The Gideons International In Canada is an interdenominational
association of Christian men and women who are members
of Protestant or Evangelical churches.
The Gideons International In Canada was founded in 1911 as part of an international association that started in the United States in 1899. Three travelling salesmen formed the association of commercial travellers to encourage each other in their Christian faith and to spread knowledge of God through personal evangelism and united service for Christ.
This association became known as The Gideons, named after an ordinary man who, in the story related in the Old Testament in the seventh chapter of the book of Judges, was able to accomplish an amazing task because of his faithful response to God. An Auxiliary was formed for the wives of Gideons.
Today The Gideons International In Canada is its own autonomous national association with an
independent board of directors, composed of elected officers and
trustees from five areas across Canada. The association is made up of members who pay an annual membership fee and who are organized into local chapters called camps. The association also maintains a headquarters in Guelph, Ontario.
In July of 2012, the Association voted to amend its bylaws so that membership would consist of Christian men and women of all vocations.
As a non-denominational extended missionary arm of the Christian church, The Gideons work closely with churches, for it is through them that we draw our membership and our prayer and financial support.
We distribute both complete Bibles (containing both the Old and New Testaments) and New Testaments only, which usually include the books of Psalms and Proverbs from the Old Testament. These Scriptures are either given directly to individuals or placed in designated public locations where large numbers of people who may be searching for answers will encounter the Word of God.
While many people use the term “Gideon Bible”, the Bibles and New Testaments offered by The Gideons are not a special version. We only use translation versions that are recognized and accepted by the general Christian church here in North America.
The most common version we have distributed lately is the New American Standard Bible (NASB), but we have recently begun printing editions in the New Living Translation (NLT) as well. We also distribute New King James Version (NKJV) Bibles.
Simply stated, we believe that the Bible contains a message of hope and benefit from God for every person on earth and our objective is to share that message through personal witnessing and placing Bibles and New Testaments into people’s hands. We believe that God’s Word can change lives.
Scriptures are distributed one at a time, free of charge, by members of The Gideons to college and university students, nurses, health care workers, fire fighters, military personnel, police officers, prison inmates, students in grade 5 and above, people in the general public at fairs and during special Scripture blitzes, and individuals who Gideon members meet along life’s pathways.
The Gideons also distribute Scriptures internationally, both in person on mission trips and through partnerships with other ministries around the world. Our goal is to actively be involved in sharing God's Word in every country of the world.
The Bible Placement ministry was formally inaugurated by The Gideons International in 1908 when 25 Bibles were placed in rooms at the Hotel Superior in Iron Mountain, Montana.
In 1911, the first Bibles placed in a hotel outside the United States were by Canadian Gideons in Toronto's King Edward Hotel.
The Gideons receive the funds necessary for this work from the members of the association and from churches and individuals who share the vision and mission of The Gideons International In Canada.
In 1946, Canadian Gideons began the program of presenting New Testaments to all grade 5 students in Canada whose parents consented. These have become commonly known as the “Little Red Bible” by the thousands of people who received them.
Scriptures are also placed free of charge in strategic locations, including: doctors and nurses residences, domestic violence shelters, fire halls, hospitals, hotels and motels, medical waiting rooms, clinics and other similar institutions, prisons, public libraries, schools, extended care facilities, senior citizen homes, ships and trains.