Last Updated on February 17, 2022
The simple reason why you might find a bible in your hotel room is that it was put there and paid for by Christians who want to spread the teachings of the Bible.
The history of placing Bibles in hotel rooms dates back over 100 years.
The hotel owners don’t pay for the bibles, they are provided to them for free, and they are usually called Gideons Bibles after the organization that puts them there.
But of course, hotel owners need to agree that the bibles can be put in the hotel room.
Hotel rooms have Bibles because of the work of Gideons along with the consent of the hotel owners.
Let’s explore a little more.
Why Gideons International Puts Bibles In To Hotel Rooms
The Gideons International is an organization founded by two Christian businessmen in 1899.
The two traveling salesmen, John H. Nicholson and Samuel E. Hill, met because they shared a hotel room together.
These men wanted to find a way that Christian traveling businessmen like them could come together and work in service of the Lord.
A few years later, in 1908, the Gideons hit upon the idea to supply every bedroom in every hotel in the United States with a copy of the bible. It was called “The Bible Project” and it was a huge success.
Fast forward a century and on the homepage of the Gideons website they have the question:
Who Are The Gideons?
And this is the answer:
We are a body of believers dedicated to making the Word of God available to everyone and, together with the local church, reaching souls for Christ.Gideons
Since its founding Gideons have been on a mission to provide scriptures, spread the good news, and reach souls for Christ.
They believe that a Bible placed in a hotel room might bring peace, comfort, or even salvation, to lonely travelers.
At the beginning of Gideons Bibles, they suggest Bible verses that may be of assistance in various sorts of trouble.
So you can see the Gideons hope to provide the following:
- Comfort in times of loneliness
- Comfort in time of sorrow
- Relife in time of suffering
- Guidence in time of decision
- Protection in time of danger
- Courage in time of fear
- Peace in time of turmoil
- Rest in time of weariness
- Strength in time of temptation
- Warning in time of indifference
- Forgiveness in time of conviction.
They also sometimes have a place for the reader to sign and date their confession of Jesus as their savior. So in a sense, the bible in the hotel is a recruiting tool that might convert new believers to the Christian faith.
Gideons doesn’t only put Bibles in hotel rooms. They also put them in hospitals, domestic violence shelters, prisons, schools, colleges, and military bases.
Why Do Hotel Owners Agree To Put Bibles In Hotel Rooms?
There are three main reasons why individual hotel owners would agree to put the bibles provided by Gideons in their rooms.
Firstly, an individual hotel owner might believe in the message of the bible and support the drive to distribute the messages and ideas of Christianity.
But not every hotelier that puts a bible in the nightstand drawer is necessarily a Christian.
A hotelier might not drink coffee himself but still provide coffee in his hotel rooms for guests because he thinks it’s good for business.
So secondly, hotel owners might see a bible in a hotel room as an amenity that customers want.
In this scenario, hoteliers put Bibles in hotel rooms because they believe that a sufficient number of guests will like, or at least not object to, having access to a bible during their stay.
Thirdly, modern hotel owners might allow the placement of Bibles in hotel rooms simply because it’s always been that way and they haven’t seen any reason to change things.
Also, the books are free. So why not?
Well, increasing some hotel owners are starting to think the “why not” and ditching the Gideons Bible from their rooms.
Bibles Are Not In Every Hotel Room
Although bibles are provided free to hotels by Gideons, hoteliers are increasingly choosing not to place the books in their rooms.
The world is changing and the bible is a very old book that while having many positive messages also has some parts that, let’s just say, haven’t aged well.
Gay hotel guests might not appreciate having a book calling for them to be put to death for sleeping with their partner in the nightstand drawer.
And not many fathers around today will be up for the idea of stoning their daughter to death for having sex before marriage.
So for the modern hotelier, the hotel bible is a difficult choice. One guest’s amenity is another obscenity.
For sure, many guests will still appreciate seeing a Bible in their hotel room.
But others might look for other religious materials like The Quran, The Upanishads, or The Tao Te Ching. Or they might object to all religious materials being thrust upon them.
Paul found The Book of Mormon in his hotel room:
And this traveler came across The Bhagavad Gita:
Arif found The Teaching Of Buddha in his hotel room:
Some people mock the Bible that they find in hotels rooms:
Some treat it like a fictional story:
Or a fairytale:
So it may be that the hotel bible will one day become a rarity. Daniel hadn’t seen one in years:
But the hotel bible can still reach people who are open to it, so expect it to be around for some time yet.
Why Do People Put Money In Hotel Bibles?
Some people put money in hotel Bibles to encourage guests to open them up and read certain verses of scripture.
Sydney found five dollars in a hotel bible and used it to buy Red Bull:
K found 3 dollars:
And Erik found a buck:
Hotels have bibles due to the efforts of The Gideons International.
Gideons are evangelists, they believe that the messages found in the bible can help people in various sorts of trouble, and they seek to convert others to the Christian faith.
Hotels don’t pay for the Bibles. They allow Gideons to put them in the hotels. But increasingly hotel properties are choosing to either supplement the Bible with alternative religious literature or just not provide any sacred books.
If Microsoft provided all hotels with a free Xbox then you’d maybe see a lot more games consoles in hotel rooms.
But then Microsoft would never do that since they are driven by profit.
The motivations behind the hotel room Bible are fundamentally religious and when it comes to things religions do “why” isn’t always easily answered.
But if you see a Bible in your hotel room have a flick through.
You might find yourself a few dollars.
And what do I know, you might even find Jesus!
To end this post I’m going to do a little bit of proselytizing myself…
Here’s Rocky Raccoon by the Beatles, probably the most famous song to mention Gideons Bible. Try it out, you might just be converted to being a Beatles fan!