Bill Clinton is sworn in for his second term as president of the United States, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Jan. 20, 1997.
Tim Clary—AFP/Getty Images
By Mahita Gajanan
January 19, 2017

When U.S. Presidents are sworn into office on Inauguration Day, they typically—though not always—take their oaths with a hand on a Bible. President-elect Donald Trump plans to be sworn into office on Friday on the Bible used by President Abraham Lincoln at his first Inauguration, as well as a family Bible, according to his inaugural committee. President Barack Obama also used Lincoln’s Bible during his first swearing-in ceremony.

Though many past presidents have done so with the book closed, several past presidents have been sworn in on Bibles open to specific passages of their choice—presumably some passage that had special meaning to them for that momentous occasion. Here are all the known verses past Presidents have chosen, per the records of by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, as worded in the King James Bible:

George Washington in 1789: Genesis 49:13
Though this one isn’t quite indicative of another about Washington’s state of mind—it was opened completely randomly—we’re including it because it’s George Washington, after all: “Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.”

Abraham Lincoln in 1865: Matthew 7:1; 18:7 and Revelations 16:7
Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
Matthew 18:7: “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”
Relevations 16:7: “And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.”

Andrew Johnson in 1865: Proverbs 20 and 21
Proverb 20: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
Proverb 21: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

Ulysses S. Grant in 1873: Isaiah 11:1-3
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots...”

Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877: Psalm 118:11-13
“They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the lame of the Lord I will destroy them...“

James A. Garfield in 1881: Proverbs 21:1
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

Chester A. Arthur in 1881: Psalm 31:1-2
“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness...”

Grover Cleveland in 1885: Psalm 112:4-10
“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious and full of compassion, and righteous…”

Benjamin Harrison in 1889: Psalm 121:1-6
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help…”

Get your history fix in one place: sign up for the weekly TIME History newsletter

Grover Cleveland in 1893: Psalm 91:12-16
“They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone…”

William McKinley in 1897: II Chronicles 1:10
“Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge thy people, that is so great?”

William McKinley in 1901: Proverbs 16:20-21
“He that handleth a matter wiseley shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.”

Theodore Roosevelt in 1905: James 1:22-23
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves…”

William H. Taft in 1909: 1 Kings 3:9-11
“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?…”

Woodrow Wilson in 1913: Psalm 119:43-46
“And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments…”

Woodrow Wilson in 1917: Psalm 46
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…”

Warren G. Harding in 1921: Micah 6:8
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Calvin Coolidge in 1923: John 1
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Herbert C. Hoover in 1929: Proverbs 29:18
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, 1937, 1941 and 1945: I Corinthians 13
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing…”

Harry S. Truman in 1949: Matthew 5 and Exodus 20
Matthew 5: “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him…”
Exodus 20: “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me…”

What to Know About Every Presidential Inauguration in American History

Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 and 1957: Psalm 33:12
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

During his 1953 Inauguration, Eisenhower also had a Bible opened to II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Richard Nixon in 1969: Isaiah 2:4
“And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

Richard Nixon in 1973: Isaiah 2:2-4
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord‘s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it…”

Gerald Ford in 1974: Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding…”

Jimmy Carter in 1977: Micah 6:8
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Ronald Reagan in 1981 and 1985: II Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

George H.W. Bush in 1989: Matthew 5
“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into the mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him…”

Bill Clinton in 1993: Galatians 6:8
“For that he soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but that he soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

Bill Clinton in 1997: Isaiah 58:12
“And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many great generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”

George W. Bush in 2005: Isaiah 40:31
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

You May Like

EDIT POST