Book Review: Pilgrim's Progress in Today's English -

Book Review: Pilgrim’s Progress

As Christians, we all need a reminder that life is not easy for anyone. Pilgrim’s Progress, written by John Bunyan, is one of the best sources to look upon for such needs.

Published in 1678, the original title is The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which is To Come, Delivered Under the Similitude of a Dream. That’s a mouthful, but it pretty much describes the plot of the book.

Many Christians face temptations, such as looking at things we shouldn’t, or doing something illegal. Pilgrim’s Progress gives awesome examples of worse temptations, along with what happens when somebody does or does not succumb to sin.

The Book I Read & Recommend

This is the version of the book I read:

  • Pilgrim’s Progress in Today’s English by John Bunyan; Retold by James H. Thomas; Moody Publishers

From the back cover: “Now, as they approached, Mr. Greatheart drew his sword to defend the women and children…

Feel like the only person with struggles in the Christian life? Wonder if anyone else has traveled the same road? Millions of Christians have cherished John Bunyan’s allegorical tale of the journey Christian and Christiana made to the Celestial City. Written in the 1600s, this immortal classic is now available in a modern-day, understandable text.

Christian leaves his home in the City of Destruction and begins a long journey to the Celestial City. His adventure is full of encounters with interesting people such as Faithful, Hopeful, and Ignorance. Traveling through places such as Vanity Fair and the Valley of the Shadow of Death, he reaches his heavenly home but learns rich lessons during the journey. The story has immediate application to everyday life.

Later on, Christian’s wife, Christiana, decides to join her husband in the Celestial City. As she travels, Christiana comes upon a different set of people–Greatheart, Mercy, Honesty, and others. Her story illustrates how Christians follow different paths but with the same destination–eternity with Jesus.

This classic is considered one of those “must reads” by older adults. Though I’d say this is an inspiring book, I would suggest Middle School or older readers. If this was used as a Family Read Aloud, I believe some older, more mature, Elementary-aged students could follow along with questions.

Pilgrim’s Progress Workbooks for Kids

In fact, we used it as part of my homeschool Bible Time back when I was in 8th grade. We used the following workbooks as companion guides:

Book: Pilgrim's Progress Workbook for Kids Volume 1 -

Pilgrim’s Progress Workbook for Kids: A Study Guide for Pilgrim’s Progress in Today’s English – Volume 1: Christian’s Journey by Caroline Weerstra; Common Life Press

Book: Pilgrim's Progress Workbook for Kids Volume 2 -

Pilgrim’s Progress Workbook for Kids: A Study Guide for Pilgrim’s Progress in Today’s English – Volume 2: Christiana’s Journey by Caroline Weerstra; Common Life Press

These workbooks are full of comprehension questions, which help with better understanding and all the symbolism that is used throughout the book.


I’d say that I enjoyed using these books. I’m glad I read it since it was a good book and I’d probably read it again now that I understand the metaphors and symbolism. This is one of those books that I think I’ll enjoy better during my second read.

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I’m also glad we used these workbooks as part of our Bible Time in our homeschool. I knew the Pilgrim’s Progress book would be a good read, simply because it is a classic. (It was my first time reading the book as well).

I scheduled this study while we were using Mystery of History – Volume 3. (Crazy JC Girl used this history series during her middle school years.) John Bunyan published Pilgrim’s Progress in 1678.

Student Books & Answers

Since the workbook assignments follow the “modernized” book by James H. Thomas (Moody Publishers), you will need a copy of that book. You will also need a workbook for each child. I decided to break-down and purchase a copy for myself so I could follow along without looking over shoulders.

The front of the book states that the solutions manual is available for “FREE download” from the author’s website, but I was never able to find them. I even checked the publisher’s website. That being said, once we started using the workbooks, I realized I could easily check the answers without a solutions guide. I think if you (the parent) already understand the Bible, you’ll easily figure out the symbolism, etc. (even if it’s your first time reading Pilgrim’s Progress.)


The first workbook, Volume 1, covers Christian’s journey and the effects of his decisions he makes along his journey. It also shows what happens to other characters and the results of their decisions as well. Christian does go through the small gate and is trying to walk the straight & narrow path, but is distracted several times along the way. Volume II, which the second workbook covers, follows Christiana along her journey.

I would say that a child who has been raised in “Sunday School” and is well versed in heaven, hell, sin, etc. will be able to handle the topics covered here, and fully appreciate the metaphors, symbolism, etc. Even so, you the parent, will be able to help explain & clarify any misunderstandings. I know this book has led us to one or two lengthy discussions.

Assignments & Scheduling

Each workbook assignment has you answer review questions, read 2-4 pages out of Pilgrim’s Progress, then answer comprehension questions about what was just read. The workbook usually points to related scripture and goes on to explain some of the symbolism. Most days we were finished within the hour. However, there were several days where the reading took longer than an hour for us. (We may have been tired, or just distracted.) You can always break-up assignments as needed.

Volume 1 contains 29 assignments or “parts.” Volume 2 contains 21 assignments. We tried to do 1 assignment each homeschool day. However, “life” just got in the way sometimes and we had to add extra days to our schedule. I would definitely build a few days (or a couple of weeks) of buffer into your schedule and try to remain flexible with this study.

Bible & Language Arts Credit

Looking back, I would even consider counting this Bible Study and workbooks as part of Language Arts for the day as well. My thinking is that the book itself is considered classic literature and the workbook helps talk about the literary devices used with the characters and settings. Although the naming of the characters is quite obvious, you could easily tie these concepts into discussions about books you have already read. Although I think I would still include writing or maybe even a grammar assignment to fully round-out the day.

Book Review: Pilgrim's Progress in Today's English -