Brewing Wisdom is not affiliated with Gideon International. All opinions are our own.
The Bible We Take For Granted
Have you ever walked into your hotel room and opened the dresser drawer to find a bible laying inside? What about the times in the hospital in the waiting room and have seen a bible nestled in the corner? I remember it like yesterday, whenever my grandfather was losing his vision with a glaucoma attack while my grandmother was in the middle of heart surgery and I found comfort in the bible that was simply laying on a stand at the hospital. I never realized it but someone had placed the bibles there. My husband and I have known about Gideon International for many years now. They helped us to deliver bibles to some of our community children when we had a Trunk-or-Treat at our local community college. Who are these unsung heroes?
Yesterday at our church we had the privilege of having one of the Gideon representatives come share the ministry of Gideon International. He shared with us a powerful story of a young man in the US Navy who discovers the gripping truth of God’s Word while hundreds of feet below sea level. See full story below:
There were so many other stories shared about how one small bible impacted a human life. From saving them from wanting to comment suicide alone in a hotel to stories about how a man found a bible in the trash after it was tossed from a college student. So who are the Gideons?
Who Started the Group?
In the autumn of 1898, John H. Nicholson of Janesville, Wisconsin, arrived at the Central Hotel at Boscobel, Wisconsin, for the night. The hotel was crowded, but he was offered a bed in a double room with Samuel E. Hill of Beloit, Wisconsin. The two men soon discovered they shared a common belief in Christ, and they decided to have their evening devotions together. During their prayer time, both felt the call to begin developing an Association. The first meeting was held May 31, 1899. The two men met again at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, where they decided the purpose of their Association would be to band Christian commercial travelers together for mutual recognition, personal evangelism, and united service for the Lord. They decided to call a meeting in Janesville, Wisconsin, on July 1, 1899, in the Y.M.C.A.
The First Meeting
Why Put Bibles in Hotels?
In light of the fact that nearly all of the Gideons in the early years of the Association were traveling men, the question naturally arose as to how they might be more effective witnesses in hotels. One trustee went so far as to suggest that The Gideons supply a Bible for each bedroom of the hotels in the United States. He commented, “In my opinion, this would not only stimulate the activities of the rank and file of the membership but would be a gracious act, wholly in keeping with the divine mission of the Gideon Association.” This plan, which they called “The Bible Project” was adopted at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1908.
The idea of churches contributing to the support of the Gideon Scripture program originated with a pastor. Just two months after the 1908 Lousiville Convention, a state convention was held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. National Secretary Frank Garlick and Mr. A.B.T. Moore attended a meeting of the Ministerial Union. After their program, they asked if Garlick could inform these ministers from around the world about the work of the Gideon Association. Garlick delivered a short yet inspiring speech advocating for the need for Bible distribution. At the close of his brief address, Mr. Moore’s own pastor, Dr. E.R. Burkhalter, arose and moved, “…that Gideon Bibles be placed in all local hotels and that the Ministerial Union be responsible for the funds.” The motion was unanimously carried and a committee appointed to allocate the cost to the churches, according to their strength.
A Worldwide Effort
The distribution of our first billion Scriptures by Gideon members spanned 93 years (1908 to 2001). Distribution of our second billion, however, was completed in just 13 years (2002-2015). On average, more than two copies of God’s Word are distributed per second and over one million Bibles and New Testaments are distributed every four days.
How Can I Support Gideon International?
1. Send a Card & Send the Word At our church, we have a Gideon Card Display in the back allowing easy access to support the Gideon’s in their ministry. You can send someone a card in one of 3 ways: In Memory, In Recognition, or Thinking of You. These cards are meant to encourage and further the spread of God’s word at the same time!
You can also visit here to send an E-Card!
If your church does not have a Gideon Card display and you would like more information, have your church contact the Gideon International for more information.
2. Simply Give the Gift of a Free Life Book
God’s Word in a format students love!
The Life Book contains a short recap of the Old Testament, the entire Gospel of John (ESV), scriptural answers to issues teens face, and an opportunity to trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Throughout The Life Book, the margins are filled with handwritten teen reactions ranging from an agnostic to a strong believer. This unique interactive approach points teens back into the scripture being read. The Life Book is 110 pages, measures 5″ x 5″ and can be viewed here.
These books are free to your church.