Bibles in hotels: the mysteries of placing the gospel in hotels and current changes related to this topic

By Valentina BaturinetsFeb 29, 2024 16:55 PMHotels
Bibles in hotels: the mysteries of placing the gospel in hotels and current changes related to this topic
The number of Bibles on hotel bedside tables has decreased dramatically these days. Source: Freepik

The Gospel is a book considered to be the foundation of European and American culture. It symbolizes cordial and caring attitude to the hotel guests and testifies to the high level of culture of the hotel owners.

Results of expert research

Nowadays there is a clear tendency to decrease the number of Bibles in hotels around the world. If earlier the presence of God's Word was an indispensable condition for equipping hotel rooms, today they can be found only in some establishments.

STR, a well-known analytical company in the field of hotel business, and other expert organizations regularly conducted surveys and studies related to this topic. As a result, it was revealed that Bibles are increasingly disappearing from hotel bedside tables and are being replaced by glamorous and entertainment publications.

Experts at Only in Your State estimate that the number of hotels that offer religious books in guest rooms has dropped to 15 percent over the past decade.

Bibles in hotels: the mysteries of placing the gospel in hotels and current changes related to this topic
According to many studies, Bibles are increasingly less likely to be placed in hotels. Source: Freepik

How did the idea of putting Bibles in hotels originate?

The Holy Scriptures in hotels have also been called "Gideon Bibles." This name comes from a group of missionaries and men who preached the Word of God in the last century. They took these books on trips as they traveled the country with their teaching seminars.

It all began in 1898 when John H. Nicholson was staying at the Central Hotel in the small town of Boscobel, Wisconsin. At that moment there were no vacancies in the hotel, and he was placed together with another guest, Samuel E. Hills.

In the course of their intercourse they found that both were reverent for Christianity and desired to engage in educating people in the religious field. They recited prayers together and planned to establish a community of preachers to spread God's covenants among the people.

The creation of the fellowship

In 1899, John H. Nicholson and Samuel E. Hillsom succeeded in making their plans a reality. At that time, they were joined by William D. Knights, who later became the leader of the group initiating the selfless service of God with the recognition of faith among the people.

After some time, these three became the key persons of the new fellowship. Hills became its president, Knights became its chief assistant, and Nicholson was entrusted with all day-to-day matters, including the financing of the project.

When it came to assigning a "name" to the organization, the partners decided to call it Gedeon at Knights' suggestion. The name is related to an Old Testament character named Gideon.

The name appears in the Book of Judges of the Hebrew Bible and means "destroyer," but the founders of the fellowship did not emphasize it. They were impressed by the fact that the Lord instructed Gideon to direct his small army of 300 warriors against a strong enemy, and as a result, Gideon's army was victorious.

Successful development of the project

The association grew intensively and was enriched with new members. They traveled a lot and spent a lot of time in hotel rooms. This became a powerful stimulus for the creation of Project Bible in 1908.

According to this project, every hotel room in the United States should be equipped with a scripture by which the guests could learn more about the Word of God and its commandments.

Gedeon's main task was to inform people about the Bible and its basic tenets. The project was approved in Louisville, Kentucky, and its first books were placed in the Superior Hotel in Montana in 1908.

Bibles in hotels: the mysteries of placing the gospel in hotels and current changes related to this topic
In 1920, Gideon was associated with the free distribution of the Bible. Source: Freepic

Since that time, some 1.8 billion copies of the Holy Scriptures, translated into more than 90 languages, have been distributed not only in the United States but also in many other countries around the world.

According to research, one-fourth of overnight hotel guests read the Word of God. Gedeon estimated that about 3,000 people were expected to read the book during its six-year lifespan, and that's a lot.

The project was so successful that members of other religions also offered their literature to hotel vacationers. In addition to the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon were available. By 1920, many people associated the name Gideon with the free distribution of the gospel.

Why has the use of Bibles in hotels gone down today?

As we have already noted, the number of Bibles on hotel tables has decreased dramatically today. This is because many hotels are targeting millennials - people born between 1981 and 2000. They are considered the least religious segment of the American and European population, and many hotels are removing Bibles from their rooms to please their potential customers.

Another reason for the increasing removal of the Word of God from hotel tables is the availability of Wi-Fi, which can always be used to read a book online.

Perhaps many hotels have refused to use the Gospel in their suites so as not to offend members of other religious faiths. Some hotels cite the inconsistency of such books with the personality of their brands as the reason for not using the scriptures.

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