Members of The Gideons International are selected by the organization based on the recommendations of pastors in a given area. A prospective Gideons must be a Christian, a businessman or former businessman or other professional, at least 21 years old and male.
Gideons distribute Bibles either by giving them directly to the recipients or by placing them in public locations, including hotels and motels; prisons and jails; hospitals and medical centers; and domestic violence shelters. The Bibles are printed in more than 90 languages; however, they are typically only distributed in the languages or languages of the local area. For example, Gideons in Texas likely distribute Bibles in both English and Spanish, whereas Gideons in Montana likely only distribute them in English.
The Gideons International focuses its distribution efforts on several demographics, including public school students in the fifth grade and above; prisoners; and police, fire, medical and military personnel. Bibles are also distributed to anyone that a Gideon might encounter and be inspired to provide them to.
Nearly 12,000 Gideon groups worldwide have about 300,000 total members. This number includes the Gideon Auxiliary, an organization for the spouses of Gideons. The Gideons and Auxiliary members have distributed more than 2 million Bibles worldwide as of 2015.