Gideons International
   Gideons international is a business and professional men's association devoted primarily to distributing Bibles in hotels and other public institutions. It was founded in 1899 by two traveling businessmen, John H. Nicholson (1859-1946) and Samuel E. Hill (1867-1936), who met, discovered their shared Christian faith, and decided to create an organization to bring together traveling businessmen for fellowship, service, and evangelism. They were soon joined by William J. Knights (1853-1940).
   in order to witness in the hotels at which they stayed, they decided to present hotel desks with a Bible that could be borrowed by any guest. In 1908, the growing movement decided to furnish a Bible in each bedroom of every hotel in the United States.
   As of 2004, the Gideons reported 236,000 members working in 179 countries. The organization annually distributes in excess of 50 million Bibles, including replacement copies. Recipients include jails and prisons, the military, youths, college campuses, and medical facilities. The program has been copied by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which distributes the Book of Mormon in hotels, and by the society for the Promotion of Buddhism (Japanese), which now distributes a small volume, The Teaching of the Buddha, to hotels. Gideons International is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.
   Further reading:
   ■ The Gideons International Guide Book (Nashville, Tenn.: Gideons International 2001)
   ■ M. A. Henderson, Sowers of the Word: A 95-Year History of the Gideons International, 1899-1994 (Nashville, Tenn.: The Gideons international, 1995).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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