Dr David L Cook ( 1932 – 2013) was a highly experienced Scottish educationalist and Bible teacher. He worked in secondary education as a classics teacher, and then as headmaster of Duncanrig Secondary School, East Kilbride for over 20 years. He studied the Bible continually throughout his life, and was familiar with NT Greek and also Hebrew. As well as his MA in the classics, he obtained both a BD (London) and a PhD in Theology (Glasgow). From a young man until his late 70s, he travelled all over Scotland, and beyond, preaching and teaching, mainly in Brethren churches.
He was an elder of Selkirk Street Evangelical Church in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire. He was responsible for a number of Bible study groups there. The Bible study series featured on this website were originally written by David for use within these groups in Hamilton. They have been published posthumously by his family under the banner Epistole.
David was born in Bothwellhaugh, Lanarkshire (Scotland) to John (known as Jack) and Janet Cook. The family was at the heart of village life, and David’s father Jack played a leading role in the local brethren church (Bothwellhaugh Gospel Hall). The “lost village” of Bothwellhaugh was a coal mining pit village, formed in the 1880s to support the Hamilton Palace Colliery. The village was demolished in the late 1960s, making way for Strathclyde Country Park.
From an early age David showed academic abilities. He was the first pupil from Bothwellhaugh to win a scholarship to the county’s flagship school, Hamilton Academy. It was there his love of football developed, as well as his passion for education. He was captain of the school football team,and was approached by the scout of Celtic Football Club offering the possibility of a career as a footballer. But he declined as he felt his life was in ministry and teaching.
He did well at Hamilton Academy, winning the French Medal, and finishing second in his year. He won a bursary to Glasgow University to study the classics. Having obtained his MA from Glasgow, he went on to complete a BD by distance learning from the London Bible School, and subsequently a PhD in Theology from Glasgow University. His mentors were FF Bruce and Dr William Barclay. Although David and Dr Barclay differed in views theological, they struck up a great working friendship and mutual respect. He continued to study all his life, and was often to be found with a book in his hand. The retiring offering at David’s funeral went in part to the Opal Trust, which aims to make Christian literature available in parts of the world where it has been difficult to obtain, a cause which David very much believed in.
David’s passion for education, and in particular giving young people a good start in life, led him to have a long and successful career in Secondary Education. After earning his MA undergraduate degree at Glasgow University, he did his teacher training at Jordanhill College of Education in Glasgow. His first teaching posts were as a Classic’s teacher at Wishaw High School and then at Larkhall Academy. In 1970 he was appointed as Rector of Duncanrig Secondary in East Kilbride. The school was originally designed for 850 pupils, but rapidly grew as East Kilbride itself developed. David oversaw the school at its height, a significant challenge. He retired in 1992.
Ministry & Christian Life
David committed his life to Christ as a boy, and as a youth accompanied local preachers, taking part in services under their encouragement. He developed a lifelong passion for the study of God’s word, and the sharing of it in preaching and teaching. His continuing academic studies in Theology gave further depth to that. He travelled far and wide throughout Scotland and the north of England, sharing pulpits with the great preachers of his generation. This was mainly in brethren churches and conferences, but he also was a visiting preacher in Church of Scotland, Baptist and other church congregations as well. He was encouraged to put his energies into writing, but David felt called to preach and serve in the local church, and so continued on with his preaching engagements and was never published. However, he very much appreciated the published works of others, his study bookselves were packed with the works of Dr Martin Lloyd Jones, FF Bruce, John Stott, David Jackman and D A Carson among others.
A significant contribution to the local churches in Lanarkshire was the Beacon Bible School. This was a program that David developed along with other local Bible Teachers (Harry Morris, Adam Prentice, Robert Lightbody and Sam Cappie). Its aim was to encourage and empower younger Christians to take a serious interest in the study of the scriptures. David was one of the founding members of Selkirk Street Evangelical Church in 1968. Along with his close friend, Prof Neil Hood, he ran the young people’s Bible studies. He was an elder in the church for many years, and responsible for Bible teaching arrangements. He compiled several Bible Studies for use in small groups within the church, you can find these revised for your use on this website under Epistole Bible Studies. In his retirement he also lectured at Tilsley College in Motherwell. He often also referred back to the original Biblical texts. His knowledge of Hebrew and more especially NT Greek was a tool he continually relied on.
David met his wife Irene at school. From Bellshill, Irene also had gained a bursary to Hamilton Academy. Although studying separate subjects, and in different years, they both attended Glasgow University and graduated on the same day. They were married on 28th December 1956 at Burlington House in Glasgow. They had three daughters: Janice, Alison and Gillian. He loved being grandpa to 5 grandchildren: Samuel, Jonathan, Alasdair, Ruth and Mari. Other keen interests of David were travelling and gardening. He and Irene visited several Biblical sites, including Ephesus and Jerusalem. He also loved the fells of the Lake District.