Alcoholics Anonymous & History of AA

 Last updated:
October 30, 2012

Alcoholics Anonymous History
Dick B.'s A.A. Bible Resources

As to A.A.’s basic ideas that influenced the writing of the Twelve Steps, Dr. Bob said:

We already had the basic ideas . . . We got them, as I said, as a result of our study of the Good Book.[1]

Bill W. and Dr. Bob each said that Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) contained the underlying spiritual philosophy of A.A.[2] Dr. Bob said:

. . . We were convinced that the answer to our problems was in the Good Book. To some of us older ones, the parts that we found absolutely essential were the Sermon on the Mount, the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the Book of James.[3]

Of his training in the Bible, Dr. Bob said:

I had refreshed my memory of the Good Book, and I had had excellent training in that as a youngster.[4]

And, as to his preparations for helping new prospects during the beginning months of A.A. in Akron, Dr. Bob said:

I am somewhat allergic to work, but I felt that I should continue to increase my familiarity with the Good Book . . .[5]

In the journal that Anne Ripley Smith (Dr. Bob’s wife) shared with early AAs and their families, Anne joined in Dr. Bob’s Bible emphasis, stating:

Of course the Bible ought to be the main Source Book of all. No day ought to pass without reading it. Read until some passage comes that "hits” you. Then pause and meditate over its meaning for your life. Begin reading the Bible with the Book of Acts and follow up with the Gospels and then with the Epistles of Paul. Let “Revelation” alone for a while. The Psalms ought to be read and the Prophets.[6]

Bill Wilson pointed out that the Book of James was so popular that many favored calling our Fellowship the “James Club.”[7] A.A.’s venerable old-timer, Clarence H. Snyder, said:

This program emanates from the Sermon on the Book and the Book of James. If you want to know where this program came from, read the fifth, sixth, seventh chapters of Matthew. Study it over and over, and you’ll see the whole program in there.[8]

A pamphlet published by “AA of Akron,” at the written request of Dr. Bob, states:

There is the Bible that you haven’t opened for years. Get acquainted with it. Read it with an open mind. You will find that certain passages were written with you in mind. Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew v, vi, and vii.). Read St. Paul’s inspired essay on love (I Corinthians xiii). Read the Book of James. Read the Twenty-third and Ninety-first Psalms. These readings are brief but so important.[9]

[1] The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major Talks (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1972, 1975), 14.

[2] See DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980) which specifically states at page 228 that Dr. Bob “cited the Sermon on the Mount as containing the underlying spiritual philosophy of A.A.” See also Dick B., The Good Book and the Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible, 2d ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1997) where the author specifically states at page four in footnote 12: “A.A. historian Mel B. informed the author in a telephone interview that Bill Wilson had given the same accreditation to the Sermon on the Mount as Dr. Bob had. Mel stated Bill had made the remarks to him [Mel B.] on at least two occasions.”

[3] The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, 13.

[4] The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, 12.

[5] The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, 13.

[6] Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939: A.A.’s Principles of Success, 3rd ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1998), 82.

[7] See “Pass It On” (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1984), 147; and Dick B., The Good Book and the Big Book, 5.

[8] See Dick B., The James Club and the Original A.A.’s Program’s Absolute Essentials, 4th ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2005), 76; and Glenn K. Audio Tape 2451 (Glen Cove, NY: Glenn K. Audio Tapes, n.d.)

[9] Dick B., The James Club, 4th ed, 5.

Dick B.'s A.A. Bible Resources

Here are some useful websites to facilitate your reading, study, and understanding of the Bible itself, and also provide useful Bible references.

Bible Gateway: The Bible Gateway is a tool for reading and researching scripture online--all in the language or translation of your choice! It provides advanced searching capabilities, which allow readers to find and compare particular passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

Bible Study Tools: These online Bible study tools from include resources such as: (1) an Online Study Bible; (2) a program for reading the Bible in one year; (3) an Interlinear Bible; (4) a Parallel Bible; (5) Commentaries; (6) Concordances; and more.

Online Bible Search: Olive Tree Bible Software’s Online Bible Search makes it possible to: (1) find a word or phrase in many different Bible versions, including English, Greek, Hebrew, and other languages; (2) view a specific verse or chapter in one of the Bible versions offered; and (3) search multiple Bible versions at the same time

Search the King James Version Bible: Other Bible study resources, such as the Matthew Henry Bible Commentary and Nave’s Topical Bible, are also made available on the web site.

ARTFL Project: King James Bible Search Form

The Blue Letter Bible: A very helpful web site offering many different kinds of Bible study resources, such as: (1) the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge; (2) information from lexicons and the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible—including relevant Hebrew, Aramaic, and/or Greek language background information; (3) commentaries; (4) a selection of Bible versions to study; and (5) information from several Bible dictionaries.

Fellowship with GOD: How to Walk and Talk with the CREATOR of the Heavens and the Earth.” The free Bible study class my son Ken is in the process of publishing. Provides "Working Notes" Relating to the "Fellowship with GOD" Class

Gods Way Ministry, Inc., A Christian Church: The church which my son Ken pastors.

Who Yahweh Is: A web site containing articles about the CREATOR of the heavens and the earth, and His proper name “Yahweh.”


Dick B.'s son Ken
P.O. Box 837
Kihei, Hawaii
Tel.: (808) 276-4945
Fax: (808) 874-4876

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