What Makes a Testament from The Gideons so Unique?

Ever wondered about Testaments from The Gideons and what makes them unique? Gideons know the special feeling of placing a pocket Testament into a hand reaching out for the hope found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And when students, emergency responders, military personnel, and people from all other walks of life first grasp one of those Testaments, the distinctive feel of that pocket-sized Book can instantly signal the possession of something very significant has just changed hands.

From the streets of New York City to the bush of South Africa, we’ve met pastors, teachers, and numerous others who still carry pocket Testaments they received from The Gideons decades ago. Thumb through those well-travelled Testaments and you’ll see verses highlighted with bright markers, sermon notes scribbled in the margins, Helps pages intentionally folded for quick reference, and names signed on the Decision page—these are just a few examples of how these copies of God’s Word are being treasured through the storms and mountaintop experiences of a Christian pilgrim’s journey.

Made for Whatever Life Throws at It


To withstand years of daily usage in a wide range of environmental conditions, our Testaments must meet very high production specifications—from the bindings and cover materials to the paper and ink selections. This kind of heavy-duty performance is a lot to expect from such a light-weight product.

Perhaps you’ve heard testimonies of soldiers like the one from North Dakota who discovered a 31-calibur bullet lodged in his pocket Service Testament after his infantry unit came under enemy fire in Germany during World War II. Or testimonies like that of Dean Mattern who begins by saying, “I was smoking Leviticus.” He used pages torn out of a Scripture received from The Gideons to roll up handmade cigarettes inside his jail cell. Eventually, he began reading the pages and discovered that Jesus died for his sins. He committed his life to the Lord and later became a pastor.


Of course, the raw material selections for Scriptures from The Gideons aren’t based on their potential to stop bullets or be lit on fire. They are chosen for characteristics that include durability, readability, and convenience. All are key factors as our members provide tens of millions of Testaments (in addition to full-size Bibles) each year without charge—we want those who receive these Scriptures to be able to read them daily for years and years.

What are some of the physical attributes that make holding and reading one of our Testaments a unique experience? Sturdy, textured, covers with rounded edges that bend and hug around the pages to protect and preserve the Testament through years of wear. The small size that fits perfectly in the hands of the millions of children who receive a Testament each year. The size is also convenient for our members who keep Testaments tucked inside their pockets for those personal witnessing moments that can occur at any time. Other features include specific colors and designs based on where the Scriptures will be distributed; reinforced bindings; and pages that are strategically thin without compromising brightness, opacity, or strength.

Even through decades of innovations to the paper, ink, string, glue, and the manufacturing process itself, our Testaments remain instantly distinguishable in their look and feel.

Rigorously Tested Inside-Out


Our Testaments are printed in over 100 languages—verifying each version is an accurate translation of God’s Word is a painstaking process that requires the collaboration of Bible scholars, Bible societies, and other subject matter experts throughout the world. After being subjected to intensive reviews, all translations considered for printing are presented to our International Executive Committee and then to the International Cabinet for final approval before going to press.

The Gideons International works with printing partners throughout the world who supply the technologies, materials, and human resources necessary to produce and transport the tens of millions of Scriptures placed and distributed by Gideons and Auxiliary annually. In-person visits are made to the partner facilities by representatives of The Gideons International to observe how the companies operate. As ambassadors of Christ, it matters that those we partner with throughout our supply chain understand who we are, what we do, and Who we represent. Our partners all understand they are a part of producing the Word of God.

Life-Changing Work


Even before a Testament is boxed and shipped for our members to distribute, it can make an impact. We have suppliers who share that their employees who work in the production of Scriptures for The Gideons say it is a very rewarding experience. Their workers on other production lines have even requested to get to work in the production of our Scriptures as they, too, want to play a role in getting God’s Word into people’s hands. We’ve even received testimonies from our printing partners of their own employees coming to a saving faith in Jesus after encountering God’s Word as it rolled off their presses.

As you know, the act of placing a Testament into someone else’s hands can happen in just a moment. However, the labor of producing a Testament is a journey of prayerful planning, thoughtful deliberation, wise decision-making, patient administration, and skillful craftsmanship that can span more than a year, from goal setting to final shipping.

The many physical hallmarks of a Testament from The Gideons would all be meaningless if it weren’t for the most important feature—the actual printed text itself—the Word of God. Testimony after testimony reveals that’s what changes lives.

Has God’s Word Changed Your Life?


Has your life has been impacted by a Bible or Testament from The Gideons International? We would love to hear your story! Email testimonies@gideons.org to share with us today.

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