Posted in theology

The ultimate copybook

By Elizabeth Prata

Back in the day in education when rote was an acceptable learning style, there were copybooks:

A copybook, or copy book is a book used in education that contains examples of handwriting and blank space for learners to imitate.

Typical uses include teaching penmanship and arithmetic to students. A page of a copy book typically starts with a copybook heading: a printed example of what should be copied, such as a single letter or a short proverb. The rest of the page is empty, except for horizontal rulings. The student is expected to copy the example down the page. By copying, the student is supposed to practice penmanship, spelling, reading comprehension, punctuation, and vocabulary. Wikipedia

Here is an example of one, from Copy book, Boston, 1840-1850, manuscript on paper, board – Concord Museum – Concord, MA , photo is public domain:

There were art copybooks for art students to learn watercolor painting, business copybooks to enhance penmanship (since no computers or typewriters existed then, good penmanship was essential for business), and copybooks for learning geography where students had to label maps.

Below is a copybook from Samuel Holbrook that he composed between June and September 1776 in  Hartford, Connecticut and Boston. Note the date on the page below, lol.


Copybooks always had a source line from which the students were tasked with imitating as closely as possible. Official minutes from School Board meetings indicate that students were tasked with this daily and usually at the same hour in the school day.

The educational history aside, we ourselves as Christians ARE a copybook for the original which is Jesus. We are to be imitators of Him.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21).

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1

the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2:6).

Christ is our copybook. Imitate Him, daily. Delve into his likeness constantly. There is no better example anywhere on earth or the universe to copy.



Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

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