Alcoholics Anonymous History
A.A.’s Principle of Love
A.A.’s co-founder Dr. Bob didn’t write the Twelve Steps. In fact, he emphatically stated that he had nothing to do with the writing of them. But he did say that AAs already had the basic ideas. They got them from their study of the Good Book, he said.
In his last major address to AAs, Dr. Bob said he believed that the Twelve Steps, simmered to their essence, were described in the phrase “love and service.” This phrase was one commonly used in the United Christian Endeavor Movement to which Dr. Bob belonged in his youth. And Dr. Bob went on to say, “We all know what love is.”
Do we really know what love is?
Whenever he was asked a question about the A.A. program, Dr. Bob would usually respond: “What does it say in the Good Book?” And, of course, the Bible had much to say about love. In both the Old Testament and the New, God enjoined His people to “love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength” and “their neighbor as themselves.” More of that in a moment.
Love starts first with God
Consider first that love starts with God:
Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. . . . Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers. And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Thou shalt be blessed above all people. . . . (Deuteronomy 7:12-14).
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies (Psalm 103:1-4).
For 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)
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10).
God commanded His people to love
Hear, O 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 6:4-5)
. . . thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. I am the Lord (Leviticus 19:18)
So did Jesus, His son
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:29-31)
1 John, Chapter 5, tells us of the love of God
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:2-3)
Paul taught love of neighbor from God’s Law – Love works no ill
Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10).
Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Romans 13:8-9)
Then Paul taught the positive part of loving thy neighbor
In the famed Thirteenth Chapter of First Corinthians, Paul wrote:
Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind, charity envieth not; chariety vauneth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth (1 Cor. 13:4-6)
See Dick B., The James Club and The Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials, 2005. There the love aspects of 1 Corinthians 13, Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, and the Book of James are fully and carefully reviewed.
Follow Dr. Bob’s Instructions to see what the Good Book says
To get a solid understanding of A.A.’s principles of love and what Dr. Bob meant when he said, “We all know what love is,” follow his instructions. The love of God and the love of neighbor are well defined in the Bible