Pilgrim’s Progress Final Chapter Discussion Questions

imageQuestions for Chapter 10
-pp. 145-154 in the Revell Spire Edition
-pp. 179-191 in the Moody Classic Edition
-pp. 149-156 in Pilgrim’s Progress in Today’s English
-pp. 178-190 Barbour and Company. 1985

1. Why do you think the grapes of the vineyard caused Christian and Hopeful to talk in their sleep? What is Bunyan trying to tell us?

2. Why do you think that Bunyan decided to use a river to represent death? What Scriptures come to mind?

3. The golden beings tell them that the river is “deeper or shallower as you believe in the King of the place.” What does this mean in the Christian life?

4. What do you think it means that Christian “in great measure lost his senses” as he crossed the river?

5. Why were Christian and Hopeful able to climb the hill to the Celestial City so easily?

6. Christian asks what they would do in the holy place, what were some of the things he was told by the ministering spirits?

7. What did you find interesting or encouraging about the reception the pilgrims received and the description of the Celestial City?

8. What was the name of the ferryman the helped Ignorance cross the river so easily?

9. Now that we have finished Christian’s story, what were some of the aspects of the book that had the biggest impact upon you?

Pilgrim’s Progress Chapter 7 Discussion Questions

 

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Questions for Chapter 7

-pp. 90-110 in the Revell Spire Edition

-pp. 111-137 in the Moody Classic Edition

-pp. 99-118 in Pilgrim’s Progress in Today’s English

-pp. 110-135 Barbour and Company. 1985

1.  Who are some of the citizens of the town of Fair-Speech, and against what is Bunyan trying to warn us?

2.  What does it mean when Christian says “you must also own religion in his rags, as well as in his silver slippers; and stand by him, too, when bound in irons, as well as when he walk in the streets with applause?”

3.  What scripture did Mr. Hold-the-World twist to defend his right to cling to the things of this world?

4.  How does Mr. Money-love defend using religion to get rich?  What is wrong with his arguments?

5.  Demas, who calls the people to the silver mine, is also a biblical character.  What is his story in Scripture (See Philemon 1:23-24, and 2 Timothy 4:10?)

6.  What is the River of the Water of Life that Christian and hopeful walked beside?  Where do we see it in Scripture?

7.  Bunyan says the pilgrims had to go with Giant Despair because he was stronger than they.  What does this teach us?

8.  Why was Christian in double sorrow in the dungeon?

9.  What were some of Hopeful’s arguments to Christian as to why they should not end their own lives?

10.  What does the key represent that unlocked the door to Doubting Castle, and what does it look like in the Christian life?

Pilgrim’s Progress Chapter 2 Discussion Questions

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Questions for Chapter 2

1.  Christian runs to the wicket gate and knocks more than once or twice, what do the running and the knocking teach us?

2. Goodwill pulls Christian through the gate.  Why does he do this, and what do these dangers represent?

3.  Christian goes through the wicket gate and enters the narrow path?  This is sometimes seen as the moment of his salvation, but he still has his burden on his back (which he will lose later).  What do you think about this?

4.  Who do you think the interpreter represents?

5.  How does Christian explain to Goodwill that he and Pliable are alike?  What does this teach us about Christian’s attitude?

6.  Who or what do you think the man in the picture, who is authorized as Christian’s guide, represent?

7.  How is the heart of man like the dusty room, and what happens when the room is attempted to be cleaned with the broom of the law?  What does this teach us about the law?

8.  What do Passion and Patience represent in the Christian life, and what do we learn from them?  Can you think of any Bible passages that relate to this?

9.  What happens to the fire burning near the wall, and what do we learn from it?  Can you think of any Bible passages that relate to this?

10.  The picture of the man in the iron cage is one of the most frightful scenes in Pilgrims Progress.  What was your reaction when you read it and what do you think it means?

Pilgrim’s Progress Chapter 1 Discussion Questions

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I am currently teaching a class through Pilgrim’s Progress at Bethel Grace Baptist Church.   Each week the class will read a chapter and answer the provided questions.  I will be posting the questions here for those who would like to read along.

Discussion Questions for Chapter 1 

1. What is the book Christian has in his hand?

2. What is the burden that Christian is carrying, and have you ever felt this burden?   If so, what did it feel like?

3. Christian reads the book and prays, but still has the burden on his back.  How is this possible?

4. Pliable has no burden on his back yet still follows Christian.  Why would someone do this, and have you ever run across people like this?  What kind of “churches” appeal to people like this?

5. What do you think the “Slough of Despond” represents?

6. Mr. Worldly Wiseman does not like the fact that Christian was reading the Bible.  To what place and to whom does he direct Christian?

 What false view of salvation does this represent?*

7. Read Heb. 10:38 – How does this verse fit with Christian trying to remove his burden with morality and the law.

8. Do you ever find yourself trying to find relief for the conviction of sin in trying to be moral rather than laying it all on Christ?  What do you do in those times?

9. Worldly Wiseman is a false teacher, and Evangelist gives Christian three reasons to abhor him.  What are they and do they still apply to false teachers today?

10. When Christian is grieved by his sin of listening to Worldly Wiseman, Evangelist tells him is sin is very great.   How is this different than what you may hear in many churches today?

God Bless,

Doug

*Question # 6 was taken from Maureen Bradley’s book The Pilgrim’s Progress Study Guide.

Charity & Winsomeness: Marks of a Christian

I’ve always appreciated (but failed to practice often times) this quote from Richard Sibbes’ The Bruised Reed:

It would be a good contest amongst Christians, one to labour to give no offence, and the other to labour to take none. The best men are severe to themselves, tender over others.

This is not to say that there are never times for seemingly harsh words, for there are. Nevertheless, harsh words do not have to be spoken in a harsh manner. We are not perfect like Christ, thus our hatred is not perfect like His. Beside that, we’re commanded to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. If we are to be kind to our enemies, how much more so to our brethren? The Moral Law ultimately comes down to 2 “greater” commandments:

1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

and

2. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Some may object, “But what about the Ten Commandments?” Well, the two aforementioned commandments sum up the Ten Commandments. In order to love our neighbor rightly, we must love God supremely and rightly. So the first 4 Commandments pertain to loving God and approaching him in the way He has commanded. Commandments 5 through 10 teach us how we are to love our neighbor. It’s a bit of a cycle as well, for to love God rightly also depends on us loving our neighbors rightly.

One duty found in the 9th Commandment is upholding the good name of our neighbor. It is my belief that such being the case, when I disagree with a fellow believer, I should be careful not to impute malicious intention or motivation to his heart simply because we believe something differently. For example, I should never think that an anti-paedobaptist is virulently kicking against the goads of Scripture simply because I believe he’s wrong concerning the doctrine of baptism. Neither should he think that I’m simply hanging on to tradition (for the sake of tradition) because I hold to baptism.

It is incumbent upon Christians to not only love their enemies, but to also charitably disagree with their brethren. This can be done without compromising one’s belief in a particular instance. There’s a difference between two Christian brethren sincerely believing and disagreeing on a matter and someone who seeks to undermine the Christian Faith with false belief. We would do well to distinguish between the two scenarios so that our language toward our brethren would be winsome and loving, whilst our language toward the divisive man be firm, yet nonetheless in love.

Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices – Post 1

Friends, I have no intention of summarizing each chapter of the venerable Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies of Satan’s Devices. Nor, do I pretend to improve upon or enhance the subject matter he has so masterfully expounded in his book. So when I write concerning some of the things from therein, it will simply be to highlight and promote it. My commentary should be brief and unprofound, but will hopefully spur folks onto reading the precious armory of Puritan works that we have neglected since the time of the Reformation.

Mr. Brooks:

SATAN’S DEVICES TO DRAW THE SOUL TO SIN

Device I To present the bait and hide the hook; to present the golden cup, and hide the poison; to present the sweet, the pleasure, and the profit that may flow in upon the soul by yielding to sin, and by hiding from the soul the wrath and misery that will certainly follow the committing of sin. By this device he took our first parents: ‘And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened; and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil’ (Gen. 3:4-5). Your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods! Here is the bait, the sweet, the pleasure, the profit. Oh, but he hides the hook,—the shame, the wrath, and the loss that would certainly follow!

Thomas BrooksUpon reading Brooks here I’m reminded of Christ’s admonition to the disciples concerning temptation (Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22). “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” I have often heard this misquoted, and have most likely misquoted it myself, as “Watch and pray that ye fall not into temptation.” There ought to be such an hatred of sin within us that we strive to not even enter into temptation. We are foolish to think that we can play the let’s-see-how-close-to-the-edge-I-can-get-without-falling-off game without putting ourselves in great danger.

There are providential times where we are placed under times of testing. This accomplishes a few things. If we are victorious and stand despite the temptation, the Lord develops within us greater perseverance. From this perseverance flows gratitude for God’s work in always “[making] a way to escape” (1 Cor 10:13). If we fail and fall under temptation, it will serve to humble us, shame us, and teach us why we failed . . . driving us back to the Gospel. Either we were not hating our sin enough or we were depending too much on our own “remedies” to escape temptation. Needless to say, there is a far difference between being providentially placed under testing and flirting with temptation.

Jesus tells us to watch and pray that we wouldn’t even enter into it, much less falter under it. Satan’s wiles are persuasive and strong. Satan’s stratagem are tricky and they morph according to our spiritual growth and maturity. Rather than strive with his trickiness and ingenuity in deception, why not rather flee from temptation, clinging to the holiness and strength of Christ for our protection?! YES, there will be times when temptation is unavoidable. YES, there will be times when we’re not looking for opportunities to sin but will be nonetheless thrusted therein. But when it need not be so, why would we flirt with so deadly a snake that is sin?

It is not a sign of maturity that one thinks himself strong enough to enter into temptation and show that he may overcome it. Rather, it is a sign of immaturity and ignorance as the power of temptation and sin, even to those who have been redeemed by our Great Creator. It is a sign of maturity that a Christian fear temptation, flee from it, and cling to Christ, praying as directed “Lead [me] not into temptation, but deliver [me] from evil!” It is a sign of maturity that a Christian come to terms with what he is: a sinner saved by grace, still in need of Christ’s intercession, intervention, and deliverance from temptation. I leave you with Brooks’ first remedy to this device:

Remedy (1). First, Keep at the greatest distance from sin, and from playing with the golden bait that Satan holds forth to catch you; for this you have (Rom. 12:9), ‘Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good.’ When we meet with anything extremely evil and contrary to us, nature abhors it, and retires as far as it can from it. The Greek word that is there rendered ‘abhor,’ is very significant; it signifies to hate it as hell itself, to hate it with horror.

Read Them & They’ll Read You.

Doctrine is most important. It is important because it informs our practice. It is important because it teaches us about God. It is important because we derive it from God’s most Holy Word. Many folks know doctrine well. Many folks can opine about the finer points of all things theological. Waxing eloquent, many are able to capture our theological attentions and impress us with their wit. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, doctrine, in and of itself, it is not enough. This is why in our day and age we should read the Reformers and Puritans.

It is no surpirse that the Puritans have been called Doctors of the Soul. Not only did they have mastery of knowledge of doctrine, but mastery of that piety which is informed by doctrine. The Puritans get a bad wrap these days, being painted as stodgy zealots who burned women at the stake for witcheries and wickedness untold. This, of course, is historical revisionism wherein a few people’s foolish actions are embellished beyond reality, then perpetuated with a vengeance by those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. The last I checked, men are born totally depraved, so there’s bound to be a bad seed here and there.

Regardless, the Puritans can be read by us, and when we do so, it is not too long before we realize they are accurately reading us. Using that double-edged Sword, the Word of Truth, they will turn over all the rocks, look in every nook and cranny, and expose the heart of a man for all that he is. How were they able to do this? Because they examined themselves arduously. They knew the evil of the hearts of all men because they knew the evil of their own! And in godly, pastoral fashion they are able to tear down the man, and when he comes to the end of himself, point him to the Gospel of Grace.

One need only read great men like William Gurnall, or Richard Sibbes, to overcome that guilt of sin that goes beyond godly guilt. They are able to encourage, as it were, the sting of rebuke that David felt after being confronted by Nathan, while discourage those darts of accusations that come from Satan, wherein he tells you you’ve been dethroned from grace. And for the calloused man, one need only read Jeremiah Burroughs or John Owen, with their painstakingly penetrating words of wisdom to the wickedness of sin. But not only do they expose such wickedness, they give the practical and pastoral answers as to the method of the mortification thereof.

You see, the Puritans, the Reformers, and the Scottish Presbyterians of old though “being dead, yet speak.” They were able to distinguish between a healthy dose of doctrine, which always results in the practice of True and Godly Christian piety, and an overdose of doctrine that only results in seeming theological prowess. These men wrote with a heart for the shepherding of the Church of God. These men understood the essential need of personal holiness and piety in the Christian life, while realizing that said things don’t earn merit before God. These men wrote as pastors, shepherds, and overseers, not as mere teachers, lecturers, and opiners of theology extraordinaire.

So, for a good balance of Law & Gospel, Doctrine & Piety, Conviction & Comfort, read the Puritans. They will read you as well.

Josh Hicks