Even among those who are familiar with The Pilgrim’s Progress, many are unfamiliar with its Second Part. As we noted, the First Part was written while Bunyan was imprisoned in Bedford jail, and many of the events throughout the story correspond to events from the author’s own life. Although the First Part was immediately well-received, Bunyan still had more to say about the pilgrimage of the Christian life, so six years later he published Part II. And while many of locations are revisited, the journey of Christiana and her children is indeed full of fresh insight. One commentator notes the contrasts between the two halves, saying:
Perhaps the Second Part of this pilgrimage comes nearer to the ordinary experience of the great multitude of Christians than the First Part; and this may have been Bunyan’s intention. The First Part shows, as in Christian, Faithful, and Hopeful, the great examples and strong lights of this pilgrimage; it is as if Paul and Luther were passing over the scene. The Second Part shows a variety of pilgrims, whose stature and experience are more on a level with our own. The First Part is more severe, sublime, inspiring; the Second Part is more soothing and comforting. The First Part has deep and awful shadows mingled with its light, terribly instructive, and like warnings from hell and the grave. The Second Part is more continually and uninterruptedly cheerful, full of good nature and pleasantry, and showing he pilgrimage in lights and shades that are common to weaker Christians.
Once again, the edition that I will be referencing throughout our reading (which you find here) is produced by Banner of Truth, which is a lovely little hardcover containing both parts, fourteen illustrations, and Scripture references in the margins. Of course, given that the narrative follows the pilgrims along their path, readers should be able to follow along using any edition via the stages of the journey that we will discuss each week. You can download the ebook for free here.
You can find full week-by-week reading plan below.
Sept 4-10 // Christiana, the City of Destruction, & Timorous (pp. 203-216)
Sept 11-17 // Mercy & the Wicket-Gate (pp. 216-227)
Sept 18-24 // Lessons at Interpreter’s House (pp. 227-247)
Sept 25-Oct 1 // Journey to House Beautiful (pp. 247-258)
Oct 2-8 // Catechisms at Beautiful (pp. 258-280)
Oct 9-15 // The Valleys of Humiliation & the Shadow of Death (pp. 280-293)
Oct 16-22 // Honest & Gaius (pp. 293-315)
Oct 23-29 // Feeble-mind & a Monster (pp. 315-335)
Oct 30-Nov 5 // Despair & the Shepherds (pp. 335-347)
Nov 6-12 // Enchanted Ground & Death (pp. 348-376)