ch6     Pilgrim's Progress Chapter 6               
Updated: January 22, 2015


Watch Pilgrim's Progress Scene 4 Wicket Gate and the Interpreter 6 min video

The Wicket–Gate and the Interpreter

First Read p 71-76

Review the story of the pilgrim’s journey thus far. He finally comes to the wicket–gate, where he knocks until Goodwill answers the door and pulls him inside, out of the reach of Beelzebub’s arrows. He is now in the way that leads to salvation.
Q: According to Lesson Five, why can the Law not save anyone? (Discuss student responses before offering the following answers.)
• The Law wasn’t given to save.
• The Law shows us that we are sinners, thus making our guilt official.
• The Law condemns us if we break even one of its laws.
In this lesson, we will see why Christ alone can save a sinner.

Many people today think  fame can save them.  Watch Pop Culture 4 min video

Christ as the Wicket–Gate (TCA 6A)
In John 14:6, Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
In John 10:1, He stated, “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”
And John 10:7 says, “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.”
These three verses tell us two things:
1. Christ is the door to heaven
2. There is only one door
Christ is not only the way to heaven, He is the only way to heaven.

The Only Way to Salvation
Q: Could God have devised another way of salvation if He had wanted to do so? (Discuss.)
A: No! Believe it or not, God did not have the freedom to save a man any way He chose. There was only one way that He could save a man, and that was by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Q: Why could God not have chosen another way to save man? After all, He is God. Doesn’t it seem that any way He chose to save man would have been all right? (Discuss.)
A: The answer lies in this statement: God could save man only by one method, the blood of Christ, because of what God is.
Q: What does that statement mean? (Discuss various student responses before offering the following points in explanation.)
Perfection Was Demanded
God’s holiness demands perfection. God is absolutely holy; therefore, sin cannot enter His presence. In Revelation 21:27, He tells us that nothing impure can enter heaven.
Illustrate: Picture yourself coming to the gates of heaven seeking admission. There stands God’s holiness in an immaculate, glistening–white robe. As you approach, He calls out, “Halt! To enter these gates you must be perfect! Have you ever sinned? Were you born to sinful man?” “Yes,” you sorrowfully answer, for you know that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “Then I am sorry,” Holiness answers, “you cannot enter heaven.”
Punishment Was Necessary
Justice demands punishment for sin (Rom. 6:23). Imagine Justice standing beside Holiness. Justice speaks, “Not only are you barred from heaven by Holiness but also I must punish your sin!” You then see written on his breastplate the words of Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.”
At this point, you engage Justice in conversation to plead your case. “But, sir,” you implore, “I am sorry for my sin. I confess it. Can’t you forgive me?”
Q: Could Justice forgive you without any other cause than that you are sorry for your sin? (Discuss.)
A: No. That would not be justice. For example, suppose that I tell this class that I am going to kill a man, and then I actually do so. I am brought to trial and confess my guilt to the judge. But I add, “I am sorry I did it, and I promise not to do it again.” The judge notes that I have killed only seven other people, so he forgives me and lets me go.
Q: Would that be just? Would that be fair?
A: Of course not. Neither could God forgive us simply because we confess our sins. His justice demands punishment; otherwise, He is not just. Thus, we see that justice cannot forgive or overlook sin. All sin must be punished.

A Substitute Was Accepted (TCA 6B)
Justice demands payment for sin, but justice does not require that the guilty person make the payment personally. This is a feature of justice that has been used in American civil law.
However, justice has two requirements for the substitute.
1. The Substitute Must Be Innocent
Think for a minute. If two of us are in a jail cell waiting to die in the electric chair for murder, I could not take your place when the executioner came. I would have to die for my own crime. The substitute must be innocent.
2. The Substitute Must Be of the Same Species
For example, a dog cannot take the place of a man. Only another man can be his substitute.
Now we begin to see how Christ fits into the picture. Because God is holy, He will not allow us to enter heaven. Furthermore, He is just and must punish our sin with death and hell. However, He will accept an innocent substitute of the same species. Where can we find an innocent human? Romans 3:23 declares that “all have sinned,” and Galatians 3:22 has “concluded all under sin.” Christ came into the world so that He might take our place.
Have the students read aloud the following verses, then offer the summary comments beside each reference.
• 1 Peter 1:18–19—He died as our substitute.
• Matthew 27:4; 1 Peter 1:19—He was innocent of sin.
• 1 Timothy 2:5; Philippians 2:8—He was of the same species.
Here we see the importance of the virgin birth of Christ. Christ had to be born into the world to be of our species (homo sapiens). Yet, if he had had earthly parents, He would have been born in sin (as are all other men) and would not have been innocent. Therefore, God provided Him with a virgin birth. He was born of a woman but without a sin nature. He was from His birth a human and yet perfect and sinless. So we see why Christ alone is the gate of salvation. No other way could be found to satisfy both the justice and the holiness of God.
When people attack the virgin birth, they are attacking the very foundation of our salvation. If Christ is not virgin born, we cannot be saved. Reverse the points of this lesson, and we can clearly see the importance of the virgin birth:
If there were no virgin birth,
then He is not innocent;
thus, He cannot be our substitute;
therefore, justice cannot pardon or forgive us of sin,
and we must all die and spend eternity in hell.
Every doctrine in God’s Word is important because each doctrine stands on all of the other doctrines. They are all linked. If one falls, they all fall.

Application Activities
Refer to the last page of this chapter in the student textbook for a list of optional application activities that may be used in conjunction with this lesson.

student work p77

Historical Background

As we have already learned, the wicket–gate in Bunyan’s story, although it represents Christ, had its imaginative origin in a little wooden gate that stood close to the bell tower of the Abbey Church in Elstow. When he was a child, Bunyan had to go through that little wicket–gate to get into the churchyard. The bell tower had originally been part of another church in the eleventh century. That church was torn down in the 1500s, leaving only the tower. The new church was erected soon afterward, but it was never connected to the tower.

Living as a young boy close to the Abbey Church and beside the wicket–gate, Bunyan used to imagine that the devil stood in the top of the bell tower, shooting arrows at the people who tried to enter the church through the gate. He later added those details to his famous allegory. The wicket–gate became the realization that Christ was the answer to sin (“I am the door,” John 10:7), and the bell tower corresponded to Beelzebub’s castle from which he shot his arrows at anyone who sought salvation through Christ.

A Closer Look

Evangelist, having rescued the pilgrim from the bad advice of Worldly Wiseman, set him on the right course toward the wicket–gate. The pilgrim finally reached this gate, which represents Christ, and our story continues.

The Details of the Story

What was written over the gate? _“Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

This is a quotation from Mathew 7:7. In that same chapter (v. 13), we find that two gates are open to man. What are they called? _the strait gate and the wide gate

Through which gate must one enter to be saved? the strait gate

Does this gate lead to an easy way or a hard way? a hard way

Who opened the gate for the pilgrim? Goodwill, who, like the gate itself, also represents Christ.

In answer to the gatekeeper’s question, who does the pilgrim say is knocking? a poor, burdened sinner

Why does Goodwill pull the pilgrim inside? He does this because Beelzebub and those with him are shooting arrows at anyone who tries to enter through the wicket-gate.

Goodwill then asks the pilgrim a number of questions. After gathering this information from the pilgrim, he points him on his way. According to Goodwill, how is the pilgrim to distinguish the right way from the wrong way? The right way always straight and narrow

• The pilgrim leaves, still bearing his burden, and comes to which place? interpreter's house

 What does this man represents both  the Holy Spirit and the minister of the gospel (from Lesson 1). Here the pilgrim will learn seven important lessons that will help him get to the Cross. Describe what the pilgrim experiences in each of the two rooms studied in this lesson.

1. The private room— there was  the picture of a man with eyes toward heaven, best of books in hand, law of truth on lips, the world behind him, crown hanging over his head. His work is to unfold dark things to sinners. This man is the only man the Lord has authorized to guide the pilgrim.

2. What does the large parlor represent?The parlor is man’s unsanctified heart; dust is man’s sin; man sweeping is the Law, which cannot save; and water is the gospel, which can save.

• Second, he is concerned about not only the pilgrim but also his family and friends. According to 2 Peter 3:9, Christ wants his family to come to repentance.

Watch Protestant Reformation f 5 min video


The Teaching Concerning the Wicket–Gate

The Wicket–Gate

What does the wicket–gate represent?

Christ, but it does not represent salvation! Note that the pilgrim does not get saved until he gets to the Cross. At least four things show us that the Cross, not the wicket–gate, is the point of his salvation.

1. His burden does not fall off until he reaches the Cross.

2. His name is not changed from Graceless to Christian until the Cross (although in the story he is called Christian from the beginning).

3. He is not declared to be forgiven until the angel at the Cross declares him to be forgiven.

4. His rags are not changed to robes of righteousness until he gets to the Cross.

In a sinner’s experience the gate represents the time when he has, like the pilgrim, realized that there is no other way of salvation except by Christ. He still, however, has not come to the point of trust and assurance, which comes only at the Cross. He is now “in the way” and needs only a little more guidance from Interpreter to be forever rid of his burden of sin.


• Goodwill also represents Christ and has several parallels to the Lord. First, he is willing to open the door to the pilgrim. What does 2 Peter 3:9 say about this? The Lord is not slack concerning his promise but is willing that all should come to repentance and none should perish

• Second, he is concerned about not only the pilgrim but also his family and friends. According to 2 Peter 3:9, Christ wants ___all_ to come to repentance.

The Teaching Concerning Interpreter’s House

The seven rooms in Interpreter’s house represent seven truths that will finally bring the pilgrim to the Cross and help him in his life after he trusts Christ. This lesson covers the first two of these truths.

The Private Room

The picture that Interpreter shows to the pilgrim represents the kind of man to follow on this pilgrimage through life. The pilgrim, as Christian, will meet many such people as he has already met in Mr. Worldly Wiseman, Obstinate, and Pliable. Some of them will lead him rightly, but some of them will lead him astray. How will he be able to detect the kind of man to follow? How can he spot a deceiver?

Note the following characteristics of the kind of person one can follow without fear.

• He can beget children, that is, he is an effective witness.

• He labors in birth with children, that is, he not only witnesses but also prays for, agonizes over, and works with the sinner until he is born again. (That’s what Evangelist did. He not only witnessed once to the pilgrim but also kept after him and helped him along the way.)

• He nurses them. What does this fact indicate? ___He teaches them, feeding them the Word of God after they have been born again; he disciplines them.

• His words are based on the Book, and his advice is backed up by Scripture.

• His eyes look to heaven; he is a man of prayer and dependence upon the Lord.

• His back is to the world. What does this fact indicate?  It indicates that he is separated from the world, he doesn’t care for the things of the world, and his main concern is to serve his Master and to help others to know Him

The Large Parlor

• Of what does the large parlor speak? man’s unsanctified heart

• The dust represents man’s sin.

• The first sweeper represents the law.

• The second sweeper, who uses water, represents the gospel.

The illustration is beautiful. The sin in man’s heart cannot be removed by the Law; the broom only rearranges the dirt. Only the water of the Word and the grace of God can settle the dirt so that it can be swept from the heart cleanly.

Thus, the two rooms teach (1) the kind of man to follow and (2) the only way to remove our sin.

Notes from the Teacher’s Lesson

(TCA 6A)   (TCA 6B)

Quiz—Lesson 6
The Wicket–Gate and the Interpreter
Name____________________________________________ Date ______________ Score_________

Matching A
Match each character on the right with what he did in this lesson.
1. Showed Christian helpful things to teach him important lessons
A. Evangelist
2. Warned Christian not to turn out of the way again
B. Goodwill
3. Jerked Christian through the wicket–gate to avoid his being hit by Beelzebub’s arrows
C. Interpreter

Matching B
What does each item on the right represent?
4. Man’s sin
A. Large parlor
5. Man’s unsanctified heart
B. Dust
6. The Law
C. The first sweeper
7. The gospel
D. The sweeper who sprinkled water

Short Answer
8. What words were written over the wicket–gate?____
9. In addition to a faithful minister, what else does the Interpreter represent?__
10. Whom does the wicket–gate represent? _
11–12. What two requirements does justice demand of a substitute?

13–15. Every doctrine of Scripture depends on every other doctrine. Explain how this is evident using the doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ as your supporting evidence



Lesson Objectives:
1. To interpret the wicket–gate as representative of Jesus Christ, the only way to salvation

2. To offer biblical proof that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation

3. To illustrate by the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ that every doctrine of Scripture is important because each doctrine stands on every other doctrine

1. read p 71-76

2. watch scene 4 video

3. go over student work p 77-83



Student Book PDF
World view study guide

Text PDF

Video whole movie:

1st Part
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