Celebrate Recovery’s Bible: Knowing the Official Literature

celebrate recovery find support groups

If you have been considering joining a Celebrate Recovery support group, or if you have already dabbled in the Celebrate Recovery program, then you likely already understand how foundational the Bible is when it comes to a Christian journey to sobriety. Celebrate Recovery is a 12-step recovery program that teaches its members how to break free of their hurts, habits, and hang-ups, and its official Study Bible is central to its structure.

Here’s what you need to know about the Celebrate Recovery Bible, the foundational piece of literature that informs the Celebrate Recovery way of life.

Celebrate Recovery’s Bible

When John Baker first started the Celebrate Recovery program in 1991, he did so with the blessing of Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. The two men set out to create a recovery program that paired the traditional 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

John Baker found that traditional peer-led recovery programs lacked a true Christ-centered spiritual foundation, and church-sponsored small groups were hesitant to discuss addictive behaviors such as alcoholism. To fill the gap and help newcomers understand their vision, they created the NIV Celebrate Recovery Study Bible. This Bible is a powerful tool to help people learn the 12 steps of Celebrate Recovery and the 8 Beatitudes drawn from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

According to the official website of Celebrate Recovery, its Study Bible is a powerful and positive ally, and it contains the following key features:

  • The full text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV) translation
  • Its articles explain eight recovery principles and accompanying Christ-centered twelve steps of the proven Celebrate Recovery Program
  • Over 110 lessons based on eight recovery principles in practical terms
  • Recovery stories that offer encouragement and hope
  • Over 50 full-page biblical character studies tied to stories from real people who have found peace and help with their own hurts, hang-ups, and habits
  • A side-column reference system keyed to Celebrate Recovery’s eight recovery principles found in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

How Celebrate Recovery’s Study Bible is Used

When people join a Celebrate Recovery program, they are typically seeking freedom from life as they know it—they are trying to break free from the toxic cycle of addiction. 

The Celebrate Recovery Study Bible is based on the program developed by John Baker, with the permission of Pastor Rick Warren, and it is the official literature of the Step Studies program that can guide you to full recovery and sustained sobriety. 

The Study Bible is used for self-study as you journey through the Step Studies program, and it can also be a helpful reference even after you have completed the Step Studies program.

History of Celebrate Recovery and the Study Bible

To fully understand the development of the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible, it helps to have some background on how the Celebrate Recovery Program came to be. Celebrate Recovery was started by a man named John Baker in 1991. John Baker considered himself to be a functional alcoholic, and he was seeking support through attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

During these meetings, John Baker felt like he couldn’t truly open up about his reliance on Jesus Christ in his recovery journey, as Alcoholics Anonymous was nondenominational and talked in relatively vague terms about relying on a higher power. John sought further support through a small group at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, but found that he, similarly, couldn’t be fully open about his struggles with alcoholism within the context of that religious group.

Trying to bridge the space between AA teachings and the small group structure, John Baker approached the pastor of Saddleback Church, Rick Warren, and presented him with a 13-page, single-spaced letter which laid out a vision of how to create a Christ-centered addiction recovery program, to be hosted by the church. The vision integrated the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with the biblical text, and it also incorporated the 8 Beatitudes presented by Jesus Christ at his Sermon on the Mount and the Serenity Prayer. John Baker’s plan was met with support, and he proceeded to host his first Celebrate Recovery Meeting.

Key Components of the Study Bible from the Celebrate Recovery Founder

Celebrate Recovery founder John Baker recognized the significance of the Bible as a tool for achieving sobriety. He also had personal experience using the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to affect positive change in his life and overcome his alcoholism. He found that a few key components were central to a Christ-led recovery program. These include the 12 steps of daily living paired with scripture, the 8 Beatitudes, and the Serenity Prayer.

The 12 Steps of Celebrate Recovery

As presented on the official CR website, consider the 12 steps of daily living that John Baker paired with scripture to reinforce how each one corresponds with a Christ-centered journey. These 12 steps appear within the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible to guide learners on their walk with Christ:

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18 NIV

2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13 NIV

3. We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1 NIV

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40 NIV

5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16a NIV

6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10 NIV

7. We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NIV

8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 NIV

9. We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 NIV

10. We continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and power to carry that out.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Colossians 3:16a NIV

12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore them gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1 NIV

Celebrate Recovery

The 8 Beatitudes

John Baker also was set on incorporating the teachings from Jesus Christ’s famous Sermon on the Mount, which are now known as the eight Beatitudes. He saw these Beatitudes as God laying out the premise for a road to recovery from addiction, and he included them in the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible.

The eight Beatitudes, as they appear in the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible, are as follows:

Beatitude 1

Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. 

“Happy are those who know that they are spiritually poor.”Matthew 5:3a TEV

Beatitude 2

Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. (Step 2)

“Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 TEV, NIV

Beatitude 3

Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. (Step 3)

“Happy are the meek.” Matthew 5:5a TEV

Beatitude 4

Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. (Steps 4 and 5)

“Happy are the pure in heart.” Matthew 5:8a TEV

Beatitude 5

Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. (Steps 6 and 7)
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires” Matthew 5:6a TEV

Beatitude 6

Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others. (Steps 8 and 9)

“Happy are the merciful.” Matthew 5:7a TEV; “Happy are the peacemakers” Matthew 5:9 TEV

Beatitude 7

Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. (Steps 10 and 11)

Beatitude 8

Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words. (Step 12)

“Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.” Matthew 5:10 TEV

The Serenity Prayer

The 12 steps and 8 Beatitudes help guide a reader of the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible as they learn to apply the official text to their recovery journey. John Baker also believed in the utmost importance of the Serenity Prayer, and this prayer appears in the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible, as well.

Prayer for Serenity

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.


You can find the Serenity Prayer, the Celebrate Recovery 12 steps, and the Sermon on the Mount 8 Beatitudes in the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible, and they’re also present here on the official Celebrate Recovery website.

Impact of Celebrate Recovery and Its Study Bible

From its humble beginnings in Lake Forest, California (the first meeting was attended by 43 people), the Celebrate Recovery program has grown exponentially and is now present in 35,000 churches. Celebrate Recovery has helped millions of people recognize how they can lean on Jesus Christ as a powerful and positive ally in their journey to break free from life and its addictions of all kinds.

Using the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible can help reinforce what you learn during large meetings and small group sessions. As you delve more into the spirituality aspect of your recovery journey and increase your confidence in your spirituality, research has shown that you can enhance your ability to resist substance abuse. 

Using the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible as a go-to resource can help you on this journey of spiritual confidence and augment your feelings of self-efficacy when it comes to maintaining your sobriety over the long term.

Find Support at Celebrate Recovery Meetings

If the above principles of Celebrate Recovery resonate with you, and you long to break free of a life of addiction, you can find a Celebrate Recovery group in your area using this meeting locator tool.

Author: Admin