Gideons and Their Bibles


So today at my Catholic college the Gideons were handing out Bibles. They stand, respectfully, across the street from the college and corner all the students and faculty as they walk by. I got my little green Bible and felt frisky, so I engaged a nice Gideon in apologetic discussion. I didn’t get very far, and didn’t get much of a sense of his beliefs at all except he wanted to talk about how Mary was not a virgin all her life because the Bible states she was a virgin only up to the birth of Jesus.
He was a nice guy but didn’t have much to defend. Turns out he was an ex-Catholic, and when I started to describe how much he was missing out in not having the Eucharist, he shut down and moved away to corner yet another undergraduate.
Anyone ever debate with a Gideon?


Rocky Racoon, fell back in his room, only to find Gideon’s Bible…


My father-in-law is a Gideon. At 83, he still passes out Bibles.

The Gideons are not supposed to debate while they are passing out Bibles. They are supposed to simply give people the Word of God. Your Gideon did what his organization asks him to do when he “shut down and moved away.”

Did he really “corner another undergraduate?” Or did he just offer a Bible? Again, the Gideons are not supposed to engage people in debates or challenges.

Instead of debating, why not simply share verses and stories in the Bible that are meaningful, and ask the Gideon to do the same? A good apologist begins by finding common ground. That’s what St. Paul did.

I just keep thinking of the love that my dear frail old father-in-law has for God’s Word, and you confronting him about his shortcomings. That doesn’t set well with me at all.


Hard to see the utility of those hard copy bibles when they can be downloaded to a phone


I have Bibles on my phone through Verbum: I still prefer a hard copy in my hands.


They also have cards they hand out to provide access to eBible’s.


The Gideons leave their Bibles in hospital rooms as well.

But to answer your question, no, I’ve never had any type of interaction with them.


The thing about Gideons is that they aren’t a denomination of their own; their members may come from a variety of denominations with varied theological nuances. They simply agree in the basic tenets of evangelical Protestantism and hand out Bibles. Debate would depend entirely on the individual.


I don’t think your gideons really get involved in discussion, they just pass out their little bibles.

Green bibles are given to students- other folks, hospital patients, soldiers, prisoners, whomever, are given different colors. I got one when I was entered school in a public institution in 1974.


They also give them to military upon deployment. Sometimes you just don’t have internet access.


Still have my West Point bible with desert camo cover that came with me through three combat deployments.



Are they doing something evil or wrong by handing out bibles?

If you were respectfully (your word) standing on a corner handing out rosaries, would you want people to debate you about Mary?

Since you have a bible handy, take a look at Matthew 7:12.


I have heard reports of anti-Catholicism among Gideons. In any case, their Bibles are incomplete from the Catholic point of view. Catholics should read a Catholic Bible.


What is the nature of the anti-Catholicism you are referring to?

I’ve seen these men, but they have never inquired about my faith and have never indicated any negative attitude toward me.


I agree with your fundamental point, but to nitpick: if you downloaded the Bible to your phone, you wouldn’t need internet access to use it. (But your point would still stand if you slightly modified it: sometimes you don’t have phone access. E.g. it’s low on battery, or charging in a corner, or it got broken and your replacement isn’t ready, or you don’t have a smartphone.)


Possibly. They may fall under the condemnation of Bible Societies issued by Pope Gregory the Sixteenth:


Would you believe – not everyone has (or wants to have) a smartphone?
As of February 2018, 77% of Americans owned a smartphone.


Haven’t you heard – ecumenism is all good since 1965 or so? :rofl:
Just ignore all that stuff from the past 500 years…


Ecumenism was good back then, too, but there were limits to how far that ecumenism ought to go. (And there are limits today as well.)


Thank you for your service AND your faithfulness.

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