Peruse Bible teachings and church happenings

Peruse Bible teachings and church happenings

“Faithful Reading: The Screwtape Letters”

Categories: Christian character, discipleship, Sunday Family Report articles, theology

One thing that Christians often do not include in their efforts toward spiritual growth is the reading of faithful books. Obviously, the works of uninspired men are not of the same caliber as the inspired word of God when it comes to guiding our spiritual growth. But, just as we sit weekly and listen to godly teachers & preachers offer their insights into the word of God, there have been many authors through the centuries who have opened the scriptures and faithfully expounded their meaning in some really helpful ways. So, for the Sundays in January, these articles will be making recommendations for some spiritual books that can help us to see God’s plan and our place within that plan more clearly. Read them with a discerning mind that is informed by God’s word, and be grateful for the guidance that he offers through his servants.


The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, is a fictional book that pulls back the curtain on the devil’s work of tempting humans, shedding light on many of the methods of temptation to which we fall prey frequently. Its teachings are portrayed via fictional letters written by a senior tempter in order to advise and mentor a younger tempter in his efforts to lead a particular human soul away from God. Each letter builds upon the ones before it and shows many of the methods of temptation that are common to man (cf. 1 Cor. 10:13).

This book’s real benefit is its insights into our oft-ungodly thought processes. The author speaks about both subtle and obvious ways that we give in to selfishness, that we deceive ourselves, or that we harbor bitterness toward others… often in ways that we are unwilling or unable to see in ourselves. He talks about our temptations with pride, with impatience and unforgiving thoughts, with intemperance, with judging others, with fear, with hypocrisy, with lust, with jealousy, with idolatry, and many more besides. He helps us see our spiritual life and relationship habits more clearly so that we can live them more in line with God’s good ways. The book was first published in 1942, so some references are made to the events of World War II and how those events may be either boons or detriments to the devil’s cause. But even if its contemporary references feel dated at times, the principles of human behavior that it teaches are far-reaching, offering insights that will help anyone who lives in the modern West.

It has been my personal experience that the teachings in this book have helped me see my temptations on the rise sooner, because I can recognize wicked patterns in my own thinking or words better than I used to. I will never claim to have become a perfect Christian, but I am thankful for the wise words and the encouragement that has guided me to be better than I used to be. 

The Bible tells us that our adversary, the devil, prowls like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Mr. Lewis’ insights into the human mind and our battle with temptation can make us more aware of the lion’s moment-by-moment presence around us and the manifest deceptions that he often uses against us to interrupt our wholehearted devotion to God. Keeping in mind that it is a fiction work, I believe that it can serve as a helpful tool to almost any saint who wishes to achieve greater purity of mind, heart, and action.

Hopefully, your motivation to seek greater discipleship in this new year has not waned in the slightest, and you’re still actively pursuing a deeper relationship with God. And it’s my prayer that this book or some other faithful one will be helpful to you in attaining that end.

- Dan Lankford, minister


Click here to see last Sunday's similar review of The Pilgrim's Progress.