Study Questions for The Pilgrim’s Progress – Chpts 7-9
- How is Christian to get through the wicket gate? Is only one attempt made by Christian?
- What/who does the gate represent?
- Christian describes himself to Good Will in what manner? Why is this important?
- Why did no one come with Christian as he explained to Good Will? How do we see this today?
- Describe the problem of tarrying at the gate. How might someone be affected by the delay?
- Can you see anyone like Obstinate and Pliable around you now?
- What did Christian exhibit in his explained encounter with Mr. Worldly-Wiseman?
- How does Good Will describe the way ahead?
- Who do you think the “Interpreter” represents?
- Why is the portrait important? What do you think makes him the only authorized guide for Christian by the Lord of the Celestial City?
- Explain Bunyan’s metaphor of the choking dust of sin cleaned only by the sprinkling of the gospel.
- In contemporary Christianity, what type of person is typically pandered to: Patience or Passion? Explain how. Why do you think this is the case?
- In your experience, how have you felt the Devil cast water on the fire of grace in your heart? What have you been involved in which naturally grew that same fire? What happens when we lapse in our spiritual disciplines?
- How does the world, our flesh, and even Satan, function as adversaries in keeping us from “the very beautiful” palace? What does Bunyan say we can expect to encounter to enter this place? How does this differ from the narrative much of contemporary Christianity promotes?
- Does the image of the man in an iron cage unnerve you? Why? What did he do (or not do) to put himself in his predicament? Why are we to remember this image?
- What is implied in the trembling of the man who was getting out of bed? How should it warn us? Contrast the pitch of easy believism we hear promoted today, versus genuinely preparing for judgment. How does holy fear of God help us in our journey? Do we see this encouraged today?
- Do we view our salvation as a wall which protects us? Could this be helpful? How does the cross free Christian from his burden? Why did his sins tumble into the sepulcher, never to be seen again? How should this encourage us?
- What response did you have when you understood how Christ’s death on the cross freed you from what once condemned and enslaved you? Why would Christian weep? Should this naturally foster a loving obligation to God?
- What does it mean to know your sins are forgiven? Who made this possible? It there any other way for this to occur?
- How does Christian benefit from his new garments? What does the mark on his forehead represent? What is the scroll given to him? Why does he need to present it at the gate of the Celestial City?
- In the Christian walk we will encounter people who are literally asleep on the path – who do you think they represent? In the gospels, Christ continually admonishes his disciples to remain in what condition? Why do you think Simple, Sloth and Presumption are pictured chained? How could this situation apply to our own walk?
- When Christian encounters travelers on the way in the condition he did (asleep), what was his natural caring response? What does this teach us? Why is this necessary? What should we be careful of in our exhortation? Explain how their condition is like a gulf that has no bottom. Who do these fellows have to worry about in their bound state?
- Explain the problem with Simple’s perspective. How do we see this played out with followers of Christ today? What type of Christian is Sloth? How does this contrast with Paul’s expectations of our efforts? Explain how you might see Presumption’s attitude in Christian Arminian circles. How is this an affront to grace? To what extent do you see these attitudes prevalent in many Christians today? How should this warn us?
- Why does it make sense that Formalist and Hypocrisy came from the land of Vain Glory? What makes their entrance onto the path different than Christian’s? Why does this concern Christian?What is their excuse? Whose will is violated in their custom? At heart, what is the problem with this “custom?”
- On what do they believe their custom will stand up in judgment? Explain how Christian differentiates his path with theirs. What does Christian say the Lord considers them? What does this leave them critically bereft of? How did they respond to his warning? Why is Christian’s coat so important?
- What is Christian’s warning to them about laws and ordinances? Who does Christian point to as the source of his coat? How does this tie in with Paul’s understanding “so that no one may boast?” How does does Christian contrast this with what he used to wear? How will this garment benefit him when he arrives at the Celestial City?
- What are the other articles which mark Christian as an authentic pilgrim on the path to glory? What do they each represent? Why did they not possess those items themselves? Explain why Formalist and Hypocrisy are false pilgrims.
- What do you think the Hill of Difficulty represents in our journey? What was Christian’s perspective as he took on the Hill? Is there a lesson here for us? In what manner does contemporary Christianity fail to prepare individuals for this hill? How did the Lord fortify him for the effort?
- Why do you think Formalist and Destruction failed to follow Christian on the straight way? Any parallels here with the Parable of the Sower? How do we avoid taking the route of either Danger and Destruction? Describe the inevitable end of those who do not follow the proper path.
- Give examples of how our spiritual walk can be reduced from a sprint to a crawl. In a given time of rest, how did Christian spend his time? What did Christian’s extended nap symbolize? What should Christian losing his scroll teach us? Why do you think our pace is important?