, determined enemy. Satan is alive and active. First Peter 5:8–9 admonishes, “Be sober, be vigilant [watchful]; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith. . . .”
5.The Difficulty Of The Way
The last great lesson in this classic is the fact that the Christian life is no bed of roses. The path that Christian must tread is not easy; it is filled with terrors and dangers, pits and snares, and death and despair. God does not guarantee a Christian popularity, wealth, fun, and smoothness for being in His will and way. One must be willing to pay the price of affliction if he is to serve the Lord. In this regard, note the following examples and their associated verses.
• Moses endured great afflictions to serve God (Heb. 11:25).
• Paul endured great afflictions (Acts 20:23).
• The Macedonian Christians endured a great trial of afflictions (2 Cor. 8:1–2).
• False professors do not endure afflictions (Mark 4:13–17).
• Christ warns that we will not have it easy as Christians (2 Tim. 3:12).
Are you willing to pay the price? Will you, like Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, fight the fight of faith and stand for Christ? Or will you be like some of the lesser characters of the book and give up, turn back, fall asleep, and be defeated?
Challenge the students to arm themselves with the armor of God’s Word and to go forth with faith and courage to meet the enemy.