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Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  2,614 ratings  ·  240 reviews
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners is one of the great classic autobiographies, part of the Christian tradition of testimony from The Confessions of St. Augustine to Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place. In Grace Abounding, John Bunyan (1628?1688), the author of Pilgrim's Progress, describes his conviction of sin, his struggles against unbelief, his entrance into the me ...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Echo Library (first published 1666)
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Stuart Turton
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you pick up and read this book, one of two things will happen. You will get 15 pages in and decide its not for you, or you will carry on reading and find yourself amazed at the journey God brought this poor tinker through. I found myself at first thinking something was clinically wrong with Bunyan (and maybe there was), but the more I read I wondered if there wasn't something wrong with me. Sure, one mans conversion cannot truly be poorer than another's from Heavens perspective. However, to w ...more
Nov 24, 2007 added it
at a time when I didn't think that christians could have a thought life as crazy as mine, this book was a great comfort to me.

john bunyan and charles spurgeon were probably a couple of the greatest preachers of GRACE and comforters of the conscience in this last 500 yeras.
John Bunyan was a non-conformist English pastor who lived from 1628-1688. During his years of ministry, he spent approximately 14 years in prison for preaching without a legal license as required by England at the time. Bunyan’s best known work is certainly The Pilgrim’s Progress, a book that I feel every Christian should read. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners is Bunyan’s autobiographical account, which he wrote in 1666 while in prison primarily for the benefit of the people under his min ...more
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
"Bunyan's crisis, as anyone can see to-day, was far more pathological than spiritual. The way he got into trouble and the way he got out of trouble were both irrational. The one need not alarm, and the other can hardly help, any sane person."

This is understated. Duuuuude! You didn't have to do that to yourself. Bunyan makes Luther look like a sane and socially well-adjusted human being. This is morbid introspection on steroids on stilts, and is the most excruciating thing I have read recently, t
Valerie Kyriosity
Poor Brother John! What self-tortures he put himself through rather than simply believing. I can sympathize, being prone to the same sort of overthinking and navel-gazing, myself, but I confess that I laughed at him a few times. Even he called his thoughts foolish at one point, though I don't know as he ever learned to laugh at them. I listened to this right after I listened to John Piper's biography of William Cowper. Sadly, Cowper never got the better of his doubts, and died in despair. Piper ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a precious book to me. Very relieving and comforting to know that there are people in time past that have gone through similar, if not, the same conflict of the soul as I have encounter in my spiritual life. although it was kind of hard for me to read due to the old English language, i could still understand what was expressed by John Bunyan. looking forward to buying this book in 21st century language so that i can read it better. What a blessing of a book.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book by my 2nd favorite author.

This is a great book and although different than "Confessions" by Augustine, it does remind me "Confessions" quite a bit.
Carsten Thomsen
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author of Pilgrims Progress invites us into his own heart - his very disturbing struggle of faith - for many years he had symptoms of what we today would call OCD - Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - thoughts that almost drove him mad. Blasphemous thoughts.

I was surprised reading this account of the violence of his inner turmoil. Yet, how determined he was to reach that state of resting in Gods grace. And he did. How different our individual experience of God.
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: john-bunyan
I really enjoyed this book that covered John Bunyan's life. When you read it you must put yourself into the shoes of the person described and then you will find that the thoughts of this person would probably be the same thoughts of ourselves in salvation, Christian growing, imprisonment, and preaching. ...more
Rebekah Rojas
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazingly sobering book that draws attention to the Grace of God that is ever abounding even in the life on one to whom it seems that he had sinned past all forgiveness! How great is the blood of Jesus! ♥️
Douglas Wilson
May 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Good. Also read in August of 1979. Excellent that time. Read again in 2012. Really appreciated it.
Sarah Marie
3 stars. This was interesting and was not at all what I expected. I was not always captured by Bunyan, but his story is weighty and powerful. Review to come.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be most edifying and inspiring. The life of John Bunyan is one that every Christian should learn about; he lived during a time of great persecution when it was unlawful for dissenting Christians to meet and worship God as they felt compelled to do by the scriptures and their consciences.

This is not an autobiography in the usual sense; we don't learn about his family or youth, but it is rather a spiritual autobiography of his conversion, how he became a preacher, then was ar
Worth reading!

“Sometimes, when after sin committed, I have looked for sore chastisement from the hand of God, the very next that I have had from Him, hath been the discovery of His grace” (180).
Donald Owens II
Mar 19, 2014 rated it liked it
This book came highly recommended; often in 'top ten' and 'must read' lists by theology minded writers and friends. I found it an agony of someone else's private introspections. I related so little to most of his internal doubts and temptations, I could hardly take them seriously. I think he might have benefitted from a good shaking and a gruff exhortation to get over himself, look to Jesus, and go do something practical. Maybe a little Prov. 18:2 or Jer. 17:9 would have been apt. I'm not sure i ...more
Scott Marquis
Nov 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
If ever someone poured out their soul in a book this is it. Bunyan refused to cease from preaching the gospel. For that he found himself in prison for many years. His wife and children (including one blind daughter) were left alone for well over a decade. Bunyan suffered much, but remained faithful to the Word.

As I read Bunyan struggling with and hating his sin, I had to wonder why my hatred of sin isn't as great.
Daniel Alvers
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
The book of man who was vexed by his sin to the degree that he found great hope in the gospel. A untrained brilliant man in regards to the doctrines of God. It was like a spiritual rollercoaster. The fear of selling Jesus as Esau did is present. People do not write or talk like this today. Perhaps we should pray that they did. This book challenged me to take my life and sin very seriously. Thank you Jesus, for working your grace through the man John Bunyan.
Bailey Marissa
I didn't realize that this was mostly in autobiographical formate, but it definitely makes this book better. Bunyan mentally wrestles with the balance of the punishment we humans deserve and the grace God gives His elect.

I also have experienced a lot of what Bunyan struggled with and I found this book to be a great help in realizing this is something everyone goes through at least once in their lives.
Helen Fisher
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Really good read, very encouraging!
Mary Beth
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bobby Bonser
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
John Bunyan wrote this autobiography while in prison, along with Pilgrims Progress. It is a fascinating and encouraging book, allowing us to see inside the mind and heart of one of the most influential Christian men of all time. His heart yearns for the Lord and it is encouraging to read of his struggles, battles, and despondency because of how he combats all of them with specific truths of the gospel. This book helped me to realize that brothers and sisters, though separated by many years on ea ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
Having recently read Pilgrim's Progress, it was interesting to see how that book related to John Bunyan's life as written here. ...more
David West
I don't hear of people wrestling with assurance of salvation today the way Bunyan did. This work is a fascinating account. Bunyan spent many years in jail for preaching and God allowed him to write books during that time which continue to bless us today. This book certainly blessed me. ...more
Dustin Turner
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Insightful! If you’re remotely interested in learning about Bunyan, read his own words about his life. His understanding of his call to preach was very insightful.
Levi Miles
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although my theology professor dad does not like this book very much, I found it to be very relatable and deeply encouraging.
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read. It's probably not for everyone but I think it is certainly for those that have an understanding of the ever present battle in a Christian's life in wrestling with angst and fears. If those with OCD can read it without starting to worry about the same things (such as the Bible verses and thoughts) he was worried about then I certainly recommend this book for them too. I think it will help people with OCD see that they are not alone in their thoughts and fears ...more
Aaron Pratt
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
this autobiography, which corresponds tightly with Pilgrim's Progress, is a thought provoking, heart searching, good read for all Christians. I would the person who is quick to laugh at Bunyan's struggles, "self-tortures", or lack of believing in his salvation. Rather, we would all do well to take heed from the many Puritan examples of taking sin faaaaar more seriously than we do today. We have much to learn from Bunyan's example of being honest about out utter depravity and the complete useless ...more
Wow! I don't think I've ever been so encouraged by one man's testimony. In an effort to lay out his story, John Bunyan lays out some real and powerful struggles that kept him from realizing God's abundant grace for him. Crippled by his sin, Bunyan spends a great deal of time wondering if he has, in fact, committed the "unpardonable sin" Jesus speaks about. Indeed, at one point a preacher agrees with him that, yes, it does seem you have, and Bunyan is beside himself with grief. In the end, this m ...more
John Bunyan was a man like all people who struggled in serving the Lord but led a triumph life because he was committed to following Christ. This was an eye opening book to me in many ways and I loved seeing the mind of Bunyan. Are you discouraged in your walk with the Lord...well, books like these remind me that discouragement doesn't mean giving up. Bunyan's life reveals the victory we can have in the Lord, even through the trials! Today his Pilgrim's Progress is one of the most popular Christ ...more
Brian Eshleman
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This work offers refreshing honesty from a spiritual giant. His own thoughts, he admits, make him seek Christ's grace for his own purposes. His own thoughts, he then admits, condemn him for that motive and way him down with the oppression that he can never get beyond his guilt for trying to manipulate God. As he has been honest about that sad state, his joy when rescued by the love of God is palpable. ...more
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John Bunyan, a Christian writer and preacher, was born at Harrowden (one mile south-east of Bedford), in the Parish of Elstow, England. He wrote The Pilgrim's Progress, arguably the most famous published Christian allegory. In the Church of England he is remembered with a Lesser Festival on 30 August. ...more

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