Book Review: “An Introduction to The Old Testament Template” by Linda Cope (1985)

“Rediscovering God’s Principles for Discipling Nations.”

This book intrigued me from the very beginning, because I have been going through a time recently of desiring to study more from the Old Testament in order to back up what I have already learned from the New. It has been less a changeover in my Bible study approach and more a brief vacation into the back-country of Scripture. Linda Cope’s Template has helped greatly with this craving.

Cope’s approach to the Old Testament does not imply her desire to return to the Law–nothing of the sort. Instead, she seeks to return her readers to the wisdom of the Old Testament, to a time when God ruled the nation of Israel and spoke directly to His servants to teach them what to do and how to do it. Too often Christians overlook the books of the Law and history and poetry and prophecy as the “dry half” of the Bible that is unimportant here in the age of grace. Nothing could be further from the truth, since every command in Scripture about Scripture speaks directly of the Old Testament.

Cope sees the world as more Christianized in these days of modernization and advanced technology and yet, somehow and blatantly, less Christian. Thus she pinpoints specific areas in which the world needs improvement and offers practical suggestions in how believers can help: areas such as government, economics, health, education, the arts, and many more. After sharing captivating Old Testament passages which speak to the same issue, she transfixes these passages into the modern context to show how, with a simple shift in perspective, following Old Testament guidelines can drastically affect how these issues play out. And she only scratches the surface. In depth study of the Old Testament and how it can relate to present-day issues would (and could) be a lifelong pursuit, so long as it does not overshadow grace.

Cope’s main focus and primary goal in writing the book, however, is not only to resurrect interest in the Old Testament, but also to identify how the Old can illuminate Christ’s command in the New to disciple the nations. Gaining such a perspective involves many things, like viewing Christ as more than a mere object of affection and approaching every menial vocation of life as an opportunity to worship and serve the God who planned and allowed it to be yours.

This book is but a primer in changing the way you think about life and the “Christianity” you live out today. For getting your mind and heart going, it certainly is an encouraging and challenging read.

[I received this book free for review from MissionFrontiers.org]

©2011 E.T.

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