Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A.A.'s Twelve Steps and Relevant Sources in the Bible

A.A.’s Twelve Steps and Relevant Sources in the Bible

Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Recently, I wrote to the author of a rather-typical, parallel listing of the Twelve Steps and what he thought were the pertinent Bible verses connected with each of the Steps. The approach is laudable. But I believe the following Step comments, which have been edited slightly, will be helpful.

Congratulations on your parallels between the Steps and biblical ideas as you see them. This has been going on for many many years as various AAs tried to link the Steps to the Bible. And see Dick B., The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible.

I suppose there are three approaches now in vogue:

(1) What did Dr. Bob mean when he said that the basic ideas for the Steps came from the effort in and study of the Bible in the early days of the Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship’s development?

The context is found in his last major address where he specifically mentioned the Book of James, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 as absolutely essential

(2) Having some Christian leaders and writers for Celebrate Recovery, for Hazelden, for Life Recovery Bible or this particular writer pair up Steps with Bible ideas.

But that wasn't how the early AAs viewed the matter. Nor does it follow the way in which they studied Bible segments in depth. And The Runner’s Bible (which was widely distributed and used by the early Akron Christian Fellowship AAs) presents a good example of how the AAs were studying, verse by verse, such concepts as “I will heal thee,” “I will guide thee,” and “I will help thee,”

(3) Taking the Steps for what they are:

According to A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson, the Step language and ideas came largely from the teachings of Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker's sharing the Oxford Group life-changing ideas with Bill ( ).

Shoemaker's Oxford Group friends and colleagues also played a role . Both Shoemaker and Oxford Group Founder Dr. Frank Buchman were ardent Bible quoters and students, and the best actual biblical sources for Step ideas can be seen in how Shoemaker and the Oxford Group writers carefully based each of their 28 life-changing ideas on various Bible verses. (Although this is somewhat different from what Dr. Bob suggested and much different from the approach many Christian writers have taken.).

That doesn't make the Oxford Group writers' ideas correct, but it does set the Step picture straight.

Therefore if a recovered or recovering alcoholic or addict wishes to get a strong handle on the Bible (and all of its contents on forgiveness, promises, the renewed mind, eternal life, the abundant life, healing, and deliverance from the power of darkness), it would seem very desirable for Bible teachers, pastoral counselors, clergy, and Bible students dealing with recovery to lay out all the relevant recovery, healing, forgiveness, and deliverance principles, practices, and assurances the Bible itself provides, rather than trying to link this or that verse to Step materials. This is largely because the Steps as finally published and as widely adapted today were ultimately altered to insure their palatability to atheists, agnostics, and those espousing not-god-ness, spiritual-but-not-religious, and nonsense gods recovery ideas.

Perhaps the most valuable approach for the 12-Step/Bible study student is to learn the Twelve Steps; learn the instructions in the Big Book for "taking" them; and see how the Christian and biblical materials were basically thrown out of the Big Book text and the Steps before they went to press in 1939.

The Christian and Bible student can then take the Steps and the Big Book for what they are: twelve suggested steps for recovery and for "finding" God. Having done that, the student can study how Dr. Bob approached the Bible through the Book of James, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13; see how those ideas filtered into the early Akron program and even into the Big Book; and then grow in understanding of the power and love of God by studying the Bible and asking wisdom of God as well. (See James 1:5ff).

Gloria Deo

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