ch9     Pilgrim's Progress Chapter 9               
Updated: December 28, 2014

The Palace Beautiful

First Read p 115-121

Leaving the Cross, Christian followed the narrow road and soon came upon three men sleeping. He tried to wake them, but soon he learned his first lesson after becoming a Christian—that not all men will be as zealous or as enthusiastic about their salvation as he was. This fact is generally a rude awakening for young Christians. The freshness of their newfound life is so exciting to them that they cannot imagine anyone who is truly born again being so lethargic.


Watch Pilgrim's Progress Scene 7 The Palace Beautiful 4 min video


For the Teacher:

Leaving these men to their slumber, he spied two pretenders to the faith (Formalist and Hypocrisy) trying to climb over the Wall of Salvation. He warned them that they must come in by the gate, but they were not interested in such talk and used tradition and ease as their reasons for climbing over some other way. Soon, however, they came to their end when they sought another shortcut around the hill Difficulty. So it often is with pretenders. They’d don’t have what it takes when the way gets rough. That’s why Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). These two men did not continue in the way and so proved that they were not of the way.
Christian headed up the hill Difficulty and after several problems (such as falling asleep and losing his roll), he finally arrived at the top of the hill and, shortly thereafter, at the Palace Beautiful.
Historically, this palace had its origins in a large house on top of Ampthill, near Bedford, England. Bunyan often went by this beautiful home and once stayed in it overnight. From the upstairs bedroom windows, one could look out and see in the distance the Chiltern Hills, which became the Delectable Mountains of The Pilgrim’s Progress.
Allegorically, however, this palace becomes a symbol of the local church. Now that the pilgrim is a Christian, he needs the fellowship and teaching that the local assembly can provide. Thus, a study of this section of The Pilgrim’s Progress leads us to a discussion of the doctrine of the local church.
What the Church Is (TCA 9A)
The Greek word ecclesia, which we translate “church,” is made up of two words that mean “to call out.” It means an assembly or gathering of those who have been called out. The New Testament uses this word

to refer to at least four different types of assemblies. The specific kind of assembly must be determined by examining the context in which the term is used. The four types are as follows:
• An assembly of townspeople in a political context (Acts 19:32–41)
• A gathering of the Jewish people in their assembly in the wilderness (Acts 7:38)
• A local group of Christians meeting in a certain place (1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; Rev. 1:11; and many other references)—the most frequent use of the word
• The collective church to which all believers—and only believers—belong; the same as the body of Christ and what some people refer to as “the universal church” (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22–23; 3:10, 21; 5:23, 25, 27, 29, 32). The church is God’s people in this age. Old Testament believers are not a part of the universal church
To summarize, the word church means “assembly.” The specific kind of assembly must be determined from the passage in which the word is used. The doctrine of the Christian church is concerned with only the last two of the four uses we’ve mentioned here.
When the Church Began
The argument over when the church began has raged for centuries. Some people believe that it began with the nation of Israel in the wilderness. Other people say that it started with Christ’s death on the Cross. And still other people do not see the church beginning until the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended. But what does the Bible teach about this question?

It Was Foretold by Christ
Matthew 16:16–18 presents the first mention of the church in the New Testament. In that passage, the church is a prophecy and a promise. Thus, it could not have started before that time. The passage notes several things about the church, including the following.
1. Christ will do the building of the church.
2. The church will be built upon Christ (not on Peter, as the Roman Catholics teach).
3. The church will never fall from the purpose that Christ has for it.
It Was Founded by the Apostles
Acts 2:47 gives us the actual beginning of the church. In that passage, the prophecy of Matthew 16:16–18 is fulfilled. The Holy Spirit descended, the believers were filled with the Spirit, and souls were saved.

From that point, whenever a person was saved, there was no question as to whether he or she ought to join the church; that fact was taken for granted. Thus, we read, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).
The Organization of the Church (TCA 9B)
From its beginning, church organization grew with its membership. As the numbers of members continued to increase daily, so did the need for organization. Note the growth of the membership:

• Acts 2:41 3,000 members
• Acts 4:4 5,000 members
• Acts 5:14 Multitudes of members
The church underwent many organizational changes, including the following as the membership increased.
• The members had stated places of meeting: the temple (Acts 5:12) and the homes of members (2:46; 12:12).
• They had stated times of meetings: daily (2:46) and on each Lord’s Day (20:7).
• They had regular hours of prayer (3:1; 10:9).
• They had a regular church roll, as we have seen from the numbers given in Scripture.
The apostle Paul addressed the need for organization in many of his epistles to churches in different geographic locations. The churches soon had bishops (Phil. 1:1) and elders (Acts 20:17). Deacons were also added (Acts 6) to serve the church and take the work load off the pastors, thereby allowing them to spend their time studying the Word and praying.
Bishops and Elders
That the church is to have leaders is made clear in Hebrews 13:7, 17. Organization is not wrong or carnal. Some people believe that the less organized we are the better we are. This view, however, often hinders the work of God and causes inefficiency. Some churches, however, become so highly organized that it is difficult for the Spirit of God to work. Nonetheless, organization is an important part of the church, and with organization comes leadership.
The first leaders of the church were called elders or bishops. These positions were probably the same, the word elder referring to the office and the term bishop referring to the function of that office. (Note Acts 20:17, 28.)
Q: What were the duties of the elders? (Discuss.)
A: They (1) ruled (1 Tim. 5:17), (2) guarded and taught the truth (Titus 1:9), (3) and supervised financial matters (Acts 11:30).
Q: What were the qualifications for elders? (Discuss.)
A: I Timothy 3:1–7 sets forth most of the qualifications for these overseers (read this passage). They are as follows:
• Blameless (i.e., not open to valid criticism)
• Husband of one wife
• Vigilant (i.e., steady, calm, controlled)
• Sober (i.e., of a sound mind)
• Well behaved
• Hospitable
• Apt to teach
• Not given to wine
• Nonviolent (i.e., not a “striker”)
• Not greedy for money

• Patient (willing to wait for God to work)
• Not argumentative (no “brawler”)
• Not covetous
• Presiding well over his family
• Not a novice (i.e., not a new, immature convert)

But Titus 1:5–9 adds the following requirements for elders:
• Having a good testimony among the unsaved
• Not self–willed (i.e., not arrogant)
• Not soon angry (i.e., even–tempered)
• A lover of good (people and things, has good tastes)
• Just
• Holy (i.e., pure and separated)
• Temperate (i.e., self–controlled)

The modern elders are our preachers or pastors.
The deacons were subordinate to the elders. The word deacon means “servant.” It seems that the office of deacon was that of one who helped the elders in the face–to–face and house–to–house contact with the members of the church. They administered relief aid, visited the sick, and did the basic errands required in running the church. Their qualifications were similar to those of an elder (pastor) and are listed in 1 Timothy 3:8–13. (Read this passage aloud. Compare the qualifications listed here with those we’ve mentioned for elders.)
The Purpose of the Church
Another title for this point might be

“Reasons Why a Person Should Join a Local Church.”
1. For Fellowship (Heb. 10:25)
In Hebrews 10:25, Christ tells us to be faithful in the services of the church, especially in the last days. Christians need each other in these days of apostasy, liberalism, and worldliness and materialism. One of the earmarks of the early church was fellowship. (Note Acts 2:42.) Three reasons are given for the church, one of which is fellowship. With whom we run is one of the most important factors in the formation of our character! Those who spend their time with the lost and worldly throughout the week will soon be like them—unless they can build strong friendships with godly people.
2. To Learn Doctrine (Acts 2:42)
Everything we do (and everything we should do) in the Christian life is based on the great doctrines of God’s Word. The early Christians stayed together daily, continuing in the apostles’ doctrine. That means that they were learning the Word as the apostles taught them. Acts 6:1, 2 shows that the apostles had one major responsibility—to study and to teach the Word of God.

Most churches have Sunday school, Sunday morning and evening worship services, and a midweek prayer service for the purpose of teaching the Word of God. God has commanded us not to forsake these assemblies because in them we learn the Word.
3. For Prayer (Acts 2:42)
That the early church gathered to pray is evident in many passages in Acts. Prayer alone in the privacy of one’s room is important, but prayer with other believers about the same subject is also important. God would have us gather to do nothing but pray!
Q: How long has it been since your group did nothing but pray—really pouring out your hearts to the Lord for revival, for each other’s needs, for love and unity, or for lost souls? No wonder today’s church has so little power. Little prayer, little power; much prayer, much power.
4. For Evangelism
(Matt. 18:19, 20;
Acts 1:8

Each individual is to be a witness for the Lord in his daily life, but at the same time the church has been commissioned to work as an organization for the evangelization of the lost. The purpose of the church is to train and develop missionaries and pastors and to support missionaries and pastors on the field.
Q: How many missionaries will come from this class? How many preachers?
Yet, that is the very purpose of the church and the Christian school that is connected with it. Ephesians 4:11–12 states that the pastor–teacher is to perfect saints “for the work of the ministry.”
5. To Mature the Saints
(Eph. 4:11–15)
Pastors, teachers, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, and Christian school teachers all work together to bring believers to maturity and conformity to Christ. Here we see the value of faithful attendance. Failure to attend regularly leads to apostasy, deception, and weakness.
Q: Are you faithful in attending services in the house of the Lord? Do you listen? Do you take notes? Do you get actively involved? Are you growing? Are you witnessing? Are you learning the power of prayer?
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

A Closer Look

Christian found his roll in the arbor and headed back up the hill Difficulty. As the darkness fell, he was very much aware of the two lions about which Timorous and Mistrust had told him at the top of the hill.

The Lions

• The way to the Palace Beautiful led through a very narrow passage. In that spot, Christian saw the two lions. What he could not see, however, was that they were _chained_.

The lesson that we learn from this is that many apparent spiritual dangers seem formidable until we examine them more closely with the eye of faith. The world, the flesh, and the devil can do us no harm. In fact, Christian’s greatest enemy at this point was not the lions but fear itself.

• The Porter, whose name was _Watchful_, explained to Christian the purpose of the lions being there. What was the twofold purpose?

1. _to try one's faith to determine in what it was being placed___

2. _to reveal those who have no faith_

• God sometimes puts obstacles in our way and allows Satan to test us to see the greatness of our faith. How did God do this with Abraham in Genesis 22? _He told Abraham to offer his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice._

The Porter

• The Porter represents the pastor of the church. He is always to be watch-ful of new believers. Fittingly, the word pastor comes from the same word as pasture, and it refers to the shepherding ministry of a preacher. Note Paul’s command to the pastors of the church at Ephesus in Acts 20:28. Of what does he say they are to take heed? _of themselves and all of the flock_

• What position does the pastor have over the church? _Overseer_ (i.e., he watches over the spiritual welfare of the people)

• Who gave him this position? _the Holy Spirit_

• What is his responsibility to the church flock? _to feed them spiritually_

Hebrews 13:7 gives further insight to the pastor’s responsibilities. Note the following:

• The congregation’s responsibility to the pastor is to _remember him, follow his faith, and consider the end of his conversation (behavior or conduct)

• The pastor’s responsibility to the congregation is to _speak theWord of God to them and to rule over them_

• The pastor’s accountability is that he will have to give account to God for how he watches over the flock that has been entrusted to him.

Watch Protestant Reformation i 5 min video



The Four Young Ladies

• Watchful called for a young lady who, in turn, introduced Christian to three other ladies. These ladies and the Palace Beautiful itself represent the local church, which provides the Christian with the fellowship and instruction that is necessary to a victorious Christian life. What are the names of the four young ladies that Christian met? _Discretion, Piety, Prudence, and Charity_

• These four names represent the basic character that every fundamental church should possess. Besides having a watchful pastor who is aware of the dangers and issues of the day, the church must consist of a congregation whose members are discreet, pious, prudent, and full of love. Let’s examine each of these names in more detail.

1.  Discretion

• The dictionary defines discretion as _good judgment, wise cautionin speech or action_.

• Interestingly, Watchful (the pastor) first calls Discretion to examine Christian before he is allowed to spend the night at the palace. This action portrays the examination of a new Christian about his qualifications before he is admitted to membership in the church. Discretion is the exercise of good judgment in determining the suitability of an applicant for church membership. Notice the types of questions that Discretion asked Christian.

• After Christian shared his testimony and the other young ladies asked Christian a few more questions, they were satisfied with his answers, and they invite him to _join them as part of their family_. This is equivalent to accepting him into church membership.

2. Piety

Piety is a sincere and earnest desire to do God’s will. We get the word pious from it. Piety asked Christian about his inward motives for seeking salvation, and Christian’s response reminded him of his flight from the city of Destruction. He told them of the dreadful sound, of his meeting with Evangelist, who pointed him in the right direction, and he named three things that impressed him most in the Interpreter’s house. He also recalled his experience at the cross.

• Piety liked what she heard from Christian because it revealed a pious spir-it. It showed that Christian sincerely loved the Lord and wanted to serve Him. This is a characteristic of all true believers—they love the Lord with all of their _Heart_ and they sincerely desire to do His_will_.

3. Prudence

• Prudence is the ability to govern and discipline oneself. Prudence ques-tioned Christian concerning his inward desires and temptations to indulge in the sins of the flesh. Did Christian ever think back to his sinful life?_Yes_. Did Christian find himself going through an inwardstruggle to do things that were wrong? _Yes.  What words ofChristian’s sound like those of Paul in
Romans 7:21
? When I would do what is best that which is worst is with me.

• When Christian was tempted to sin, how did he overcome it? (Note his fourfold answer)

1. I think of what I saw at the Cross.

2. I look upon my nice coat.

3. I read in the roll.

4. I think warm thoughts about where I’m going.

4. Charity

• Charity is love. Charity questioned Christian concerning his family and his desire for their souls’ salvation. What proved Christian’s love for his family’s souls? He cried for them_

• Why didn’t his wife and children follow him? His wife feared losing the world; his children were deceived by the pleasures of childhood

• Christian was so careful in his daily life that his family held even that against him. He stated that if anything hindered his family from trusting Christ, it was his _sensitivity to sinning against God or of doinganything wrong against his neighbors.

Do you weep for people’s souls? Are you careful that your daily words and actions do not mar your testimony before them?


In this lesson, we’ve seen the characteristics of the ideal church. Its members are discreet, using good judgment in admitting new members; prudent, exercising self–control over worldliness and the fleshly desires; pious, earnestly loving God and desiring to do His will; and full of love for each other and for the lost.

notes from the teacher’s lesson

(TCA 9A)   (TCA 9B)

Memory Verse #1 from Creation lesson #1

 Memory Verse # 2 from Creation lesson # 3

Hebrews (11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Memory Verse # 3 from Creation lesson # 5

1 Corinthians 13:12  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Memory Verse # 4 from Creation lesson # 6

Genesis 1:1–2 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Memory Verse # 5 from Creation lesson # 7

1 Corinthians 15:21–22

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive .

Memory Verse # 6 from Creation lesson # 9

Romans 3:4 ....let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:

“That You may be justified in Your words,

And may overcome when You are judged.”

Memory Verse # 7 from Pilgrim's Progress lesson ch1 Don't worry

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say to you,do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?...

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Memory Verse # 8 from Pilgrim's Progress lesson ch3

Proverbs 29:1 Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy

Memory Verse # 9 from Pilgrim's Progress lesson ch5

Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Memory Verse # 10 from Pilgrim's Progress lesson ch7

Acts 14:22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said

Memory Verse # 11 from Pilgrim's Progress lesson ch 9 James 1:12 

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.


application activities

1. List examples from Scripture of ways in which God sometimes tried the faith of various Bible characters. What lessons can you learn from each of those examples?

2. Explain an instance in which your faith was tried. What specific things strengthened you during these trials, thus enabling you to “pass the test?”

3. Study the life and trials of Job. What lessons can you learn from his example?

4. Write a one– to two–page paper explaining the teachings of
James 1:12 and 1 Peter 1:7.

5. Study and research the hymn by Ron Hamilton (also known as Patch the Pirate) “Rejoice in the Lord.” What circumstance inspired him to write that song? What aspects of the song indicate that this circumstance was a great trial


Quiz The Palace Beautiful
Name____________________________________________ Date ______________ Score_________

1. Good judgment, wise caution in speech or action
A. Watchful
2. Love, especially for the souls of others
B. Discretion
3. Representative of the pastor, or overseer, of Christ’s flock
C. Piety
4. Ability to govern and discipline oneself
D. Prudence
5. Sincere, earnest desire to do God’s will
E. Charity

Short Answer
6–7. What were the two purposes of the lions’ being in the way of pilgrims going to Mount Zion?
8. What is the name of the Porter at the Palace Beautiful?
9. What does the Palace Beautiful represent?
10. What is the Greek word that Scripture uses for what the Palace Beautiful represents?

Circle the T or the F to indicate your answer.
T F 11. To determine which of the four types of assemblies a particular verse refers, one must examine its context.
T F 12. Old Testament believers are part of the “universal church.”
T F 13. The beginning of the church can be marked from the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

14–15. List and describe the primary responsibilities of the two offices in the New Testament church.
16–20. List the five purposes for the local church.


Lesson Objectives:

1. To define the term church according to Scripture

2. To identify the origin of the church

3. To trace the growth and organization of the early church

4. To define and state the biblical requirements for church officers

5. To establish the purposes of the church

1. read p 115-121

2. watch scene 7 video

3. go over student work p 121-125



Student Book PDF
World view study guide

Text PDF

Video whole movie:

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