How Does God’s Word Get Into Prisons?

Last year, Gideons and Auxiliary placed and distributed over 1.5 million Bibles and New Testaments in prisons, as well as in jails and other correctional facilities. Some of those Scriptures were placed directly into the hands of men and women who will never again set foot outside prison walls.

However, we know from the many testimonies received since we first started prison Scripture distributions, when prisoners receive a copy of God’s Word, it can set them free in ways they never experienced before when living outside those walls.

Getting a copy of God’s Word into a prison is no small feat. It takes someone to provide the funds for the Scripture; it takes someone at the prison to allow The Gideons International to get the Scriptures inside; it takes faithful members of The Gideons to see that the Scriptures get to the prison; and it takes someone praying for those Scriptures to be opened. Of course, none of this could happen without the Lord’s favor and blessing.

In some cases, copies of God’s Word are shipped to prison chaplains by The Gideons International. The chaplains see to it that the Scriptures are made available to anyone in the prison who requests a copy.

Gideons regularly reach out to nearby state and federal prisons. In some states, there are very large annual distributions at prisons such as Angola – the Louisiana State Penitentiary. In fact, Gideons have been a part of Angola’s prison ministry longer than any other organization. It all began in 1947 when a Gideon received a request written on a brown paper bag. It was from a prisoner at Angola asking if someone could bring him a copy of God’s Word. Touched by the request, the Gideon hand-delivered a copy of Gods Word to the prisoner.

While Gideons do distribute Scriptures specifically printed for placement and distribution in prisons and other facilities, they also repurpose used Gideon-placed Scriptures from hotels. The hard covers are replaced with soft covers, and the Scriptures are then placed in local jails and prisons. So even used Bibles can continue to offer hope and comfort to others.

Women’s prisons are visited by the wives of Gideons (Auxiliary) who go and share God’s Word with the female inmates. Auxiliary member Edna Hartley shares the Gospel weekly at the Cherokee County Detention Center Jail in Murphy, N.C. “The ladies here are mostly addictions issues. I love them and want them to do better with their lives and that’s why I come.”

In some cases, our members are allowed to personally minister to the prisoners, even holding services in designated rooms or chapels, presenting the Gospel message and offering an invitation for inmates to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. In some prisons, access is even granted for death row inmates.

One Gideon who has been very active in ministering to those in jails, prisons, and even death row units is Reza Rasti, in Nashville, TN. “We go thinking we’re bringing Jesus to them. However, when we get there, we discover Jesus is already there, waiting to meet us,” says Reza.

In this video, you’ll see some of the testimonies of people who were inmates who received Scriptures placed by The Gideons.

Here are two of many letters we’ve received from people who were serving time in prison when their lives were changed as a result of receiving a copy of God’s Word placed by The Gideons.

We praise God for each of these Scriptures placed, and for those who come to know Him and receive His gift of salvation. To help supply Scriptures to those in prisons and jails, you can give here and make a difference for eternity.

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