The Gideons

The Gideons International is an association of Christian business and professional men, who along with their wives are dedicated to telling people about Jesus. Through associating together for service, sharing personal testimony, and providing Bibles and New Testaments to the world we spread the Good News. While we are often recognised for our Bible placements in hotel rooms, 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.

Our Vision

The vision comes from Philippians 1:27 and is called Striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel, in One Spirit, One Mind, and One Vision, or simply called One Vision.

One Vision empowers us to effectively and joyfully win over our fellow man to the Lord Jesus Christ. One Vision grounds us on the association’s founding principles, focuses us on the Great Commission, and empowers us to serve in one spirit and one mind.


As members we have been called by God – brothers and sisters in Christ, husbands along with our wives – striving together to effectively and joyfully reach the world with the Good News through associating together for service, personal testimony, personal work and distributing God’s Word.

Bible distribution

Spreading God’s Word, through distributing Bibles, can and does lead people to faith in Christ. New Christians grow by studying their Scriptures and can even use them to share their newly found faith with others.

For this reason, we focus on distributing complete Bibles, New Testaments, or portions thereof. These copies of God’s Word are printed in more than 109 languages and are either given directly to certain individuals or placed in approved placement areas where large numbers of people, who may be searching for answers, will have the opportunity to encounter the Word of God.

Our Activities

Our Leadership


Jaco Putter


Corné de Jager


Corné de Jager


Pierre le Grange


Leon van der Merwe

Our History

The Beginning
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. As they did their evening prayers together, on their knees before God, God inspired them to make a difference in the lives of other travellers. This inspiration later developed into an association.
The Meeting

On 31 May 1899, the two men met again at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, where they concluded the inspiration of an association to bind Christian commercial travellers together for mutual recognition, personal evangelism, and united service for the Lord. Soon after it was decided to call a meeting in Janesville, Wisconsin on 1 July 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.

The rest is history

70 years in 2020

The first camps
The first Gideon camp in South Africa was formed at Pietermaritzburg in October 1950. The next camp was formed in Johannesburg and in 1951 two more camps were formed in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. In 1962 camps were established in East London and the West Rand. In 1964 Kimberley and East Rand camps were established.
The first placement of Bibles
The first placement of Bibles in a hotel was in 1952 at the Hotel Edward in Durban, and in 1954 a camp is established in Durban. The first annual general meeting took place at the Carlton hotel in Johannesburg in 1955. In 1958 a camp is established in Pretoria.
National association status
The Gideons in South Africa attained national association status in 1964 and the first annual National Convention was held in Bloemfontein the same year. Since 1950 more than 44 million Bibles have been placed in South Africa.


Soli Deo Gloria

Get involved

Become a Gideon

Gideons personally witness and provide New Testaments to people they come across in their daily lives. 

Become a Friend

Friends of Gideons get involved through means of prayer or financial contributions.

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Our main purpose is to lead others to Christ through personal witnessing, testimonies, and the strategic placement of the Word of God. Your financial contribution will help us print and distribute Scriptures.

Our Banking Details

First National Bank (FNB), Pretoria

Branch code: 25 14 45 (EFT)

Cheque Account: 510 608 41 497

Debit Order form