The Gideons International is an association of Christian business and professional men who are dedicated to distributing God’s Word around the world. The Auxiliary of Gideons are wives who support the work with prayer and by participating in many of the functions of Gideons, including the placement of Bibles. By making Bibles available around the world, the Gideons trust God to use His Word to increase His kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:6).
The Gideons International has its worldwide headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, but each Gideon is assigned to a local group called a “camp.” Camps usually meet once a week for a prayer breakfast and once a month for education and planning. Members encourage each other in personal witnessing and in their overarching goal of bringing men and women, boys and girls, to a saving knowledge and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior.
The Gideons organization was begun in 1899 by two traveling salesmen with a heart for evangelism. They later adopted the goal of putting a Bible in every hotel room in the United States starting in 1908. From those beginnings grew an organization of over 300,000 men and women in 195 countries giving out Bibles or New Testaments in over ninety languages. In their first 105 years, the Gideons have given out over 1.8 billion copies of God’s Word.
The Gideons are lay persons (not clergy) who are members in good standing in an evangelical or Protestant church. Essentially, they represent local churches as missionaries whose sole purpose is winning the lost through providing them the Word of God. Today, they distribute over one million Scriptures throughout the world every week—that’s more than two copies per second. Whole Bibles are left in hotels and motels, and New Testaments are provided to middle schools, high schools, colleges, prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, military facilities, doctor’s offices, and fire stations—all at no cost to those receiving the Bibles. Churches support the Gideons with prayer, with some of their members serving as Gideons and Auxiliary members, and by paying for Bibles. All donations to the Gideons go for the printing and transportation of Bibles—many to countries where traditional missionaries cannot go. In forty-eight of the countries where the Gideons are organized, people struggle to survive; they will never own a Bible without some assistance.
The Gideons believe and teach the basics of orthodox Christian doctrine, and the New Testaments they distribute have two pages in the back devoted to explaining the gospel and how to be saved. Their doctrinal statement and further information on the Gideons are available on their website.