Gideons International, known for placing Bibles in hotel rooms as a silent witness to God’s Word, will soon be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the organization’s first Bible placement.
Gideons is organized in more than 180 countries worldwide and has given away 1.3 billion Bibles - enough Bibles to reach roughly one in five people on the earth.
But the organization of Christian businessmen had humble beginnings, starting with a placement of only 25 Bibles in a hotel room in Montana.
At the 1908 Gideon Convention in Louisville, Ky., Gideons members were discussing how they could more effectively witness in the hotels, where they spent so much of their time, when one trustee proposed that they furnish a Bible for each bedroom of the hotels in the United States. The plan was adopted by the convention and dubbed, “The Bible Project.”
Archie Bailey funded the organization’s first Bible placement at Superior Hotel in 1908.
On Oct. 4, 2008, The Gideons International will be commemorating the placement with a short ceremony, held at the original site of the Superior Hotel, according to the Clark Chronicle.
Perrin Prescott, president of The Gideons International, will be giving the address at the occasion.
The Gideons International has printed Scripture in over 80 languages and is currently placing one million copies every five days. The organization’s Bibles are usually found in the drawer of a hotel room’s bedside table or dresser.
Gideons also placed many millions of Scriptures each year in hospitals, prisons, military bases, schools and colleges.
In recent years, the organization has been asked to stop its distribution of palm-sized Bibles that contain the New Testament, Proverbs and Psalms near schools and has been threatened with arrest. Many Gideons members have defended their First Amendment rights before court in cases that are often represented by the Alliance Defense Fund.
Since 1966, Gideons International has also offered greeting cards that enable people to pay tribute to loved ones through the dedication of Bibles placed around the world. The organization recently launched an entirely new line of “Occasion” cards that recognize occasions such as birthdays, graduations and weddings.
The cards account for 20 percent of the organization’s donations which are used to fund future Bible placements.