Screwtape Letter #31 – Discussion Guide

Screwtape Letter #31 – Discussion Guide is article #64 in the series: Screwtape Letters. Click button to view titles for entire series

Letter #31

The Screwtape Letters Study Guide

Uh oh
– Wormwood is in really big trouble



My dear, my very dear, Wormwood, my poppet, my pigsnie,

How mistakenly now that all is lost you come whimpering to ask me whether the terms of affection in which I address you meant nothing from the beginning. … Love you? Why, yes. As dainty a morsel as ever I grew fat on.


31.1) We always knew that Screwtape didn’t get the concept of love.

Those in Satan’s lowerarchy never got the concept of who is food for who right either.

Talk about this view of “life” for those who think they are tough in this world – and what they’ll encounter in the next.




The ultimate bully?

There are lots of people in the world who think they’re tough –
murderers – gang leaders – dictators – even people who just think they don’t need anyone else –
but what happens to their toughness when they come face to face with real evil – Satan –
who will devour them -with no God around to save them.

In this life – God would be there for them – in the unlikely event that they had called out. After this – for eternity – He will not. It’s anyone’s worst nightmare – and it never ends.



You have let a soul slip through your fingers. … What, then, of this final stripping, this complete cleansing?

The more one thinks about it, the worse it becomes. He got through so easily! … The extraction hurt more and more and then the tooth was out. The dream became a nightmare and then you woke. You die and die and then you are beyond death. How could I ever have doubted it?


31.2) Reality sets in – but for who?

No doubt – Wormwood knows he has failed.

But – was it – as Screwtape says – really a case of

One moment it seemed to be all our world; the scream of bombs, the fall of houses, the stink and taste of high explosive on the lips and in the lungs, the feet burning with weariness, the heart cold with horrors, the brain reeling, the legs aching; next moment all this was gone, gone like a bad dream, never again to be of any account.

And – did Screwtape realize just how true this statement was –

Did you mark how naturally—as if he’d been born for it—the earth-born vermin entered the new life?




In the beginning ...

Going back to Genesis 4:7 – we were born for it. We just don’t all realize it.

Gen 4:7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

And, Satan was there to witness all of these human births / lives, from Beginning to End.



As he saw you, he also saw Them. I know how it was. You reeled back dizzy and blinded, more hurt by them than he had ever been by bombs. The degradation of it!… Recognition made him free of their company almost before the limbs of his corpse became quiet. Only you were left outside.


31.3) The light has come on.

Talk about this realization the patient had in relation to the story below –



One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I Love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.




Responses will vary

Talk about your feelings.
How did you react the first time you read Footprints?

If you’ve read it before – how does it make you feel now?

The first time I read it was in a store.  I cried.  It still makes me want to cry every time I read it.



He saw not only Them; he saw Him. This animal, this thing begotten in a bed, could look on Him. … Sometimes I am almost in despair. All that sustains me is the conviction that our Realism, our rejection (in the face of all temptations) of all silly nonsense and claptrap, must win in the end. Meanwhile, I have you to settle with. Most truly do I sign myself

Your increasingly and ravenously

affectionate uncle



31.4) The End. 

“If only we could find out what He is really up to!”

Like so many people – Screwtape knows, but doesn’t know –

What is He up to?

Is the Intelligence Department really to blame – or is it something else?




Is it a secret and if so, what's required to unlock it?

It’s no secret what God’s up to.

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

But without God’s grace –
that concept means nothing.





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