History of the Gideon Bible
In 1898, traveling salesman John Nicholson, from Janesville, Wisconsin, checked into the Central House Hotel in Boscobel, Wisconsin. Because the hotel was full, he was only able to stay in a double room with another traveling salesman, Samuel Hill, from Beloit, Wisconsin.
As they made their common acquaintance, they discovered that each was a Protestant Christian and they conceived that night of the concept of businessmen such as themselves somehow promoting evangelization efforts. They met again the following year in Janesville, Wisconsin, joined by a third interested party, William Knights. They formalized their new organization and selected the name "Gideons." Early in their efforts, since most of the people they recruited for their new mission were traveling salesmen, someone suggested they arrange to place a Bible in every hotel room in America. Their mission was born.
1977 - A Gideon Bible on the way home from Florida
|This is essentially the page I saw.|
When we got home, I was so enamored by this alphabet that I practiced writing the letters over and over until I had the entire thing memorized. I would eventually study Biblical Hebrew formally in college, as a way to follow through with my earlier exploration. And I would get my doctorate in Biblical Hebrew. And my doctorate minor in Arabic. And I would serve as an Arabic linguist for the NSA. And I don't think any of it would have happened, had I not opened that Gideon Bible.
1985 - A Gideon Bible on my way to University
|The Bible he gave me. Of course I still have it!|
Lamentabile dictu, the Gideons do not allow non-Protestants to be members or serve in their organization. As such, they apparently do not consider non-Protestants such as Catholics and Orthodox to be, in fact, Christians at all.
Which is ironic, since I consider the man who handed me that Bible that day to have had a key role in me being a practicing Christian today...
Keith Massey was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. He has his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Biblical Hebrew, with a minor in Arabic. After 9/11, he served as an Arabic linguist at the NSA. He is currently a Latin teacher at a public high school in New Jersey.
Keith is the author of Intermediate Arabic for Dummies. His fiction novels follow the adventures of Andrew Valquist, roughly patterned after himself--a man born and raised in Wisconsin who gets pulled into the world of international intrigue.
Keith's novels are A Place of Brightness, Amor Vincit Omnia: An Andrew Valquist Adventure, Next Stop: Spanish, and In Saecula Saeculorum.