Small Group Study Guide
Letters to Bentrock:
A Demon's Guide to Trapping Prey
By J. B. Cyprus
This study guide is intended for small groups that would like to use Letters to Bentrock as a starting point to discuss the temptations and pitfalls we encounter as Christians in the modern world. The reading plan assumes that participants will read roughly one letter each day (approximately six letters a week) over ten weeks.
Following each letter, this guide includes a few questions to encourage personal reflection followed by relevant Scripture references for the reader. The weekly group discussion guide builds upon the book as well as the Scripture references.
It is my hope that this study will spur discussion and encourage readers to consider not just the temptations that beset us, but the salvation that awaits us if we keep our minds and hearts focused on the One who loves and saves us.
Study Guide Preview
Deumus finds it very amusing that people who are poor and always will be poor love money every bit as much as the wealthiest financier. Do you agree with Deumus when he says our belief that “anyone can become rich” has helped make the love of money more common?
In modern society, money and economics are nearly always at the center of public discourse. We get daily reports on stock markets, employment rates, and inflation rates. The world’s wealthiest people are often celebrities with millions of followers on social media. How does this cultural focus on money impact our relationship to wealth?
Deumus talks about the “crooked businessman stories” which reinforce the idea that everyone who is successful bends or breaks the rules. In Biblical terms we would say that these stories reinforce the idea that one must deliberately sin to be successful. Can you think of examples of these sorts of stories in television and movies and even on the news? Do you agree that the path to financial success usually requires making ethical compromises?
There is a strain of Christianity known as the “Prosperity Gospel” that emphasizes the idea that material and spiritual success go hand in hand. Do you agree? What risks does that sort of message pose?
The letter ends with Deumus explaining to Bentrock that he needs to persuade his Inmate to believe that money is the one thing he can trust. Do you agree that this idea forms the foundation of the love of money?
Scripture: 1 Tim 3:9-10, Luke 16:19-31, Matt 6:19-24, Prov 18:10-11, James 5:1-6
Group Discussion - Week 6
Which of the letters stood out to you most this week? Were there any that spoke to you personally? Have you encountered a similar feeling of temptation?
Any scripture references you would like to discuss?
This section of the book begins with the Inmate rejected and beaten by his former gang brothers. Once he heals, the Inmate busies himself embracing his new life. Deumus and Bentrock shift tactics and begin a series of temptations designed draw him away from Christianity.
In the Seeds of Doubt, we see the tempters preparing to plant doubts about the Inmate’s Christian faith and questions about how central the role of his faith should be in his life.
While Deumus does not describe each of the six strategies in detail, what are your initial impressions of the sorts of strategies the tempters intend to deploy? When Deumus talks about discrediting Christianity, he clearly means more than questioning its truth. Can you think of ways the Faith might be discredited even in the minds of people who sincerely believe Jesus is Lord?
Deumus talks about two types of new converts to the faith. Do you see people who fit these types? Read Matthew 8:13-9 & 18-23. How does Deumus’ description strike you in light of Jesus’ parable?
In The Spectator, Deumus mocks people who attend church hoping to see a good show and get a spiritual boost...
Letters to Bentrock Study Guide
Table of Contents
How To Use This Study Guide
Introduction & Sources and Methods
The Seven Messages
Stoke the Anxiety
GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE - WEEK 1
The Letter Problem (Parts 1 & 2)
GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE - WEEK 2
The Danger of Despair
A Very Unfair World
Our Friend Anger
The Anger Mirage
GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE - WEEK 3
Imagining His Happy Future
Gang Life For Him
The Unemployment Line
Couch Jockeys And Corner Boys
GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE - WEEK 4
The Volunteers Are Coming!
The Last Supper
There is Always Tomorrow
Turning His Life Over
Get Him Off His Knees!
GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE - WEEK 5
The Seeds of Doubt
The Awful Noise
Figure It Out Yourself
My Will Be Done
GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE - WEEK 6
Counterfeiters and the Long Con
For The Child
The Mosquito Syndrome
GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE - WEEK 7
The Most Difficult Demand
The Magic Fishing Buddy
An Untimely Intervention
GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE - WEEK 8
Send Him To Church
Not Perfect, Just Forgiven
GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE - WEEK 9
What Happened To The Wallpaper?
The Undesirables & The Only Desirables
As We Forgive Those
Memorandum From The Secretary
An Inmate’s Final Letter
GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE - WEEK 10