We are talking about a word you may have never heard before—or maybe you have. It is bibline. Do you know who said that word? If you guessed Charles Haddon Spurgeon, you are right. Do you know who he said it about? If you guessed John Bunyan, you are right again. This is what Spurgeon said about Bunyan:
Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models, and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord.
I would quote John Bunyan as an instance of what I mean. Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like reading the Bible itself. He had read it till his very soul was saturated with Scripture; and though his writings are charmingly full of poetry, yet he cannot give us his Pilgrim’s Progress—that sweetest of all prose poems—without continually making us feel and say, “Why, this man is a living Bible!” Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved.
That is Spurgeon on Bunyan using this word bibline. Spurgeon loved Pilgrim’s Progress. At one time, he said he read it over one hundred times. People all over the world love Pilgrim’s Progress. It is translated in over three hundred languages. This is truly a remarkable book. On the one hand, it’s folk literature. Remember, Bunyan was of the lower class. He was uneducated or, we should rather say, he was without a formal education. Here he writes a classic text. This book is simple enough; again, it’s folk literature. But this book also shows its true classical literature, evidencing sophisticated structure. It has a complex structure and composition. It is brilliant narrative with classic characters, fascinating scenes, and wonderful detailed settings. And then, of course, there’s the plot.
Pilgrim’s Progress can be read and understood and enjoyed by children. It can be studied in a literature class or a history class. It is truly fascinating, not unlike the Bible that Bunyan quotes from and alludes to by the wheelbarrow load. The Bible too is read and understood and enjoyed by children. It is studied by the learned and by scholars. So read them both. Read Bunyan’s bibline book, and read the Bible too.