Last updated:
May 16, 2016

Alcoholics Anonymous History
A.A.'s Roots in the Bible

By Dick B.

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A.A.'s Roots in the Bible

AAs Bible Roots - The Good Book and The Big Book According to the Big Book, the basic text for Alcoholics Anonymous, an astounding 75% “. . . of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, . . .” recovered from their seemingly-hopeless alcoholism. (“Foreword to Second Edition,” in Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., xx). And according to the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers: “Records in Cleveland show that 93 percent of those who came to us never had a drink again.” (DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 261).

AAs who thoroughly followed the early A.A. path recovered from their alcoholism based on three pertinent ideas, the third of which is “That God could and would if He were sought.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 60). And A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob stated in the A.A. General Service Conference-approved pamphlet The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous about the “basic ideas” of A.A.’s well-known Twelve Steps: “We got them, as I said, as a result of our study of the Good Book.” (The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, 14).

Dick B.’s comprehensive title, The Good Book and the Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible, discusses the biblical sources from which A.A.’s founders said they obtained their recovery ideas—focusing particularly on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), 1 Corinthians 13, and the Book of James. For many AAs, the Bible was a standard of truth upon which they could depend for the power of God and His guidance that they needed and wanted in their lives. Author Dick B.—an active, recovered member of A.A., a Bible student, and a sponsor of over 100 men in their recovery at the time of his death in 2015—here shows in his most popular title how a knowledge of A.A.’s Good Book roots can be used effectively to produce a high recovery rate in today's Twelve Step programs.


Dick B. wrote The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible to provide an accurate, comprehensive statement of the basic ideas and principles early AAs took from the Bible as they were developing their spiritual program of recovery and later the Big Book and the Twelve Steps. This title by Dick has stood the test of time. It is much in demand. It is now used in counselor training, Salvation Army programs, A.A. meetings, spiritual retreats for AAs and their families, and in seminars and programs for people in recovery, whether in A.A., Al-Anon, or such groups as Overcomers and Alcoholics Victorious.

Contents of The Good Book and the Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible

Chap. 1:           "Lest We Forget Early AAs and Their Bibles!"

Early A.A.'s Success Rate Compared to Today
The Historical Evidence of A.A.'s Good Book Roots
Oxford Group-Shoemaker Impact
Bible Devotionals and Other Early A.A. Literature
The Purpose of Our Book

Chap. 2:           God!

The Frequency of Biblical Names for God
God is
A Loving God
A Special "god" for A.A.?
Whence Came "Higher Power?"
Bill Wilson's 
Higher Power
"God As We Understood Him"
"A Power Greater Than Ourselves"

Chap. 3:           Biblical Impact on Big Book Language

Direct Quotes from the Bible
Recognizable Biblical Words and Concepts
A.A. Slogans and Watchwords with Biblical Roots
Two Other Biblical Concepts

Chap. 4:           The Parts Dr. Bob Found "Essential"

The Thirteenth Chapter of First Corinthians
The Book of James
The Sermon on the Mount

Chap. 5:           The Good Book and the Twelve Steps

Step One and Deflation at Depth
Step Two, Willingness, Belief, and Seeking
Step Three and the Decision to Surrender
Step Four and Self-examination
Step Five and Confession
Step Six, Conviction and Readiness to Change
Step Seven, Humble Submission and Rebirth
Step Eight, Willingness To Make Amends
Step Nine, Restitution
Step Ten and Daily Corrective Action
Step Eleven, Prayer, Guidance, Growth, Power
Step Twelve, Awakening, Witness, Practice of Principles

Chap. 6:           Keeping It Simple

The Original Six Steps
Simmered Down to the Last (Love and Service)

Chap. 7:           The Good Book and A.A. Today

Foreword by Bob Smith ("Smitty"), son of A.A. co-founder Dr. Bob and his wife, Anne.


"The Bible and the 'Big Book' of Alcoholics Anonymous are not mutually exclusive, as the author, Dick B., carefully shows. The A.A. book which has helped millions with their addictions is deeply indebted to, and profoundly influenced by, biblical language, images, and themes gleaned directly from the Bible or indirectly from Bible teachers like Rev. Samuel Shoemaker, E. Stanley Jones, and Oswald Chambers. A.A. has received much from biblical Christianity, and biblical Christians can receive much from Dick's new book about spiritual growth and victorious living."

Rev. Charles B. Puskas, Jr., Ph.D.
Author, An Introduction to the New Testament

"Dick's exhaustive research gives us a clear picture of how Dr. Bob, Anne, Bill W., and the early A.A.s used the Good Book to help thousands recover".

Ray G.
Archivist, Dr. Bob's Home, Akron, Ohio

"We use Dick's book in all our counselor training centers. It is an invaluable resource."

Jean LaCour, Ph.D.
Dean, The N.E.T. Training Institute

"We're excited to have this book for scholars of A.A. that explains A.A.'s roots in the Bible!"

Ozzie and Bonnie L.
Managers, The Wilson House, East Dorset, Vermont

"Anyone seeking to learn the spiritual roots of Alcoholics Anonymous will find Dick B.'s publication, The Good Book and the Big Book, an invaluable resource. Dick has done a monumental job of finding and documenting the prime sources of A.A.'s life-renewing power."

John F. Seiberling
Former United States Congressman
on of Henrietta Seiberling, an early A.A. "founder"

Paradise Research Publications, Inc.; rev. ed./Bridge Builders ed.; 264 pp.; 6 x 9; perfect bound; 1997; $23.95; ISBN-10: 1-885803-16-8; ISBN-13: 978-1-885803-16-0


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

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Paradise Research
Publications, Inc.
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Trademarks and Disclaimer: ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS®, A.A.®, and Big Book® are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Dick B.'s web site, Paradise Research Publications, Inc., and Good Book Publishing Company are neither endorsed nor approved by nor associated or affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.