Two billion Bibles later, the Gideons are still at it, spreading the Gospel room by room.
If 2016, as various where-is-society-heading experts predict, turns out to be the year in which the sleek new digital world rudely shoves ink-on-paper products deeper than ever toward the dustbin of history, someone forgot to tell the Gideons.
You may not have thought about them in a while. Which is fine with them. The Gideons don’t seek publicity. They are content to do quietly what they have done for more than a century: endeavor to put a free Bible in the drawer of every nightstand in every hotel room in the United States and throughout the world.
The presence of those Bibles has been so constant for so long that many travelers barely notice they’re there. But the Gideons’ theory—the reason for the existence of Gideons International, based in Nashville, Tenn.—is that even if a person seldom picks up a Bible, there may come an unexpected dark night of the soul when a man or woman is on the road, alone and despairing, and by instinct will know that potential comfort is an arm’s reach away.