John Bunyan (Christian Encounter Series) – Book Review

John Bunyan (Christian Encounters Series) is a great introduction to the life and times of John Bunyan the famous author of Pilgrims Progress.  The book is quite brief, but serves as a great background study on a man who lived through an incredible time in history.  As an avid Bunyan fan I am always looking for more material to put into the hands of others to help them understand the literary genius of this ‘simple’ man who wrote one of the most widely read classics in English literature.

The book is not heavy with details, but rather takes a simple, yet scholarly approach to the life of Bunyan.  It would be a great biography for energetic middle school students to read.  I can see it as a handy companion to read along side of Pilgrim’s Progress which is Bunyan’s most famous work.

If you are looking for a complete biography of John Bunyan, this isn’t it.  But if you are looking for an introduction to the life of Bunyan, that isn’t daunting or too challenging, this is it.  I see this as being a handy reference book on the life of Bunyan.  Speaking as one who has read a few Bunyan biographies and host to a Christian Heritage Conference that centered on the life of Bunyan I wasn’t disappointed to read this book, I was excited that a biography was written on this level to introduce more young minds to the life of a great man.

John Bunyan (Christian Encounters Series) is a great introduction to the life and times of John Bunyan, I highly recommend it.  The retail price is $12.00 (paperback), and is available at places like for $8.65.  I gave it four stars.

Disclaimer: As a blogger I received a complimentary review copy from the Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program  ( ).  There was no requirement to give it a positive review, just for the reviewer to call it like they see it.

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3 books that have profoundly influenced my life

I have to be honest about two things. First, I should state that I was influenced by the authors, not just the books themselves. I have since read many books by many of these men and enjoy the conversation I have with each one. Second, with the exception of John Piper, the authors on this list are dead. God has used them in a mighty way past the years he has given them on this earth. I am thankful that though they are dead, they still speak.

1. Desiring GodJohn Piper

I first read this book while still in school at the University of Mobile and it opened up a world for me to begin to understand God in a way that I had never understood him before.  I was amazed to discover that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”  I don’t think any other single person (short of my parents) has had the level of impact on my thinking.  I was blessed to hear a sermon by Dr. Piper a little later that year entitled “Doing Missions When Dying is Gain.”  (you can listen to the same sermon for free here.) I have never been the same.

2. Pilgrim’s ProgressJohn Bunyan

I read pilgrims progress when I was a child at a small Christian School in Montana.  I have since read and reread it in several different modern English versions.  It was through John Bunyan that I was introduced to the rich application of the scriptures.  I have never read another book that so completely described the Christian journey.  I think this is the book I have shared most often with others. It was once a theme for a Disciple Now and a Christian Heritage Conference Its an easy read, but spiritually challenging.

3. How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleDale Carnegie

I picked up the 1936 edition of this book and read it when I was 16 years old.  A speech teacher had told me about it and I set out to read it.  It profoundly shaped the way I communicate and made me a different person.  Dale Carnegie taught me to take a genuine interest and really care about people.

What about you?  What books or people have greatly influenced your life?