The Gideons International is an Association of Christian business and professional men and their wives dedicated to telling people about Jesus through associating together for service, sharing personal testimony, and by providing Bibles and New Testaments. While we are often recognized for our work with hotels, we also place and distribute Scriptures in strategic locations so they are available to those who want them, as well as to those who may not know they need them.


The Gideons International in South Africa often reaches people who have no contact with churches and who otherwise might not have been reached for the Lord Jesus Christ. We are an inter-denominational association of Christian business and professional men who are members of Protestant/Evangelical churches. Many of us are joined by our wives to serve in the Gideons ministry. Our members are dedicated to winning the lost to Christ through personal witnessing and the distribution of God’s Word. We are an extension of the mission of the local Protestant/Evangelical churches.

It is neither. The Gideons International is an association that complements the work of the Evangelical or Protestant churches. Our members come from many denominations, live all over the world and share a desire to see the lost come to Christ.

Can I get Bibles or New Testaments for my
church or for my personal use?

Our mission is to reach the lost. We do not provide Bibles and New Testaments to individuals, our church partners or other organizations for their distribution. Our unique method is to have only our members distribute Bibles and New Testaments to, for example, the following people and areas: Grade 8 learners, tertiary students, police officers, members of the armed forces, prisoners, as well as at hotels, guest houses, doctors’ and lawyers’ rooms, pregnancy centres and old age homes with a clinic.

We do not overlap, duplicate, or conflict with the mission of churches and other ministries. Instead, we act as an extended missionary arm of the church.

If you are searching for a copy of God’s Word for personal use, we encourage you to visit the Read the Bible in a year section of this website.

When you join us as a Financial Friend, contributing R200 or more per month, you receive three pocket-size New Testaments per quarter.


Yes! Each Bible placed in a hotel room has the potential of reaching up to 2 300 people in its estimated six-year life span. Research from the hotel industry tells us that approximately 25% of travellers read the Bibles in their hotel rooms.
What do Gideons believe?

All Gideons uphold the following core beliefs:
The Bible is the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God.

All Gideons must also:
Have received Jesus as their personal Saviour.
Endeavour to follow Him in their daily lives.
Be members in good standing in their Protestant/Evangelical churches.


In the autumn of 1898, John H. Nicholson of Janesville, Wisconsin, came to the Central Hotel at Boscobel, Wisconsin, to stay for the night. As the hotel was crowded, it was suggested that he take a bed in a double room with Samuel E. Hill of Beloit, Wisconsin. The two men soon discovered that they were both Christians. They had their evening devotions together. On their knees before God, God inspired them to make a difference in the lives of other travellers. These thoughts would later develop into an association.

On May 31, 1899, the two men met again at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, where they concluded to bind Christian commercial travellers 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.

Only three men were present at that meeting: John H. Nicholson, Samuel E. Hill and Will J. Knights. They organized with Hill as president, Knights as vice-president, and Nicholson as secretary and treasurer. Much thought was given to what the name of the association should be. After special prayer that God might lead them to select the proper name, Mr. Knights arose from his knees and said, “We shall be called Gideons.” He read the sixth and seventh chapters of Judges and showed the reason for suggesting that name.