Gideons International

An association of Christian business and professional men that grew out of a meeting between John Nicholson and Samuel Hill in Central Hotel, Boscobel, Wisconsin (1898). Participating in evening devotions, they discovered they shared a common Christian faith. The next year, with W.J. Knights, they organized an association of Christian traveling men, named the “Gideons,” after the OT figure who led a small band of Israelites to victory over the Midianites (Judges 6-7). From this beginning the membership has grown to more than 42,000 in ninety countries. Their primary purpose is to win individuals to faith in Christ, particularly through the free distribution of Scripture. Distribution began in 1908; copies of the Bible and NT were placed without cost in public places such as hotel rooms, and in the hands of school children, prisoners, nurses, soldiers, and others. The work is supported primarily by voluntary offerings received in local churches. By 1971 more than eleven million Bibles and ninety-one million New Testaments in some thirty-two languages had been distributed. A monthly organ, The Gideon, is published.