You are doubtless familiar with the scenario. Go into almost any hotel or hospital room, open the bedside locker drawer, and you will find a small Bible. Gideon Bibles are left in hotel rooms worldwide by members of the Gideons International organisation, a Christian evangelist group.

The Gideons produce Bibles or New Testaments in 80 languages for distribution in 175 countries. They may be left in hotels, motels, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and educational establishments. Their latest claims are to distribute 56 million Bibles each year.

In recent times, they have most frequently left the New Testament and Psalms rather than the whole Bible, but whichever is left, there are "Bible Helps" in the form of Scriptural advice and pointers on "Help in Time of Need", "Suggested Readings", and "Practical Teachings" (which includes doctrine as well as advice on morality and family matters). The translations used are the King James Version and the New King James Version.

The aim is of this ministry is "to win men, women, boys and girls to a saving knowledge in the Lord Jesus Christ through association, personal testimony, and distributing the Bible in the human traffic lanes and streams of everyday life".

They have had some success in this - a 1997 Fodor's survey found that 23 percent of travellers read the Gideons bible in their hotel rooms. Bibles which are removed or damaged are replaced at no cost to the hotel by local Gideons. (

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