As Early AAs Did Understand Him
and how should you start reading
the Bible if you are one who wants
to use the Good Book for recovery,
for deliverance, for an understanding
of God, and for further spiritual
growth in A.A. or a 12-Step Fellowship
today? Well, why not start at the
beginning! Just remember, however,
this article is a guide. It
will not quote the "begats."
It will not quote the Bible in toto
or even large parts of it. It will
not tell you how to interpret the
Bible or where to go to be taught
about it. It will suggest some
approaches. Most of these approaches
have now been documented as those
used by the A.A. pioneers. They
may help you in graduating from
as Bill Wilson called it, and moving
on to a greater understanding of
God (the Creator our pioneers relied
upon), the Bible (the "Good
Book" they read for spiritual
facts), and the spiritual principles
(which they borrowed from the Bible
and biblical sources and used as
their guide to loving and serving
God and doing His will).
first verse in the Bible (King
James Version, which early AAs
the beginning, God created the heaven
and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
about, and understanding God, can
and should begin at the beginning—with
God as our Creator. That is perhaps
a good reason why A.A.’s Big Book
text refers to God as "Creator"
twelve times (See Alcoholics
Anonymous, 3rd ed., pp. 13,
25, 28, 56, 68, 72, 75, 76, 80,
83, 158, 161). And the Bible certainly
declares, confirms, and reiterates
that God is our Creator, saying:
now thy Creator in the days of thy
youth. . . . (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
thou not known? Hast thou not heard,
that the everlasting God,
the Lord, the Creator of the ends
of the earth, fainteth not, neither
is weary? there is no searching
of his understanding (Isaiah 40:28).
saith God the Lord, he that created
the heavens, and stretched them
out; he that spread forth the earth,
and that which cometh out of it;
he that giveth breath unto the people
upon it, and spirit to them that
walk therein (Isaiah 42:5).
let them that suffer according to
the will of God commit the keeping
of their souls to him in
well doing, as unto a faithful Creator
(1 Peter 4:19).
you want to seek, find, meet, and
get to know someone, you usually
start by asking his or her name.
So let’s start with our Creator’s
name. God not only has a
name, He specifically declared what
His name is. As rendered in the
King James Version, Exodus 6:2-3
God spake unto Moses, and said unto
him, I am the Lord: And I
appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac,
and unto Jacob, by the name of
God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH
was I not known to them.
a discussion of the divine name
YHWH and its translations
as "YHWH," "Yahweh,"
"LORD," and "Jehovah,"
see: The Shocken Bible: Volume
I, The Five Books of Moses, (New
York: Shocken Books, 1995), pp.
XXIX, 285, 287; John R. Kohlenberger,
III, The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English
Old Testament (Michigan: Zondervan
Publishing House, 1987), pp. XXXV
and 158; David H. Stern, Complete
Jewish Bible (Maryland: Jewish
New Testament Publications, Inc.,
1998), pp. xxxiii-iv, 65; Martin
Abegg, Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene
Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls
Bible, (New York: HarperCollins
Publishers, 1999), p. 32; and The
Jerusalem Bible, Readers
Edition, 1966, pp. 3, 7.
His Word, God has revealed a great
deal to us about Himself. The Good
when Abram was ninety years old
and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram,
and said unto him, I am the
Almighty God; walk before me, and
be thou perfect (Genesis 17:1).
God said unto him [Jacob], I am
God Almighty: be fruitful and
multiply. . . . (Genesis 35:11).
Bill Wilson’s comment that only
God Almighty could cure the alcoholic’s
form of lunacy (Dick B., The
Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous,
Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd
ed., pp. 57, 63, so describes Him):
saith the Lord, the Holy One of
Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of
things to come concerning my sons,
and concerning the work of my hands
command ye me. I have made the earth,
and created man upon it: I, even
my hands, have stretched out
the heavens, and all their host
have I commanded (Isaiah 45:11-12).
the last line of Dr. Bob’s story,
Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd
ed., p. 181; and Alcoholics Anonymous
Comes of Age, p. 234):
this manner therefore pray ye: Our
Father which art in heaven . . .
whosoever shall deny me before men
[said Jesus], him will I also deny
before my Father which is in heaven
then afer the Lord [Jesus] had spoken
unto them, he was received up into
heaven, and sat on the right hand
of God (Mark 16:19).
not rash with thy mouth, and let
not thine heart be hasty to utter
any thing before God: for
God is in heaven, and thou
upon earth: therefore let thy words
be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
fool hath said in his heart,
There is no God. Corrupt are
they, and have done abominable iniquity:
there is none that doeth
good. God looked down from heaven
upon the children of men, to see
if there were any that did
understand, that did seek God (Psalm
Lord looked down from heaven upon
the children of men, to see if there
were any that did understand, and
seek God (Psalm 14:2).
is not a man, that he should
lie; neither the son of man, that
he should repent: hath he said,
and shall he not do it? Or
hath he spoken, and shall not make
it good? (Numbers 23:19).
also the Strength of Israel [will
not lie nor repent: for he is
not a man, that he should repent
(1 Samuel 15:29).
he [God] is not a
man, as I am, that I should
answer him, and we should
come together in judgment (Job 3:32).
will not execute the fierceness
of mine anger, I will not return
to destroy: for I am God,
and not man. . . . (Hosea 11:9).
man hath seen God at any time; the
only begotten Son, which is in the
bosom of the Father, he hath declared
him (John 1:18).
that any man hath seen the Father,
save he which is of God, he hath
seen the Father (John 6:46).
[God’s dear Son] is the image of
the invisible God, the firstborn
of every creature (Colossians 1:16).
is a Spirit: and they that
worship him must worship him in
spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love (1 John 4:8)
we have known and believed the love
that God hath to us. God is love;
and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth
in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16)
God so loved the world, that he
gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should
not perish, but have everlasting
life (John 3:16)
let us love one another: for love
is of God; and every one that loveth
is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love. In this was manifested
the love of God toward us, because
that God sent his only begotten
Son into the world, that we might
live through him. Herein is love,
not that we loved God, but that
he loved us, and sent his Son to
be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we
ought also to love one another (1
then is the message which we have
heard of him, and declare unto you.
that God is light, and in him is
no darkness at all (1 John 1:5)
eternal God (Deuteronomy 33:27)
the living and true God (1 Thessalonians
an holy God (Joshua 24:19)
the God of our fathers (1 Chronicles
12:17; Ezra 7:27; Exodus 3:13. 15,
the God of peace (Romans 16:20)
the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10)
the God of patience and consolation
the God of hope (Romans 15:13)
the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians
love (1 John 4:8, 16)
the Father of mercies (2 Corinthians
the Father of lights (James 1:17)
God the Father (Ephesians 6:23)
God our Father (Ephesians 1:2)
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ (Ephesians 1:3)
our heavenly Father (Matthew 6:9,
our Father (Matthew 6:9)
our Saviour (1 Timothy l:l;2:3)
the living God (Acts 14:15; 2 Corinthians
6:16; Hebrews 1:22; Isaiah 37:17)
the living Father (John 6:5 7)
the true God (I John 5:20)
there is one God, and one
mediator between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:5)
it is one God, which shall
justify the circumcision by faith,
and uncircumcision through faith
God and Father of all, who is
above all, and through all,
and in you all (Ephesians 4:6)
saith the LORD, the King of Israel,
and his redeemer the LORD of hosts;
I am the first, and I
am the last; and beside me there
is no God (Isaiah 44:6)
0 Israel: The LORD our God is
one LORD: And thou shalt love
the LORD thy God with all thine
heart, and with all thy soul, and
with all thy might (Deuteronomy
. . for I the LORD thy God am a
jealous God . . . (Deuteronomy 5:9).
am the LORD thy God, which
brought thee out of the land of
Egypt. from the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have none other gods
before me (Deuteronomy 5:6-7)
am the LORD thy God, which
have brought thee out of the land
of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other gods before
me (Exodus 20:2-3)
all these Good Book quotes?
early A.A. pioneers, and their founders,
studied the Bible and took their
basic ideas from the Bible. But
why all these quotes from the King
James Version of the Bible?
Because the author is trying to
make available to AAs and Twelve
Step Fellowships today a specific
and accurate knowledge of exactly
what early AAs meant when they used
biblical expressions in the Big
Book, in their pamphlets, and in
their stories. When they repeatedly
used the word "God," the
word "Creator," the word
"Maker," and all the other
descriptions of God such as Almighty
God, the God of our Fathers, Father,
Spirit, and so on, they were talking
only about the one God–Yahweh–the
Creator–who was the one true God,
the living God, as to whom they
were to have "none other."
go into such detail? Because the
universalization, the revisionists,
the "inclusive" urgings
that began almost as early as 1940,
all slowly contributed to the following
ideas. "God" can be a
"higher power." The "higher
power" can be the "group."
The "higher power" is
merely a "power greater than
yourself"–any old power will
do, just as long as it is a power
greater than you are. Therefore,
they say, the "power greater
than yourself" can be: Gertrude,
Ralph, a lightbulb, some "goddess,"
Santa Claus, a chair, the Big Dipper,
a doorknob, a bulldozer, a table,
or "good orderly direction."
Such absurd names for God, as Sam
Shoemaker characterized them, soon
gave rise to historical treatises
about what A.A. is. Such
scholarly works began declaring
that A.A. is really about "not-god;"
that the word "God" is
just an expedient or convenient
name for anything you want "it"
to be. Finally, this same kind of
distorted thinking led to official
proclamations that AAs were free
to, and could invent, could make
up, their own higher power–which
could be "him, her, or it."
The same or similar writings asserted
that AAs could make "it"
into "something" or "nothing
kind of thinking calls for the following
statement: You would have a very
difficult assignment if you asked
a table for, prayed to a lightbulb
about, looked for guidance from,
or sought relief for your alcoholism
through: Santa Claus, Gertrude,
the Big Dipper, or "it."
understand the original program–the
one with a documented 75% to 93%
success rate--you have to understand
what the pioneers were talking about.
And they were talking about "seeking,"
and making "conscious contact
with" the Creator–not Santa
Claus, nor Gertrude, nor a chair.
They simply weren’t that stupid,
and we shouldn’t even doubt their
intelligence on this score! If you
or they looked at a quarter or a
dollar bill and notice the inscription,
"In God we trust," would
you say that meant "In a table
we trust." Or "In a group
we trust." Or "in something
we trust." Think about it!
Is anyone that far off the beam?
B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837; 808
874 4876; firstname.lastname@example.org